Planning holidays is basically my hobby. I love visiting new places, experiencing different cultures and seeing all the beautiful places there are in this world. I haven’t yet had the chance to go travelling so this is normally made up of city breaks and beach destinations.
I had the chance to go to Iceland at the beginning of March and it was one of my favourite city breaks that I have been on. Here’s 10 reasons why.
1. The scenery is like nothing I have ever seen before.
As the plane was coming into land, I was like a little kid leaning over the seat to peer out the window. The best way I can describe it is like a desert but covered in snow. It was so vast and empty. When we were driving through the country you can literally drive for miles without seeing anything. No trees, no animals, hardly any villages. It is simply pristine. (Sorry about the dirty plane windows!)
2. The Aurora Borealis aka. The Northern Lights
The first day we arrived so had a Northern Lights tour booked for that evening on the boat. We had a wander around Reykjavik to get our bearings and a then a dirty burger before heading out on a boat in search of the Northern Lights.
The night we went we heard there was a 4/10 chance of seeing them (however we later learned that they mean this in terms of brightness) and also that the boat the night before has seen them. So feeling 50/50 on whether we would actually see them but remaining positive, we put on the overalls wrapping up as warm as possible and headed to the top deck heads gazing towards the stars.
It was a little cloudy but just half hour into a trip we caught a glimpse of them and they continued to get brighter, the green stretching across the sky. Now I’ll openly admit, I did not see the Northern Lights like those incredible pictures you see but I like to think that is near on impossible to see with the human eye. We couldn’t catch the lights on our iPhones but an American man had some amazing photos, even picking out the pink which wasn’t visible to our naked eye.
It was truly a wonderful experience and I’m so happy to say I can tick that off the bucket list. (Disclaimer: not my photo but one close to what I saw)
3. 4. 5. Golden Circle (Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot spring area, Gullfoss – the Golden Waterfall)
On our second day, we went on the Golden Circle tour visiting the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot spring area, Gullfoss (the Golden Waterfall). We went on a guided tour bus (mainly because it was included in our holiday package) but actually it was the easiest way to see a lot of Iceland that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The photos will explain more on these points as to why you HAVE to visit Iceland. Also, it is very faint in my photo but you can just see the rainbow that is always at the waterfall on the left side.
6. The people
I loved the Icelandic people! They were so friendly and welcoming but also hilarious. Whenever we were on the tours, the tour leaders would make me laugh explaining about the culture of Iceland, cracking jokes – plus they spoke in a lovely sing-song voice that was so engaging.
7. The food
Isn’t this a main reason to visit anywhere new?! Being a massive foodie, I always enjoy trying new cuisines. Although I didn’t eat anything too outrageous, we had the most amazing meal in a restaurant right by the harbour. It was the biggest and freshest fillet of Cod I have ever had. Plus crab three ways to start. Truly amazing! (Also very expensive)!
8. The Blue Lagoon
We went to the Blue Lagoon on our last day and of everything, I would say that if you are in Iceland – you must do this! We got the Comfort package which included two face masks and a drink. The second face mask was much nicer so I would suggest doing this (the first one is included in the basic package). It was like the ultimate spa day, basking in the hot water with blue skies and snow around you. Getting from the lagoon to the inside area was a bit painful though – so cold!!
9. The diversity
One of the things I loved was there were so many people of different nationalities there. Loads of people from the States, Europe, Asia. It was refreshing to have so many different people in one place and a testament to Iceland and what they have done to achieve this popularity all over the world.
10. The shops
Although naturally there were a few big brands there (Canada Goose, Joe & The Juice), the majority of the shops were Icelandic. Normally when I go away in Europe or the Americas, I get used to seeing the same brands of shops. It was refreshing to see different things (all offering warm cosy knitwear) and really made me feel like I was experiencing a different culture. I even found a can of Icelandic air in one of the gift shops (no joke)!