Making a stopover in Iceland has been of my best travel decisions of 2017 thus far. Yes, I know, Iceland is such a “trendy” place to go to these days, but it’s for good reason. Between the Icelandic ponies, waterfalls, Northern Lights, the gorgeous Golden Circle, and scenery that I didn’t even know existed on this earth, it makes for an epic place to visit. I’m going to share a handful of reasons to make a stopover in Iceland, although the images alone will probably convince you.
When I found out many airlines, like WowAir, offer complimentary stopovers to Iceland from both the United States and Europe, I booked a flight ASAP (and at a great price). I chose to fly from Amsterdam to Washington D.C. then on the way back Washington D.C. to Reyaktvik and finally back to Amsterdam. Although it sounds like a lot of stops, it was well worth it to explore Iceland and see what the rave is all about.
So, here are my top 5 reasons to make a stopover in Iceland – even just for 48 hours
1.) The Scenery is uniquely amazing.
Visiting Iceland was like being on an entirely different planet. From waterfalls, lava rocks, glaciers, Northern Lights, ocean views, hot springs, and caves, Iceland has everything all on one small island.
Simply getting off the plane to do a quick drive through the area is totally worth it. You can see so much just by driving along the windy roads and taking in the views. However, be warned that stopping on the side of the road is quite dangerous (too narrow) and highly discouraged, so make sure you take in the views safely and stop when allowed.
Just in our short trip we were able to see the Northern Lights (outside our hotel room), visit one of the famous waterfalls, the coastline, and too many glaciers to count.
2.) Iceland is expensive, so a stopover is more economical.
As much as I would have loved spending 7+ days exploring Iceland, it is a very expensive country. Although you can find flights and a rental car at an economical price point, everything else like accommodation, excursions, food, and gas is quite pricey.
We found that renting a car for two days and driving to see as much sites as possible was the best way to experience Iceland. Although there are plenty of things you could spend money on like skiing in the winter, visiting the infamous Blue Lagoon, and taking a caving excursion, we found so much joy just taking in the atmosphere around us and exploring on our own (, much cheaper).
3.) Ponies, ponies, and more ponies.
I don’t know about you, but I am an animal lover. And the fact that in every direction there are these majestic Icelandic ponies just waiting for you to pet them, was absolutely amazing to me.
Definitely becoming an icon or mascot of Iceland, these Icelandic ponies are so friendly and love the attention that the tourist give them. It’s like a scene from a movie seeing them with their hair blowing in the wind and the mountains behind them.
It came to my surprise how neat it was seeing all of these ponies roaming the beautiful hills and playing with each other. It really is a sight to see in person.
4.) Relax in a natural hot spring.
After flying overseas for 5+ hours nothing sounded better than soaking up the natural hot springs and watching the sunset. All over Iceland, you can find natural hot springs and many hotels have manmade springs on site.
Although only having 48 hours in Iceland meant a busy schedule of seeing as much as possible in that short amount of time, it’s totally worth it to spend a few hours relaxing in a hot spring. I mean, you deserve it after all that travel! Plus, it’s quite rejuvenating before you head to the airport for your next leg.
5.) It’s a great way to break up your flight at no extra cost.
Beyond the obvious reasons that Iceland is a magical place with so much to see and do, it’s also a great way to break up your flight in-between Europe and North America.
I fly abroad often and typically my first day after being on a plane is full of jet lag and just trying to recover from being on a plane for 8+ hours. When stopping in Iceland, you have the opportunity to acclimate and adjust a bit before your final destination.
Stopping in Iceland made my final trip more enjoyable and worthwhile. Next time I fly overseas, I will definitely be making another stopover!
To see more of my Icelandic adventure, view my photo gallery here.
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