If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, you will know that we are on our last day in Iceland. You will also know that we are actually doing day 1 of our itinerary due to our flight out to Iceland being cancelled and rebooked.
Due to this cancellation, we decided to extend our stay until Sunday so we wouldn’t lose a day in Iceland. The cancellation also caused us to start with day 2 of our itinerary.
Read my full itinerary here
But first, breakfast!
During my research, I had read about this place called Braud. It’s a bakery in Reykjavik that supposedly had amazing cinnamon rolls and since both my hubby and I love cinnamon rolls we had to check it out.
Our hotel was a 5 min walk from the bakery on Frakkastigur street. This was the first location the bakery opened but they have since opened 2 other locations.
Tip: If you want a hotel in Reykjavik that is centrally located then make sure it has 101 Reykjavik in the address. 😉
The bakery was located in a very colorful building
When we arrived, there was only one other person at the counter ordering. You need to get here early because this place normally stays very busy!
It’s a really small place and only has one table that is big enough for two people.
You can watch them make their homemade goodies while you order
After ordering two of their famous cinnamon rolls, we headed back to our hotel since there was nowhere to sit inside.
Street art we saw while walking back to our hotel
As soon as we got back to our hotel room, we pulled the warm cinnamon rolls out of the bag and took a bite and let me just say, they were out of this world!! They were so soft and just melted in your mouth!
We really wanted to go back and get more but decided we needed to get going so we packed up and checked out of our hotel, the Centerhotel Klopp.
Our first stop that morning was the Sun Voyager sculpture.
The Sun Voyager (Icelandic: Sólfar) is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, located next to the Sæbraut road in Reykjavík. It’s described as a dreamboat, or an ode to the sun. The artist intended it to convey the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.
It’s constructed of stainless steel and stands on a circle of granite slabs.
It was cloudy so you couldn’t really see the water that well behind the sculpture.
After leaving here, we headed to our next stop, Harpa Concert Hall. We didn’t have time to go in but I really wanted to see it because the building is amazing! I highly recommend you make a stop here when visiting Reykjavik even if you don’t go inside.
The building features a distinctive colored glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland. The construction for the building started in 2007 and was completed in 2011.
After snapping a few pictures, we headed to our first stop on the Golden Circle, Porufoss.
The waterfall was used as a shooting location for HBO’s Game of Thrones as the home of the Children of the Forest.
A church we spotted in Reykjavik on our way to Porufoss.
We also stopped at this church in Mosfellsbaer on our way to the waterfall. It was one of the coolest churches we saw!
Read about more churches in Iceland here.
Sadly, my Maps.me app wouldn’t pull up Porufoss but if you have Google Maps you can find it by typing in Thorufoss. The Icelandic spelling can be tricky but our Maps.me app found 99% of our locations so I highly recommend using the app for your GPS. The waterfall is located 40 mins from our hotel.
Since we couldn’t find Porufoss, we headed to our next stop, Thingvellier National Park. In Icelandic, it’s spelled Pingvellir.
Þingvellir is a site of historical, cultural, and geological significance, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. The park lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. To its south lies Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.
Þingvellir is associated with the Althing, the national parliament of Iceland, which was established at the site in 930 AD. Sessions were held at the location until 1798.
The park was founded in 1930, marking the 1000th anniversary of the Althing. The park was later expanded to protect the diverse and natural phenomena in the surrounding area, and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2004.
When we arrived, it was VERY busy. I have to admit it was one of my least favorite places in Iceland not only because it was so crowded but there was not much to see. It’s really about the history and not much more.
However, with that being said, in the park, you will find a place called Silfra, where you can snorkel or dive between two tectonic plates.
The diving and snorkeling site at Silfra is right where the two continents meet and drift apart about 2 cm per year. Silfra is the only place in the world where you can dive or snorkel directly in a crack between two tectonic plates.
The water is crystal clear and the visibility is over 300 ft!
Another site you can see at the park is Oxararfoss. It’s a man made waterfall that was built to provide water for the members and visitors of the Icelandic parliament Althingi in the 9th century.
The waterfall is easily accessible via the nearby car park.
You can also see the Pingvellir Church. It was the first church built in Iceland and was built soon after the adoption of Christianity.
