Apologies to people who subscribe to this blog as this is not my traditional type of content!
In June 2021 we visited Iceland for 11 days, driving the famous Ring Road and seeing a variety of sights. I did considerable research on multiple websites and guide books, and with a couple exceptions it worked out very well. I thought I’d give back by sharing our itinerary and some other comments. I won’t include detailed descriptions of each sight, but will link to descriptions by others.
Ring Road or Day Trips? If you have seven days or more, I’d recommend the Ring Road instead of day trips from one or more locations. The upside is you’ll have a lot more flexibility and spend less time “returning” – and those drives can get long. The downside is you need to keep moving so if the weather is bad, you will miss those sights. There are also a lot of interesting sights on the far east side of Iceland, such as the fjords between Höfn and Egilsstaðir.
Ring Road Direction: There are differing opinions on whether to go clockwise or counterclockwise around the Ring Road. After a lot of research I chose counterclockwise, and we’re happy we did. Going in that direction puts most of the sights on the first half of the trip, when you have more energy. One problem is that the Rick Steves guide book we brought went in the opposite, clockwise, direction so we had to read it backwards!
Blue Lagoon: At the Beginning or the End? Similar to which direction to drive on the Ring Road, there are differing opinions on when to experience the Blue Lagoon. Several people suggest starting there since it’s between the airport and Reykjavik, especially if you arrive early in the morning. We did it at the end, and are glad we did. We were very tired after ten days of driving and multiple hotels, so a final day relaxing at the Blue Lagoon (and we stayed at The Retreat hotel right on the lagoon) was perfect.
Weather: We were very lucky and had sunny and unseasonably warm weather for the first nine days. The last two days were overcast with some rain, but one of those days we were lounging in the Blue Lagoon pools so it didn’t matter. The only sights we missed were the tops of mountains on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula the previous day – such as Kirkjufell. The good news is that looking at weather forecasts is generally not accurate as “rainy” really means “mist” for a small part of the day. If your weather app provides the expected total rainfall, you’ll see it’s generally small. The bad news is that others we talked to said it’s good to plan on missing almost half the sights you want to see thanks to the weather. Luckily that didn’t happen to us.
Money: I didn’t use any cash during the entire trip, and I really mean zero. Apple Pay and credit cards were accepted and preferred for even the smallest transactions. There is no tipping in Iceland, although a couple coffee shops did have a tip jar that no one seemed to use.
Gas: Gas stations are far fewer than in the United States, but still not a problem. Just refill when you get to half a tank and you’ll be fine. All of the gas stations are pay at the pump, almost always preferring a debit card with a PIN number. You select the maximum amount of gas you want, then it will authorize that amount with a hold on the card, then charge the actual amount. It can take several days for the hold to be removed, which can be confusing (or a problem if you have limited funds). Note that many gas stations have a store and restaurant, usually with very clean restrooms.
Food: We’re vegetarian (I’ll eat fish, but my wife borders on being vegan). This didn’t present much of a problem, although the vegetarian options were often the same: nut/bean “steak”, fried cauliflower, meatless pizza, or celeriac (a form of celery) soup. By the end of the trip we were craving a simple spaghetti or salad. By far the best menu selection was at the Hotel Budir. Every hotel had a great breakfast buffet with many options, and often a chef that would also make omelettes and waffles. Another interesting note: there is apparently no diet soda from any brand – anywhere.
Clothes: In late June and early July it was unseasonably warm, so we wore hiking pants and t-shirts, with the occasional light jacket. But it can be cold and rainy, especially in the mountains, so think of layers. Instead of heavy hiking boots I took light trail running shoes, which were perfect for city streets as well as lava, glaciers, and sand.
Hotels: This is one area I like to splurge on, so I started with finding lists of top hotels. I then read the reviews on TripAdvisor and Expedia, and mapped them against proposed routes. A few of the top hotels couldn’t be fit to the route as they are purposely isolated. With one exception that I’ll discuss below, we enjoyed all of the hotels. The Hilton Canopy, Hotel Budir, and The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon were by far our favorites. All hotels had a nice breakfast buffet and dinner available, though if we were in a larger town we’d find an outside restaurant. With the exception of the three I just mentioned, a “double” room is really just two twins pushed together, sometimes with a common topper but often not, and generally with two twin comforters on top.
