After having explored the capital and having mingled with locals, it was time to head inland to experience Iceland's famous nature.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a must for anyone traveling to Iceland. It’s a geothermal (though man-made) lagoon with mineral rich water in the middle of Iceland, located between Reykjavík and the airport. Most people make it either their first or last location; we opted for the second. The day we headed to the lagoon, it was snowing like crazy and got worse he closer we got. During our 4 day stay we experienced sun, rain, and now, snow. Admittedly, the Blue Lagoon looked beautiful with its hills covered in snow, but walking from the lagoon hotel to the bigger lagoon was freezing cold. We decided to stay overnight, as the entrance alone is €35 pp, whereas a double room costs €90 pp, included entrance to the lagoon (the big one as well as the private one that belongs to the hotel) on arrival and departure day (worth €70 pp alone) and breakfast.
The one problem we encountered at the lagoon was getting some decent food. The only place to eat (without a car) is the Lava Restaurant. The service at the hotel and lagoon were very good, but sadly the Lava Restaurant was the odd one out. The service was painfully slow, the food expensive, and very very bad! I would not recommend eating here at all; you’re better off getting a sandwich or some Skyr in Reykjavík (the rooms have a small fridge to keep stuff cooled).
The lagoon in itself is a great experience though – the colors are unbelievable. It was amazing to be swimming in the lagoon after dawn and seeing the northern lights dancing above us!
Out in Nature
We got super lucky and had sun almost the entire day. Iceland’s nature is crazy and just like in the pictures. The Geysir erupts every couple of minutes, releasing the gross smell of of sulfure in the air.
To see the northern lights, the tour takes participants 1.5 hrs North-East of Reykjavík. The two criteria to be able to see the auror borealis are a) darkness and b) auroral activity; then it comes down to patience: waiting on clear skies and for activity. This whole experience was quite funny. We had a great guide with a great sense of humor, who cracked jokes the entire ride up. Once we got to the location, we waited for some time, and at around 10pm a guide ran up to all participants saying: “they are coming!” Everyone became frantic ran outside and then… waited, for 45 minutes in the freezing cold, and nothing. I had just come to terms with the fact that I won’t see them and headed back on the bus, when all of a sudden, while waiting on the bus for everyone to board, the bus driver turned off the lights. I looked outside and there they were: the northern lights, covering the sky in a fluorescent green color. Now, I have to admit that the colors are not nearly as bright as you might think; cameras have the tendency to pick up the color a lot brighter, but, nonetheless, they are still beautiful. They also move really fast, so you will only have the pleasure of seeing them for a couple of minutes. After 15 minutes the spectacle was over and we headed for Reykjavík with the norther lights guided the first part of our journey back to the city.
Iceland was a wonderful experience and did not disappoint. I definitely want to go back over summer, and also to check out Akureyri and the North.