by Danielle Kent
I really struggled when I was writing the list of thirty things I wanted to do before I was thirty, but the first thing I wrote on the page was that I wanted to swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. When I got the chance to go, I was absolutely delighted and carefully divided my time to give myself equal yet ample time to both trawl the internet for photographs and information of my destination, and also discuss/bombard everyone I met with revisions of this information. On this frequent occasions where I managed to find opportunity – however unlikely – to bring it up, virtually everyone said ‘why are you going to Iceland? Won’t it be cold?’. Yes, Iceland is cold, but not any colder than British weather. In fact, the weather in general is more pleasant than the weather we are currently experiencing, so while I may not be wrapped up in the office reminiscing of a time where I was lounging on a sun-drenched beach, I have an awful lot of great memories to recall on instead.
I had read a lot that Iceland is an incredibly expensive country, but I think this is largely due to comparisons with more usual holiday destinations such as Turkey or the Canary Islands where prices are slashed dramatically from what we are used to in the UK. Once you have gotten used to the exchange rate (£1 is equal to around 180 Icelandic Krona) it is easy to find ways to make your money last. Alcohol, for example. is extortionate compared to prices that we except to see, however virtually every bar offers happy hours that last throughout the evening where you can buy two pints for as little as 650 ISK (approximately £3.60). Our favourite bars on the main street were Bunk and Bravo.
We went to Iceland with an idea of what excursions and trips we would like to take, however there is absolutely no need to book in advance because there are shops and kiosks everywhere. We went to Blue Lagoon on our second day, although many people suggest visiting either upon your arrival in Iceland or just before your departure because it is very close to the airport and there are hourly transfers. We also went to see the Northern Lights as well as spending our final day on a boat whale watching. An issue some people have with travelling to Iceland is that so many excursions rely on nature and nothing can be guaranteed – we were extremely lucky when we went to see the Northern Lights because they were absolutely dazzling. Fortunately, the companies understand this and they offer you the opportunity to return for free if you don’t see anything, so it is worth booking these kinds of trips early on in your holiday so you have time to repeat them if necessary. We traveled to the Northern Lights with Reykjavik Excursions and I would wholly recommend them. They were massively informative and friendly throughout the journey and allowed us plenty of time to take photographs and ask questions.
I would urge anyone who had the opportunity to travel to Iceland to visit the Blue Lagoon because it really is outstanding. From a distance it looks almost like a power station, however once you arrive it is completely transformed into a quintessentially idyllic haven with the steam from the pools misting the ice cold air. The water is permanently heated by naturally occurring geothermic energy which makes it not only blissful but also somewhat mind blowing. We traveled to the lagoon also with Reykjavik Excursions.
Our accommodation in Iceland was absolutely exceptional. Considering the extremely reasonable price that we paid, we were cautious that it would unhygienic, or, as many of the reviews stated, it would be extremely loud due to it’s location on the main street of Reykjavik. We were both astounded by the high standard of the apartment and the service – the staff were helpful and offered great communication, the apartment was spacious, clean and the location was incomparable, and we didn’t hear a thing.
For more information on any of the companies or locations featured in this article, please see the following links:
Reykjavik Excursions – www.re.is
Apartment K – www.apartmentk.is
Blue Lagoon – www.bluelagoon.com/