People will tell you 'Iceland is the most expensive place' they've been to. After recently returning from there, for my boyfriends 30th surprise, I can safely say they're not far wrong. But have no fear. I have conjured up some do & don'ts if you're planning on visiting the magical (bucket list-worthy) country.
- Do not use taxies.
As the living cost is so high, partly because everything has to be imported into the so-called "land of fire and ice" from around the globe. This means taxi charges are ludicrously high! For a half an hour drive from the airport, it costs approx £180- so steer clear (pun intended), and take the bus.
A great transfer company we used was FLYBUS, reasonably priced & reliable.
- Use Reykjavik Excursion buses if you're planning any days out:
Again, this company is a dependable, well-oiled machine that gets you from A to B (literally) without you having to trek in the snow to the bus stops in the town. They pick you up, on time, from your hotel & drop you off to your hotel, which was so perfect.
- Walk the streets of Reykjavik:
Although it's a decent sized city, it's still all walkable, with so many cute shops & eateries, not to mention the scenery of snowy mountains, you wouldn't want to miss anything on route. Pack comfy shoes & I promise you, you won't get bored of breathing in that FRESH air.
- Pick a hotel over Air bnb. Now, this isn't factual but more of a 'my mind over thinks' point. I personally chose a hotel, even though I noramllly love finding a golden quirky gem on air bnb, because I was worried about heating- heating being very important in -3 temps! Imagine turning up to an air bnb with broken heating?! Eeek.
- EYJA GULDSMEDEN. This is the hotel were we stayed. It's super clean with a cool hipster Nordic vibe. Breakfast was amazing with loads of choice ranging from full english options (always a tick for me), to fruit, crossiants & Icelandic yoghurt. Make use of the free tea & coffee that's on offer 24/7- take a flask to fill up when you're going on your excursions & walks around the city.
FOOD & DRINK
- Hlemmur. A cute indoor market (similar to Pop Brixton or Camden Market in London), full of different food stalls, & bars. We we opted for 'Flatey' a pizza consession that serves DELICIOUS stone oven pizzas made fresh to order. Very reasonably priced, as Pizza's go in Iceland- around £12 per pizza (which isn't too dissimlar to London prices....)
- Reykavik Chips! OMG. Best. Chips. Ever. I am not a chip person at all but David had a cone for our first walk around the town, and well, they soon became my cone of chips. Must go (opt for the chilli mayo with them- yum!)
- Make the most of Iceland's happy hour! Almost EVERY bar offers half price alcoholic drinks from 4pm to 7pm- this only stands for beer & wine, so thats a sad affair for us gin lovers. Lebowski is a cool bar- look out for the neon lights outside.
- The Golden Circle.
It's a must if you have booked only a few days away & want to get a few things ticked off in twenty-four hours! The standard Golden Circle tour can be booked here. You get picked up from your hotel (again, no hassle). It lasts approximately six hours. On the tour, you will visit three of Iceland´s most famous sites: Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall, and Þingvellir National Park.
There's some travel time involved but it's a beautiful scenic journey with an extremely entertaining tour guide! (I think I was her biggest fan.)
- The Northern Lights!
We actually booked this along with the Golden circle- it comes as a duo package which saves you a bit of money. Once you get dropped off back at your hotel from the golden circle experience, at around 4.30PM, you have a few hours to do your own thing. Get some food & get prepped for a cold night of staring into the beautiful starry sky (if nothing else) praying you get to see the northern lights!
We were so fortunate that we got to witness them! But if this is one of the main reasons you're going to Iceland, book between Jan-Feb as you have a higher chance of catching them!! For the duo package - https://www.re.is/day-tours/the-golden-circle-northern-lights
*side tip: If you're an ameture photo taker, & don't have a professional camera, download the app 'Northern Lights Photo Taker'.*
-THE BLUE LAGOON!
Yes, the hype is real but you can't believe it's real. My top tip for this place is to book the premium package. With the premium package, you get flip flops, a towel & a robe (which you really do need when you come in and out of the wonderful hot water, into freezing cold air in your speedos). You also get a reservation at the LAVA restaurant, which I would book for 12PM. Add in your requirements box that you want to sit right by the window that looks out to the lagoon- as it's a beautiful place to sit and sip your complimentary glass of bubbles...
Bonus Tip: Buy a waterproof phone case prior to travelling. I got mine from Amazon for £15. Otherwise, you'll be paying approx £40 for one there! (& come on, we all know you'll want your other half to do a photoshoot of you in the lagoon ;) "ALL FOR THE GRAM!")
Hoping that's a help for your already booked trip to Iceland! If you haven't yet booked it, I hope I've spurred you on to book it! :-) Write in the comments below if you are going soon or looking to go- would love to know & look out for my next travel blog at the end of next month after I've been to the City of Love- Paris..... x