Góðan daginn my friends! So raise your hand if Iceland has recently become part of your travel wish list as of late. I swear, just about everyone and anyone I know has been making their way to visit this Nordic island. Therefore I was super excited after months and months of planning to finally have the opportunity to visit the country myself. All I can say guys is that this place does not disappoint.
If you followed along with me on instagram & facebook, you may have noticed that I recently got back from a lovely week in the Icelandic countryside. While I’m normally not the adventurous type, I prefer to sit poolside with a cocktail and lounge around most of the time, this vacation had me hiking volcanos, glaciers, and secret waterfalls. All of this thanks to the amazing group of people I traveled with and Under30Experiences. (If you guys haven’t heard of them, check them out! I couldn’t recommend the experience enough, plus they travel to some amazing places around the world.)
So where did I go, what did I see, and what did I learn? Let me tell you…
WHERE TO STAY
AIRBNB: If you are planning to spend most of your time in Reykjavik, I suggest you rent an Airbnb for the duration of your trip. If you don’t like walking, than I suggest you really take a close look at the map and book a place close to the city center. My friends and I booked a adorable apartment just 2 miles away from the city center and loved it – but after days of hiking, the walk to the city center seemed short to us.
HOTEL FLJÓTSHLIO: If you want a true Icelandic experience, plan a stay at one of the many farming hotels around the country. This is where our group stayed and it was a beautiful place to come home to each night. The experience is different, it’s not the Ritz Carlton, but in my opinion it was the most authentic Icelandic living experience.
WHAT TO DO
WESTMAN ISLANDS: This small island off of the coast of Iceland is a great place to see some puffins with your own two eyes. Not into the birds? (but seriously, they are super cute!) You have the opportunity to hike up the active Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Fair warning: it’s pretty windy up there!
THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK: Did you guys know that Iceland is between two tectonic plates that are slowly pulling the country apart! It’s pretty amazing and you can see the rift at the national park. The park is a bit touristy, but don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path and explore things on your own. Also, for all of you Game of Thrones fans – a scene was filmed at this park.
P.S. I have never seen GoT, but based on my groups reaction it was a pretty big deal to be in the place where they filmed scenes from the show.
SOLHEIMAJOKULL GLACIER: This was by far the most amazing day of my entire trip. The hike up the glacier is an experience you can’t really describe, you just have to experience it. The glacier has been melting at an execrated rate; sadly caused by global warming. While you still can, I suggest making this the first day of your trip as a taste of 100% pure glacier water cannot be had anywhere else. Trust me, my friends and I miss the water!
P.S. If you are afraid of heights, this is definitely NOT something I suggest. It can be slippery and the glacier can be unstable at points. Listen to your guide!
BLUE LAGOON: Okay, I’m not even going to lie to you guys and tell you that I this place made my Top 5 things to do in Iceland. It definitely fell at the very bottom of my list, but nonetheless it was an experience in itself. I do recommend coming here and experiencing everything that the lagoon has to offer, it’s quite a relaxing experience.
NOTE** Ladies, please put conditioner in your hair before you get into the lagoon. The silica is great for skin but not so much for your hair.
WHAT I HAD WISHED I HAD KNOWN
While I did a ton of research on Iceland before my trip, there were a few things that I wished I had known before going on this trip. If you are headed to the country anytime soon, here are some important tips for you to know:
+ You don’t need to bring any cash with you, this country loves it’s credit cards. Bring along a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees and you’ll be able to use it anywhere. Like I literally mean anywhere…including the little coffee cart next to a waterfall in the back countryside.
+ Food & Drinks are EXPENSIVE. I think the biggest shock to my system was the fact that food was far more expensive than I imagined. On average, I spent about $100 a day on food when we were on our own and let me tell you, it adds up. Bring along some extra protein bars if you are looking to skimp on meals.
+ It’s cold. Like really really cold in the country. I kid you not, I wore every single piece of clothing I brought with me on the trip the day we hiked the glacier and I was still freezing. Layers are important but remember to bring waterproof layers. As much as I wanted to look cute, I much rather be warm than worried about my outfit choices for the day.
Hopefully these tips have helped convince you to make Iceland 2016 happen for you. It was quite an adventure and I was so happy with my entire vacation, I’m singing Iceland its praises. The question is – where to next?