Iceland Itinerary Day 2 | Þingvellir National Park, Horseback Riding, & Golden Circle Sights

Picking up from my Day 1 Itinerary, Day two was our first full road trip day, starting in Reykjavik!…

Breakfast at Port 9 | Aim to get on the road by 9/9:30am!

After a great night sleep we were well rested for our first official day on the road! Knowing the morning was activity filled and lunch wouldn’t come until 3ish – we filled up on a delicious breakfast at Port 9 (part of our hotel). Even if you aren’t staying here, I recommend eating here for breakfast. Coffee, Juice, yogurt, granola, fruit, and a meal are included. I went for the smoked salmon and eggs, my Roomate went for the avocado toast with hard boiled eggs – both delicious and the space, again, had the coolest decor.

Þingvellir National Park |

45 minutes away, the first stop of the day is Þingvellir National Park, one of my personal highlights from the trip. There are two trails — park in the first close to the waterfall if you’re pressed for time. This will take you on a path straight to Öxarárfoss Waterfall. Otherwise, drive a bit further and park in the second lot closer to the church, like we did (highly recommend). You’ll have to pay a small parking fee — can use CC on the machines, then follow the trail up for a beautiful hike between the black sand tectonic plate cliffs to Öxarárfoss Waterfall. The walk is about 1/1.5 miles each way. We took our time taking in all the views, and there’s a visitors center 500m if you need a restroom break!

If you’re visiting in warmer months, this is where you can scuba dive between the continental tectonic plates

*FOOD/SHOP | Efstidalur

This was a spot I found on the Telegraph. We didn’t have time to stop, but if you want a family- run farm style restaurant with delicious homemade ice cream — stop here after the national park!

  • Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday from 11:30 – 20:00 / Friday – Saturday from 11:30 – 21:00 / 
  • Breakfast buffet: 08:00 – 09:30

Geysir Gheothermal (53min from national park) — erupts every 6-10 minutes 

Under an hour from the National Park is the next touristy spot — the Geysir. We took our time in the national park and cut this from the list after conveniently seeing it erupt as we drove by en route to horseback riding. If you have time in your schedule, the Geysir is literally just off the main rode (You can see if from your car if you time it right) and the Geysir erupts every 5-7 minutes. I’d skip the touristy restaurant, eat a snack, and keep driving to horseback riding just 5 min away. 

HORSEBACK RIDING | ISHESTAR

All-around, this was a highlight for each of us, When planning our trip, we all came together with requests and “must-do’s” and horseback riding was #1 for all of us. Iceland is known for their Icelandic Horses. If you’re worried you won’t see any, trust me you will see TONS the entire trip as you’re driving along. But if you want a truly unique experience, I definitely recommend Horseback riding!

We booked the 1 hour tour with ISHESTAR – the cutest family run company. Every ride only consists of the people in your group, so it’s really personal and you can tailor your rides to be as beginner or advanced as you’d like. Fair warning this place is super hard to find. Put Myrkholt, Bláskógarbyggð 801 Selfoss ( GPS: 64.304725, -20.219704) into your maps. It’ll be on the right a few km past the silver barn on the left, past the other horse farm on your left, at what looks like random houses and mobile buildings. Call the number on the reservation if you’re lost, and if you think “is this it, this doesn’t look right?”… yes that’s it.

Even if the weather is less than ideal I’d still recommend this! We experienced sunshine, rain, and a few minutes of hail all within our hour ride, but the company will give you big insulated onesies, which look hysterical but are perfect for the elements! During the ride itself, definitely request to “Tölt” — most horses have 3 gaits, Icelandic horses have 5. It is the smoothest ride you’ll ever have — I was smiling ear the ear the entire time.

Before or after the ride, definitely soak in the barn. They have their own sheep there where they produce all the wool for their family made Icelandic sweaters. Truly a unique, local experience!

GULFOSS WATERFALL

After the ride we were all pretty much starving!! If you can wait it out, drive a quick 5-10 minutes to see Gulfoss Waterfall. This is one of those, park, take it in, and keep going stops. It’s definitely worth seeing, but there isn’t a full hike, only a little stroll to the observation decks.

LATE LUNCH at Greenhouses at Friðheimar

Super ready for food, we back tracked towards Friõheimer Greenhouses (about 30 min from horseback riding), a MUST in Iceland. Everything on the menu is made from their tomatoes, grown right there next to where you eat in the green house. They have tomato soup, tomato pizza, tomato pasta, tomato beer, and tomato based desserts. It’s an extremely unique experience I highly recommend it, and on the way to Kerid Crater! (Also if you’re weary of all the tomatoes it’s not as strange as it sounds + they have meat skewers for substance if you want to add on

***Plan ahead as lunch is only served from 12-4. If you book horseback riding later than 1pm, you might miss lunch here!

KERID CRATER

While road tripping during day 2, this is definitely worth a stop — only about 25 minutes from Friõheimer Greenhouses. Depending on your energy level you can see it quickly or walk all the way around. It’s free to park, but theres a small fee to see the crater itself. 

Check into Hotel | STRACTA HOTEL HELLA

Keep driving for 40 minutes and you’ll drive up on Stracta Hotel, where we stayed in the small town of Hella. To prep for the next day, we filled up with gas at the petrol station just across the street then checked in our hotel and stayed in for the night. Fair warning this hotel is nothing spectacular, just a convenient place to sleep for the night. The hotel restaurant was decent, with vegan options, and breakfast is included, but nothing to write home about. We got here around 8ish, ate dinner, showered, watched another movie then all passed out.

* In the right season, this is supposed to be a good place to view the Northern lights — you can request a wakeup call, and if the lights are visible the hotel will alert you. 

Others Recs for Hella from Friends

– River House Hotel (Was Sold-out during out dates)

– Strond Restaurant

– Ranga Restaurant

– Arhus Restaurant

Stay tuned for days 3 & 4……….

READ MY DAY 1 ITINERARY HERE | ICELAND PACKING LIST HERE

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