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How to Prepare for Traveling to Iceland in March

My Mom’s bucket list, for as long as I could remember, included seeing the Northern Lights. She has traveled to Alaska in search for them but they never appeared. I mentioned going to Iceland since it’s supposed to be one of the best places to see them and she immediately said yes.

During my research I found out that to see the Northern Lights in Iceland it’s best to go between September to April.

When I vacation, I don’t want to do a ton of planning of where I am going to stay, where to go, what to eat, I just want someone to do it for me while I am along for the ride. So I took a look at the tour group Globus to see if they had any Iceland trips within those months and they did! It was for early March, 6 days and we reserved our spots.

My husband and I used Globus for our Honeymoon to Italy and it was wonderful. The tour guide, the 5 star service etc was amazing. My Mom and Dad also used Globus for a National Parks Tour out west and loved it as well so I knew we were in good hands.

I knew Iceland was going to be very windy, cold and rainy so I needed to pack accordingly. We would be visiting waterfalls, glaciers, walking and visiting the famous beaches and of course heading out in the middle of the night to see the Northern Lights so here is what I brought…and also what I didn’t use.

What to Pack for Iceland:

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  • Lined Leggings – I actually ended up wearing these almost everyday. They were warm enough that I wore them alone. You can wear them alone or under snow/rain pants or even sweat pants.
  • Rain pants: Rain pants were a necessity when it was raining, also visiting some of the beaches/waterfalls because of the mist. These are inexpensive and worked really well.
  • Wool socks – My feet were never cold. These socks were so warm, they were a mens but fit just fine.
  • Boots – These boots are warm and waterproof. Like I said my feet were never cold and I also stepped in some big mud puddles and my feet stayed dry. I sized up a half a size to make room for my big socks.
  • Crampons – There will be ice. I actually brought these but never put them on…but I should have because I did fall once on the ice. Many trails and waterfalls etc will have ice covering the walkway.
  • Rechargeable Hand Warmers – With a full charge these last over 6 hours. I liked to keep them in my pocket when and slip my hands in if I took my gloves off or just walking through the city.
  • Winter Coat – I wanted a warm winter coat but one that was not heavy or bulky so it was easy to travel with and I found this one that ended up being perfect. It was thin but so warm! It is meant to go to 30F but I have been walking in the 20s at home to test it out and it’s been great.
  • Back pack – This travel bag was perfect. I used it as a carry on as well as my backpack on tours etc. It has a “wet” pocket, shoe pockets, laptop pocket, charging cord and so many other small and hiding pockets. It also opens all the way up like a suitcase which makes it easy to pack. I got an X-Large size but I got my kids the large for a Florida trip and it was perfect size.
  • Outlet Adapter – This worked well with the USB sockets as well. We used it with our curling iron and to charge our phones.
  • Balaclava – The wind in Iceland is unreal. It comes down the mountains and there are very few trees blocking it so having a good face covering is essential!

Our Itinerary

The best part of going with a tour group like Globus is that they coordinate our iternerary for us. We did have free time plus if you want more they can help you plan extra days as well.

Here is what we did:

Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavik – We had time before our Hotel Room was ready. We stayed in the Hilton Nordica which was about 30/40 minute walk to the “downtown” area of Reykjavik. While we waited we decided to go on a Whale Watch Cruise. We went with Elding and they picked us up right at the Hotel.

Whale watching on a boat in Iceland

Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales or dolphins or any fish for that matter. But they did give us a voucher to go again when we could, we just didn’t have time on this trip to go back but they do last for 2 years.

Day 2: Hopped on the bus and went on our way – We stopped in Thingvellir National Park first to walk through the rift valley.

tectonic plates rift in Iceland

Iceland is the only place in the world where separation between the North American and European geological rift (tectonic plates) are above sea level, and nowhere in the world are the edges of both plates as clearly visible than the rift valley in Thingvellir National Park. You can stand on two continents at the same time!

herring on egg butter and bread

Stopped at the hot springs and tasted local specialties of Rye bread made in the heat of the geysers topped with butter, egg and pickled herring, with a glass of Geysir Schnapps. My motto was when in Rome…the pictures are worth a 1000 words.

Hopped off the bus to take beautiful pictures of Gullfoss waterfalls.

gullfoss waterfall

Made it to our hotel: Which is owned by local farmers.

Day 3: Glaciers, Icebergs and Waterfalls
We pulled over to take pictures of glacier Vatnajökull from afar which is the largest in Europe!

largest glacier in Europe in Iceland

Drive through the national park at Skaftafell and stopped at Lake Jökulsárlón. Which is where the beautiful glacier Vatnajökull (the Water Glacier), Iceland’s largest ice cap flows into the lake forming icebergs.

We also stopped at Black Sand Beach. Which was like an Instagram moment vs. Reality moment with so many people. It was beautiful but also incredibly windy and cold.

Black sands beach

Day 4: We headed back to Reykjavik but along the way…

It was waterfall day!

Scenic drive along Skogafoss and Seljandsfoss waterfalls. We also stopped at Diamond beach but because of the weather most of the ice crystals had melted or got pulled back out to the ocean. We did manage to find a few large ones though!

We stopped in HELLISHEIðARVIRKJUN and visited and learned about geothermal heat and electric power station.

This night we also hired a Northern Lights Tour company to take us out on a Northern lights hunt. This whole week the conditions were not great to see them. Cloudy and not much sun activity to produce them. But we took our chances anyway and were unsuccessful. The next night was going to be worse so it was not in the cards for us this trip.

Day 5: Free day in Reykjavik

We slept in after getting home late after the Northern lights tour, but then went to relax at the Sky Lagoon which was so needed. The lagoon was beautiful and we did the 7 step ritual which was even more soothing.

After that we changed and walked to downtown Reykjavik to check out the shops and the scenery.

We visited Rainbow Street, ate some famous hotdogs, and went up to the tower in the church to see a gorgeous view of the city.

rainbow rd Iceland

Day 6: Headed Home

Before our flight my mom and I walked to Flyover which is a virtual reality ride that takes you in a “helicopter” to see the different sights of Iceland. It was lovely and you got to see Iceland in all its glory.

As were leaving we heard that the Northern Lights were supposed to be beautiful that night. So we missed them this trip, as well as the whales, but I got to spend a week making memories with my Mom and that was completely worth it. See my fun Instagram Reel for more Iceland!

What I learned about traveling in Iceland

Even though we went through a tour group, and I would not have change that, if you are visiting Iceland it is very easy to see the sights you would like to see on your own or taking multiple day trips. There are plenty of tour guides that fit what you want to do. Whether you want to travel the Golden Circle, go snowmobiling, hiking, visiting the ice caves. There is so much you can do and see just by renting a car or taking day trips out of Reykjavik.