Hello guys and thank you for you patience,
We back in UK from very exiting trip to Iceland!!! I have to say that we manage to do quite few thinks and explore as much as possible in 4 days. Ok let me take you with me and reflect on our journey. Make sure you are having cup of tea or coffee because this blog will be probably a bit longer then usual.
WHAT TO PACK: I would strongly recommend that you do not underestimate Icelandic weather. What ever time of the year you go, there is few essentials you should consider - Hat, scarf, gloves and warm jacket. Weather in Iceland can change in minutes and even if weather looks nice and warm-ish temperature changes can be steep.
Walking Boots - absolutely essential don't think that trainers do the job - they don't.. If you go to see waterfalls you need walking boots just for your own safety..
Waterproof poncho - Yep one of that fancy plastic thinks. Trust me is nothing more uncomfortable then wet thru jacket, blasting wind and temperature around 4 Celsius.
Thermo-Coffee mug - We were sometimes traveling thru country side for hours with nowhere to stop and I wish that I had my Thermo-Mug and hot coffee.
Go-Pro - or any other action camera is great to have as these devices are waterproof and allowed you to take photos and videos in places that you mobile device wouldn't.
We booked our flights with Easy-jet and have to say that flight is just over 2 hours long from Manchester and there is no time difference between Iceland and UK. We payed for returned flight around £140 per person with 1 check in suitcase and pre-booked seats. Upon arrival to Keflavik International Airport procedure is the same as any other airport, we decided to check temperature outside - freezing and windy :) I think its good to mention that every international flight will land in Keflavik NOT Reykjavik but there is bus transport available that takes less then an hour from Airport to Reykjavik city centre. How ever said that I think that you shouldn't make Iceland capital as your base for travels.
RENT A CAR - This give you freedom, smoother journeys and safe you loads of money. We rent a car for £150 including full insurance for 5 days. Just mention here that if you planning exploring mountains this can be done only by 4x4 cars rest can be done in any other car. We collected car at the airport and drop off was at the airport too (full to full rule) just remember that in Iceland you drive on right hand side and give way on roundabouts from left...
We had our car, journey planner in our hands ready to explore our first stop - Blue lagoon.
Blue Lagoon - This place take your breath away. I would recommend book tickets in advance. We payed £75 for basic package including entry, free silica mask, free 1 drink of your choice and towel. You can stay as long as you wish and there is also restaurant or little coffee shop available. By car this place is about 30 minutes drive from airport and there is large carpark available free of charge. Some people may say that this place is tourist trap however this is the place must go if you first time visitor to Iceland. Once you get change its time to explore this volcanic spa. Large pools with seawater heated by mother nature is just heaven to relax. In some parts water temperature is hotter 40+ Celsius and some parts are cooler around 30 Celsius. In water bar and in water facemask dispensary make your visit more memorable.
I personally thought that this place will be packed with busses and hundreds of people but we arrived at 1pm and have to say it was pleasant, you can find quiet places to relax, steam bath, steam sauna and alpine sauna included. I have to say that Lava scrub and Algae facemask are amazing. There is shop selling this products for prime prices (starting from £30+ for 200ml scrub) If you fancy purchase any of these products I would recommend wait and buy them at the airport for cheaper tax free prices. Because water is heated from volcanic activity you may smell sulphate (eggy smell) but is harmless and you get use to it quickly. Including price you have got use of towel as well and if you own any action camera like Go-pro take it with you. After we relaxed and looked younger (using free face mask) we continue our journey to Icelandic capital city Reykjavik.
Reykjavik is rich in history and it this the place where you can spend hours. As any capital city its more expensive, flashing shops, beautiful coloured architecture and rather exiting restaurants. You need day or two to explore this city located on west coast of island. As I said before don't set this city as your base as there are cheaper and nicer places to stay. In case of dinning out you will need substantial amount of money (1 starter, 2 mains and 4 beers cost around £60) In case of drinking you have to look for licensed places like bars, coffee shops or restaurants to have a drink. You can not buy any alcohol in ordinary food shops. Eating out and drinking is very expensive in Iceland and if you do budget traveling like us get your supply from Manchester Duty free shops. It is much cheaper just because Iceland is not part of EU and 1 litre bottle of gin cost us £12.
