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Visiting Iceland – my experience + helpful tips/advice

I have just came back from visiting Iceland, Reykjavik for a few days and so thought I would share with you my experience and some tips/advice I found useful and also what I wish I would have known before visiting myself!

Booking:

We booked our trip through Tui and personally I found them very good. They made the whole experience, from the booking process to the trip organisation effortless and stress free. They arrange transfers from the airport and there is a Rep always on hand to give you advice/support if you need it. I would definitely recommend booking with them if you’re looking to visit Iceland.

Trips/Tours:

The Golden Circle – This was included in our booking with Tui. It’s a full day tour and definitely worth the experience. We got picked up at 8:30am from our hotel in a coach, and then drove for 2 hours across Iceland to the first stop of the tour (Geysir geothermal area). It’s amazing to see boiling hot water erupt from the ground when it’s snowing/freezing outside!
We then drove to another location (Gulfoss waterfall) where we were also given free lunch (soup, bread, cake).
The final stop was the UNESCO site Þingvellir National Park which historically was very interesting since it’s apparently where the oldest parliament in the world originates from.
We got back to our hotel just after 4:30pm.

The bubbling Geysir


Me and my Mum above the Gulfoss Waterfall

The Northern Lights – On the first night of our stay the trip was cancelled as the weather was too bad (heavy snow/cloud). On the 2nd night we got to go out but unfortunately the lights didn’t appear as it was again too cloudy. The coach picks you up from your hotel about 9pm and you drive to a remote location away from the city lights but near a church and you stay until about 11:30 pm (if they don’t appear before).    
We went out again on our 3rd night but they didn’t appear whilst we were out there and only made a slight appearance whilst we were on the coach on the way back but not enough to really say ‘WOW!’.
Unfortunately, as they are a natural phenomenon it wasn’t guaranteed we would see them and so we said it would just give us an excuse to go and visit somewhere else! So, try not to be disappointed if you do plan on visiting for this reason as there is no guarantee they will do as they are told!

The Blue Lagoon –This was my favourite experience when visiting Iceland and although it is expensive (most things in Iceland are) I do think it was worth it.
I am going to do a separate post of tips and advice for visiting the blue lagoon as I have a few and feel that this post is probably long enough!

TIPS/ADVICE FOR VISITING ICELAND:

  • Ask your hotel/hostel for any discount vouchers/coupons/booklets. On our last day I only discovered that at reception there was a whole booklet full of discount vouchers (2 for 1 coupon’s for meals and drinks) for restaurants and bars all across the city. This would have saved us a lot of money as you may know Iceland is EXPENSIVE!
  • Again, Iceland is expensive. The average meal in a restaurant is about £25 and a beer about £7 (if it’s not happy hour). If you are on a budget it is cheaper to go to a supermarket and buy some bread etc. and make a sandwich to keep you going!
  • Download an app called ‘Appy Hour’ as lots of bars and restaurants do offers on drinks at certain hours throughout the day and this app lists them closest to you.
  • Take an empty water bottle. The water in Iceland is drinkable and so to save some money you can just refill this from a tap.
  • There is a Church in the centre of Reykjavik called the Hallgrímskirkja this gives you a panoramic view of the city and costs 1000kr (about £7).
  • And finally, don’t piss off the Elves – you will understand this if you get to speak to some Icelanders about their folklore and the strange things happening to builders on their land. We were lucky to get a tour guide on our coach who told us some interesting stories 🙂

I hope these help some of you and if you are interested in the Blue Lagoon then look out for my future post on this.

Happy travels!

Sarah Richelle X

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