I used to fly over Iceland every summer on my way to and from Canada. I remember watching it through the clouds from 32,000 feet in the air, thinking how can anyone possibly live there? My intrigue grew with every passing summer until November 2016 when my boyfriend and I shoved layers upon layers of clothing into our tiny carry on’s and headed to the land of ice and fire (commonly known as Iceland but my boyfriend happens to be a huge Game of Thrones fan – I’ve never seen it, don’t hate me)
First off, lets get real. Iceland is expensive. To go there and do everything you would like to do you need a savings account for your savings account. We managed to do it on a budget but regretfully had to be a bit choosey with what we spent our money on, so my first tip for the ultimate Icelandic experience is make sure you have some cash in the bank.
We went the millennial route and rented an Airbnb. It was spacious, in a great location, allowed us to stock up on coffee, tea and weetos (one box of these pushed £7, see what I mean) and was significantly cheaper than any half decent hotel we could find.
We toasted our first night at an incredible restaurant called The Grillmarket (http://www.grillmarkadurinn.is/) where we tried whale, puffin and lobster burgers, ordered a chocolate ball dessert that melted away when hot caramel sauce was poured over it and blew a third of our trip budget, but oh my god, it was worth it.
Day two was spent walking the streets of Reykjavik in the snow, climbing the Hallgrimskirkja and awing at the mountains. Almost every street was decorated with Christmas lights and graffiti, a strange but beautiful combination of tradition and expression. We finished the day at the famous penis museum, but that’s a story for another time and another blog.
Day three we took to the national parks, the active landscape and the rolling waterfalls. Okay, we did a bus tour, which we were both hesitant to throw our money at, fearing we’d be the youngest by 30 years, shuffled around, spoken to and rushed. It was unforgettable.
We stood where two looming tectonic plates met, watched the earth’s surface violently erupt with fiery water and felt the frozen mist from the Gullfloss waterfall sting our faces.. all in a day’s work. Tip two, do a tour. Or rent a car and explore. Just get out of Reykjavik, okay? There is SO much more of Iceland to see.
Day four we relaxed. And by relaxed, I mean we spent five hours in 40 degree water, surrounded by mountains, swim up bars and buckets of cleansing face masks. The blue lagoon was absolute luxury and the most perfect ending to a short getaway. We even did a douche-y live Facebook video to show off to our friends and family.
Final tip? Just go.