Have a good explore. Reykjavik was our first overnight stay. We choose place very close to centre and this was nice cosy guest house. Remind you again that if you want to take a shower you will smell sulphate due to volcanic origin of the island but you just have to go over it. In this point I would like to mention that you do research regarding day light hours. In November sunrise was at 9.30am and sunset 16pm and trust me you need light to see all beauty of this place. Next morning we got up early and set off to explore Snaefellsnes peninsula.
This place is North from Reykjavik and there is plenty to explore. Driving car is magical as you can see full beauty of this Country. You can find online blogs and Facebook group for secret tips and tricks and places to see. We had planned about 20 stops before reaching our next over night stay at Grundarfjordur. You may say 20 stops is mental and I have to agree. Due to short day light we were pushing our luck but its worth it. I will list few places here we stopped and you can use Google to find them - Eldborg volcano, Budakirkja black church, Dritvic beach, cliffs and lava field, Saxholl volcano, Kirkjufellfoss water fall and many more.
Iceland is rich in bird life and you can spotted birds like Puffins, Seagulls, Wild Swans etc. Have your eyes open. Also I would like to mention that each stop got designated footpaths and please follow them. I saw so many people wonder off just to take picture of the lifetime. It is dangerous and disrespectful. Many places are protected for reason like - wild flowers, nesting birds etc. But also you put your life in to a risk. Each year there is many of deaths report in Iceland due to disrespectful tourists many times around waterfalls or people who were thinking that they are clever enough and went for hike.
Iceland is known as country of hundreds of waterfalls. Just driving thru countryside you can spot a loads of them. You can just stop and take pictures walk to the top with no one around you and that was what we liked. You can stop in main tourist attractions or just passed them and stop couple miles down the road.
But always remember stay safe. Iceland is safest country in the world in case of crime. Icelanders are kind people speaking well English and there hospitality is heart-warming. After exploring peninsula we reached our next pit-stop Grundarfjordur. We found beautiful place to stay with great view on Air B&B. We were hoping to see Northern Lights but unfortunately weather wasn't kind to us and we decided to visit Shark museum. Iceland got one rather unusual delicates called Fermented Shark.
This is only Shark native to Iceland. Icelanders don't hunt this shark as its very expensive due to depths this animal live in. They mostly rely on accidentally catch. This shark is toxic to person. If you eat meat before fermentation you die. Making this delicatessen got 2 stages. 1 - preparation and fermentation - Toxic meat have to be left for few weeks fermenting when good bacteria breaking toxins. Once this is done stage 2 starts and meat is hang and air dry. This process form crust and preserve meat. You can buy this snack only in Iceland in small tubs diced and like Italians snacking on olives Icelanders snacking on fermented Shark. I have to say that smell is revolting - like a road kill in summer. But when you taste it its actually good. This Shark museum is located near Grundarfjodur and definitely place must see.
After we left our lovely accommodation it was time to experience Golder Circle. Golden Circle is popular trip for tourist and I think if you got car you will explore more then only 5 stops. Just let you know that if you got car you safe a lot. This trip officially starting in Reykjavik and fist stop after beautiful scenic drive is Thingvellir - Here you can park your car in large car park and explore 2 tectonic plates. You clearly see gap between them and if you brave enough you can dive as well but this has to be booked in advance. There is walk around this National Park with several view points and waterfall. There is no Entry charge only parking charge.
