Day 1: My friend and I flew into Reykjavik from Baltimore, MD, arriving early in the morning. We purchased some alcohol duty free at the airport (it's very expensive elsewhere) and took a bus into Reykjavik to drop our bags off at our hotel, Snorri's Guesthouse (highly recommend). We walked into town in Reykjavik to grab a coffee and explore a bit before our whale watching tour. We walked around the scenic little Lake Tjornin. Our whale watching tour (booked through Special Tours) departed out of Reykjavik, and we enjoyed seeing a couple of minke whales out in the sea. After the tour, we grabbed hot dogs at the iconic Baejarins Beztu Pylsur stand (Bill Clinton visited in 2004, boosting its popularity). Not a hot dog connoisseur, but they tasted great with ketchup, mustard, and onion! Afterward, we went into the Harpa (free), admiring the honeycomb glass. Then we walked up to Hallgrimskirkja and went to the top of the church (~$7 USD at the time), which afforded us a gorgeous view of the colorful buildings in Reykjavik. Hearing the pipe organ inside was neat too. We grabbed a waffle topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce at a food truck right nearby- delicious!- then went to pick up our rental car and drive out to the Blue Lagoon. We booked the 'Experience Comfort' package and loved it. Since we had a late entry, we got to watch a gorgeous sunset as we enjoyed the hot, geothermal waters and enjoyed a few drinks. It was an amazing, relaxing experience with beautiful scenery- we loved putting the mud on our faces as a spa treatment and just soaking. A little touristy, maybe, but a "can't miss" all the same! We returned to Snorri's Guesthouse and went to bed after a long day.
Day 2: We woke up and went to the Laundromat Cafe for a hearty breakfast (really neat concept and great food). We walked to the National Museum of Iceland to learn a bit of Icelandic history. Then we drove to the Perlan to enjoy more panoramic views of Reykjavik- we had a very clear day so it was absolutely gorgeous. Then we headed out to Akureyri, making many stops along the way- Fossarett (a waterfall and an old stone sheep round up), the town of Borgarnes (stopping at the Settlement Center to learn about the settlement of Iceland and the Icelandic Vikings, and stopping to visit a small farmers market called Ljomalind), Borgarfjorour (Deildartunguhver hot spring, the biggest in Iceland in terms of water production per second), Reykholt (to see where the famous 13th century author Snorri Sturluson used to live), and the breathtaking waterfalls of Hraunfossar. I took one of my favorite photos of the trip at Hraunfossar- absolutely gorgeous. We arrived late in Akureyri (another long day- would consider doing less or spreading this out over more time in future).