Iceland. The country EVERYONE seems to be visiting right now (if they haven’t been already – tourist numbers have apparently skyrocketed in the last few years, bumped up by Game of Thrones fans). This trip had been near the top of my travel hitlist for a while so I planned a trip to coincide with my boyfriend’s birthday. We hired a car and spent 7 days exploring Reykjavik, the ‘golden circle’ and the Southern ring road, driving as far east as Höfn.
Iceland is as magical, wild, awe-inspiring and beautiful as everyone says. After the first flurry of editing and sharing photos, videos and stories with family and friends was over, normal life took over as usual and it was really hard to sit down and finish compiling my thoughts into a post. It’s especially difficult now that the sun has started shining here and the trip feels like a lifetime away already.
But I LOVED this country. If you love natural landscapes, peace and quiet, great food and don’t mind wrapping up warm, this is a place for you. For anyone planning to visit – particularly at this time of year – I’ve included the lowdown on our trip at the end of this post. But I’ll mostly let my photos do the talking…
- FLIGHT: Bristol direct to Reykivik with Easyjet – under 3 hours.
- CAR: We had booked a car ahead of time from Blue car rental – we had no issues. It was tempting to spend a LOT of money on an exciting 4×4 but you don’t need one at this time of year – the highland roads (where you need a 4X4) are closed. Normal cars are fitted with winter tyres and are more than capable of handling even very snowy conditions if you drive carefully. But we did pass quite a few accidents when driving the ring road. Listen to the Icelanders and drive sensibly!
- CAR RENTAL INSURANCE – one of the reasons I chose Blue car rental was because most ‘extra’ insurance (crash, windscreen protection etc) is included. We also (reluctantly) paid for Sand and Ash protection just in case – and on one particularly windy day we did get hit by sand (sounded like gravel being thrown at the car)! The paintwork wasn’t looking so great afterwards but we didn’t get any comments on returning the car, maybe because we’d already paid out…
- NORTHERN LIGHTS: The first question everyone asks on your return – and no, we didn’t see them. It was one of the reasons we decided to visit in winter but the skies were cloudy most nights. We also didn’t have the patience/energy – we had some pretty action-packed days and were in bed by 10pm most nights! But a colleague from work flew in while we were in the country and saw them on the plane in!
- BLUE LAGOON: Yes, it’s expensive, but worth a visit. We went for an evening slot so that we saw it in daylight and at night – particularly atmospheric with all the steam rising from the water. I wanted to visit some of the smaller hot pools (particularly some off the beaten track) but we didn’t get time.
- ACCOMMODATION: We mainly stayed in guesthouses – a bit cheaper. But check the breakfast situation – it’s not always clear what’s included – for most of our places it was extra….
There’s lots of great travel blogs on Iceland. I loved the posts on I Heart Reykjavik.