Iceland is very possibly our favourite country in the whole entire world. There is so much to explore and so much to see, and it’s one of those places where you can have the most wonderful trip with anyone – friends, a partner, family. I’ve done this trip with all of those groups, and today’s post is a follow on from our part one post all about what to do in Iceland as a couple. As we have now come back time and time again, experiencing a hoard of different things, we have so many things to recommend and talk to you about! So if you’re planning a trip here or would like to collect inspo for the bucket list, have a look at the Iceland tab to see all the things we recommend doing, seeing, eating, our tips to save money here and so much more! In part one we talked about the city of Reykjavik, black sand beaches, our favourite restaurant here and bars, and the village of Vik, and in this post we will delve into the Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle tour and more. Let’s get into it!
Day three was mainly spent at the real gem of Iceland – the Blue Lagoon. Whilst there are so many things to see in Iceland and I couldn’t really ever just pick one, I know the Blue Lagoon is somewhere I could happily visit over and over! It is essentially a spa and attraction all built around a geothermally heated hot spring – which is a hot spring heated naturally due to the volcanic nature of the area. (It is safer than it sounds!) The waters are completely rich with silica and other vitamins which have a host of healing properties. Many Icelandic people are prescribed free visits to places like this to help cure joint problems, skin conditions and so much more. They are so incredibly good for you and sooo incredibly zen to visit. If you do choose to go here (you literally must,) be sure to book tickets in advance as you can’t just drop in on the day.
We had a day ticket here, but you’re never kicked out at a certain time and can stay as long as you like. We stayed lounging in the waters and drinking different smoothies for a good view hours and saw the lagoon go from day to night. I can never get over the colour of that water, it is just so special! You can get taxis and tour buses here but obviously will be more time constrained. If you do have a car you can park for free and stay as long as you like – and the roads are particular safe on the way over here from central Reykjavik! Tickets start at the equivalent of about £40 each for anyone over the age of 14, but vary depending on the different packages you choose. You can have extra spa access to the saunas and other amenities, or you can simple grab a towel and jump in the hot springs for as long as you like. They are definitely the best bit so I wouldn’t feel the need to spend too much more. We finished the day with some quesadillas and rested up for an early start the next day.
We spent our fourth day here on the Golden Circle tour. This was my second time doing this and I have since done it again! Whilst one time is enough to give you memories forever, I’m more than happy to see these sights time and time again as they really are stunning. This was also Jack’s first time experiencing the three wonders of the tour and I loved seeing his reactions to everything. Whilst we had a car and could have driven ourselves around the tour, we decided to hop on the tour bus this time as the roads were fairly icy. We have since driven the tour ourselves and it’s definitely something some people would prefer, and others wouldn’t. Have a look at our Iceland tips posts to see if hiring a car would be better suited to you or not. This tour ticks off three beauties in Iceland plus a cheeky extra that changes across tours. You start at sunrise at a national park and get to see the sun shining over the most beautiful countryside. Whilst this sounds ridiculously early, remember Iceland has only 5 hours of sunlight across most of winter, so it was about 10AM at this point for us. You do have to get up fairly early to get to the coach station but it’s not too bad; and totally worth it! We had a wander through the national park, and were allowed to break off at our own pace so long as we made it back to the coach in time – which was the same in each destination and allowed for some more private time. Our tour guide told us a bunch of facts about the history of the area and Icelandic norms which was really interesting, and then we headed off for stop two.
The next stop was a huge waterfall called Gulfoss. There’s a lovely story behind this waterfall where the girl who lived near the land saved it from being turned into a hydro power plant to preserve it’s natural beauty – it’s written on the signs around the falls and tributed to her. It is also called /translated to the Golden Falls, as when the sun hits it right it is golden; how sweet is that!? If you’ve never seen a proper waterfall before (and to be honest even if you have,) you will be left absolutely breathless after seeing this beauty. There is a shop and restaurant on site here (as with the next stop) and they usually have some really tasty cafeteria style food. We usually opt for a veggie soup and some chips/cakes. It’s such a lovely way to warm up and have a chat after being out in the freeze too!
The next main stop of the tour are a collection of Geysers – with one particularly prominent one. A geyser is essentially (this will not be scientific and I apologise for that,) a deep water hole, only found in a few places in the world, where the water is geothermally heated and becomes boiling. As it reaches this point it explodes high into the air leaving a spectacular fountain every few minutes or so. After this it cools, and boils all over again, with the same water explosion. The heights and weight times vary but if you wait long enough you’re sure to see some epic shows.
We stopped off here to watch a few explosions, take some videos and selfies and then went to have a quick mooch in the shop. Some of the selfies are hilarious! You have no idea when the water is going to explode so me and Jack were stood with our backs to the geyser waiting to take speedy snaps when it shot up.. I managed to smile just in time but Jack took about 30 photos of him looking unimpressed where he was focusing on taking the photo and forgot to smile hahahahahahahahah.
The last stop of the tours vary on the season, what is available and what the other tours are doing – so they can keep crowd levels down. I’ve heard people have stopped off at waterfalls in the past, but this time we stopped at a horsey place. Icelandic horses are really special to the people here and they have their own gait which other horses in the world can’t do – how cool is that? After a swift trip here to see the unique gait and meet the horses, we headed back to the city and had some dinner. (Where we managed to get an Icelandic parking ticket – very much not ideal! … And sadly not the only foreign country we’ve managed to do this in!)
On our last day here we baked some baguettes we had bought to cook in our hotel. (Read our part one post to hear more about that!) Essentially, we wanted to use the kitchenette to save on some money on food, but after seeing a lot of it was quite grubby we didn’t really cook here. Thankfully the rest of the room was pristine, but so as not to waste food, we cooked the bread to feed to the birds down by the lake. (As an edit to this post – I have since discovered bread really isn’t all that good for the birds as it is very low in nutrition for them, bird seed and feed is much better for feeding. In the future we will definitely only feed them the goodies, but unfortunately we didn’t know to do this at this time!) The ducks particularly were so friendly, they came right up to us and one in particular took a liking to Jack kept nibbling him for more food! It was one of the cutest things and I just fell in love with all the lovely babes.
We had a few hours before we needed to head to the airport and so wandered around the city and entering a Viking museum. Iceland is obviously built off a lot of viking history and it’s really interesting hearing about all the quirks and how they came to be. Even now, a lot of Icelandic people believe there are fairies on the land – and you must not build over their homes – so a lot of the roads are windy to avoid the fairy homes. How fun is that!? The museum wasn’t necessarily a highlight and there are some better Viking Museums elsewhere in Reykjavik, but if you want to fill some time and warm up it’s not something you’d regret!
Our last stop was finally going inside the church, the Hallgrímskirkja, and getting tickets to go to the viewing platform at the top. Iceland looks particularly stunning from up here and the tickets are really cheap, so this is one of our must dos here! After dropping back the car and getting back to the airport, we headed home to England. Iceland is somewhere we could just always return to, and I’m so excited to share all our tips with you! Have a look at the Iceland tab for tangible tips and precautions to take in this crazy beautiful place.