48 Hours in Iceland

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When visiting Europe, extend your trip by a couple of days for a quick tour of Iceland. From London, it’s less than three hours away in a private jet—perfect for a unique getaway. Because the island is only 139 miles long and 233 miles wide, you can pack a lot into those 48 hours. As you explore these ideas for your whirlwind excursion, keep one thing in mind: You’ll immediately start planning your next trip to this magical country as soon as you get back on the plane.

Two Days in Iceland—What to Do

Helicopter Tour

Get a bird’s-eye view of Reykjavík and beyond with an aerial excursion by Norðurflug Helicopter Tours. The tour takes you to a nearby summit for an unparallel look of the arctic blue waters hugging the city’s shores, small islands, crumbling mountains, and steaming Smokey Bay. Norðurflug also offers geothermal, crater, fire and ice, happy hour, and extended tours.

Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík

One of the country’s most iconic structures, Hallgrímskirkja is a towering Lutheran church in Reykjavík. You can’t miss it as you drive through town. The building was designed to resemble the basalt lava flows seen throughout the country’s landscape. Construction began in 1945 and took more than 40 years to complete. Take a selfie with the statue of Leif Eriksson and head up to the observation deck to see a grand view of the city.

Thingvellir National Park, Thingvellir | 25 Miles from Reykjavík

Located on Lake Thingvallavatn, Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the original location of the longest-running parliament in the world. It was established in 930 AD. Take a hike through the amazing landscape that formed as a result of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates separating. On your next trip to Iceland, dive at Silfra rift in the park.

Rangá Observatory, Hella | 25 Miles from Reykjavík

Book a room at the luxury Hotel Rangá, which offers a stargazing observatory as one of its amenities. The hotel turns off its exterior lights at night to make seeing the northern lights and stars simpler. Don’t worry; you don’t have to stay up all night in hopes of seeing a light show. The hotel will call you to let you know if they’re happening.

Blue Lagoon, Grindavik | 30 Miles from Reykjavík

Go for a dip in the famed Blue Lagoon, turquoise geothermal pools that melt away tension and help you beat jet lag. If you have time, opt for the luxury package and float from the face mask stations to the heat-emitting buoys to the submerged bar before enjoying a meal at LAVA Restaurant. Make it a night by booking a room at Silica Hotel. Short on time? Book a quick in-water massage and gaze at the alien surroundings.

Skeiðvellir Icelandic HorseWorld, Landvegur | 55 Miles from Reykjavík

The equine you see in the country’s rural regions aren’t ponies, they’re Icelandic horses. Meet some at Icelandic HorseWorld and get a different view of the terrain. The farm offers private tours where guides share stories and tell you about Icelandic culture—insight you won’t find anywhere online.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Þórsmerkurvegur | 75 Miles from Reykjavík

If visiting Iceland in the summer, a drive out to Seljalandsfoss is a must. From a distance, the hillside falls are nothing less than gorgeous. As you approach, a perfect rainbow forms when the sunlight hits the water particles just right. Prepare to get wet if you want to get close. A 10-minute hike takes you to a small cave behind the falls for a breathtaking view.

Reynisfjara Beach, Vik | 112 Miles from Reykjavík

One of the most spectacular sights on Iceland’s southern coast, black-sand Reynisfjara is one of the most impressive shores in the country. The other-worldly landscape features sheer cliffs and volcanic lava columns rising from the ocean that resemble rocky pyramids.

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