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Stopover in Iceland

What To Do in Iceland If You Have a Stopover or Layover in Iceland

|October 20, 2020
Sofie is a nomadic journalist who loves to write about people, places, and food. In her free time, she can be found twirling around in her dancing shoes.

Located halfway between Europe and North America, Iceland is the perfect layover or stopover choice for your transcontinental flight. Experience fascinating historic sights, remote nature, and thrilling adventure all before you even reach your final destination.

Few Hour Layover

Skip the boredom of airport lounges and sample the rich culture and unique attractions of Iceland during your stop. Located just a 20-minute drive from the famous Blue Lagoon, you don't need a whole day to sample the country's best sites.

The geothermal lake was named one of the 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic and its milky-blue waters have become an iconic Iceland symbol. Leave the airport to go take a relaxing dip in the lagoon's healing waters. The minerals and silica mud are sure to wash away the stress of traveling. 

Blue Lagoon Iceland Geothermal Pool

For those who really want to stretch their legs, drive into Reykjavík for a stroll around the capital. One of the smallest capitals in the world, it's easy to sample Iceland's colorful city in a couple of hours. 

Reykjavik Flight Panoramic View Hallgrimskirkja In Iceland

One-Day Stopover

Unlike a layover, stopovers are any stop that lasts over 24-hours. While most travelers book flights with the shortest airport changes, airlines have made stopovers much more appealing. Icelandair is one of many companies that now offer complimentary stopovers, lasting from 1 to 7 days, at no extra cost. Enjoy two cities for the cost of one with an Icelandair stopover!

Thanks to its compact size, travelers can hit multiple of the island's popular sites in one day. The Golden Circle route is the most famous tourist route in Iceland and includes three highlights: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall.

A UNESCO heritage site, Thingvellir National Park is renowned for its historical and geological features. The park is where the country's first founded over 1000 years ago, making it the first democratic national parliament in the world. A title as impressive as the scenery. Hiking the grounds you'll notice a giant rift that splits the park into two, where you can walk between two continental tectonic plates.

Thingvellir National Park Iceland Golden Circle

The Golden Circle's other two highlights, Gullfoss Waterfall and the Geysir Geothermal Area are watery feats of nature. Named for its golden tones, Gullfoss is a photogenic three-tiered cascade that features rainbows on sunny days. Just as impressive but more theatrical, visit Strokkur at the Geysir Geothermal Area. The lively geyser shoots up to 30 meters (100 ft) of water every few minutes!

Gulfoss Geysir Golden Circle Thingvellir in Iceland

Two-Days Stopover

For two-day stopovers, we recommend pairing the Golden Circle with Iceland's South Coast. The country's scenic coast is one of the most popular regions due to its diverse landscapes. Highlights of this coastal route include powerful waterfalls, active volcanoes, vast glaciers, and black sand beaches.

Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is one of the most popular stops on the South Coast. The coal-black sand and tall basalt columns are the distinct features that draw visitors year after year. National Geographic even ranked Reynisfjara as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit on the planet.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in Iceland

Three-Day or More Stopover

If you are lucky enough fit in a three to seven-day stopover in Iceland then head east after the South Coast. Visit Vatnajökull National Park, another Iceland UNESCO World Heritage site, and the biggest national park in all of Europe. Housed inside the park are glaciers, a wilderness reserve, and a giant ice cap, making it the perfect place for adventure tours. 

Vatnajokull Glacier Hvannadalshnukur Peak South Iceland

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