Finally I made it to Iceland! I really want this to be a short blog about what to do in Iceland and top tips on how to save money. Before booking Iceland I heard it was expensive however, Iceland is not expensive it is day light robbery! It is a very beautiful city with so much to see and do but it doesn’t need to cost a fortune so heres how to do it on a budget.
Book a hotel which includes breakfast
If your like me and cannot justify paying £4.50 on one burnt croissant then I cannot stress how important it is to book a hotel with breakfast. We choose Fosshotel Reykjavik it was a beautiful hotel. The rooms were modern and clean. We were on 14th floor so the views were amazing. The breakfast was amazing! Usually buffet breakfast can be quite bland and cold but this was really nice. Cereals, eggs, bacon, vegetarian options, cheese, pastries hot drinks, cold drinks, fruit etc. It was really nice because we could make a hot drink to stay and to go.
We only stayed for 2 nights but if staying longer, I would suggest bringing a flask and filling it up so you can make hot meals and drinks during the days because the tours/ excursions can be long. For example the golden circle tour is 9 hours long. There is a clean kettle and fridge in the room so you can make sandwiches and have snacks etc to save money. We booked a flight and hotel package on Expedia.
Book tours in advance
If you want to go to the Blue Lagoon book it on the website in advance, slots get booked up quickly. It is 15 mins drive from the airport so the best time to go is as soon as you land or on the way back.
The company we used for the Golden circle tour, Secret lagoon and Northern lights was Sterna Travel booked via Viator. My cousin who lives in the US booked all the excursions on her end and always found a discount code for each booking which helped save money.
Blue lagoon was booked with Greyline transfers, they picked us up from our hotel, took us to the Blue lagoon then took us to the airport. They have a number of pick up and return times. Our transfer from the airport to our hotel was also with Greyline transfer.
Always shop around to look for the best deal at the time off booking and also look out for promo codes!
Food/ snack shop in Bonus
Bonus is a supermarket which was mentioned in the reviews on Trip advisor for Fosshotel. While walking through Reykjavik and seeing the prices in the shops and other supermarkets I didn’t have much hope for bonus but I was impressed. So a “big eat” pack of doretos was £6 or one pack and £8 in tourist areas but it is sold in bonus for £1.50. I got a big bottle of water, pringles and doretos. I also brought some go ahead biscuits from London and honestly for 3 days thats all the snacks I needed after a massive breakfast.
Reykjavik town is beautiful. There is plenty to see, souvenir shops, places to eat, museums and churches. A lady gave us an Icelandic coupon booklet which had coupons for restaurants in Reykjavik. This was very handy because it gave us 20% off our meals at dinner time.
The street art in Reykjavik is beautiful, there is so much pretty images to see while walking along.
Rainbows everywhere, it was so beautiful. I would turn around and see a rainbow it was amazing. We did experience all the seasons in the space of 1 hour which explained the constant rainbows.
I took a picture of Mount Esja every opportunity I got. I was obsessed, I honestly could spend all day looking at them.
You can go to the top of this church and see views over Reykjavik but we didn’t because we didn’t have the time. Plus we could see everything from our hotel.
Golden Circle Tour
An amazing 9 hour tour, the bus has Wifi to keep you connected. The guide was really good and gave a lot of useful information. During the tour we saw Icelandic ponies, they are so cute. They stay outside for the whole of winter but they are hairy which keeps them warm. They are kept outside because if they are brought in they would loose their hair and would not be able to survive the winter.
First stop was Thingvellir National Park. We didn’t spend much time here although it is beautiful. There is a lot of hiking involved if you get to spend longer.
The next stop was Geysir Hot Springs. This was such a breath taking experience. Seeing the geysir’s and the Stroker explode 30 meters into the air. It explodes every 5-7 minutes. It was a bucket list moment.
Glad I was able to experience something like this.
The next stop was Gullfoss Waterfall. We saw it from two viewing points, above and below. It was beautiful another place I just look at all day.