You can spend hours wondering here because it is so peaceful and large area to explore. But it was time for use to move on and next stop is power of nature - Geysir This volcanically active wonder of nature is free of charge and good size carpark. Be prepare for strong sulphate smell and get sprayed every so often. Great is to have camera or phone with slow motion option as geyser activity is so quick and powerful. High of water shoot depend on day by day. When we went it was 20m high. Every 5 - 7 minutes you will see this extraordinary power of nature shooting water high follow by sulphate smell :) If you get peckish or want to buy a souvenir there are large facilities you can enjoy.
After visiting Geyser it was time to move on and visit our next stop - Gullfoss. Magnificent waterfall with extreme power, blue water and unbelievable views. This place is must go. If you not interested in national park or Geyser this place is must go. This magnificent waterfall is protected but it wasn't always a case. Because of huge power there were people who tried to build power plant. I can understand why but if there wasn't Icelandic lady who fight for Gullfoss protection all its beauty will be lost forever. I am glad that it stays as it is. Upon arrival place looks a bit different.. Looking like refreshment stop by the road. How ever once you get out of the car you can hear stormy power of Gullfoss without seeing it just yet. And again entrance is free of charge as carpark is. Now is the time to use your rain poncho as spray of water elevate hundreds meters in to the air. I would mention please stay on designated footpaths, this giant claimed many life's of stupid tourists who just want to take a picture of the lifetime... We spend there around 45 minutes and have to say that I would easily stay a bit longer but it was time to move on.
We were on our way to accommodation and decided to have a quick dip in Secret Lagoon. This public place is located near Kerid Creator. As you know that water in Blue Lagoon is salty in Secret Lagoon is filled with drinking water. This public baths widely used by locals are great place to relax and rejuvenate your muscles after loads of walking and climbing. This is natural spring heated from the Earth and thru out the pool there are spots hotter then other parts and have to say that after dark its like a heaven - relaxing in hot water combine with freezing outside temperature and cold Icelandic beer that's the way how to end a day. Entrance in to this place is around £20 per person but totally worth it. After couple hours of relaxing we have to go and reach our accommodation - Hotel Borealis.
We chose this place again as a good place for spotting Northern Lights. I have to say that do not set your mind with - I am going to Iceland to see Northern Lights...- Because you will not. This nature phenomenon depend on so many thinks like - Sun activity, solar winds, position you are, atmospheric quality etc. We spend nights in total dark hoping to see them but unfortunately we didn't. But we weren't sad or our trip wasn't spoiled as not seeing them only means that we need to go back to Iceland. There is only few lucky people that been right time in right place. But hopefully we will see them next time. Its like a weather... You can buy or pay for Northern Lights. Next morning we had a 2 places scheduled before we head back to Reykjavik for last night. And another place must see is - Kerid Creator
This place is like from sci-fi movie. Because is located on private land this was only place we have to pay for entry on golden circle. Entry was about £4 per person and worth it every penny. You can walk all around top bit and then walk all the way in to this Creator with amazing water reflections. Nice place for exploration and lesson about Creator. But it was time to move and visit our last stop. Black Sand Beach
Reynisfjara Beach is located at south part of the Iceland just over 2 hours drive from Reykjavik. Its one of the most amazing places I seen so far. Everything there is black, magnificent mountains and rock, huge waves is probably reason why this place was voted as most beautiful non tropical beach in the world. My pictures doesn't do that much justice but you can walk miles and miles enjoy yourself and be present and soak all that beauty.
As you can see we had a fun there and definitely place to visit.
But unfortunately it was time to go back to Reykjavik enjoy last night shopping and few drinks get packed and next morning Airport trip and back to reality. I have to say that this was one of the best trips we did together with my husband and Iceland touch our hearts. This place will be on our travel list again. Maybe next time to see midnight sun or if we lucky Aurora Borealis.
Thank you guys for your patience. But its Monday New Blog day hope you enjoyed this little travel guide and Iceland will be your next destination soon.
Thank you for your support, thank you new subscribers and special thanks to my hubby for planning this amazing trip.
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See you here soon love Jerry.