Iceland is definitely one of the “coolest” places I have ever been …. and I’ve been to a few places already. We booked our trip through Icelandair and definitely made the right choice in doing so. It was very affordable and we did the Build Your Own Vacation option, so we were able to book exactly the tours we wanted to do. The trip cost us $660 per person including flight, hotel, taxes, everything! You can’t even go to Las Vegas for that much! This was definitely a trip we needed to take.
When we built our vacation package we added the Warm Baths & Cool Lights tour to it. Mommers loves hot springs and we were going for her 65th birthday, so we decided that would be the package for us 🙂 Also, when we were booking, I wanted to book the Blue Lagoon (can’t go to Iceland and not go to the Blue Lagoon) but it wouldn’t let me book it for any other day than our departure day. So I ended up going directly onto the Blue Lagoon website and finding out it was actually closed for renovation form January 4th to January 21st, reopening on the 22nd (our departure day). I felt very strongly about going to the Blue Lagoon, so I booked it for our departure day directly on their website. Looking back, I now would recommend visiting the Blue Lagoon on your departure day because we were picked up at our hotel after checking out, we were able to store our luggage at the Blue Lagoon and then we caught the bus straight to the airport right after. It all went super smoothly.
The weather in Iceland was not what I expected at all! It was warmer than home (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). The average temperature for Iceland in January is usually -2 to +2 degrees Celsius …. however, while we were there it was +5 to +7 and raining the whole time. The weather was amazing! Unfortunately, the overcast skies meant no Northern Lights for us this time.
Our Icelandair flight left Edmonton at 5:00PM and arrived in Iceland at 6:00AM (their time). Upon arrival we thought we wouldn’t be able to check into our room until 2:00PM, so what should we do for that 8 hours? Go on a tour of course! 🙂 We caught Flybus at the airport and went to the main Reykjavik Excursions bus station to select our tour. We ended up choosing the Golden Circle Tour which gave us a chance to see the 4 most popular attractions in Iceland: Friðheimar Greenhouse Cultivation Centre, the Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss Falls and Thingvellir National Park.
Reykjavik Excursions is the company that does most of the excursions (all of our tours were through them) and they will always pick you up and drop you off wherever you request. All of our tours were done through them (including the Blue Lagoon one I booked separately). They leave exactly on time for each and every tour. They are a very reliable tour company that operates like a well oiled machine.
After our tour we were dropped off at our hotel, Hotel Cabin in Reykjavik (pronounced Rake-A-Vik). It was a wonderful hotel and was exactly what we needed for our trip. It was walking distance to Laugavegur Street, which is the main shopping artery in Reykjavik.
We had breakfast each morning in our hotel because it was included and was exactly what we wanted. Breakfast there was tomatoes, cucumbers (they can grow those there in geothermal greenhouses), ham, cheese, boiled eggs, toast, coffee and tea. Yum! They also eat a lot of fish and lamb there. It was good eating. Although, anything other than those few items available have to be shipped in … blueberries, bananas, apples … any fruit really, was super expensive …. but it completely makes sense.
* Fun Fact: Iceland is the first country I’ve been to that doesn’t have a McDonald’s
Getting to Iceland was very affordable but once there things were a bit on the expensive side. I bought an ‘Iceland’ hoodie for ….. well … lets just say, it’s the most expensive hoodie I own 😉
I highly, highly recommend going to Iceland. It’s a very different vacation from what I’ve always taken …. I’ve never travelled North before and will probably never be farther North than that.
I always say that I don’t have the time to repeat countries …. but somehow I see myself heading to Iceland again. It was an amazing country filled with amazing people. Oh, and I don’t think manlier men exist anywhere else 😉 These guys are big, tall, bearded, man-bunned, burly Vikings! Sooooo manly and handsome …. and they have awesome accents!
I also experienced a travelling first, on my Iceland trip. We left Keflavik at 5:00PM on Friday, January 22nd, 2016 and arrived in Edmonton, Alberta at 4:43PM the same day! 17 minutes earlier than we took off!! True time travel! 😀 If someone was to ask me what I was doing at 4:53PM Friday, January 22nd, 2016, I could say I was both boarding and de-boarding my Icelandair flight! Pretty cool, right?! Yup, pretty cool indeed!
Okay, so since I started writing this blog post, Icelandair has introduced the Stopover Buddy service! Now, if I were to go back, I’d definitely sign up for that! 😀 I’d ask my Stopover Buddy to take me to the Ice Caves. That was the one tour we didn’t get a chance to check out. It’s fairly pricey, but worth every cent, I bet.
Okay … there you have it! My Icelandic experience! It was definitely a trip I would recommend to anyone. There’s no malaria, you don’t need any vaccinations, the water is safe to drink, it’s not too hot and not too cold …. it’s just right (Goldilocks would approve). 😉