20/05/2020

How to Spend 4 Days in Iceland.




Good morning guys! So obviously with everything going on at the minute, this post is not about a recent trip but I asked on my instagram stories and you guys still really wanted to see it - so here we are: my take on how to spend four days in Iceland! A bit of back story - I booked this trip for March 2019 after my previous relationship ended as something to look forward to. At the time, I was working a high pressure job that I wasn't loving and this coupled with the fact I'd just had my heart broken, left me in a really low place for a while. So me and my best friend decided to book a holiday and after looking around at a few places, settled on Iceland. 




I'd always wanted to go to Iceland as its such a beautiful country and like nowhere I'd really been before. Before going I knew I wanted to visit the Blue Lagoon and see the Northern Lights but apart from that we left the trip quite open - which in hindsight was a blessing (I'll explain more later). 

Overall, I absolutely adored Iceland. To this day it's still one of my all time favourite places I've been and when all of this is over I'm desperate to return. I've decided to split this post up into four sections: Flights & Accommodation, Food & Drinks, Activities & Trips and What to Wear. I wanted to include the last category because Iceland is FREEZING, especially if you go in winter and having the right clothing could make or break your trip. 

Flights & Accommodation

So we actually booked our trip with Groupon and whilst it was good to have everything organised in one place, it probably worked out more expensive than doing it all myself. If I was to return I wouldn't do this again. This was my first time using Groupon for a holiday and they were fast and efficient and I like how they send you all the confirmations and the electronic passes via email in one go. It makes it really easy to organise your trip. The main downside for me was that they did manage to up-sell us a better hotel by claiming that the one we had originally booked wasn't available. Whether or not this was true I don't know, but it did all work out ok in the end because the hotel we stayed in was lovely.

In terms of booking accommodation, the main thing I would be sure of is choosing somewhere either in the centre of or very close to Reykjavik. We were about a half an hour walk outside of the city centre and whilst the whole country does feel very safe, (we were two young girls travelling - so this is important to me) it gets SO cold in the evenings and there is limited public transport. The walk was ok for us but I think if I was going to return I would pick a hotel closer to the centre. 

Flight wise - we flew with EasyJet from Luton which was super easy. We got an early morning flight which was cheap and it meant we pretty much had the whole day to explore. When we arrived in Iceland, we had booked a coach to and from the airport. I would recommend this as it's not too far to drive, however it was really expensive. That is definitely something to bear in mind, (Iceland as a country is expensive - I'll discuss this more in the coming paragraphs) as a return journey cost us £80 each which just seems insane. 

I think for my next trip I would definitely look into hiring a car as the roads are pretty dead until you get to Reykjavik and it would come in handy for exploring things that aren't in the city centre such as the Golden Circle or the beaches.   


 

Food & Drinks

Arguably one of the most important things for me when travelling is the food. I love food but I am a somewhat picky eater and being pescatarian doesn't always help either. However I have to say the food I had in Iceland was all fantastic. If you do want to eat more traditional Icelandic dishes, then there are lots of options, but if like me you'd rather just have a pizza you're in luck too. I would say Iceland as a whole feels very western. They have lots of Cafes, Italian style restaurants, fish places and burger bars. (They also have loads of Joe and The Juice's for some reason too...)

However there is one place that we returned to over and over again - both for breakfast and lunch and that was Sandholt Cafe. They have a lovely bakery and also a sit down menu which was fab. I genuinely think we ate here every single day we were in Iceland. It's situated slap bang in the city centre and price-wise it was reasonable. I touched upon how expensive Iceland is as a country earlier and I just wanted to stress that again here. For an average main meal at dinner time, you're looking at about £20 per head, which obviously adds up with wine or starters as well.

Sandholt Cafe - Reykjavik 









Joe and The Juice

I know - I came all the way to Iceland to sit in Joe and The Juice and have a smoothie and an avocado toastie...

In our defence, on the second day we were there it chucked it down ALL day - and I mean all day. We had actually almost bought Golden Circle tickets for this day which in hindsight I'm glad we didn't. Instead we walked around for a bit, until we got completely soaked and then came and sat inside and watched the world go round. It was actually really lovely to just feel chill and have some proper comfort food. 

The prices are pretty much the same as they would be in the London so it's not too bad. Pro tip: they have a Joe and The Juice at the airport so it's great for a snack before the return flight home. 




Valdis Waffle House

Iceland is full of an array of bright, beautiful buildings and Valdis certainly caught our eye walking past. If you have a sweet tooth you need to check this place out. They do a range of ice creams and waffles - all freshly made - and they were so delicious! One thing I would say is that they have limited seating inside so be prepared to possible have to get a takeaway. However, like most places in Reykjavik, they're only a short walk from the sea or one of the other pretty tourist points. 




Other Dinner Options

Ok so the last couple of photos are from places we went to for dinner. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of either which is annoying because the pasta specifically was great.