Baths: One of the great experiences in Iceland is visiting the geothermal baths. Almost every town will have them, but in most cases they’re just a swimming pool with maybe a hot tub. The best stops are baths designed for simply soaking, with multiple large hot pools. Our three favorites were the Blue Lagoon, Myvatn, and Fontana. There is a common etiquette: you will be expected to shower naked, then put on your swimsuit, enjoy the pools, then upon return remove swimsuit (some baths have centrifugal rapid dryers!), shower again, and then get dressed. You’ll get used to the routine.
Roads: The roads are very well maintained, even in remote areas. Almost all are two lane with lanes that feel a bit narrower than in the United States due to almost no shoulders. Watch out for bikers and when passing trucks. Traffic circles are everywhere, and in the small number of multi-lane circles around Reykjavik be aware that unlike most other places, the inner lane has the right of way to exit at any time. This takes a bit getting used to. There are several one lane bridges, but those are well-signed and easy. In the northern part of the country there are also several one lane tunnels, some several kilometers long, with a pull-out passing area every 500m or so. We did have to back up a couple times to a pull out to allow the right-of-way lane to pass, which is a bit hairy.
Rental Car: We rented from Europcar and had a good experience. Although the Ring Road and other main roads are paved and in very good condition, you should consider getting a larger 4×4 to take the gravel side roads to glaciers or hikes. We rented a Toyota Land Cruiser, which felt too big for the first couple days in downtown Reykjavik, but comfortable, capable, and safe for the rest of the trip.
Navigation: We anticipated poor cell service so we downloaded the Google Maps for Iceland. Completely unnecessary as cell service was excellent everywhere and road signs are very clear.
Cell Service: We’re on Verizon and signed up for Travel Pass, which provides your normal U.S. plan for $10 a day when it’s used. If you do go over certain data limits it will throttle back to 3G speed, but that happened only once. Coverage was excellent, even in remote areas.
Airport: The Reykjavik airport is very efficient and arriving and departing was a breeze. The longest part of the experience was with renting and returning the rental car (Europcar in our case). When picking up the vehicle they gave a 10 minute discussion of local traffic laws, including the unique traffic circle situation mentioned above.
Laundry: We typically travel pretty light and plan on doing laundry during longer trips. Unfortunately there are almost no laundromats in Iceland, so we were scrambling a bit for a hotel laundry service. It turned out that the hotel we stayed at in Egilsstaðir, at almost the exact half way point, had a free guest laundry.
What Did We Miss? The one part of the country that we know is beautiful but we missed is the West Fjords area of northwest Iceland. It’s just a little too remote to fit in into an eleven day itinerary, with long, time-consuming and unpaved roads. We bumped into several tourists who were going to see it on their second or third trip to Iceland. Maybe that’s what we’ll do.
I tried to aim for 2-3 hours of driving each day, which allowed a lot of time for side trips and sightseeing.
Day 1: Arrive Iceland and Reykjavik
We arrived at 8pm on the flight from Boston. After picking up the rental car, the drive to the center of Reykjavik was about 45 minutes.
Hotel: Canopy by Hilton. One of our favorite hotels on the trip, and highly recommend. Very unique and stylish, with the best breakfast buffet of any hotel we stayed at. It is right in the middle of the old downtown and shopping area, so perfect location for walking around. There is no on-site parking, but a parking garage is right across the street for about $25 a day. Note that parking garages in Iceland are automated. A camera will record your license plate and then lift the gate. To depart, first go to the kiosk and enter your plate number and pay the fee, then it gives you 15 minutes to exit, allowing it by once again reading your license plate.
Day 2: Reykjavik
The walking tour of downtown was easy, with the hotel right in the center, and took about half a day. The hotel is right on Smiðjustígur, so a half block up is the main shopping drag of Laugavegur and also Skólavörðustígur which runs up to the Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church. We ate at several places, but particularly enjoyed ROK, right across the street from the Hallgrímskirkja church.
Day 3: Reykjavik to Golden Circle and Selfoss
After a slow start due to the time change and wanting to check out several stores, we drove out to the famous Golden Circle, which goes past several relatively nearby sights. The entire trip with stops took us about seven hours.
