Dear GoMad Nomad,
Hi, I loved your photos. I am going to Iceland myself this August for one week and would love any advice a seasoned traveler such as yourself would offer. Since my time is quite limited what would you consider must-see attractions near the capital? I thank you for your attention to this and hope to hear back from you!
You’ll get a good idea of the essence of Iceland with a week. Reykjavik is a cool city to spend a couple days in, but really the point of Iceland is to get out and see as much of the countryside as you can.
The complete Ring Road is too ambitious for one week, so I would focus on the regions closer to Reykjavik.
The “Golden Circle” is a great day trip from Reykjavik. Nearly all tour companies offer the popular Golden Circle tour (as well as trips to many other parts of Iceland).
If you are two travelers or less, I would recommend taking the tours. If you are semi-adventurous and 3 or more people, I would rent a car which allows you to have more freedom and save money by splitting the costs.
Outside of Reykjavik, besides the Golden Circle which will give you a great introduction to the geologic features of Iceland, I would focus on the South of Iceland, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and the Reykjanes Peninsula.
In Reykjavik, I recommend stopping by the Opera House to admire its design, grabbing a hot dog at the Bæjarins beztu stand, getting inspired at the Sun Voyager Monument, catching the quick exhibit at the free Photography Museum (located inside the public library), eating Lobster Soup at Sægreifinn (Seabaron), stopping by the Church of Hallgrímur, experiencing Reykjavik nightlife, and getting a great view of the city from Perlan.
My favorite activity in Reykjavik is heading to the public swimming pool where you can soak outside in the hot tubs. It sounds silly (along with eating a hotdog and coke), but it’s actually a very Icelandic thing to do!
Reliable tour companies we’ve worked with:
Happy Days—offers all kinds of tour programs in Iceland
Esja Travel—can arrange travel and photography tours with a variety of photographers
Tim Vollmer –a professional photographer who knows the great places to shoot in Iceland
Sterna Travel—a small, personal and well-managed and tour company
Tiny Iceland—offers a variety of tours
SAD Cars—offers very cheap rental cars
Farm Holidays—for accommodation at a rural farm in Iceland
Check out all my Iceland articles. I’ve written a lot about the country.
Hope that helps with you planning!
Have a great trip and let us know how it went.
Editor of GoMad Nomad