- Tuesday 12 December 2017
Iceland has to be one of the coolest destinations I’ve ever been to. It is a country of extreme, unspoiled nature and unreal scenery. I was lucky enough to see a few highlights such as the stunning waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, geysers and of course- the Northern Lights. It is impossible to describe the beauty in words and unfortunately my phone camera didn’t do them justice either… you have to experience it to believe it!
We flew with Wow Air direct from Dublin, which was very comfortable and efficient. Upon arrival, we headed directly to the Blue Lagoon. Fed by underground geothermal springs, the lagoon is filled with warm water (generally 37-40°C) which contains silica, algae and minerals. It's the silica and reflection of the sunlight which gives the lagoon its blue colour.
Pre-booking your tickets is required, and we had chosen the Comfort Entrance tickets. This includes a towel, two face masks, entrance and a drink of your choice. The Blue Lagoon is about half way between the airport and Reykjavik, so it's a good idea to stop after your arrival in Iceland. There are lockers in which visitors can store luggage.
Refreshed, we then transfered onwards to our fantastic apartment hotel, The Swan House, which is located in Reykjavik city centre. We had a fantastic dinner at Matwerk restaurant, in the centre of town- worthy of a Michelin Star.
Then, we set off to hunt the Northern Lights by jeep. We roared up Úlfarsfell, one of Reykjavik’s mountains, to view the city. From there we headed towards the south and made a stop close to the town of Hveragerði, before heading back into town. Unfortunately we did not see the lights. This was disappointing, but we had so much fun seeing the views and being thrown around the jeep trying not to cover ourselves with Viking Beer!
The next day, we visited the Golden Circle, stopping at Þingvellir National Park. Here, the tectonic plates are clearly visible- being pulled apart by 2cm every year- you can even walk between them. It's an important place both geographically and historically- the world’s first parliament was created in Þingvellir in 930AD.
Next we made a lunch stop and saw the Geysir (sometimes called the Great Geysir) erupting from its hot spring. We then continued on to the wonderful Gullfoss waterfall, which is fed by Iceland's second largest glacier- Langjökull.
Then, we embarked on our snowmobile experience, with monster truck transfers. This lasted approximately four hours. Snowmobiling on the glacier was a highlight for me. I felt like a cross between James Bond on the snowmobile, and an astronaut on the very lunar glacier landscape. The experience included all the gear- we were fully kitted out with snowsuits, balaklavas and helmets.
After our arrival back in Reykjavik, we had dinner at Rio Reykjavik, formerly known as Mar Restaurant. This is the ideal dinner location for anyone going on the Northern Lights Cruise, as this restaurant is steps away from the pier where the cruise departs.
We had planned to do the Northern Lights Cruise this evening, but unfortunately we had to cancel due to zero Aurora activity and dense cloud overhead. I'd recommend booking this cruise early in your holiday, so if you are forced to cancel you can try to make it another night.
The following day we visited Urriðafoss waterfall, on the mighty river Þjórsá- the longest river in Iceland. Then we continued on to Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which drops from a height of over 60 metres. Visitors can sometimes walk behind the waterfall, though it was sadly closed on this day due to ice.
The next stop on our tour was Reynisfjara. This beach is one of the world's most unique, filled with shiny black pebbles and stones. It was created when lava flowed into the water and instantly cooled. The beach is surrounded by stunning basalt stacks and columns.
Skogafoss waterfall is one of the biggest in the country, and on sunny days visitors can often see a single or double rainbow due to the amount of spray it creates. From there we continued on to the base of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano before heading back to Reykjavik.
Upon arrival in town we enjoyed locally brewed beers in Bryggjan Brugghús. This cool brewery, bar and restaurant is located in Reykjavik harbour.
Next, we enjoyed a sumptuous meal in Kolabrautin restaurant, located on the 4th floor of the gorgeous Harpa Concert Hall. This was a stunning venue and another gorgeous meal. I was so pleasantly surprised by the top class cuisine in Iceland and would definitely recommend it to foodies.
Luckily for us, that night things were looking good for the Northern Lights Cruise. We opted to forgo sleep and give it a go. Thankfully the lights danced for us, along to the sound of Michael Bublé singing Christmas tunes from the speakers. It doesn’t get any better than that!
The next morning we were up early to depart: sleep deprived but reenergised after an absolutely amazing few days. I would thoroughly recommend a holiday in Iceland!
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