Route (196 km, 3 hrs of drive time):
- Take 1 out of Reykjavik, then instead of taking 1 North to 36 which is the fast route, take 1 South to 431 for the scenic route. This will go through some crazy volcanic landscapes with the hot water pipeline to Reykjavik running along side of it. Turn north on 360 to go along the west side of the Þingvallavatn lake, joining up with 36 (turn right) to Þingvellir National Park. At this park you can walk through a narrow canyon where the Iceland is being split between the North American and European continents. At the end is a small but very nice Öxarárfoss waterfall, which is one of several Game of Thrones locations in Iceland. This segment is a 60 km drive taking about 1 hour.
- Continue on 36 then turn left on 365, then eventually stay straight on 37 toward Laugarvatn. Stop at the Fontana Baths and have your first bath experience. These were in the top three of all the baths we stopped at, so well worth it! Spend an hour or two and have lunch.
- Continue on 37 until the turnoff to 35, take 35 the short distance to Geysir. You can park right across the street and easily walk to the geysers, one of which will blow every 10 minutes or so. Just follow the other tourists!
- Continue a bit further on 35 to Gullfoss, a very large waterfall. There are multiple viewing locations requiring short walks, but all are worth it.
- Turn around and return on 35, staying on 35 all the way to to where it intersects 36 again on the south side. Take that north just a few kilometers to the hotel. Along the way, stop at the Cathedral near Skalholt and the Kerið Crater.
Hotel: Hotel Grimsborgir near Selfoss. This hotel is trying hard to be five star but in reality is about a low four star. High quality rooms, the outdoor hot tubs at each building are nice, but landscaping is a bit sparse. The dining room with the pink tablecloths and plastic flowers was a bit odd, but the food was good.
Day 4: Selfoss to Vik
You’ll now get on the highway 1 Ring Road, and stay on it for most of the rest of the trip.
Route (164 km, 2.5 hrs of drive time):
- From the Hotel Grimsborgir take 36 south, then turn right onto 35. Take that down to the highway 1 Ring Road and turn left on 1 toward Selfoss.
- If you’re a chess junky, check out the Bobby Fischer museum and grave in Selfoss. It’s an interesting story of why he’s there!
- Just past Selfoss is the Urridafoss waterfall. One of the least impressive waterfalls on the trip, so feel free to pass by.
- Just past Hella is the Lava Centre with displays on lava and volcanoes. We heard it was good, but it was closed on the day we were there.
- Soon you’ll reach Seljalandsfoss, which is definitely worth a stop. You can walk completely around and behind the main large waterfall on the right – and you will get wet so bring rain jackets! Definitely walk up the trail toward the farmhouse, passing some smaller falls. Off the trail by farmhouse is a creek with a small trail going to the right, that enters a large grotto with a large waterfall inside it. Very much worth the short scramble!
- A bit further down the Ring Road is Skógafoss, a very large waterfall that you can easily walk right to the base of.
- Before returning to the Ring Road, go past the town of Skogar and find the museum. Just past the museum is a small trail that heads to the Kvernufoss waterfall, a short easy two kilometer hike. This is a small waterfall, but in a very beautiful valley which made it one of our favorites. If we hadn’t been using AllTrails to look for hiking trails we would have missed it!
- Just before arriving in Vik make a right to see the Dyrhólaey area. There are a couple of short trails from the parking lot (with an amazing public restroom with windows overlooking the area!) to see the Promontory, Arch, and the stone stacks in the Reynisdrangar black sand beaches.
- In Vik just head toward the ocean and you’ll find the black sand beach!
Hotel: Hotel Kría in Vik. This was a very nice hotel, modern, and convenient. Dinner and breakfast were very good.
Day 5: Vik to Skaftafell and Vatnajökull National Park
Have breakfast at the hotel or, for a more unique experience, look just behind the hotel and find a big yellow school bus that has been converted into a coffee shop – Skool Beans. Lots of unique coffee drinks and food, plus a cat and fun baristas.
Route (176 km, 2.5 hours of drive time):
- The only necessary stop before hitting Skaftafell is the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon about 70 km from Vik. It’s a fairly short hike on an easy trail for very dramatic canyon views. Along the drive you’ll pass Eldraun lava fields, among the largest in the world, and the Katla volcano that is considered very dangerous and also due to erupt at any time.
