Wanderlust or Bust: Iceland
My first brush with Iceland was in D2: The Mighty Ducks, or otherwise known as D2: The Cash Grab. One line in the movie stated that Iceland was green and Greenland was ice. This small line burrowed its way into my brain, like most useless facts do (cue the Mr. Plow theme song). The impetus to go to Iceland started two-fold: see the Northern Lights and stay one night in an ice hotel. However, I learned that it isn’t cold enough to have ice hotels, and then decided that a laser light show put on by the divine was good enough.
I really enjoyed Iceland – everything there was so beautiful. I went in December and everything was covered in snow, which as a Southern Californian, is always a joy! I stayed for a week and looking back, I wish I would have stayed for just a few more days – I didn’t get to see the Northern Lights or go whale watching due to the weather, but it was still beautiful to go for Christmas. My most favorite part of the trip was the Blue Lagoon – even though it was windy and somewhat dark (I went at around 8am), it was still amazing. You won’t regret going!
Tips for skating around Iceland:
- Driving / Travel tips
- During the winter months: If you are not experienced driving in snow and icy conditions, DO NOT RENT A CAR! If you are, be aware that the weather changes every 5 minutes, including high speed winds.
- In lieu of driving, try booking tours with Grey Line and Elding Tours. They come pick you up and drop you off at your hotel!
- Weather / Time:
- Dress in layers! Like I stated above, the weather changes every so often and depending on what tour you are on, the weather may change due to the area.
- Tours may be canceled due to the weather. The front desk at your hotel usually has updates as to which ones are still on.
- NOTE: If you see a tour you’ve been wanting to go is a go for a day you aren’t scheduled, call the tour company anyway! This may be your only chance to go! This includes anything on boats.
- In winter, sunlight is around 5 hours – 11:30am to 3:30pm; in the summer, the complete opposite – about 5 hours of night.
- WOW Airlines:
- You can get a really good flight round trip to Iceland with WOW, but be aware that they will charge you for checked luggage, which is about $150 for the trip. WOW is also pretty bare bones unless you want to pay, and yes, this includes drinks.
- Everything is really expensive there, especially food. When booking a hotel, make sure they serve a free breakfast in the morning, just so you know that meal is taken care of. For example, one medium pizza, breadsticks, and salad cost $50.
- Just a warning – Icelanders love black licorice, like a lot. So, if you don’t like it, double check before you eat any sort of sweet or you will be unpleasantly surprised.
- If you are in Iceland during Christmas, note that they celebrate Christmas from 6pm Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. Some places, tour companies, and stores will remain closed.
- Blue Lagoon:
- BUY YOUR TICKETS EARLY! If you wait to buy them there, you won’t get in. This also includes in-water massages. If there’s an opening, don’t wait and get it right then.
- Get a ticket that includes a robe and a towel if you are flying out that same day.
- As you walk in from the bus stop, there is a little office off to the side – this is where you can drop off your luggage, if you have it.
- If you are planning on taking your phone, buy a cheap waterproof case BEFORE you leave the states. I bought one on Amazon for $6; at the Lagoon, they were selling them for $40.
- Make time to go to the Lava Restaurant inside the Lagoon. You can also make reservations AND they do allow you to go in with your robe and swimsuit! The food is delicious and most are traditional Icelandic fare.
- Places to visit: Golden Circle, South Coast and Waterfalls, Northern Lights, Reykjavik city tour (especially: Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre; Lækjartorg; The Old Harbour; VíkinMaritime Museum; Whales of Iceland; National Museum; Hallgrimskirkja Perlan;Kringlan Shopping Centre; Laugardalur Valley; Höfdi House; Sólfarid), Whale Watching, any glaciers and geysers, dog sledding, Blue Lagoon (MUST!).
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