MY FIRST blog post. And I’m excited to introduce you to my version/my viewpoint/my first real travel destination: ICELAND!
Listen, Iceland has been in my bucket list as long as I can remember. I was OBSESSED. I pinned photos of the Blue Lagoon on Pinterest, watched videos of northern lights dancing across the sky, and imagined what it would feel like to stand in front of one of Iceland’s massive waterfalls. It all came true when I stopped dreaming, put my foot (and $$$) down, and decided to make it happen.
Dates: Last week of September (4 days: 2 travel days + 2 full days)
Weather: COLD, but no snow
Clothing: Thick winter jacket, thermal linings underneath sweater/pants, jeans, scarf, hat, ear muffs (sometimes)
First tip: Rent a car. We rented a Toyota RAV 4, unsure of what the weather would be like during the last week of September. There’s a saying in Iceland, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes”. Oh, it’s true. Windy/cold one minute, sunny/cool the next. Minus snow. No snow during September this year but we did get lucky with spectacular northern lights show.
We stayed in an Air B&B in the city (Reykjavik). On the day we arrived, we wandered around the city and looked for an affordable place to eat. We couldn’t. Holy shit, Iceland is expensive. Oh well- we’re on vacation so we will eat ONE meal at a restaurant and all other meals will be either fast food/gas station sandwiches or home cooked meal. YOLO.
The city is absolutely beautiful, but I couldn’t wait to get our exploration started!
Early AM, first full day. First stop: Seljalandsfoss. I was in awe. To see this beautiful sight in person is truly a magical experience. I know, I sound super corny, I sound like “I shit butterflies and puke rainbows”.
But in all seriousness, this was the moment I fell in love with traveling.
Second tip: when walking behind the waterfall, walk down the path that leads directly to the bottom of the waterfall. Standing right in front of the pool of water that swallows this massive waterfall was an unreal experience.
Second stop: Seljavallalaug geothermal pool.
Tip #2: You need a portable wi-fi. Check it on Amazon. Because guess what? Google maps work perfectly here and you can google map anything.
So Seljavallalaug pool is the oldest pool (built in 1923). The short (super easy) hike itself to this spot is worth it. The landscape is jaw-droppingly beautiful. And you’ll be like those two tourists up there taking plenty of photos. 😉
The pool was lukewarm in some areas, and really warm in other areas. Water is super murky with lots of weird stuff floating in it… But I think the algae prevents the bacteria from becoming rampant (I think?). If it makes you feel better, I’m still alive one month post-swim!
Third stop: Skogafoss.
MAJESTIC. POWERFUL. Absolutely breathtaking. You can climb the stairs up to the top of the waterfall for a different view.
Tip #3: Camp out here. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch the Northern Lights dance above the waterfall at night.
Fourth stop: DC 3 Plane Wreckage @Sólheimasandur
About a two mile walk from the entrance along gravel/black sands will lead you to this site. It was tough trying to get a photo without random tourists in it. So many people walking around it, walking on top of it, taking selfies in front of it… Maybe you should try during unpopular times- early AM, late PM.
Last stop: Black Sand Beach, Vik
Lucky us, we made it just in time to watch the sunset on this beautiful beach. On our drive back to Reykjavik, our Icelandic luck continued and the northern lights appeared above our heads.
We were like three little children running around the city & chasing the northern lights.
We needed more! We drove out to Grotta Lighthouse (~ 10 minutes away from city center) and captured this image:
I fell in love with Iceland.
Full Day TWO: Geysir & Blue Lagoon.
We originally wanted to wake up early, check out the geyser, and go on a hike. But we spent all night chasing auroras so we were waaaay too tired to hike.
Anyway, GEYSIR! Isn’t it spectacular at how close we were able to stand next to the explosion?
The geysir went off about every 6-10 minutes— sometimes 2-3 times in a row!
Blue Lagoon. Final destination for us.
$40/person, unlimited silica mud mask, 3 drinks maximum/person at swim up bars, clean locker room/showers. Bracelet payment method (pay at the end). CROWDED, but the lagoon itself is so large and spacious that you don’t notice when in the lagoon. But the lines for showers can get long.
Honestly, I loved the Blue Lagoon. It was relaxing and we had so much fun here. We used the silica mud mask and the algae mask— my face, my skin, it all felt so soft. Completely worth it in my opinion! Plus the views while drive out to the Blue Lagoon was out of this world.
I wish I had more time in Iceland. Few spots I missed:
Jokulsarlon Glacier, Fjadrargljufur Canyon, Gullfoss, Godafoss, Hveragerdi Hot Springs River Trail.
I can’t wait to revisit Iceland and fall in love with Iceland all over again.