- At the visitor center at Skaftafell there are two hikes. The one to the left goes to the Svartifoss falls, and the one to the right goes to the Skaftafellsjokul glacier. The glacier hike is fairly short and flat, and although you can’t touch the glacier you can clearly see it across a small lagoon.
- Continue on to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel a bit early so we decided to go a bit further and see the Fjallsarlon and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoons and Diamond Beach on this day instead of first thing the next day. There are several barely-marked parking lots on the left side of the highway to see the glacier lagoons, then just before and after the bridge are parking lots for Diamond Beach. When we visited there were many icebergs in the lagoons, but the exit from the lagoon to the beach was a bit clogged so there were very few chunks of ice on the beach. Still very much worth seeing.
Hotel: Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon. This was the first of two Fosshotel hotels we stayed at. Both were above average with many local tourists. Both dinner and breakfast required reservations.
Day 6: Skaftafell to Höfn
Route (110 km, 1.5 hours of drive time):
- If you didn’t stop at the glacier lagoons and Diamond Beach, do this just past the hotel.
- A left off the highway takes you down a long gravel road to the face of the Hjallanes glacier. It’s a rough drive, but if you have a good 4×4 it’s worth it.
- There are several nice stops right on the road for views of glaciers, mountains, and the ocean.
- We arrived at Höfn fairly early, so we went the short distance to the Vestrahorn. This is an incredibly serene mountain right on the coast. It’s on private property, but stop at the Viking Cafe to buy a ticket and maybe a coffee, then drive through the gate. The first parking lot on the left is for a short walk to the viking village that was built as a movie set a few years ago. The second parking lot on the left is for a walk to the beach for the best views of Vestrahorn. You can take photos across the sand, and further down with the water in the foreground. At the end of the road is a parking lot on the right for some dramatic rocky cliffs.
Hotel: Hotel Höfn. This is a modern hotel but smaller and noisier rooms. We ended up eating dinner outside of the hotel as there are several restaurants in town. Breakfast was good. One problem: there is no elevator, so you will have to carry luggage up the stairs. It’s still the best hotel in the area, though.
Day 7: Höfn to Egilsstaðir and Seyðisfjörður
This is one of the longer days of driving, so another reason to maybe visit Vestrahorn on the previous day since it’s so close to Höfn.
Route (312 km, 4 hours drive time):
- Visit Vestrahorn if you didn’t do it the previous day.
- Just past Vestrahorn on highway 1 are some beautiful beaches and dramatic cliffs with the highway hugging the tall mountains. Stop for some short walks and photos.
- Stop in the quaint fishing village of Djúpivogur for lunch at Við Voginn, which has great food and views of the harbor.
- There is a shortcut to Egilsstaðir via highway 95, but I’d recommend staying on the longer highway 1 to see the many fjords and villages.
- Just as you’re coming into Egilsstaðir, turn onto highway 93 to take the high pass over the mountain to the small fishing and arts village of Seyðisfjörður. It’s well worth the drive. Return the same way.
Hotel: Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir. A nice hotel filled with a mix of foreign and local tourists. Beautiful views of the lake, and a nice breakfast buffet. There are several restaurants in town so we didn’t eat dinner at the hotel. There is also a free guest laundry (you have to ask to access it), which is conveniently at the halfway point of the Iceland trip. The dryer doesn’t work very well, but hang damp clothes in your room and they’ll be mostly dry by morning.
Day 8: Egilsstaðir to Mývatn
This day starts with a bit of a backtrack to the Hengifoss falls, then moves out of the mountains into a Mars-like lava landscape for the rest of the way. Stock up on lunch before leaving as there’s really nothing until you get to Mývatn. There’s a Subway right off the highway in Egilsstaðir that was perfect for us. Mývatn is Icelandic for “midge” – or those tiny pesky flies. And there are a lot of them around the lake.
Route (282 km, 3.5 hours drive time):
- Go down highway 95 and then 931 to the Hengifoss falls, about a 30 minute drive. This is a fairly short hike with over 800 feet of vertical climb, but it’s worth it to see one of the tallest waterfalls in the country with some unique red rock striations.
- Go up 931 on the other side of the lake to meet up with highway 1 again just north of Egilsstaðir. Continue on 1 to the Rjúkandi falls, which are just a short easy walk off the highway.
