A short day trip to Reykjanes peninsula

I have a confession to make: I’m not a big fan of the golden circle. It’s not because the places you visit when driving the circle are not beautiful, amazing or out of this world (they are!) –  I’ve just seen them a million times. I’m also not a big fan of sharing my experiences with a bus load of people (or more like several bus loads) although I have nothing against those who choose to travel that way. Like I never get tired of preaching: there’s so much more to Iceland than Gullfoss and Geysir and I just hope my blog will inspire you to explore a bit beyond that beaten track.

Three reasons why you should visit Reykjanes

  1. It’s really close to Reykjavík and it’s a perfect destination if you don’t have a lot of time to explore. You can spend the whole day without seeing everything the area offers but you can also see some amazing highlights in a couple of hours.
  2. Reykjanes offers some of the most amazing sunsets I’ve seen in my life. The contrasts in the landscape and the beautiful light make it the photographer’s dream and it’s unlike any other place I’ve ever visited.
  3. There are no crowds. You are not alone in the world (although sometimes if feels like that) but you can be sure that you won’t see 20 buses parked at any parking lot around there.

Yesterday my sisters and I decided to go for a bit of a drive around the peninsula. Every time I drive out there I discover something new and half of the time I have no idea what I’m going to see until I take a chance on some road I stumble upon, without knowing exactly where it will take me, and I get totally blown away by what awaits me. It makes you feel like you are exploring something new and exciting instead of following some dots on a map and checking them off your list.

I really enjoyed our little drive yesterday ans I totally heart this area (and the sisters even though they drive me nuts at times). For more information about Reykjanes (not the sisters) check out visitreykjanes.is


Seltún in Reykjanes peninsula

Hipster alert in Seltún

Seltún Krýsuvík Reykjanes

Seltún was unusually busy but it was a Saturday afternoon and the weather was nice so there were a lot of locals visiting the area as well

Reykjanes Lava

Reykjanes is a one big lava field and the views are spectacular

Kleifarvatn Reykjanes

The hipster in it’s natural element (probably on Instagram)

Sunset in Reykjanes

The sun setting in Reykjanes last night – it was amazingly colorful


Identical twins with identical scarves (Vík Prjónsdóttir)

Gunnuhver Reykjanes

The sun setting over Gunnuhver – the photo doesn’t do this beautiful moment justice

Sisters in Reykjanes

We stopped on the way for some photos

Karlinn Reykjanes

I’m pretty sure this is called Karlinn and the hill the photo is taken from is called Bæjarfell. It’s next to the Reykjanesviti lighthouse

Sheep in Grindavík Reykjanes

Sheep round up (réttir) in Grindavík


Sisterly self-portrait (note messy hair: I don’t have a wireless remote for the camera so I had to run back and forth, trying to settle in before the self-timer went off)


Reykjanes viti in the evening sun

Spread the word


19 thoughts on “A short day trip to Reykjanes peninsula”

  1. Jens says:

    yes, you’re right: Reykjanes is beautiful and full of surprises – happy to see your trip turned out that nice! …and yes, you’re right again: the rock on the photo is called Karlinn. 🙂

    beautiful photos (the sisterly self is stunning :)), nice article – thanks for sharing!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Thank you Jens 🙂

  2. xinxian says:

    Love your pictures! I’ve always loved Iceland and was thrilled to find your blog after hearing about the #BigBlogX project through a friend 🙂

    1. mm Auður says:

      Thank you Xinxian 🙂 If you love photography Iceland should be on the top of your bucketlist 🙂

  3. Phil says:

    Thanks for this. Last year when I was in Iceland we took a bit of time after picking up the rental car at Keflavik to take a peek at Gunnuhvur and the Bridge Between Two Continents. Very glad we did. 🙂

  4. Lavergne says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your views of the Reykjanes. Spent a day touring the peninsula in July 2012… It’s natural beauty is breathtaking… the silence was “deafening”… felt like the two of us had a “planet” all to ourselves… loved it..

  5. Katy says:

    Your timing of this post could not have been better. In Reykjavik with friends a week ago, we were about to set out last Sunday for a day along the south coast to Vik in our hire car. The weather however was forecast to be extremely windy and we were in two minds as to the wisdom of this. Recently familiar with your blog however I chanced on this post early in the morning and over breakfast we changed our plans. We did a round tour stopping at the Gardskagi lighthouses, pootled down the west coast roads via the bridge over two continents, through the 100 crater park area, stopped at Grindavik for lunch then on along the coast a bit, up to Seltun, along the stunning edge of Kleifarvatn (wow what a road!) and eventually back to the city where we rounded off the day`s sightseeing by taking the lift to the top of Hallgrimskirkja, where, like the rest of the day we experienced sun, hail, snow wind and shifting clouds in quick succession. The day was quite simply brilliant. We loved every bit of it.

