The long awaited blog post, AT LAST!
Back in the winter months of 2016, my brother Jonathan and his wife Audrey as well as my wife Mandy and myself, made our way over to beautiful Iceland. This was without a doubt, one of the most amazing trips of my life. If you haven’t been, or even if you have and haven’t seen some of the below attractions, I highly recommend you make the trip!
As a crew of personal trainers, we just HAD to make our trek through Iceland a little more adventurous. How? By throwing in some fun workouts all along the way!
So, follow along our journey below and if you end up making the trip yourself or even if you’ve been and had a great experience, I’d love to hear about it!
Day # 1
Workout of the Day = Weight Training at the KoloFit Personal Training Studio before taking off to Hartsfield International
Depart Atlanta (77 degrees F) for Baltimore at 1:40p EST
Arrive at Baltimore at 3:30pm EST
Flight to Reykjavik departs at 6:10pm EST
Day # 2
Workout of the Day = Tour Downtown Reykjavik by foot
Pretty much pulled an all-nighter 😴
Arrive in Keflavik – just outside of Reykjavik (24 degrees F) at 5am Local Time (exit plane on runway as we get pelted by the heavy winds and cold temps – board bus)
Rent Jeep Cherokee and take the drive over to Reykjavik
Tour Reykjavik by foot – Keep blood flowing to keep from falling asleep standing up!
Lunch at Snaps (delicious) (trying not to fall asleep on table – another round of coffee please!)
Tour Hallgrimskirkja Church (up to the top for amazing city views and photos)
Check into Air B and B off Laugavegar St., located in the heart of Reykjavik and knock out hard. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so exhausted in my life!
Workout of the Day = Snorkel + Swim
Wake up at 2am ready to go! (7am EST)
8am – Breakfast at Bergsson Mathus. Brunch platter was delicious!
Off to snorkel in the ice cold waters of Silfra in Pingvellir National Park. I believe they said the water temp was 34 degrees. Air temp below freezing with wind chill well below.
(Getting suited up before our dive, freezing our butts off – the level of the chills themselves was a workout in itself!)
Took a drive up the Golden Circle to see the Geysir explosions in Blaskogabyggo
We quickly learned that EVERYTHING in the countryside closes by 6:30pm other than one place in Bláskógabyggo called Skjol, which I highly recommend. You might consider jumping off the clean eats for the evening considering the only 2 items on menu are pizza and beer (and a few cocktails) and I must admit, they were wonderfully DELICIOUS. Although salad was not on the menu, they whipped us up one from scratch to compliment our pizza and local beer. We also enjoyed time with the owner himself, Jön, who provided excellent service. Talk about a food coma rolling out of this joint.
Took it back to our Air B and B for some Zzz’s.
Workout of the Day = Tabata Workout + Waterfall Hike
Our Air B and B
Woke up to a beautiful morning and made the trip up to Gulfass. On our way, we came upon some Icelandic Horses. We parked, walked up, and they came to say hello. Amazing animals!
Arrived at Gullfoss – SO cold and so windy!
Back on the road in route to the Secret Lagoon, a natural hot spring in a town called Flúoir. In route, we came across a large herd of sheep hanging out in a field along the side of the road. We tried to pet them like we did the horses but they weren’t buying it.
The sheep hauling rear as we came to say hello:
Arrived at the Secret Lagoon. Although we didn’t jump in, the water temp felt perfect.
Arrived at Seljalansfass
Seljalansfass Tabata Workout (20 seconds of effort followed by 10 seconds of rest x 8 times through. Alternating the Push-Up with the Tuck Jump. 4 sets per exercise):
We then took about a 500 meter hike over to Gljufrabui. Surprisingly, many folks don’t know about this hidden gem. Without a doubt, one of our favorites. It’s tucked back between these rocks:
Take a peek inside (plan to get a little wet from the 6 inch hike through the water as well as from the mist coming off the falls. I have to say, it’s incredibly worth every bit of wetness!):
Off we go to Skógafoss to try to beat the sunset.
Arrive at Skógafoss to this view:
But…in order to see the top view, well, this is where Workout # 2 of the day comes in:
It’s about a 6 and 1/2 minute brisk hike up to the top to enjoy this:
Made the drive down to Vik for the evening.
Day # 5
Workout of the Day = Tabatas + Hike
After breakfast, we walked over and spent a short time on the Black Sand Beach just across from our hotel.