- Continue on highway 1 to the Dettifoss waterfall. There are two roads off of highway 1 to get there. Highway 864 comes first to access the east side, and highway 862 is a bit further down 1 to access the west side. The west side road is all paved, has better parking (with snack shop and restrooms), and also better views. Take that one. There are short improved trails to various viewpoints for both the very large Dettifoss and also the nearby Selfoss falls. Dettifoss is one of the most powerful falls in Europe and impressive to see.
- Backtrack to highway 1 and continue toward Mývatn. A few kilometers down the road you’ll come up on the turnoff on the left for the Mývatn Nature Baths. These were one of the top three hot pools we went to, so highly recommended. Plan on spending a couple hours.
- From the baths continue on highway 1 to Mývatn. There are several lava formations and craters in the area if you’d like to stop, but we had read mixed reviews so we just continued on to the hotel.
- Possible side trip (not on our route map) is to go up to the coastal town of Húsavík about 45 minutes north, but we didn’t due to time constraints. You could also take drive around the lake, about 30-45 minutes.
Hotel: Fosshotel Mývatn. Like the other Fosshotel, this was an upper three star place, modern but pretty busy. We weren’t that impressed with the dinner menu so we drove around to the other side of the lake to the Hotel Laxá which had an excellent restaurant with some unique dishes. This was also my second choice of a hotel, and you might consider staying there instead of the Fosshotel.
Day 9: Mývatn to Laugarbakki… and then to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Well here’s where the “nearly perfect” comes into play. We drove from Mývatn and left the highway 1 Ring Road to go up north a bit to Siglufjörður on the Tröllaskagi Peninsula. The weather turned very foggy and before we knew it we saw snow next to us on high mountain passes, then went through tunnels and were all of a sudden back down at the ocean… and back and forth. A pretty crazy drive that took a long time to get to Laugarbakki, which was going to be our stop.
When we arrived at the hotel we saw we had made a big mistake, we abandoned the hotel (and payment!), had ended up driving another 2.5 hours to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula which was going to be drive for the next day. This made for a very long drive. But it was worth it as there was really not much to see during those 2.5 hours, so we ended up with much more time to spend on the dramatic Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
So what would I recommend? That’s a tough question. This became a very long drive, but there’s also not much available between Mývatn and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Having the full day on the Peninsula the next day was definitely a bonus. I think if I did it again I would do the long drive, and schedule two nights at the Hotel Budir.
Route (602 km, 7.5 hours drive time):
- Take highway 1 west through Akureyi, the second largest city in Iceland. It’s worth a quick drive around, but we didn’t stop. On the way you’ll pass through a long tunnel.
- Just past Akureyi turn right on highway 82, which later becomes highway 76. After some mountain passes and tunnels you will arrive in the small fishing village of Siglufjörður. We had some great pizza at Kaffi Rauðka on the harbor.
- Continue out of town and you’ll go through some more tunnels and mountain passes. Note that some of these tunnels are one way, and if you’re on the non right of way side you’ll have to keep an eye out for oncoming traffic and plan being by one the of the turnoffs every 500m or so to allow them to pass. Once we did confront an oncoming truck and had to back up to the previous turnoff! The tunnels can be long – 5 or 6 kilometers – so a bit distressing if you’re not a fan of being deep under a mountain in a narrow tunnel!
- Rejoin highway 1, Ring Road, turning right to go toward Laugarbakki. If you’re braving the stay at the hotel we had originally planned, good luck! Otherwise settle in for a long drive across farmland and lava fields to Borgones, where you’ll turn right to head up highway 54 to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
- As you approach the Peninsula the scenery becomes beautiful, with tall jagged volcanic peaks close to the ocean that reminded us of Hawaii.
- At Budir, where we’ll stay the next night, continue left onto highway 574.
Planned Hotel: Hotel Laugarbakki. TripAdvisor and Expedia reviews failed us. Our experience was dramatically different, as the room was like a prison cell, the building a barely-refurbished school (with old play equipment still in the front), and the room and lobby were very dirty. So we just left and drove to our next stop.
Actual Hotel: Arnarstapi Hotel. The Hotel Budir (below) was not available for the earlier night, but this one was and was also my second choice for this next night’s stop anyway. It’s a complex of hotel, camping, and cottages. The rooms are very nice, many with ocean views. The restaurant is a bit of a mad house as there are campers and many tourists also there, but the food was ok. It’s on a beautiful spot near the west end of the peninsula, so convenient to start exploring.
Day 10: Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Thanks to driving far more than expected the previous day, we had the entire day today on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which turned out to be a very good thing.
Route (158 km, 2.5 hours drive time):
- Continue on highway 574 clockwise around the peninsula and take a short gravel side road to Skarðsvík Beach, one of the few yellow sand beaches in Iceland. Continue on the gravel road to the Svörtuloftaviti a.k.a. Skálasnagaviti lighthouse.
- Stop at the Laugarbrekka monument to Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir, the birthplace of the woman who gave birth to the first European in North American around 1000 AD.
- Stop at the Ingjaldshóll church, which is the oldest concrete church in the world. It is also where Christopher Columbus spent a winter around 1477, supposedly to learn more about the Icelandic sagas that tell stories about viking exploration of North America.
- Just past the church is a short hike to a waterfall.
- You will pass some nice small seaside villages where you can have a quick lunch, then meet up with highway 54. Continue straight on 54 instead of turning right, which will take you across the peninsula.
- Stop at the Kirkjufell mountain and waterfall for one Iceland’s most photographed spots. It was a bit cloudy when we were there so we couldn’t see the top of the mountain, but it’s just a short walk to the falls and the preferred photo location with the mountain in the background.
- Continue around the east side of the peninsula on highway 54. Just before the turnoff to 574 there will be the Bjarnarfoss waterfall, which is worth a stop and short hike.
Hotel: Hotel Budir in Budir. This was one of our top three favorite hotels in Iceland. Beautiful hotel, clean and updated rooms, and by far the best hotel dinner we had on the entire trip. The lobby has an incredible ocean view for an afternoon glass of wine. There’s a beautiful old church next to the hotel, as well as some short hiking trails. If we did this again we’d spend two nights here.
Day 11: Budir to Blue Lagoon
Every visit to Iceland should include a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon. You can buy a day pass and soak in the very large pools, but if you have the means it is well worth a stay at The Retreat. This hotel is right on the lagoon, with a large spa and private soaking pool areas. There is a 3 star hotel, the Northern Light Inn, a couple kilometers away. More on that below.
We considered visiting the erupting Fagradalsfjall (also known as Geldingadalsgos) volcano, which is just a few kilometers from the Blue Lagoon. After talking with several people, it seemed like at the time we were there the eruption had dwindled a bit, and it would be a two hour hike for a minimal view. Comparing that to more time to soak in the Blue Lagoon made for an easy decision to skip it!
Route (232 km, 3 hours drive time):
- Take highway 54 to highway 1 toward Reykjavik.
- We got off on highway 51 to drive around the Akranes peninsula, and had lunch at a small cafe in Akranes.
- Continue around on highway 51 back to 1, then down through Reykjavik, stopping if you want to see some more of the city.
- Connect to highway 41 to the airport, then turn left on highway 43 and follow the signs to the Blue Lagoon. The entrance to The Retreat hotel is on the right side of the public parking lot.
Hotel: The Retreat Hotel at the Blue Lagoon. This is by far the best hotel we stayed at in terms of facility and service. The rooms are all suites and very high end, with incredible views, beds (real kings!), and bathrooms. The spa is huge with multiple private pool areas, saunas, massage treatment rooms, and common areas where you can try various scrubs and masks without appointments. You can even get a massage while floating in a private lagoon pool! There are a lot of celebrities (we actually shared a group salt/lava/algae treatment with a reality TV celebrity!) so privacy is enforced – like strictly no cell phones and cameras in the spa and pool areas. The one, very disappointing, downside: a very limited menu at the hotel Lava Restaurant. In fact, we were so disappointed that we left the table and drove to the nearby Max’s Restaurant at the three star Northern Light Inn, which had a far better vegetarian menu. Yes, we made sure we told The Retreat about that.
Day 12: Depart Iceland
We had a 5pm flight back to the United States. The Retreat hotel was nice enough to give us a 2pm checkout, so that allowed for more soaks in the Blue Lagoon pools and fun in the spa. It takes less than 30 minutes to drive to the airport from the Blue Lagoon, and there are several gas stations along the way for filling up the rental car. Returning the rental car and checking in was easy. After moving to new hotels every night, relaxing the final 24 hours was definitely the way to end this vacation!