Put Your Crampons On!

Iceland’s tourism has been booming lately. I think every other person I speak to has gone or is planning a trip in the near future.

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Here are some recommendations if you’re planning to go:

Northern Lights

An incredible sight, indeed! Our trip was in July – so we didn’t experience any darkness in Iceland. If it’s on the top of your list, I suggest going closer to December, you’ll get a great view of the lights.

The benefit to going in July was that it wasn’t too cold, we had sun almost every day, and we could visit attractions anytime we wanted. Having 24h sun meant you didn’t have to hit up all of the attractions during peak hours, we sometimes found ourselves sight seeing alone during the “night”.

 

Rent a 4×4 and drive the Ring Road!

You can do the ring road in about a week, I’d recommend 8 full days, with travel on either end if you don’t want to feel rushed, but we did it in 7. Having a 4×4 is key because there are a lot of places you can venture off the ring road.

If you only have a few days stopover, just spend your time exploring the first few items of the following list:

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Spend a day in Reykjavik

It really is a beautiful city, and a great way to start the trip off. Grab a beer and sit on a rooftop patio, walk down to the waterfront, and visit the Hallgrímskirkja Church.

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Downtown Reykjavik
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Hallgrímskirkja Church
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The Sun Voyager

 

Visit the Blue Lagoon

I know, it’s so popular and “touristy” but hey, you’re a tourist. This is a must-do, no question about it. This geothermal spa has to be one of the most relaxing places I have ever been. The blue water is filled with silica, algae, and minerals, and your skin feels brand new after you get out! (Note – your hair, not so much, put some conditioner in before you go.)

We got the comfort package and found it was perfect. It includes a towel, a silica mud mask, an algae mask, and a drink. I highly recommend this package at a minimum because the algae mask was my favorite part.

Remember, you need to prebook this – it gets busy! We didn’t realize this, and we ended up with a really late booking, but it worked out really well because it was a lot less crowded, if I went again I’d definitely go back for a late evening appointment.

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Blue Lagoon after closing

 

Sleep in a Bubble! 

Especially if you’re here to see the Northern Lights!

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Our million star hotel!

 

Go Ice Climbing

At the very least, do a glacier walk! It’s well worth paying for a tour, the guides are amazing and they take you to some incredible spots that you would likely never venture to on your own.

 

Chase Waterfalls and Sheep!

My top favorites were Skogafoss, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Svartifoss – My camera died for this one

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Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

It was a rainly, windy, cold 4km walk, but it was such an interesting sight to see. Plane wreckage on black sand beach. A very unique photography location! You used to be able to drive most of the way down, but they have fenced it off now so you do have to walk down, so bundle up.

 

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Diamond Beach

Both are sights to see! No one was really at either of these locations when we went, and we almost decided not to go. This is right on the ring road, so I highly recommend making a quick stop to see. And diamond beach is just across the road.

 

Ride an Icelandic Horse

Fun Fact! Once their horses leave Iceland, they’re never allowed to come back, even the ones that are sent for races, so they’re very careful on what ones they choose to go.

 

Thinking back, I can’t believe how much we did in 7 days.

There are a ton of things to see and do, and every time I put an activity in, I remembered something else. I can’t wait to go back, there is still so much to see and so much to do, we barely ventured off the ring road!

 

H.B. – 

 

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Life in a Bubble

Nope, not figuratively!

I’ve noticed 5 million star hotels popping up all over the place lately and decided to try one out. Just outside of Reykjavik, our accommodations for the night were simply a giant plastic bubble. How incredible is that?

The bubble structure is kept inflated by a slight over-pressure from a noiseless ventilation system. It renews the air inside 2-7 times the volume per hour to prevent humidity, and the system has heating elements with a thermostat so the bubble stays warm – even in the middle of winter!

We pulled up to an adorable little house to meet the host. After following her down the road and off into the trees, she led us to our bubble. We were so excited we didn’t listen to a word she said as we ran around it taking pictures and poking it.

We grabbed all of our stuff from the car and piled it up next to the entrance.

Now, how do we get in this thing without letting all of the air out?

We unzipped the front, and the entire entrance way collapsed onto us and all of our stuff as we fell to the floor laughing, but also somewhat concerned we had just deflated the entire thing.

While fumbling around on the floor underneath all of the collapsed plastic, we found the zipper that allowed us to get into the bubble. Before unzipping it, taking into consideration what had just happened, we zipped up the outside zipper before undoing the inside zipper – and there we had it! The entrance filled back up with air and we were INSIDE!

So to summarize:

Step 1: Unzip entrance zipper

Step 2: Step inside the deflated part

Step 3: Zip up the outside zipper

Step 4: Unzip the inside zipper

Naturally, after figuring all of this out, we had a photo shoot.

 

The bubble created a serene feeling that nothing is between you and the rest of nature. I highly recommend this experience to anyone that enjoys outdoor exploring.

Unfortunately, there is no aurora borealis in the summer months in Iceland, and therefore we did not get that experience. It is now something I plan to go back in the winter months for.

 

 

HB.