Shortly after, we drove down the road to The Black Sand Beach Restaurant to see the Basalt Rocks on Black Sand Beach. Truly amazing.
Black Sand Beach Workout: Tabata, 20 seconds of effort followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 Total sets. Alternate the Incline Push-up with the Alternating Step-ups. 4 sets each.
Drove over for a hike to Seljavallalaug, Iceland’s oldest geothermal pool. Plan for about a 15 minute hike.
Drove back towards Vik to see Dyrholaey as the snow began to really fall.
Back to spend another evening in Vik while enjoying another nice dinner at Restaurant Sudur Vik.
Day # 6
Workout of the Day = Multiple Hikes
First stop: Fjaorárgljúfur (10-15 min brisk hike to the top)
Back on the road towards Skaftafellsstofa to see Svartifoss. It’s seems like just about everywhere you look on this stretch, you see a waterfall
Arrived at Skaftafellsstofa. The workout begins:
1.8 km uphill hike to the beautiful waterfall, Svartifoss.
Along the way to Svartifoss, we stumbled upon this fall:
We continued the uphill climb:
until at last we saw Svartifoss:
Back on the road again, in route for Jökulsárlón
Arrived at Jokulsarlon. Mind blown. By far, one of the, if not the, most beautiful place on earth that I’ve ever seen. Our photos don’t do Jokulsarlon any justice. If this is the only attraction you see in Iceland, I believe you would say it was worth the trip. Stunning. The snow on the ground really made this extra spectacular.
And on and on…
Off to spend the evening at the Hali Country Hotel. We enjoyed dinner at the restaurant at the Inn which was tasty.
Day # 7
Workout of the Day = Tabatas
Early rise and breakfast before heading over to catch sunrise at Jökulsárlón. A look at our stay at the Hali Country Hotel. Service was wonderful and the food was good. Ask for the Little Yellow House on the water:
Off to the Lagoon. The weather was overcast although I don’t think you can take a bad photo at Jökulsárlón
Across the street from Jökulsárlón, you’ll find Diamond Beach.
A great spot for a quick workout. For this one, make sure you have some thick, water proof, insulated gloves. Then, grab a big ice chunk and let’s get after it.
Workout: Tabatas with the deadlift, bicep curl, and shoulder press.
Off to do some Ice Caving. We met at Jökulsárlón, took a short bus ride about 5 minutes down the road and then jumped on this beast:
We took another 10 minute or so drive through some tough terrain to the entrance of the ice cave. A short hike puts you right here:
The glacier water is delicious!
How about the color of that ice!
Back to the hotel to change for dinner in which we made the trek up to a village called Höfn. Highly recommend a restaurant there called Z-Bistro.
As we made our way out of the restaurant and back to Hali Country, our minds were blown when we saw these light up the sky:
(The below images captured with an iPhone 7)
Day # 8
Workout of the Day = Hikes
Breakfast at Hali Country Hotel. They do complimentary breakfast as well which was nice.
Off to make one more stop by Jökulsárlón on our way back up the coast:
And of course one more stop by Diamond Beach:
Jumped back in the Jeep to take the trek up the coast when we stumbled upon this hidden gem right next to Foss Hotel:
Approaching the waterfall itself is a short hike. The terrain is steep and tricky along the river and around the falls so be careful!
Mandy and Audrey
Back to the Jeep to make our way to our Workout of the Day at Vatnajokulspjodgardur National Park. The hike is about 3 miles round trip to and from the glacier. Along the way, you’ll see various waterfalls on your left:
Certain spots will make you feel like you’re walking on the moon:
Arrived at Skaftafellsjökull
Back on the road heading towards Reykjavik for the evening.
Day # 9
Workout of the Day = Rest, Rejuvenate, Fly
Off to The Blue Lagoon! After a busy week of activity, today is all about recovery and relaxation.
After a few relaxing hours in the Lagoon, off we go back to Atlanta. Truly, a trip of a lifetime and one that I highly recommend to all!
Lastly, a HUGE thank you to my brother Jonathan and his wonderful wife Audrey for planning this amazing vacation of a lifetime. Mandy and I had the time of our lives with you guys. Without Jon and Audrey’s planning of our journey, this trip would not have been possible. Love you guys! Until our next adventure…