There are two ways to see Iceland: Rent a car or take a tour. Both are expensive, but renting a car was actually cheaper for the two of us and allowed us the flexibility to do what we wanted (like take a nap on the side of the road while M painted).
We rented from SAD Cars which, in addition to having the greatest name ever, rents used cars at low (or lower) prices. We rented a basic automatic car for two days for $200. Filling up the tank ran us about $80 — expensive, but that’s Iceland for you. Overall, we found the process very easy. Our car was actually quite nice (heated seats, thank you very much), and driving was a pleasure, minus the hour of torrential rain with extremely limited visibility.
One of the most popular scenic routes in Iceland is the Golden Circle which is a loop outside Reykjavik that hits some amazing sites. Our loop ended up being more of a straight line because we got a late start and were a bit tired by the time we reached Gulfoss. The alternative circular rout takes you south on route 35 to Selfoss and back to Reykjavik on route 1. We had plans to hit route 1 the next day, so we drove back the way we came.
We hit Iceland’s big three: Pingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gulfoss Falls.
At Pingvellir, you can go snorkling between the Silfra fissure – a crack between the North American and Euroasian continents for a hefty sum of money.
By far, my favorite was Geysir. I’ve seen geysirs before in Yellowstone National Park, but it was just as fun as the first time. Just be prepared to share the fun with a throng of other tourists.
There are also smaller bubbling pools that are adorable in their own right. Meet Little Geysir.
From Geysir, we headed to Gulfoss, a massive waterfall about 20 minutes past Geysir.
On the way back, we stopped for a photoshoot with Icelandic horses. How cute are these guys?