The Top 10: Iceland
It’s time for another travel post…! Vic and I get asked all the time what our favourite place place in Europe was, and his answer is always Iceland, where we travelled over the Easter long weekend. Mine is different of course, but that post will be coming up later. Because I’d already shown you one amazing spot in Iceland last year, I decided to tell you about all the other things I loved as well.
When we were travelling, posts like these by other people were a godsend for us, so consider this a short guide to my top ten favourite things to do in Iceland. It’s by no means a comprehensive list and of course feel free to ask any questions you may still have at the end. Ok here we go -
1. The Northern Lights. It was the main reason we went and we were lucky enough not to be disappointed. We even saw the lights on the plane! Vic took the picture above - we were parked on a high spot along the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake and stayed some accommodation about 20 minutes away. One thing I would say about the northern lights is that you have to go and seek them out yourself - don’t take one of the stupid bus tours. Drive around the ring road, park yourself up on a mountain with a few other people, turn all the damn lights off, and wait.
2. Driving Around. When we arrived, we rented a car and drove around the ring road that goes along the entire perimeter of the island, but in the interests of time, we confined ourselves to two-thirds of the southern end. The scenery down there is something you have to see if you go to Iceland - it’s otherworldly. We took a lot of opportunites to just stop and take photos. Which is also how we ended up at…
3. The DC-3 plane wreckage. You’ll need a car and some internet directions to find this - it’s at Sólheimasandur near Vik. Check out my If You’re Ever In post which has more pictures and detail. It really is a must-see.
4. Geysirs! These are a massive tourist attraction but for very good reason - when one blows up right in front of you, it’s kind of magical. I don’t have any pictures of it going up but that’s because I was busy shooting video… There are bus tours that can take you, but if you have a car anyway, just drive there.
5. Shopping in Reykjavik. One of my favourite places was Kraum, which was just next to our hotel (the Hotel Reykjavik Centrum - it was beautiful) and also next to one of our favourite restaurants, The Fish Market. The shopping in Reykjavik is insane - so much cool stuff, and Kraum in particular had some really beautiful pieces. It’s where Vic bought my placeholder engagement ring which you can see more pictures of here. It’s by a brand called Hring eftir Hring.
6. Music. Bands like Sigur Ros, Bjork, of Monsters and Men… The list goes on. Get yourself to a CD store in Reykjavik and pick up some tunes for your car trip. One of our favourite moments was walking in and Vic chatting to the record store guy about the new Sigur Ros album. Vic said, “It’s quite good.” and the response? “No. It is superb.”
7. Rekjavik in general. There are some amazing restaurants around, a graffiti park, a beautiful church at the top of the street with a statue of Lief Eriksson - the real first European to set foot in America. It’s a really beautiful city. Eat all the food - even the fermented shark which you can find in a little restaurant just near the church. During our time in Iceland we had minke whale (in this restaurant and also whale jerky from the supermarket…), the fermented shark of course, cormorant, and other more normal foods as well, all of which were locally sourced, organic, etc.
8. Glacier Walking. If you get a chance, go to the Skaftafell Glacier. We went in a little group with a tour guide who was really knowledgable. You can probably do Game of Thrones tours of Iceland now, but the Skafafell Glacier will be one of your stops if you do and it was a real highlight for us.
9. The Blue Lagoon. I’d never seen water this colour in person before, so scheduling in a spa day at the Blue Lagoon was pretty special. We just got in our bathers and hung out in the water for a few hours, pouring silky white mud all over ourselves. Of course afterwards I bought a tube of mud mask for myself which I now can’t find…
10. Diving. I’m not a diver, but Vic is and when he heard you could go diving in Iceland, there wasn’t really a question of if he would go, but who he would go with. Eventually he picked Dive Iceland and headed over to the Silfra Lagoon while I had a day to myself. We went again to the lake a few days after because he wanted to show me - oh my god, the water was so clear. There’s no fish down there, but the visibility in the water is something to be seen. Apparently.
Finally, don’t forget to check out my Iceland Travel Vlog which has a lot more pictures.