Our first trip after moving to Dublin happened to be somewhere cold with lots of winter activities; Reykjavik, Iceland. Apparently my inner Canuck was going through winter withdrawal and when I say inner I mean really deep inner self as I am not one to love Winter or any activities associated with this season.
Blue Lagoon was our first stop after arriving at Keflavik Int’l Airport, an absolute must! It isn’t named one of the 25 wonders of the world for nothing.
We booked the Premium entrance ticket which included entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, towel, 1 drink of your choice, algae mask, bathrobe, slippers, reserved table and sparkling wine at Lava. Trust me when I say the bathrobe is a must, the contrast in temperature between the lagoon and outside is a little more bearable when you have a bathrobe to reach for and unless you pack a huge suitcase that could fit one you should definitely consider the premium package. We also decided to indulge in an in-water massage, probably the most relaxing thing I’ve ever experienced! The feeling of floating in warm water while you get massaged by a Viking descendant is unparalleled.
The Blue Lagoon has in-water bars where you can purchase drinks using a bracelet they provide when you sign in, this bracelet can be used to make all purchases and you can then pay your tab when you leave, very convenient since you’re in the water for the majority of your stay. There is also a Silica mud mask bar where you can apply this iconic white mud which deep cleanses and strengthens your skin.
After a “tiring” day at the spa getting pampered, it is time to head into Reykjavik. We stayed at the Apotek Hotel, a small hotel in the heart of Reykjavik. The city is very walkable and there are plenty of good restaurants to chose from. Food is such an important part of our vacations that I usually spend days researching and comparing restaurants. Lucky for me, this time around our friends made the reservations and they were spot on! Grillmarkaðurinn a.k.a. Grillmarket, uses locally sourced ingredients and creates delicious unique food, the setting is cozy yet modern with a really cool vibe. Great place to hang out after a day in the cold!
On day two of our stay we booked a tour with the Mountaineers of Iceland and went snowmobiling on the glaciers and for a swim in the hot springs. If you book with this company I recommend asking for Fjölnir Borgeirsson as your tour guide, what a great guy! Our ride up to the glaciers was an interesting one, picture this monster truck (the wheels were ginormous), driving through snow and ice with a very animated tour guide who on occasion had to brave the freezing cold to remove/add air to the tires so that we could make it to the glaciers. I honestly thought we weren’t going to make it!
After slipping a snowsuit over my snowsuit it was time to head to our snowmobiles.
My inner adrenaline junky with a slight need for speed couldn’t control herself and I drove that snowmobile like I was fleeing from life threatening danger. My poor husband who was clinging for dear life wasn’t too happy with me when we were done. Oh well…
On our way back we stopped at a little pizza place in Geysir and it was delicious! My favorite part about this place other than the great pizza was their lovely sign at the bar.
We ended our day at the hot springs for a little relaxation after all the excitement and it was perfect.
That evening we went to another great restaurant situated on the waterfront in Reykjavik named Kopar, another little gem. They also focus on Icelandic ingredients and offer a great culinary experience along with a great view of the harbour. The deep fried camembert…that’s all I’m going to say.
On our third day we booked another tour with Nature Explorer, we did the Golden Circle and Glaciers day tour. On this tour we saw the Gullfoss waterfall, the geysers and stopped at Langjokull where there is a man-made ice tunnel into the Glacier. Be sure to wear good snow boots and dress appropriately as it can get very cold! It’s all about the layers.
That evening we decided to chase the northern lights by coach instead of a private tour and this was probably my least favorite part of our trip. Besides the fact that you are on someone else’s schedule for a good six hours and can’t leave, it was really not worth braving the freezing cold. You know all those pictures you see online of the northern lights in all their glory? Well that’s all thanks to some very fancy cameras, the naked eye cannot see what you see on the pictures. I don’t know about you but if I can’t see something with my own eyes I couldn’t care less about a picture. Disappointing to say the least. We then drove back to our hotel around 1 am and slept very little before catching our 6 am flight.
The scenery is beautiful and if you enjoy winter activities and geothermal spas I highly recommend a visit to Iceland. You’ll also find some amazing restaurants! Here are a few more pictures from our stay.
If you’ve been, what are your favorite things to do in Reykjavik and other parts of Iceland, please share by posting a comment below! If you haven’t been, what attracts you?