Whew! Had to write this post in 2 sections cause there is just SO much to explore in Iceland!
After a delightful couple of days in Reykjavic, it was time to hit the road. There seems to be a big online debate about whether it's necessary to rent an SUV or not, and we are SO glad we did. No exaggeration, in order to get to one of the hikes, we had to cross about 14 streams which were quite deep and without an SUV we would have been both literally and figuratively totally STUCK IN THE MUD. Got a great deal from Dollar car rental in Reykjavic.
Our first stop was to the Hveragerdi Hot Spring River Hike which was like nothing else! Wild sheep roaming among bubbling hot brooks and green rolling hills. Pure magic. And you can even swim in the river! We did see a few people skinny dipping and then a few sheep came over and shit on their clothing. Sorry to be graphic, but it's what happened. And it was both hilarious and sad of course.
After our hike we stopped by a 'secret lagoon' called Gamla Laugin. Did I mention swimming is a big deal in Iceland?? Yes. This one was super nice, felt very private, and they had a nice snack bar in front with cold beer (and a very handsome guy working the counter.)
Last stop was our hostel, which was amazing! It is located in an old high school and it felt like a slumber party at school. We even got to raid the kitchen at night. Highly recommended.
Next day was more touristy and less hike-y but even tourist attractions along the Ring Road are phenomenal. We did the must sees : Geysir and Gulfoss. DO BOTH. Then we did another beautiful hike at Pingvellir National Park. It was so pretty, and we picked wild bilberries and drank from cool pools.
Third day we did another intense nature day, exploring Landmannalaugar national park, specifically the Laugavegurtrail. Most people spend at least 3-4 days hiking this trail but since we only had one day, we turned around after a few hours. It was hard to turn around because the view of the rainbow colored mountains were out of this world. But we are grateful we got to see any of it at all!!
At night we went to the Black Sand Beach at Vik. Don't even have words. You will swear you are dreaming. But you are not. You are ALIVE. And it's experiences like this that make it meaningful.
Last tip: Get lots of groceries and water to put in the car. You can drink the water in nature during your hikes, but in the car between, you'll want it. Food is expensive in Iceland, and it's not really what you are going for anyway.