My husband and I got married last November and did a delayed honeymoon to Iceland in March 2017. It gave us time to settle down from the wedding, get through the holidays and save some extra money before leaving on our trip. it also gave me time to hop on Pinterest and create a fool proof itinerary inclusive of everything we wanted to do while we were abroad. This being my husbands first time traveling over seas sans deployment, I wanted to make sure it was special and full of beautiful sights!
Since I decided to go against the standard guided tour and to coordinate our own so we can manage how much time we wanted to stay at each destination, we needed to rent a car. Now, we went in the dead of winter (I know, what were we thinking) and got a great value on a little Fiat 500 with snow tires from Green Motion. They were great, shuttled us from the airport to the car rental location (about 2.5M away in Keflavik) and we were in and on our way in under 30 minutes. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting vehicle insurance when you’re in Iceland, their roads are not as “smooth” as ours and consist of loose asphalt; the car companies completely take advantage of this and charge for legit everything so save yourself the stress and pay the extra $$ for full coverage!
We stayed at the Grand Hotel Reykjavik
which is about 1.2M from downtown Reykjavik. When you walk into the lobby, you definitely get the feel that it is a luxurious hotel with a beautiful bar, stand alone fireplaces and tall mirrors throughout. It was elegant without the massive price tag; we paid an extremely competitive rate of $149 per night. Our room was simple with hardwood floors, lots of storage for hanging, etc. It was a standard room which didn’t bother us because all we wanted to do was explore!
The Golden Circle Tour
So I took it upon myself to plan our tour on my own based on the recommendations from Pinterest and friends! If you want a hack to plan your drive easily, click here (https://guidetoiceland.is/travel-iceland/drive/).
Here’s our journey:
THE BEST SOUP OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE!!
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal and silica soaked oasis. It has become quite infamous over the past few years and even bringing the likes of the Kardashians there for an absolutely luxurious soak and social. Since it was our honeymoon, we decided to do the Premium pass so we could get some added ahh for the day.
My husband being of Viking decent, this was something I thought would be fun to do so he can learn a little more about his roots. This museum was very small, and wasn’t exactly what I expected. However, the employees made the experience for me! They were so kind, very responsive to all of our questions and really allowed us to immerse ourselves in each experience they had to offer there. If you have a good 30 minutes to kill after the Blue Lagoon, definitely stop on in and grab some coffee and walk around the exhibits.
Talk about dreamy! Seriously, this hidden gem was one of my favorite nights staying in Iceland (we did a double booking for this and kept our stay at the Grand for our stuff and reserved here for a one nighter.) If your bank account allows, book this experience but make sure you have some entertainment that doesn’t require wifi (if you know what I mean LOL). It was an absolute Winter Wonderland and I woke up to the most breathtaking sunrise. However, here are top tips I wish I would have known.
- Bring your own food, and plenty of it
- Bring your own water, and also, plenty of it!
- Download movies to your iPad for when you can’t sleep! My poor husband was stuck watching Twilight Breaking Dawn because it was the only movie I had on my iPad.
Unfortunately we didn’t see the Aurora’s due to snow and I was super bummed, but still fun nonetheless!
Yup, I said it. PENIS! There was plenty of dick and balls floating (literally) around this joint. My inner pervert could’t pass up this type of opportunity to say that I at least went there! If you have 15ISK to spare, definitely to a stroll.
The dude is in Iceland and I was LOVING it. Let me just say, they had an entire two page menu of different variations of White Russians.
This absolutely stunning art piece is a key staple when visiting downtown Reykjavik.
“Sun Voyager is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, located next to the Sæbraut road in Reykjavík, Iceland. Sun Voyager is described as a dreamboat, or an ode to the sun”
“Harpa is a concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavík, Iceland. The opening concert was held on May 4, 2011. The building features a distinctive colored glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland.”
Southern Iceland Tour to Vik
Memorable places we ate:
Eating in Iceland is honestly where we broke the bank! We spent easily $150-$200USD everyday just on food! Here is a few of the most memorable places we ate (aside from the Tomato soup listed above)
Icelandic Hotdog Stand
(however, I have read it has relocated from the downtown area after 80 years which bums me out! http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-40751689)
I had the lamb and my husband had the white fish of the day. Both were absolutely delicious and I would suggest this restaurant to anyone who is going to visit Iceland.
This is going to sound crazy but D&D in Iceland was our savior! It was the only place we found that gave a coffee larger than 8oz, between the daily drives and the jet lag we needed our American 24 oz of coffee. BONUS: Their donuts taste better than ours!
Bars We Went To:
- The American Bar
- Dubliner Reykjavik
- Grand Reykjavik Hotel Bar
Our favorite beer takeaway from the trip? Boli! They do not sell it here in the states so definitely give it a taste!