ion Luxury Adventure Hotel
As we approached the Ion, my husband turned to me and said, "I feel like we are on another planet." About a 40 minute drive from Reyjkjavik, with nothing but lava fields as far as the eye can see, the boutique hotel's location does seem otherworldly, which -- besides it's convenient location by the route of the "Golden Circle -- is precisely the reason to stay. After long drives and hikes to geysers, waterfalls and glaciers, a thermal outdoor hot pool and a wall-of-windows bar overlooking this spectacular vista is the perfect home base to recharge for the next day's adventure. http://ioniceland.is/
Lunch at Saegreiffin (Sea Baron) fish shack on the marina. Let me be clear, this is an actual shack, but don't let it deter. It is THE place for amazing, fresh off the boat seafood. http://www.saegreifinn.is/en/
Dinner at Grillmarkadurinn - Fine dining in Reykjavik in an unusually chic atmosphere.
En route along the Golden Circle (EYRARBRAUT 3A, 825 STOKKSEYRI)
Fjorubordid - A tiny little restaurant, in a house off a road, in the middle of absolutely nowhere! And if you want the best lobster soup in the world, you will go there. But plan out your evening route in advance to get there in time and make sure to have a reservation.
Notes & Advice:
No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the waters of the famous geothermal spa. But, you MUST get tickets in advance. The best time for entrance is on the way back to the airport, as it is less than five minutes from the terminal and otherwise out of the way. Book an entrance that will allow for two hours before you need to be at the airport for your flight. An excellent way to end a memorable trip.
There is now a luxury hotel on the premises, so if you do have the time, no need to rush out.
Wear layers! You will go from needing a fleece, hat and gloves along a boat on a glacier, to wearing a t-shirt and sunglasses as you hike to a waterfall and then back again as the drive goes on.
Whenever you see a gas station, fill 'er up! It may be the last time you come across one for hours.
There are plenty of companies that organize glacier hikes and site seeing. We chose to take a boat ride amidst the glaciers at the end of a long day's road trip via this group: http://icelagoon.is/tours/