Travel Guide: Iceland

6:01 PM


All About Iceland:
where the land is not actually covered in ice
(maybe)

A lot of people have asked me, "Why Iceland"? My answer has always been, "because I want to go see the Northern Lights." In addition to seeing the Northern Lights (which I am very lucky I was able to see and capture), I also got to see some of the world's coolest phenomenons first hand. Read on for more details!

THINGS TO DO & SEE

WHAT TO EAT
  • Go for a tasting menu at a restaurant.
    • It's an awesome way to get a taste on a variety of dishes of the Icelandic cuisine. One that I would recommend is KOPAR
    • If I'm completely honest, I'm a little biased as I met the chef back in Toronto during Taste of Iceland, but I also wouldn't recommend something that I didn't truly believe in!
  • Seafood
    • I can't stress that enough. Seafood in Iceland is unbelievable.
    • I would recommend ordering the 'fish of the day' at restaurants you go to, like when I went to AALTO Bistro.
    • I also had sushi from Sushi Samba, and it was absolutely fantastic. 
  • A delicacy in Iceland is eating a little piece of petrified shark, and washing it down with a shot of Brennivín.
    • I got a chance to try it when I dined at Lækjarbrekka, through my Icelandic menu tasting. It was very interesting, to say the least ._. I am not too sure I'd ever do it again, to be honest lol!
  • Langoustine 
    • Although this can be classified under 'seafood', this deserves it's own mention.
    • I absolutely loveeee langoustine, especially when paired with lamb. It is very popular in the Icelandic cuisine so be sure to give it a try if you see it on the menu!

INFORMATION / TIPS
  • "Winter" doesn't mean there is no sun light, and that it is pitch black all day.
    • During the days that I went, we had an average of "6 hours of sunlight", according to the weather sites online.
    • However, when I was there, I did not notice the lack of sunlight at all! 
    • Although the sun did rise a little later (around 10), daylight does start creeping up over the horizon way earlier than that.
  • Rent a car, if you are comfortable with driving!
    • Iceland is easily accessible by a car, and it is definitely a cheaper option than going on day tours.
    • If you decide to go with tour companies (like I did) instead of driving, note that all tour companies will pick you up and drop you back off at your hotel! It's super convenient and I loved that service.
  • If you're going in the winter (November to February), dress warm and layer up!
    • Although the weather may say it is a 'nice' day, it is very windy (especially if you are by the water).
    • Heat packs saved my life.
  • Keep in mind that food is expensive there.
    • Too bad you can't do anything about that! Just keep an open mind when it comes to looking at prices.
    • If you're staying somewhere with a kitchen, you can find the closest Bónus supermarket to you (cheap groceries!) and make your own lunch/dinner.
  • In addition to food being expensive, so is alcohol.
    • You all know I love my alcohol hehe so a big tip to all of you is to purchase your alcohol at Duty Free on your way to Iceland or at the airport when you reach Iceland.
    • Locals in Iceland tend to pre-drink as the tax in bars for alcoholic drinks can be up to 50%! So do as the locals do,and save a couple bucks.
  • The Blue Lagoon
    • Bring your own towel
      • You have to pay for towels there, and why add that as an expense when you can easily bring your own. 
      • I would also bring multiple ones in case you go on a rainy day (like me) and it is freezing cold!
    • Don't forget to also bring your own sandals/flip flops.
    • Use the 'indoor lagoon' to get outside.
      • Past the lockers, in the waiting area, there is a small 'indoor lagoon'. 
      • At the back left corner, there is a door leading out to the actual outdoor lagoon. 
      • If you are unlucky and experience crazy weather like I did, I highly recommend using that door to go outside as opposed to running out on the deck in the cold.
    • For the ladies, the silica and sulfur in the water will really dry your hair. Be sure to put a handful of conditioner in your hair before you go into the water. I'd suggest slathering it all over your hair, and then tying it up in a bun.
    • Don't forget to visit the mask house at the back of the lagoon for your free Silica Mud Mask experience!
    • Visit the sauna and steam rooms when you start feeling prune-y haha it'll be a good warm break for your skin.
    • As the Blue Lagoon is close to the Keflavik Airport, it is recommended to go visit the lagoon on a day you are leaving/arriving from the airport. That way, it will save you time and a bus trip!
  • Don't fret if you don't see the Northern Lights on the day you book the tour.
    • Most tour companies will let you re-book for free to go on another tour (assuming there is space) until you see them!
  • I will continue to add more tips as I think of them. If you've been and you have some you think would be useful for travelers, please let me know!!

ENJOY! xo

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