As I said above Iceland has a LOT of restaurants, both for those who want a traditional cuisine and those who would rather stick with what they know. Personally I don't see a problem with eating what you enjoy, even if it's not Icelandic but I know some people have a snobby attitude towards not fully "immersing" yourself in the culture.  As I've said, this was just my experience and obviously I'm going to eat what I enjoy. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the food! We didn't eat at the hotel once and easily found places to go everyday. Dietary requirement wise: if you're pescatarian or vegetarian, you'll be fine but if you're vegan you might struggle a little. However, that being said, everyone spoke perfect, fluent English so asking for a salad without the cheese for example, would probably be fine.  





Activities & Trips




One of the best things about Iceland is the sheer amount of amazing activities and planned tours the country offers. We booked the Northern Lights and the Blue Lagoon and very nearly booked the Golden Circle as well. If I'm lucky enough to go back this is definitely still on my bucket list!

My biggest top tip would be book the Northern Lights for the first night you arrive. Basically, if they don't think there is a chance you'll see them, they cancel the trip and rebook it for the next night. Doing it on the first night gives you the most opportunities to see them!

Unfortunately for us, we didn't get the chance to see them as both our trips got cancelled. I was absolutely gutted but I'd prepared for the fact that seeing them in real life is super rare and I guess it just wasn't meant to be. But for next time I will definitely be rebooking for the first night! This tour was organised through Groupon and cost about £20 if I remember rightly. This includes a transfer to and from your hotel. Personally I thought this was a really great deal! 

After we'd arrived and had a hot bowl of soup to warm up (and possibly a nap at the hotel) we headed out to explore Reykjavik. The actual city is quite small and you definitely don't need more than a day to see everything.

My must sees:

  • Hallgrimskirkja Church: Entry is free but you can pay a small fee to go up to the roof. I would HIGHLY reccomend this as the views are amazing! But it's super windy and cold up there so make sure you have a warm coat.
  • Lake Tj√∂rnin: Just a short walk from the centre is a really pretty lake - a great spot for photos! When we went here, unfortunately it was absolutely chucking it down so we didn't stay long.
  • Walk to the sea: Reykjavik is a costal city and the views out from the bay are really pretty.



The Blue Lagoon

When you picture Iceland, I think a lot of us automatically think of the Blue Lagoon. A natural, outdoor, thermal spa that boasts warm waters and skin rejuvenating properties, it was an absolute must for us. Whilst it wasn't cheap (£80 each) you can pretty much stay as long as you want once you've arrived and your ticket includes a drink and a free face mask.

Overall I wouldn't hesitate to do this again. There is something so surreal about swimming around in a giant, warm outdoor pond, whilst literal snow falls around you! However I will say, the run from the building into the pool and then back out again when you're wet is physically painful... the feeling of the icy wind on your wet skin is just not the one! But obviously they provide towels and gowns and hot showers afterwards. 

Something someone asked me on Instagram that I wanted to touch on was how busy and crowded it gets. Honestly I was expecting it to be way busier than it was. The changing rooms and showers were super crowded but the actual lagoon didn't feel busy at all. It was pretty easy to get the photos I took without many people in the background. 




What To Wear 

You've probably heard that Iceland is a pretty cold country. Even by the end of march it was still barely above freezing most days. I remember before I went I was pretty worried about what to pack - I wanted to be warm enough but still look presentable for pictures. My main recommendation would be to buy some super warm boots. I splurged on a pair of Moon Boots for the trip - which were perfect - but if you don't want to be that spendy, there are cheaper alternatives available.

On an average day walking around, I wore a long sleeved top and a big knitted jumper, jeans, a thick padded puffa jacket (One of the long ones that covers your bum) a scarf, a hat and gloves. I would say I was just about warm enough. Oh and I also wore two pairs of socks. My recommendation would be pack like you're going skiing (just without the gear). You're going to be outside, in the snow, walking around and it's probably going to be freezing.




All in all I absolutely loved Iceland. There are so many more things to do than the ones I mentioned, such as Glacier Hikes, the Golden Circle and the Lava Tunnels. Grayline are the biggest tour providers on the island, so check their website and see what appeals. But if you're currently considering a holiday to Iceland, I cannot stress enough how amazing it was. Fingers crossed everything will be back to normal soon and I can head there again!

Have you been to Iceland? Would you consider going after reading my post?! x

Lily x
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8 comments

  1. Iceland is always a dream destination and it’s on my wish list. Thank you for sharing this awesome travelogue.

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    1. It's absolutely gorgeous - even better than I expected!

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  2. Omg absolutely loved this post, I've never been to Iceland but it's 100% on my bucket list - the blue lagoon looks dreamy! Glad you enjoyed it, so amazing - serious heart eyes right now xx

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    1. Aw thank you! You have to go one day - it's amazing! One of my fave places i've ever been! xxx

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  3. Oh my gosh as if I didn't want to go Iceland enough already! I absolutely love your photos - looks like an amazing trip. When all this is over, Iceland is definitely at the top of my list of places to go x

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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    1. Thank you so much - It was genuinely one of the best trips I've ever been on! x

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  4. Iceland looks like an absolutely fabulous place. I've never really given much thought to traveling there but it seems like I need to reconsider my stance there and look into booking a trip as soon as this pandemic is over

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    1. I hadn't until I saw someone's post a few years ago - it's actually amazing! It's so beautiful and there are so many amazing things to do!

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