The present church at Þingvellir was consecrated in 1859, and in 1907 the spire was rebuilt and altered. There are three bells in the spire, one of them ancient, another donated by bishop Jón Vídalín when he was ordained in 1698, and a third that was made to “ring in” independence in 1944.
Among the treasures in the church are a pulpit dating from 1683 and an altarpiece painted by local farmer Ófeigur Jónsson in 1834. The church acquired another altarpiece by the Danish painter Anker Lund in 1896, and both altarpieces are used. The baptismal font was designed by a local farmer, Guðmann Ólafsson, in 1962.
The church is open daily, 9 am – 5 pm, from the middle of May to the beginning of September.
There are boardwalks you can walk along in the park. You can either walk or drive to each location in the park. We stayed about 1.5 hrs and walked to each location.
A few more shots of the park
After leaving here, we headed to our next stop, Efstidalur II.
Efstidalur is primarily a dairy farm, run by four siblings and their families; it has been in their family for generations. Recently, it has become more focused on tourism, with people coming to see horses and enjoy the facilities.
With both a restaurant and ice cream barn, it is a perfect place to stop for lunch or a snack on your Golden Circle drive. Efstidalur is the embodiment of ‘farm-to-table’ living, with the meat, dairy and vegetables either grown on the farm or a nearby farm.
There is also a hotel on site, with everything from twin to family rooms. The guests will have access to a hot tub, and are welcome to play with the dogs, horses and cows that make Efstidalur their home. Horse rental is also available.
When we arrived, we decided to go up stairs and have lunch. We had to order at the bar and then go find a table. We found a table by the window so we could watch the cows.
We both ordered the burger and fries & it was delicious!! I highly recommend a stop here!
After our lunch, we headed downstairs for dessert. We couldn’t miss out on the freshly made ice cream. They use the milk from their own cows to make their ice cream.
The flavors they offer.
It was so good! Do Not miss a stop here!
You can watch them make their homemade ice cream cones
After leaving here, we headed to our next stop, Geysir & Strokkur.
After leaving the church we continued our drive to Geysir.
Geysir is a famous hot spring in the geothermal area of Haukadalur Valley, found in south-west Iceland. It’s a popular stop on the Golden Circle.
We arrived at Geysir and, it too, was very crowded.
Most stops on the Golden Circle are very busy as there are many tours offered for this area.
Though Geysir itself is rarely active, Strokkur shoots vast jets of boiling water up to 130 ft high every 5-10 mins.
Make sure to have your camera ready for that iconic “bubble” shot! This is the best shot I could get of the bubble.
More shots of this area
Read reviews here
After leaving here, we headed to our next stop, the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall. It’s a 10 min drive from Geysir.
The walk to the waterfall takes around 10-15 mins but can be seen from the parking lot.
Gullfoss is a spectacular waterfall and I highly recommend a stop here if you are doing the Golden Circle.
The water plummets down 105 ft in two stages into a rugged canyon. The canyon walls reach up to 230 ft in height. On a sunny day, a rainbow can be seen over the falls.
A statue of Sigriður Tómasdóttir. In 1907, she fought to save this waterfall from foreign investors who wanted to harness the power of Gullfoss to produce electricity.
Pictures we snapped while on our hunt for Hrunlaug.
We actually had Faxi waterfall down as our next stop but our Maps.me was taking us down one of those dreadful gravel roads so we decided to skip this stop. The waterfall is located approximately 7.5 miles from Gullfoss and 10.5 miles from Skalholt.
On the way to Skalholt, we spotted another church called Braedratungukirkja. Try pronouncing that!
We then arrived to Skalholt Cathedral.
The church was built between 1956 and 1963 to commemorate the 1000 years since the diocese was founded in 1056. The cathedral was consecrated in 1963. It was built on the site of all 9 previous churches that had stood on the exact site throughout the 1000 years since the establishment of the diocese.
Excavations carried out on the site prior to the building of the cathedral proved this much. Excavations unearthed several headstones of various bishops of Skálholt including a stone coffin that included the remains of one of the bishop who died in 1211. The coffin is on display in the church crypt/cellar.
You can still see some of the excavations sites near the church.
There’s also a Bible museum in a turf covered building behind the church. It was closed when we arrived.