    One special mention should go to the man running the Flösin cafeteria (is that its name, the low level of marketing seems to be in inverse proportion to its fabulousness) over the little folk museum. Although not yet open for the day when we arrived he nevertheless let us come in for coffee (and to thaw out) and stay for ages completely in awe at the view out to sea, watching the weather and hoping to spot a whale or two (we didn`t). Had we not known from your blog post that there was more to see then we could have easily stayed there all day as what was promised on the lunch menu (halibut freshly caught in the early hours or lamb) sounded delicious. The cafe also had a great vibe and a fantastic view back down the coast to Gardur too.

    Sorry to write such a long comment but basically I would recommend this area to anyone in a similar position. Having done the Golden Circle tour previously, we all thought our day on this peninsula was equally as memorable if not more so and it would never have occurred to us to explore it had it not been for your tip.

    1. mm Auður says:

      I’m happy to hear my blog helped you and I agree – Reykjanes is spectacular 🙂

  6. Matthew Pye says:

    I see you have a picture of the réttir. I have heard that it is possible for outsiders to participate in sorting sheep at a réttir. Can you just show up and help out or watch? How do I find a réttir? I’ll be in Iceland September 10-15 and would love to see one if possible since I grew up on a sheep farm in the US. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!

    1. mm Auður says:

      I have a confession to make: I’ve never been to réttir so I just don’t know 🙂 I think you have to know someone to participate but there’s quite a few companies that offer special réttir tours. I don’t even know when they usually take place – late September probably? 🙂 Sorry, I’m making it painfully obvious right here that I’m a city girl.

  7. Becky says:

    I have a question, I am in Reykjavik and want to take a bus to Reykjanes. I was supposed to go on my own when I had a rental car but I wasn’t feeling well enough and came back to the city a day early. I don’t want to pay to go one a big tour of the area as that cost almost $100 US, I just want some type of bus to bring me there, drop me and and come back later on in the day so I can have some time to explore. I am finding it difficult to use the search functions as nothing says that Reykjanes is a destination. Is there another place I should be looking for a bus stop to?


    this is the bus section of the visit Reykjanes page.

  8. sheri kalvin says:

    this is the post i happened upon when doing the internet search for my upcoming trip. we will be arriving at 0500 on a wednesday and leaving at 0700 on friday for copenhagen. we plan on spending all day thursday in our rental car doing this tour around the peninsula. will spend the afternoon on our arrival day in reykjavik. still wishing you did the walking tour in the afternoon as well! your blog contains a wealth of information for me…thanks for all you do for us travellers to bring us your insights and information! looking forward to this visit and the nice break from the heat and humidity in florida.

  9. Angela says:

    Do you know of any companies that do tours leaving from Blue Lagoon? I am not able to drive and most tours I see incorporate the Blue Lagoon into it and leave at 10am but we want to go from blue lagoon at noon.

    1. mm Auður says:

      No, I don’t know of any such tours I’m afraid. I think you would always have to make your way into Reykjavík to take part in a day tour.

  10. Shane K says:

    Hello, new to the blog and first post. The (soon to be) wife and I are doing a self-drive honeymoon in late July/early August and now that lodging, flights, and other big things are sorted out, it’s time for details.. Our flight gets in early Sunday morning. Thought of doing a little loop around the peninsula to kick off our trip and wake us up with the amazingness of your country after the overnight flight. Figured we’d do the bridge, Gunnuhver (and lighthouse), Grindavik, up to Seltun and then the drive by the big lake, and eventually on our way to Reykjavik/Ring Road. Any other stops you’d suggest along the way? Maybe a spot for breakfast?

    Thanks for all your amazing writing about your gorgeous country. I’ve already used it as a resource in planning our epic honeymoon!

    1. mm Auður says:

      There are no breakfast areas on this route – you are mostly just driving out in nature. I suggest you go to a bakery in Keflavík that opens early. Subway in Keflavík is also open 24 hours (or it was the last time I checked at least).

      1. Shane K says:

        Even better!! Thanks!

  11. Beth says:

    Hi Love this post. I am planning a self drive trip around the peninsular finishing at the blue lagoon. Would you be able to advise if the roads to the lighthouse and Gunnuhver and ok to drive in October. We are visiting on 26th October but I can’t seem to find these smaller roads on roads.is. Is there a way of checking closer to the date or are they generally not suitable for driving in the winter. Thanks for all your help!

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      I would think you should be fine but you never know – last year we didn’t have any snow to speak of on this side of the country but the year before we had quite a lot. Normally though, it doesn’t start snowing until later (Nov or Dec).

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