Northern lights and breathtaking landscapes have made Iceland one of the modern wonders of the world. It is one of the only places on earth where you will find volcanic activity, hot geothermal soaking pools, and ice blue glaciers set amidst a moon-like landscape.
Here are all my helpful tips…
Blue Lagoon; book your spot in advance. I was expecting this to be super touristy and just meh but it wasn’t at all. It was beautiful and 100% worth it. The mud mask, the free beverage, the water… everything. And it wasn’t very busy either. We went at 11am on a Thursday so maybe 2pm Sunday is different I don’t know.
Golden Circle; The classic ‘grab a car and drive around Iceland’ tourist route. But it was worth it. We seemed to have detoured off the track slightly and found some cute non touristy towns. The next few things are stop overs on the GC route.
Geysir; We actually gave this one a miss because the car park was full of tourist buses but basically it’s a large geothermal water hole which spouts boiling water up into the air occasionally if you’re lucky.
Outdoor hot springs; We went to a local outdoor pool / secret hot spring near Flúðir, one of Iceland’s oldest pools that has a bubbling hot spring right next to it. It is a secluded hot spring that is located in a stunning setting in the midst of the Southern countryside. The pool is lined with natural rock, with soothing water temperatures of 36-40°C and is cheaper than the Blue Lagoon.
Kerið crater; a perfectly round hole from a crater which was a pretty cool sight. The water never drains, it just rises and falls depending on the water table so they say it is a like a window into the underworld.
Gullfoss Waterfall; This beautiful and huge waterfall which is partly frozen depending on the season is an absolute sight. It was really cold and windy and my face felt like it was going to fall off but we ran there and got some awesome snaps. Loved it.
Þingvellir National Park; which is renowned for both its geological and historical significance. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated on the continental rift that separates the European and American tectonic plates and is home to Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. It is also the place where Iceland’s first parliament was founded over a thousand years ago.
Snorkelling at Silfra; is the area in the lake where the techtonic plates mentioned above are visible from the surface and you can get a guide to snorkel. You wear a dry suit and promise me you will stay dry and half warm. The water is -2 degrees freezing and makes your lips and face go numb. But the water is really clear and you can see 100 meters. I would highly recommend it. The guide will take some pics for you. We went with Iceland Advice. https://www.icelandadvice.is
Northern Lights; Unless you are unable to drive or desperate for professional advice don’t pay to see the Northern lights. It is a free natural beauty and you have a good chance of seeing it on your own. Drive out of the city lights to reduce light pollution and keep an eye out for other cars pulled over on the side of the road facing north. We downloaded an app called Aurora and you can see the probability and best location for it each night. The hill just behind the hotel Frost and Fire was our best location to spot them. It’s magical I can’t explain.
White House B&B; cute little stop over if you fly in late and need somewhere near the airport for a stop over. It’s 5 minutes from the airport and it’s super cute.
Skyr Guesthouse; beautiful guesthouse in Hveragerði. Perfect location I would highly recommend this place. It is the oldest Skyr (yoghurt) factory in Iceland which has been converted into a B&B. You get to have breakfast at their sister hotel up the road called Frost and Fire and it’s WICKED!! Think chia seeds, hemp seeds, kefir, rye bread and smoked trout. It’s heavenly! http://www.skyrgerdin.is/
Hotel Cabin; now this isn’t at all a glam or anything nice. It is very basic, tiny rooms and a pretty average buffet breakfast but it has free parking and is in a good location for Reykjavik. Go basic and cheap and then spend big at the restaurants. It’s worth it.
Mat Bar; OK STOP ! This was insane! Book a table. It was probably the best dinner I HAVE EVER HAD !! The food was so beautifully presented, the chefs flavours and textures was just wow and every plate ‘tapas share style’ was just fab. I shall say no more.
Skyr Gerdin; Our hotel had a really nice restaurant with ‘farm to table’ style dinner (and cakes that looked insane made from their homemade Skyr). They specialise in their local lamb chops, Icelandic traditional fish stew and lamb shank soup. Both very hearty, local and warming.
Bergsson Mathus; Brunch place with homemade sourdough and self serve peanut butter, humus and jam. We didn’t have coffee but someone said ‘this is the best coffee I’ve ever had’ … we were jealous.
Reykjavik Roasters; super cool hip coffee place that makes a pretty damn amazing brew. Small shop so get there early and grab a window spot. They also do sourdough, granola and croissants.
Overall Iceland was a super special and beautiful country. The horses are super cute, the people are lovely and the land is just stunning. Nature at it’s best.