The church had beautiful stained glass windows and a painting of Jesus on the wall.
The caldera, like the other volcanic rock in the area, is composed of a red volcanic rock. The caldera itself is approximately 180 ft deep, 560 ft wide, and 890 ft across.
It is one of the three most recognizable volcanic craters. At approximately 3,000 years old, it is only half the age of most of the surrounding volcanic features. The other two are Seyðishólar and Kerhóll. Read about more craters in Iceland here.
We arrived and there was an entrance fee of $4 pp. There is someone there to take your money and give you a ticket. You can pay with your credit card.
They gave us this pamphlet after we paid but we couldn’t quite make out what it said 😉
The crater was beautiful! It was so colorful. You can walk around the entire crater rim and even walk down to the lake.
There was a bench sitting in the water that you can sit in and have your picture made.
After leaving here, we called it a day and headed to our hotel in Keflavik. Our hotel was located approx. 1.5 hrs from the crater.
On the way, we passed yet another church. This one was called Kotstrandarkirkja. Most all of the churches in Iceland end with Kirkja which means church.
On our drive to Keflavik we saw lots of smoke rising from the hot rivers in the surrounding area.
We also passed lots of moss covered lava
We spotted this church on the way…it was near Almannadalur & Nordlingaholt. We had to get off the freeway to get to the church. I took a picture of this sign as we were exiting the freeway.
See more churches in Reykjavik here
Tip: 45 mins from our hotel is Raudholar – Raudholar, known as “The Red Hills”, is what is left of a group of pseudo craters.
After leaving the church, we stopped off at a gas station for one last hotdog! We really enjoyed the hotdogs in Iceland. I’m not usually a fan of hotdogs but these were really good!
After we ate, we continued our drive to Keflavik. Of course, I snapped a few pics on the way. 😉
Once we arrived in Keflavik, we spotted these cool looking light posts.
This statue was located near the light posts
We passed the Ytri-Njardvikurkirkja church on the way to our hotel. We didn’t stop so I just snapped a few pics from the car.
We finally arrived to our hotel, the Hotel Keflavik. The hotel was located 10 mins from the airport. Our hotel stay included a free breakfast buffet. They also have a restaurant attached to the hotel. The cost was $180 for the night.
We really liked our room…Here’s a peek inside.
We were so excited to see that the room had a fan as we sleep with one every night back home!
I wasn’t too thrilled about this out of date hair dryer! Took me an hour to dry my hair! 😉
Views from our window
The next day, we checked out of our last hotel and headed home. We had a wonderful trip and would love to visit Iceland again one day.
Here’s a few shots of Keflavik. It’s tiny compared to Reykjavik!
We passed this anchor monument in Keflavik
Tip: If traveling with children don’t miss the gentle Giantess in the Cave
We arrived to Blue Car and returned our car. It took maybe 15 mins for the whole process. We then boarded the shuttle and it dropped us off at the airport.
Shots from inside the airport
On the plane headed back to Nashville!
A shot of all of our souvenirs we brought back home from Iceland
Sadly, this ends our time in Iceland. Thanks for reading!
Other places that can be visited in or near Reykjavik:
- Reykjanes Peninsula & Grindavik – 45 mins from Reykjavik
- Reykjadalur Hot River – 45 mins from Reykjavik
- Gjain – 2 hrs from Reykjavik
- Blue Lagoon – 10 mins from Reykjavik & 40 mins from Keflavik
- Grotta Island Lighthouse & foot bath – 50 mins from Keflavik & 10 mins from Reykjavik
- Best restaurants in Reykjavik
- Best coffee in Reykjavik
- Best cafes in Reykjavik
- Top 37 things to do in Reykjavik
- The 10 best hotels in downtown Reykjavik
- The best budget hotels in Reykjavik
- Top tours from Reykjavik & here
- 13 ways to visit Iceland on a budget
- 8 things you should know before renting a car in Iceland
- A list of car rental companies in Iceland
- Best ice cream in Reykjavik
- Best hot dog in Iceland
- Public transportation in Iceland
- 20 best hostels in Reykjavik
- The best swimming pools in Reykjavik
Here’s your route on the Google Maps App:
Your route on the map: