5 Day Iceland Itinerary - Part Two
Hey guys! For those of you who read my last post, you know I’m doing a post series about my trip to Iceland in August of 2017! In the last post I talked about how the trip came to be - who planned it, how much it cost, etc. In this post, I’ll start breaking down the itinerary! I’ll start with days one and two. In the last post of the series I’ll talk about days three, four, and five.
Day one was largely a travel day. I left from Birmingham on an early morning flight. I had a layover and then landed in Reykjavik, Iceland in the early afternoon. We did have to wait for everyone to land at the airport (the company we traveled with, AESU, booked our flights for us, and they did a great job of making sure everyone landed within an hour of one another - we didn’t have to wait long at all). From there, we loaded up into a van and went straight to the Blue Lagoon on our way into the city. The Blue Lagoon costs about $50 per person to visit. That includes unlimited time in the Lagoon, a mud mask, and a drink (there’s a bar in the lagoon!). We didn’t pay out of pocket for the transportation or the Lagoon ticket - those were both included in that $2,000 flat fee I paid up front to travel on the trip.
When you arrive, you go through a quick security line where they check your ticket. You’ll want to pack a swimsuit to get into the Lagoon, but remember it’s usually fairly cold in Iceland so you’ll want to have it in a "carry on" bag. There are very nice locker rooms for men and women. You go into the locker room, find an empty stall to change into your wet gear, and then there are lockers for you to store your things. After your time in the lagoon, you come back in and have the opportunity to shower (the showers are stocked with shampoo/conditioner/body wash made from the minerals in the lagoon, and there are hair dryers in the locker room). After you shower and change into dry clothes, you exit the facility!
We stayed in the lagoon for about an hour and I felt like I could have stayed all evening. The water felt amazing! Here’s a few interesting facts about the Blue Lagoon and why you should ABSOLUTELY include this stop in your Iceland itinerary:
The water is geothermal seawater - 2,000m within Earth’s core, ocean water and fresh water come together and is drawn to the surface with extreme pressure and heat, which is why the water is hot.
The water is packed with minerals and “healing, rejuvenating, and nourishing abilities”.
Ingredients in the water: algae, silica, and mineral salt.
After the lagoon, we bussed the rest of the way to Reykjavik and checked into our hotel. It was so cute and quaint! All of the hotels in Iceland have black out curtains, because the sun doesn’t set during the summer (and likewise, it doesn’t come up much in the winter). Because we were there in August, we got about 2-3 hours of “dusk” every night but it was never completely dark.
Once we got settled, we met the group for a welcome dinner! We went to a restaurant in the vicinity of our hotel. Reykjavik is a VERY active city and most people either walk or bike everywhere they go. We never had to Uber or call a cab for anything. So, we walked to dinner and enjoyed some AMAZING seafood! Everything in Iceland is fresh - they only import about 11% of their food, so nothing is really preserved. It is unreal coming from a country like the United States where everything is preserved and super unhealthy.
After dinner we went to bed and got ready for a busy day two!
Day two was super active! We woke up and ate breakfast from a little coffee shop around the corner from our hotel. Iceland is super health conscious, so if you like to keep your nutrition in line while traveling, this is the place for you! It’s not hard to find healthy options anywhere.
After breakfast, we had a walking tour of Reykjavik. They are VERY proud of their Nordic heritage, and the city is full of history. There are statues of Vikings all over the city with some kind of story of who they are, what they did, and where they came from. If you’re a history buff (which, if you’re traveling to Iceland, you should be) I HIGHLY recommend a guided tour so that someone who really knows the history can teach you everything you want to learn. The tour included the old town center, the Parliament, the Cathedral, and more. The Cathedral might have been my favorite part - there was a little bit of a wait and a $10 ticket, but then you get to go to the very top and see the most incredible views of Iceland. SO worth the wait and the money!
The tour lasted the whole morning and through lunch, and then we had time to go back to the hotel and freshen up. We didn’t stay long, and then we had free time. We continued to just walk around Reykjavik (I know that sounds redundant, but I can promise you, you will not get tired of walking around that city). We did some shopping and found the coolest thing - in one store there was a HUGE statue of Thor (the Nordic god). There was a sign on Thor that said “please don’t sit on Thor - the people of Iceland still very much believe that he is a god”. That was fascinating to me! I didn’t know much about the Nordic culture before I went but I learned so much.
That night, we ate dinner as a group (that part was optional - we were free to go eat wherever we wanted to, but after the first day we really all liked each other and enjoyed hanging out!). We got seafood again, and then went to take some pictures. It was about 9pm when we finished dinner, but it was still as bright as it was at noon outside! We were fascinated.
Take Aways From The First Couple of Days
Make sure you budget for food! Because everything is so fresh, it is also more expensive than it is in the US. Totally worth the price, but we weren’t really prepared for how much meals would cost. $20 per plate was average at minimum.
Pack comfortable shoes! As I said, you will be walking a LOT in Iceland. Make sure you don’t pack “cute” outfits that aren’t practical - I think you would be pretty miserable.
Do some research on the country before you go! If you read my last post, you read that I didn’t plan ANYTHING for this trip. I also didn’t do any research. I knew nothing about the culture and while I did learn a lot on the trip, I wish I had known more about the history going in.
The Blue Lagoon is a must, and a guided walking tour is a must!
So, that wraps up days one and two! Check back next week for the final blog in the series - Day 3, 4, and 5. I hope you’re enjoying following along!