On paper Iceland should have been everything I dislike in a country: lots of rain, grey, cold, near constant darkness in the winter. When my Dad asked me to accompany him, so he could split the price of a turbo charged offroading experience, I agreed. Any excuse for a trip! And I fell in love. Iceland wasn’t dull, far from it! This is a review/guide/my tips of what to expect in Iceland, summed up in 5 colours!
An obvious one. The Blue Lagoon! Just like everywhere suggests, we stopped on the way from the airport before heading on to Reykjavik. True to it’s name, the water really is a milky light blue colour! Visiting over the Easter Weekend, there were a LOT of large groups of students on school trips. The lagoon was big enough to be able to find a quiet spot to be able to lose them in the steam! It did provide us with entertainment though, watching the kids take their un-waterproofed iPhones into the water with them and subsequently then destroy them. The water wasn’t as hot as I expected it to be, you had to hunt for the REALLY hot patches…they were lovely! Saying this though, considering the outside temperature was somewhere around freezing point, I didn’t feel cold. The changing rooms are very clean & despite the signs you can get away without having to remove all your clothes!
Quick tip: go up to the outside observation deck up on the roof! It gives you a better vantage point to see just how big the Lagoon really is! Plus, drown your hair in the free conditioner BEFORE you go in…don’t rinse it off, just leave it slimy. I even went under a waterfall, used the conditioner again when I got out & my hair didn’t dry out at all 🙂
It’s the land of Ice, white has got to be mentioned! Although there are the obvious glaciers, snow, white water from the waterfalls & geysers…this point is aimed at the driving conditions! The main road south from Reykjavik passes over the top of a mountain range. Every time we drove this route, it was a near white out, it was pretty hairy! A lot of the road signs also had snow drifts against them so they were hard to read. A detailed map is a MUST. We picked one up in a petrol station, it was expensive but had so many details on it was technically invaluable!
My FAVOURITE place I visited was the Black Sands Beach at Vik. The sand was jet black, there are basalt columns that are nice to look at and the waves are like nothing I’ve ever seen before, they were HUGE and the noise was incredible.
Fun Fact: If you stand on the beach and look straight forward, there is nothing but sea between that beach and the South Pole!
…and together the BLACK & WHITE looks AWESOME together! Two extremes!
The landscape wouldn’t look out of place on the moon (plus there’s always a funky smell thanks to the sulphur!). Despite the land being volcanic, Iceland is surprisingly green! More like moss than anything else! Even though the country can only grow and produce food with the help of giant green houses, we never once had a bad meal, every thing we ate was lovely! Here are my recommendations:
By the time we had finished at the Blue Lagoon, we arrived in Reykjavik quite late and was worried there’d be no where open on Good Friday! Our hotel (Hotel Orkin) recommended ‘Potturinn go Pannan’, it was a couple minutes walk away & we had a discount voucher from the hotel so had nothing to lose! It was quiet but the food was lovely (plus they had good music playing!)
‘Icelandic Fish and Chips’ – VERY popular but for good reason.
‘Grillhusid’ – American style restaurant & good quality food
And how could ‘Baejarins Beztu Pylsur’ , the hot dog stand near the waterfront not be recommended!?! Yummy hot dogs & fast service!
Iceland also produces it’s own chocolate, Noi Sirius…I’ll be dedicating a whole post to the one thing I was desperate to find on my visit to Iceland, I succeeded & it did not disappoint! Watch this space!
Ok so i’m cheating on this one, Reykjavik is such a multi coloured city! Just go to the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church to see why! On ground level, I particularly enjoyed looking at the street art, its amazing!
With IcelandAir now flying from Stansted, my local UK airport to Iceland & now routes from Iceland to Chicago, my new nearest international airport, I have a feeling I may be making a few more trips to Iceland in the future!