We then headed to the secret lagoon which was included in our tour package which I will talk about in the next section. After the that he drove us through the mountains, you know the mountains I am obsessed with. Mount Esja, it was crazy because there was no snow in town but so much snow up in the mountains. After the tour they took us back to our hotels.
Blue Lagoon or Secret Lagoon
Blue lagoon is a must in Iceland and should be pre booked. For such a busy place they don’t have enough toilets. It is so windy because it is by the sea. The day we visited there was sleet, it was cold and so windy, it felt like a tornado. Never the less we still went in. Parts of the water was warm and some parts were luke warm. The mud masks were really good, when I took it off I could feel my face was tighter.
The Blue Lagoon is very big and there is a lot of space to walk around so you can easily spend hours here. There is a bar in the water to keep hydrated and you have a wristband which will get charged at the end so you don’t need to carry cash with you. It was so windy so once I found a nice warm part in to sit in and wind blew the water it felt like being in a jacuzzi.
I thought I would add this picture of how the security guard was dressed. He was fully wrapped up and there I am trying to brave a face for the photo. Honestly it wasn’t that bad once you found a warm part and your shoulders was in the water. However this opinion is based on bad weather conditions.
I was also suggested putting loads of conditioner in your hair before entering the pool even if you don’t intend on getting your hair wet. I didn’t plan to get my hair wet but it did. When I tried to rinse it out the next day it still felt like wire.
One tip I would recommend is not bringing a towel outside with you especially if it is windy and can get wet. Its best to leave it in the locker and walk through the side which takes you straight out into the pool.
Now on to Secret Lagoon
The secret lagoon was included at the end of our golden circle package and what a wonderful way to end a brilliant and full on day. The secret lagoon is cheaper than the blue lagoon and is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. The hot springs built around it keeps the water hot. The water in the secret lagoon was very hot 40 degrees to be exact. There are little Geysir which erupts every 5 minutes which keeps the water warm. It was the best feeling ever but at times it was a bit too hot. We were able to spend 90 minutes in here and I feel like that was enough.
The secret lagoon is much smaller than the blue lagoon so not much space to wander too but there was a number people there but we all had enough personal space. The secret lagoon is the perfect place to visit if you want to relax without the hustle and bustle of all the tourist. If you can do both I would definitely recommend.
I was seeing the northern lights on this short visit to Iceland and nature was not getting in my way. It was very cloudy and you can only see them when the sky is clear. I was speaking the northern lights into existence. The night we arrived was the night we were suppose to go out on the tour but it was cancelled. The last tour went out 3 days before we arrived and before that they hadn’t been out for 3 weeks! This was a little worrying but I was still speaking it into existence. When I found out the tour was cancelled I said it’s OK because we were tired due to having a early flight, walking around Reykjavik and we really needed a good night sleep for the the next day.
We did the northern lights tour with the same company that we did the golden circle tour with so I got so excited on the way back when they said they had a tour to go on at 8pm. We set out for the tour and they mentioned that the city council will be turning off the lights for one hour so the northern lights could be seen. We went to the first location and could not see anything. The guide said they stay at a location for about 20 mins if not they move to another. On the way to the next location the guide glimpsed a faint line off the lights so the driver pulled over the coach on the side of the road.
It was at that moment we saw the lights dancing in the sky. It was very faint and still a bit cloudy but at least we saw them! I am now on the hunt to see them again…. Finland maybe. The great thing about this company is they cancel the tour if the forecast predicts fog therefore you don’t have to go out and waste your time. If the tour gets cancelled for the duration of your holiday you will get a refund. If you go on the tour but don’t see the lights you don’t get a refund.
Iceland was a breathtaking and amazing experience and I am so glad I went. I ticked a few things off my bucket list. I learnt so much history about the country. We travelled during the winter so it was cold but not as cold as expected. It was there mildest winter in years so that was good for me because the weather was similar to London. Iceland I will be back for a few days with the boys because Ahaziah saw the pictures and said it looks amazing!
If you have any questions or want to know more leave a comment.
Until the next travel blog……