Travel Agency: Gate 1 Travel
I found an affordable 5 day trip on Gate 1 Travel airfare included. They were great to work with and a representative emailed me a few days after booking to make sure I didn’t have any questions. The 5-day trip included a day of traveling, so you end up spending only 4 days there, so we added on an extra day just for the flight. Also, you can start a payment plan or pay in full.
What to Wear:
Iceland can get really cold; we went in December, so make sure you bring your heavy coats, gloves, and scarfs. We always layered up since we were going to be walking a lot and at night it can get extra cold. We went in December and heard the temperature was unusually warm for that time of year around 30F. We saw teenagers ice skating in t-shirts yikes!
Getting to and from the Airport:
Our package included an airport shuttle to and from the airport.
Hotel: Radisson Blu Saga- Reykjavik
The Radisson Blu Saga is in a quiet neighborhood and is a lovely hotel. The hotel is right in front of the University of Iceland and within half a mile of the city. We choose this one because we don’t like staying right in the center of everything, the walk was about 15mins to the harbor.
Welcome Tour: The package also includes a welcome tour when you first arrive. A bus picks you up and drives you to the city for a quick guide of everything in the area. We opted out of this since we had arrived the day before and already explored the whole day.
Northern Lights: The primary goal of this package is to get you to see the Northern Lights. Every night (until your departure) you drive out for about an hour or 2 trying to find the lights. The drivers have radios to communicate with drivers in all the island in case someone spots the lights first. It’s a fascinating experience.
We booked our tours through Expedia, and all were amazing.
Blue Lagoon- Totally Cool! The Blue Lagoon is a human-made lagoon in a lava field - the water in this geothermal spa is rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and especially great for you if you have bad skin. The temperature of the water is between 99-102F which you need in the cold weather. Don’t worry if you forget your bathing suit, I mean who even thinks about bringing a bathing suit to Iceland. You can rent out a one-piece bathing suit for an affordable fee. We went at night because we had a tour that morning, next time we go, we’ll probably go in the morning so we can see the whole lagoon.
A word for the wise: I'm not sure if this applies to all phones, but I have an iPhone, and sometimes in the cold, it turns off. Take an external battery to reboot your phone by the water so you can continue taking pictures. Also, take advantage of their free wifi and facetime all your friends :)
Golden Circle Afternoon tour: Takes you to the Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir hot springs, and the Gullfoss waterfall. You ride in a Grey Line bus to every stop and can get out for 20-30 minutes which is all you really need.
Glacier Hiking and Waterfalls Full Day Tour: This was my favorite excursion. All our boundaries were tested on this day. There was some light rain, and we were about to climb a slippery glacier. Upon arriving at the site the instructors gave us jackets and specialized glacier gear (crampons and ice ax). At first, I was a little nervous, but they assured us the hike was family-friendly and suitable for all ages and skill levels. We climbed the Sólheimajökull glacier and saw the Seljalandsfoss & Skógarfoss waterfall. The instructor was GREAT and very informative! Remember to bundle up!
Iceland is one of my favorite places. I loved walking in the streets late at night and still feeling a sense of security. If you’re a New Yorker or from any large city, you know why this is so big. We walked all around Reykjavik and by the end of day 2 we felt like locals. The food was okay; I wasn’t crazy about it. Their cuisine is based on fish, lamb, and dairy products with little to no utilization of herbs or spices. By the last day, I was craving a juicy American burger. To get around Reykjavik the capital, you only need a map but to explore the rest of Iceland you’ll need a car or tours.