This is a bit of a different blog post for me as every blog so far has been makeup / fashion related…but today I’m going to talk about a recent trip I had to Iceland and give you a few hints and tips.
Unfortunately my pictures from the trip aren’t great so there are very few pictures in this post but a quick google will show you the amazing beauty of Iceland.
Over the last number of years it has become more affordable (when I say more affordable…be prepared it is still expensive, more on that to come later) to visit Iceland which has caused a real tourism boost in the country; in fact tourism is really helping the country, especially Reykjavík, to get back on its feet after the bank crashes. I can only see this becoming a more and more popular destination as it is a great country to visit…get your tickets booked now!
I was lucky enough to visit Iceland for 3 full days, staying in Reykjavík, a lovely city which can be easily walked around. Immediately when I arrived I had a real sense of safety, arriving quite late in the evening when it was dark, I felt safe walking around the streets, even though on many of them there weren’t many other people. I later found out that the crime rate in Iceland is nearly non-existent, so much so that it is joked that the police spend most of their time helping the elderly and rescuing cats from trees!
Hotels in Reykjavík are quite expensive so we choose to stay in an apartment. My advice would be to shop around and see what you can get for your money. I used trip advisor and found the Kerno Apartments which although they don’t look pretty from the outside, were comfortable and really clean inside, perfect for what we were looking. The owners had put a lot of thought into the information they had left, even leaving a basic pay as you go phone to use if necessary during your visit. (We actually used it to contact them about a very early checkout.) Reykjavík is a very small city so remember this when choosing your accommodation, most locations will be easily within walking distance.
I visited at the end of February/start of March and boy was it cold! When you are in the city, wearing plenty of layers, a big coat, scarf and hat was fine, however when outside the city, especially at night (which we encountered when going in search of the Northern Lights) you really do need ski trousers or other appropriate clothing. I of course, rocked up in converse and jeans (although I did have two pairs of socks and two pairs of tights on under them) and was absolutely froze…I couldn’t feel my feet for hours!
While we were there, there was a little snow fall, and ice remained on the footpaths in the city throughout. Outside of the city there was lots of snow…so pretty…a real winter wonderland!
Although I haven’t experienced it, I believe that it gets warmer in the summer and in some locations it gets quite warm. During a bus trip we were advised that in the summer, the farmers are able to grow crop on the green fields; quite a difference to the blanket of white.
The currency is Iceland is the Icelandic Króna.
Most of our meals where actually in Reykjavík itself (although we did eat at the Blue Lagoon restaurant also). Food is not cheap…bare this in mind. On our first night we had what essentially was a chicken burger (although very pretty) and chicken pasta, along with two drinks; this cost £36. This was in a restaurant but prior to entering we had priced around and this was the average cost. Don’t get me wrong, the food at Geyser Bistro was beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact we revisited it on our last night.
When visiting Iceland many people may want to try some local cuisine, maybe having puffin and whales in their minds. Although this had never crossed my mind, it was made clear to us that although there may be a small number of restaurants that sell this food, mainly for tourists, the Icelandic nationals in general do not eat these animals on a regular basis. In fact many are quite against it being offered.
What did we do?
City Walk Reykjavík is a must do activity! It is a ‘free’ walking tour of the city which lasts about 2 hours and mainly covers the history of the city bringing you up to date but includes elves, vikings and much more. We didn’t book the tour until we arrived, I believe they only release dates a few days before to reduce the number of cancelations. I would definitely advise you to book this tour, it was great. Lucky for us the weather was dry and we even got some sun for the walk of the city. The tour relies on the donations of attendees, giving whatever you believe the tour to be worth. Check out their website here.
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland, with many idilic pictures appearing on Instagram and other social media. This is a great day out and I’d advise you to do it near the start of your trip, I found it really helped me unwind and get into holiday mode. Many visitors stop at the Blue Lagoon on their way from the airport or on the way back so bare this in mind, however this didn’t suit our flight times. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, located in lava fields with idilic blue water. It is man made and fed water from a nearby geothermal power plant. There is a sulphur smell in the air, so be prepared for this, but you forget about it pretty quickly. The lagoon offers various packages which you can book here. Silica mud masks are provided for all guests. There is a relaxation room, which I loved and there is the option to book a massage, which I regret not doing. While at the Blue Lagoon we booked into the Lava Restaurant as a treat. The food was beautiful but again expensive. We booked our travel to the Lagoon and our package before going (on the link above), which meant the queue was much smaller so I would definitely recommend doing this.
The Golden Circle Tour is one of those, must do items when in Iceland. We booked our tour through Grayline, who picked us up from our accommodation and left us at the door. The tour includes visiting a stunning national park, seeing the Gullfoss Waterfall, which is absolutely breathtaking and watching a hot spring erupt in a geothermal area.
Chasing the Northern Lights was at the top of our priority list, so we booked a tour again with Grayline. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t get a great showing, literally having to get off the bus on our way back to Reykjavík to see them.
One regret from the trip is that I didn’t visit one of the outdoor pools which the locals use. Since our visit I have heard that they are lovely and less busy than the Blue Lagoon.
There is so much to do in Iceland so definitely research before you go.
If you have been, what was your favourite activity? And if you haven’t been, I definitely recommend adding it to your travel list!
Being Graceful xx