Angie Explores Iceland
Iceland is a bucket list destination for most people & is becoming hugely popular for Irish tourists looking to experience something different!
We began our journey from Dublin Airport, flying direct with Air Iceland. A short 2-hour flight, we arrive in Keflavik Airport in no time! On arrival we were met by our experienced tour guide Neil & transferred to Reykjavik to take a tour of the city. It’s the world’s most northern capital with over a third of the country’s population living there! The city is full of history, culture & natural beauty everywhere you look.
After checking into the Storm Hotel- we grabbed our swimwear & set off for the Blue Lagoon- a geothermal spa & one of Iceland’s most visited attractions! The water originates 2000 metres below the surface, picking up silica & minerals on its way up. The pleasantly warm water is known for its healing properties and the average temperature is between 37–39 °C. On a cold, wet, windy evening it was an amazing experience to relax in the warm water under the stars!
After bathing we dined in the Blue Lagoon’s lava restaurant. Surrounded by a lava cliff we tasted some of the local delicacies.
The next morning, we were picked up bright & early to set off for the Golden Circle Tour. About 40kms outside of Reykjavik the first stop was Thingvellir National Park.
This is where the first parliament of Iceland was formed in 930 AD & not only is it of huge historical significance it also lies in a rift valley between the North American & Eurasian tectonic plates!
“Lakes, rivers, waterfalls abound – the views are spectacular!”
Our next stop was Gullfoss Waterfall- with many walks around this huge waterfall & various viewing points it was possible to see it from lots of different angles. It’s fair to say we got very wet but it was magnificent!
The last stop was Strokkur Geyser which erupts every 7-10 minutes. It really is quite a sight & it was amazing to be so close to one of nature’s phenomenon’s.
After a full day touring we had dinner & drinks that evening in downtown Reykjavik. It’s a lovely city to walk around at night with plenty of beautiful restaurants & bars to choose from.
The next morning, we were collected bright & early again to do a full day South Coast Tour. Our first stop is at Seljalandfoss Waterfall which is part of the Seljanads river originating in the volcanic glacier Eyjafjallajokull! You can walk behind this beautiful waterfall into a cave for some amazing pictures! It is stunning!
A few miles down the road, we stopped at Skogafoss Waterfall- this was my personal favourite. We were lucky to have a bright sunny day so there was a beautiful rainbow visible through the spray! You can hike up to the top & get very close to this waterfall- truly breath-taking!!
Right next to the waterfall was Skogasafn Museum which is full of really interesting artefacts of Icelandic History. From the turf houses to the old fishing vessel, it was amazing to hear what life was like for the early settlers- with a beautiful gift shop & cafe you could easily spend hours looking around this wonderful museum!
Back in the bus we headed for the Solheimajokull Glacier- this was the highlight of the trip for me & a truly amazing experience! We got kitted out with crampons & an ice axe so that we could hike up onto it. We learned about the behaviour of glaciers & their impact on nature while taking in the stunning surroundings. We got to explore deep crevasses, water cauldrons & wonderful ice sculptures. It was a truly unique experience!
Safely down off the glacier, we began to head back along the coast taking in more stunning scenery. We got to see the famous Eyjafjallajokull- which erupted in April 2010 sending a plume of ash into the air & closing most of European airspace.
Our last stop on this tour was Fakasel Horse Center – first we enjoyed the show which was a beautiful tribute to their relationship & history with these stunning horses. Afterwards we had a tour of the barn & got to meet the owners.
Fact: Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return. This means they have very few diseases & they plan to keep it that way!
We had dinner here which was delicious & the owners switched the lights off so that we could search for the northern lights.
On the final morning we were picked up in a “super jeep” for a jeep safari en-route to the airport! We got to see hot springs, lava fields, beautiful steep cliffs & Kleifarvatn Lake. We also stopped to walk across the symbolic footbridge between the European & North American tectonic plates!
Iceland is an amazing country & it’s no wonder so many famous movies, TV shows & music videos are filmed there…..it is truly stunning & like nowhere else in the world! Icelandic people are warm & welcoming & it was an experience I will never forget. Go see for yourself & get Iceland ticked off that bucket list!!