Iceland: The Land of Ice and Fire
Iceland, the land of ice and fire, hot chocolate and waterfalls, black sandy beaches and dramatic mountain edges. A land where one minute the sun kisses your skin and the next minute the wind sweeps you off your feet.
I visited Iceland for a long weekend for a friends surprise 30th birthday. With it being the beginning of December it really is a game of chasing the light. The days are only about 4 hours long in Iceland in their winter and very rarely do you get more than just a dull grey sky. We were super lucky and had basically 4 hour sunsets/sunrises (who knows) all day.
Icelands landscape is different to any other country I have visited. Sometimes you visited places or see something that reminds you of Norway, Australia or New Zealand. Other times you just feel like you’ve been transported to another planet.
When we were there it was unbelievably cold but no snow. Wrap up really warm and take practical shoes, especially when visiting the waterfalls as the paths are like an ice skating rink o I ended up on my bum at least four times.
Top tips on visiting Iceland:
My first top tip is to hire a car! If you like going at your own pace but want to explore lots of Iceland then you need a car. Most of the waterfalls and tourist points are at least an hour away and if you don’t want to do a coach with a bunch of other people then a car is a must! And you can get them pretty cheap.
Rent an airbnb. This saved us a lot of money. We went to Reykjavik one night and the meal itself cost more than our food shop for the rest of the days. It’s nice to visit the town but it is expensive. If you rent an airbnb (which are quite a decent price - as a group the prices get better as expected) then you can do a food shop for a really good price and cook more your meals at home / take pack lunch on your day trips.
Top places to on visit in Iceland:
Obviously you want to see all the top waterfalls. I was on the Southern Coast so we went to Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss but here are some other places you may not know about:
Kerið Crater - The Kerið Crater is around 40 minutes from Reykjavik and is a really cool place to visit. You can walk down into the crater and around the edge of it which allows you to view it at several different angles while having an unspoilt view for miles in every direction.
The Secret Lagoon - This is Icelands oldest swimming pool and was a much more attractive option than the Blue Lagoon (for me!). If you like to be somewhere a lot less touristy and still have an epic experience then this is the place to go. It’s only around £25-£30 to get in and you can stay as long as you want. Along with being a cool outdoor hot pool there is a spitting Geysir to the side which is an added bonus.
We went straight from the Crater here and then headed back to Reykjavik.
Þingvellir National Park - If you want to be transported to an episode of Game of Thrones then this is the place to do it. Many scenes are filmed around the park and as a fan you’ll definitely be able to spot them. Along with this the park offers gorgeous lake views, the clearest most perfect water I have ever seen and wonderful walks along slated paths.
Sólheimasandur plane crash - Although we didn’t have time to go there it would be a shame not to share. The plane crash is an awesome wreckage on a beach along the Southern Coast. It’s about a 40 minute walk each way but the photos look worth it. Probably best to visit in the Summer due to the lack of light in the Winter