It’s been three years now since Lance and I ventured to the northern most capital in the world, Reykjavik, Iceland.
For 10 days we explored the city and the surrounding area.
But looking back on our trip I’m just reminded by how much we both want to go back to Iceland! In preparation for our upcoming, completely unplanned, and totally un-booked travels to Iceland here are the…
Five things I’d do again!
1. Dip into Blue Lagoon: There was nothing better than relaxing our entire bodies in the warm 100-degree waters right from the airport. We both had bedhead, we hadn’t showered in what felt like years, and we were exhausted from a red eye flight. So, we welcomed the idea of soaking in the salty blue water for hours. As we immersed in the misty darkness of the lagoon, our eyes started waking up to see the haunting beauty of the lagoon. The powder blue water was hugged by these massive lava rocks; the color contrast was striking. What says “welcome to Iceland” better than 100-degree water! Note: we highly recommend booking the shuttle from the airport to Blue Lagoon, we took the very first bus that left at 7:30am. And we made sure to schedule a spot on the shuttle from the lagoon to downtown Reykjavik. Click here to make getting to and from Blue Lagoon a breeze. Remember, pre-booking is required, and tickets do sell out for Blue Lagoon. In fact, after our first visit we tried looking to see if we could squeeze in another dip before flying home. No luck, tickets were all snatched up. So, learn from our mistakes!
2. Get Behind the Wheel: No, we couldn’t pronounce a single Icelandic word or read their traffic signs, but navigating this beautiful country by car was so freeing and surprisingly stress free. In order to see the sights and feel immersed in the emerald country-side you’ve got to drive it yourself. (Yes, if you’re wondering, they do drive on the same side of the road as we do in the states) The only regret Lance and I had was we wish we would have rented a car for the entire trip and explored more of the country by four-wheels.
3. All the Tomatoes: Not a day goes by where I’m not dreaming about the tomato soup I had at Friðheimar Tomato Farm. I’m telling y’all they had the most amazingly flavorful tomatoes I’ve ever eaten.
But let’s be honest they had me at “all you can eat tomato soup and bread!”
Plus, the atmosphere of the restaurant was so unique, you’re seated literally within the greenhouse itself. As if the creamy soup, starchy bread for dipping, and the setting wasn’t enough – order yourself one of their freshly made Bloody Mary’s and send yourself over the edge. I will never sip a pre-mixed bloody the same way. The cherry (tomato) on top- Friðheimar farms operates in an environmentally friendly manner. I’m talking green energy, pure water, and organic pest controls – all combined to produce the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten.
4. Say Hay to the Locals: Have a photo shoot with the Icelandic horses. But first, make sure to pack at least one knit sweater so you can look the part for these postcard perfect photos. I mean the horses will promise to look their best, so it’s the least you can do. Remember to be polite to them, not everyone loves to be pet, that also means no snacks from strangers (I know it’s so tempting). Instead, just smile and say haaayy
5. Oh-natural Hot Springs: Yes, Blue Lagoon is amazing, but at the end of the day it’s a human-made hot spring. Sometimes the most fruitful experiences come from breaking a bit of a sweat. Pack some light hiking shoes and trek the trail to find yourself a natural hot spring to soak in. We enjoyed relaxing in Reykjadalur hot springs after a steep but casual 60-minute walk into the valley.
The hike was so scenic, we lost track of the number of waterfalls we saw, around 20 or so!
We were lucky enough to find a soaking spot that gave us a grand view of the emerald valley with the fog rolling over it’s peaks. Something I’d recommend bringing with for next time- a blanket. Sure, towels are great for drying off, but when you get out of the warm water and the air starts to bite at your freezing skin… a big blanket would have been welcomed. I say this because when we were starting to get dressed, I thought I was going to see Lance die before my eyes… he just could not handle the COLD! He was too busy shaking and shivering to try and warm up. But all the goosebumps aside the natural hot springs were an absolute highlight.
BONUS: 5 things I’d need to add!
- Blue Lagoon x2: This next time around I’d want to visit Blue Lagoon upon arrival but also make sure to book tickets for a finale visit right before we flew home.
- See Wild Puffins: Visiting in November had many perks (less crowded for sure), but seeing puffins was not one of them. Next time we’d have to plan around the puffins’ schedules- so we could see these tuxedo sporting birds when they are plentiful. Which means we’ll be making a summer trip to Iceland so we can get our puff-on!
- Experience Glaciers: A drive to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon would be a must. I hate to say it… but seeing these northern masterpieces before our warming planet melts them away…. it would be a surreal experience that I regret not having during our first visit.
- Rescued Whales: Just recently Iceland became home to the world’s first and only Beluga Whale Sanctuary. This sanctuary is the bright new future for dolphins and whales in captivity and is already home to two rescued whales from China. These two beluga whales will be able to swim, explore, and deep dive in a massive bay habitat. I’d love the chance to support their cause and have the opportunity to visit the bay and view the happy whales from a discreet distance.
- Have Bed Will Travel: Since we enjoyed driving the countryside ourselves so much, we’d love to upgrade. This time around, I think renting a sleeper/camper van and driving the entire Icelandic coast is in our cards. My goal would be to take on the entire ring road that loops the country! The idea of hitting the road and stopping where ever we’d like, in no particular rush. Now that sounds like a trip I should be counting down the days till.