Iceland has always been on my bucket list and this year I was fortunate enough to pay a very welcome visit to this beautiful adventurous country. In this blog I share my top tips for planning a short stay in Iceland. If you’re interested in chasing The Northern Lights, relaxing in The Blue Lagoon, Snowmobiling on the glaciers, admiring spectacular Waterfalls, Geysirs and much more, then read on! Everything I mention below I have tried and tested and loved.
Iceland has honestly turned out to be one of my all-time favourite destinations.
How to get there:
I flew with Wow Air (www.wowair.com) to Reykjavík. There are flights daily to Reykjavík from Dublin airport.
Once you get there, transport directly to Reykjavík is very easy. I would recommend booking your return transport tickets online before you travel and all you have to do when you arrive is step outside the airport and onto your bus into Reykjavík city. I booked my tickets online with Reykjavík Excursions (www.www.re.is). Book the plus tickets as it brings you to the nearest bus stop to your hotel.
Where I stayed:
As I was only there for a long weekend, I wanted to book somewhere central to save on the commute time. I stayed in the centre of Reykjavík in the Sandhotel (www.sandhotel.is). The Sandhotel is a new boutique hotel in the heart of Reykjavík, on the high-street, Laugavegur. It is extremely central and allows you to walk down the street to soak up the city’s vibrant cultural life. What I loved about this accommodation was that everything was within walking distance of the hotel - restaurants, museums, shops etc. A little bit of luxury in the heart of the city.
Top 5 things to do!
1. My favourite trip in Iceland was with Mountaineers of Iceland (www.mountaineers.is). I opted for the Pearl tour and this experience was the highlight of my stay. It captured everything I dream of when I think of Iceland. The Pearl Tour is an Iceland Adventure where you experience some of Iceland’s most famous and exciting natural phenomena by exploring the Golden Circle and an unforgettable snowmobile tour on Langjökull glacier. Trust me, it was spectacular.
a. On the Golden Circle, you get to explore Þingvellir National Park, the active Geysir Hot Spring area with its spouting hot springs and the picturesque Gullfoss Waterfall. The highpoint of the trip for me was going on a snowmobile on Langjökull Glacier. I will never forget dashing across snowfields on snowmobiles while gazing at the mountain peaks. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
2. A walk to the marina in Reykjavík at sunset is a must. It will take your breath away. Beautiful views from every angle and the perfect spot to watch the sun set after a day of adventure.
3. Reykjavík is a vibrant and colourful city. A walk through the colourful streets, while exploring the treasured shops along the way is a definite must during your visit. I would highly recommend a visit to Hallgrímskirkja church which is Reykjavík's main landmark. The tower can be seen all over the city and as you climb to the top tower you can see views of the whole city from above. (www.hallgrimskirkja.is).
4. When in Iceland, trying to see the Northern Lights is a must. I decided to do a tour with Reykjavík Excursions (www.re.is) called the ‘warm bath and cool lights’ tour. During this trip, you drive via the UNESCO site Þingvellir National Park. You get to enjoy a local style dinner buffet before bathing in the geothermal baths at the Laugarvatn Fontana. Sometimes, you can actually see the northern lights from the baths but it was cloudy on the day so we went on a Northern Lights hunt afterwards. We were very lucky to catch a glimpse of the lights during our excursion. It was a spectacular moment.
5. The Blue Lagoon is something that always springs to mind when I think of Iceland. So, I just had to go and experience it for myself. The Blue Lagoon is one of the 25 wonders in the world. The geothermal water originates 2,000 meters below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals and emerges with temperatures generally between 37°C and 40°C.
A big tip is that you must pre-book your tickets for the blue lagoon (www.bluelagoon.com) and I would recommend doing this a few weeks before your trip to make sure you get the time you want. Once you are in the lagoon, you can stay in as long as you like.
Another big tip is that the Blue Lagoon is only 10 minutes from the airport so if you plan it well you can get the bus straight there on route to or from the airport. Otherwise it is a 50 minute trip from Reykjavík city to the Blue Lagoon. There are lockers there for suitcases and belongings. Saves you valuable travel time on your trip.
As a travel blogger, I love exploring new places and Iceland is definitely on my top 3 places to visit. Now laya healthcare members can avail of a 30% winter travel offer until February 1st 2018.
Laya Healthcare Limited, trading as Laya Healthcare, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Laya Healthcare Limited is a private company limited by shares registered in Ireland (No. 242048) and acts as an intermediary for travel insurance products underwritten by AIG Europe Limited.