Top 5 Reasons to Make a Stopover in Iceland

Making a stopover in Iceland has been of my best travel decisions of 2017 thus far.  Yes, I know, Iceland is such a “trendy” place to go to these days, but it’s for good reason.  Between the Icelandic ponies, waterfalls, Northern Lights, the gorgeous Golden Circle, and scenery that I didn’t even know existed on this earth, it makes for an epic place to visit. I’m going to share a handful of reasons to make a stopover in Iceland, although the images alone will probably convince you.

When I found out many airlines, like WowAir, offer complimentary stopovers to Iceland from both the United States and Europe, I booked a flight ASAP (and at a great price). I chose to fly from Amsterdam to Washington D.C. then on the way back Washington D.C. to Reyaktvik and finally back to Amsterdam. Although it sounds like a lot of stops, it was well worth it to explore Iceland and see what the rave is all about.

So, here are my top 5 reasons to make a stopover in Iceland – even just for 48 hours

1.)  The Scenery is uniquely amazing.

Visiting Iceland was like being on an entirely different planet.  From waterfalls, lava rocks, glaciers, Northern Lights, ocean views, hot springs, and caves, Iceland has everything all on one small island.

Simply getting off the plane to do a quick drive through the area is totally worth it.  You can see so much just by driving along the windy roads and taking in the views.  However, be warned that stopping on the side of the road is quite dangerous (too narrow) and highly discouraged, so make sure you take in the views safely and stop when allowed.

Just in our short trip we were able to see the Northern Lights (outside our hotel room), visit one of the famous waterfalls, the coastline, and too many glaciers to count.

2.) Iceland is expensive, so a stopover is more economical.

As much as I would have loved spending 7+ days exploring Iceland, it is a very expensive country.  Although you can find flights and a rental car at an economical price point, everything else like accommodation, excursions, food, and gas is quite pricey.

We found that renting a car for two days and driving to see as much sites as possible was the best way to experience Iceland. Although there are plenty of things you could spend money on like skiing in the winter, visiting the infamous Blue Lagoon, and taking a caving excursion, we found so much joy just taking in the atmosphere around us and exploring on our own (plus, much cheaper).

3.) Ponies, ponies, and more ponies.

I don’t know about you, but I am an animal lover.  And the fact that in every direction there are these majestic Icelandic ponies just waiting for you to pet them, was absolutely amazing to me. 

Definitely becoming an icon or mascot of Iceland, these Icelandic ponies are so friendly and love the attention that the tourist give them.  It’s like a scene from a movie seeing them with their hair blowing in the wind and the mountains behind them. 

It came to my surprise how neat it was seeing all of these ponies roaming the beautiful hills and playing with each other. It really is a sight to see in person.

4.) Relax in a natural hot spring.

After flying overseas for 5+ hours nothing sounded better than soaking up the natural hot springs and watching the sunset. All over Iceland, you can find natural hot springs and many hotels have manmade springs on site.

Although only having 48 hours in Iceland meant a busy schedule of seeing as much as possible in that short amount of time, it’s totally worth it to spend a few hours relaxing in a hot spring. I mean, you deserve it after all that travel! Plus, it’s quite rejuvenating before you head to the airport for your next leg.

5.) It’s a great way to break up your flight at no extra cost.

Beyond the obvious reasons that Iceland is a magical place with so much to see and do, it’s also a great way to break up your flight in-between Europe and North America.

I fly abroad often and typically my first day after being on a plane is full of jet lag and just trying to recover from being on a plane for 8+ hours.  When stopping in Iceland, you have the opportunity to acclimate and adjust a bit before your final destination.

Stopping in Iceland made my final trip more enjoyable and worthwhile.  Next time I fly overseas, I will definitely be making another stopover!

To see more of my Icelandic adventure, view my photo gallery here.

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About the Author:

Monet Sommers is a full-time travel & lifestyle blogger and professional photographer. Originally from the USA, Monet received the opportunity to move to Germany in 2016. Since, her site has evolved into a space of travel guides, hotel insight, beautiful imagery, and inspiring content. From camping in freezing temperatures in the Alps to finding the trendiest, boutique hotels in Europe, Monet’s site focuses on unique life & travel experiences.


  1. Ryan Biddulph July 9, 2017 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    The inspired beauty gets me every time Monet. From the one of a kind views to the neat ponies to the entire feel of the place, definitely noted for a future visit. I have never seen an unimpressive picture of Iceland.

    • Rachel Jones July 10, 2017 at 1:47 am - Reply

      I know! the ponies photo is my favorite :)

    • Monet Sommers July 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      Ryan, thanks so much for reading the article. Iceland truly is a magical place. The Icelandic ponies were one of my favorite aspects of the country, they are so majestic and friendly. I haven’t seen an unimpressive picture either, such a pretty country.

  2. Theresa July 10, 2017 at 5:00 am - Reply

    The ponies! I’m spending the next year in Europe and am planning on a quick trip to Iceland (though I’m hoping more than 48 hours — that’s impressive). I’ve long dreamed of driving the Ring Road.

    • Rachel Jones July 10, 2017 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      Theresa, I hope you have an awesome trip! I’m jealous!

    • Monet Sommers July 11, 2017 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      Theresa, I think the ponies are so spectacular, too! I hope you get more than 48 hours there as well, there is so much to see and do!

  3. Isabella Jones September 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Iceland is next on my bucket list. Wonderful blog. I’m all pumped up for my trip.

  4. Michele October 22, 2018 at 8:33 am - Reply

    I’m planning a trip to Bologna, Italy, in April 2019 and my son and I want to have a layover in Iceland for a few days. How do you book a flight to include that? Thank you for your advice and I enjoy your site.

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