We decided to go to Iceland because we actually wanted a winter vacation for once after travelling to many tropical and hot countries. We had been thinking of the Poconos and thought we might as well go to Iceland. We wanted to relax and enjoy each others company after not being on vacation for the past eight months. Iceland was perfect for that. We stayed at the Grand Hotel, which I loved from the atmosphere to the people who worked there. They were very helpful, friendly and upgraded our room free of charge. If you book with this hotel you also get complimentary breakfast. We flew out Friday evening and landed in Iceland at 4:00am, round trip shuttle bus service is available at the airport in which they also drop other people off at their hotels. However, it seems as if The Grand Hotel was always the first three hotels the bus stopped at. It’s in a very convenient location in Reyjavik. Another hotel across the street from The Grand Hotel is The Hilton Nordica. Traveling to Iceland wasn’t expensive at all. It was actually cheaper than flying to any Caribbean island or even Mexico. However, once you get to Iceland it can be expensive mostly because you’re spending money on food, excursions and transportation to these excursions.
We traveled on WOW Airlines. When we booked that was pretty much the only option we had besides Icelandair. I personally don’t want to fly with WOW again but the flight was so cheap they might get my money again as I don’t really care too much about the extra stuff as long as we land safely and I can enjoy the country I’m travelling to. While the flight was cheap you had to pay for every thing on the plane nothing was free not even a cup of water.. Usually on flights, flight attendants come around and offer soda and some chips even when you’re traveling short distances like three-hour flights. The flight to Iceland was six hours and if we didn’t purchase our own drinks and snacks in the Airport we would have been hungry for six hours or had to buy it. Flight Attendants walked up and down aisles selling stuff from perfume to face mask from the Blue Lagoon. Also they had no entertainment systems, so I would download any movies you want to watch to your phone or laptop before you board the plane. Baggage fees were more expensive than your usual Jetblue or Delta fees, as we paid about $65 for each of our bags going and coming from Iceland. They did say it was cheaper when you check your bags in online. However, I didn’t want to hear it because it was still $50 online which isn’t much of a difference. But keep in mind the flight and hotel was about $550 per person so we were like whatever. A lot of people fly with Icelandair airlines, which is more expensive but it’s because they no matter where you travel to in Europe they always have a layover in Iceland, which makes people want to explore Iceland a little before their final destination. Icelandair Stopover Program lets you stop over in Iceland on your way to Europe for 0 krónur for up to seven nights. This is great for people who just want to stop by Iceland and visit other European cities. You can stop by for a couple of days, visit the Blue Lagoon and get a good view of the country on your way there.
Iceland is expensive compared to the U.S. When you land I advise you to get your dollars transferred on a currency card at the currency exchange in the airport. The orange currency card was way more convenient then having to pay for everything by pulling out Kronurs (Icelandic money) every time or dealing with international fees form your bank every time you swipe your debit/credit card. All you have to do is swipe the currency visa card, sign and go and you can use it anywhere. You may want to carry some Icelandic money on you as well but majority of your cash should definitely go on the currency card. 1,000 Kronus is about $8.35. $500 was about 60,000 Kronus, which sounds like a lot but it will definitely be spent. Another thing to know is, tips aren’t necessary, tipping is actually an American thing. They get paid very well in Iceland.
The food in Iceland was really good and I had absolutely no complaints. Anything we ordered was delicious, satisfying and tasted fresh as well. Their menus consist of anything from cheeseburgers to steak, cod fish, salmon and lamb. Any food you enjoy in America you can find in Iceland except Jamaican food. They are known to have pretty good lamb and I must agree it was really good. I was told to try their Puffin which is the bird affiliated with Iceland but we couldn’t find a restaurant that sold it in the area we were in. The water is absolutely the bomb and so refreshing I couldn’t stop drinking it. I was running through water bottles, which are pretty much $3-4. All of the water in Iceland comes from the same spring and is pretty much in its natural form. The receptionist told us that we can literally let the cold water run from the sink and it is the same as the bottled water. I believed him but I just did not try it, that’s the NYC in me. Whenever we got hungry at night we ordered Dominos, which was so good. Their Dominos menu has so much more variety to choose from then the one here in the U.S. We were eating entrees for dinner because we wanted to try their food and most of our bills were about $80. But you can always get a you a slice of pizza or a sandwich to satisfy your hunger for way cheaper.
Was the most laid back spa I’ve ever been to in the sense that you don’t have workers watching everything you do. You can pretty much sneak in alcohol without them knowing. This is stuff I wish I knew before I got to the blue lagoon. The water was warm and appreciated being that it was -13 degrees outside. I mean if you stood up too tall in the water your neck could feel how cold it was. I could not even take a picture of me in my bathing suit because it was too damn cold. However, I’m sure that’s capable in the summer when the weather in more warm outside. They have the Blue Lagoon Comfort and the Blue Lagoon Premium ticket. I’d advise everyone to just get the Comfort ticket. They give you a complimentary facemask and drink. Drinks consist of wine, beer, smoothies and cider. If you want another facemask or one that is different from the complimentary one you have to pay for it. The premium comes with a robe and an additional complimentary drink in the Blue Lagoon restaurant. However, once you get in the pool area everyone has hung their robes up which all look the same and anyone can pretty much grab a robe if they want to. I, myself, grabbed a random robe so it makes no sense to pay for it. Ladies please rap your hair up! They tell you to put conditioner in your hair before you get in the water but I think its also best if you put it in a high bun or wrap your hair in a towel. I had a weave in my hair and it was so messed up and tangled when I got out the water. I conditioned it when I showered at the Blue Lagoon and it was still very hard to untangle. I had to shampoo and condition it again when I got to the hotel and it still hasn’t been the same but it is much better now. But I really wish I knew what I know now and stopped it from touching the water! LOL. However, the Blue Lagoon is definitely a must if you’re traveling to Iceland and for the experience I can careless about my weave. Their Lava Restaurant also has an amazing view and atmosphere and the food was good as well. The Blue Lagoon was about 11,000 Kronus per person and 1,500 Kronus for transportation. Kids are free under thirteen years old.
We did go and see the Northern Lights but it was a very faint green color in the sky. They did let us know that sometimes it’s a hit or miss but we took our chances because that’s what we do. They are beautiful when you do see them but the night we went wasn’t a good night. We traveled to the top of the mountains where it was freezing and pretty much saw a bunch of stars which was kind of romantic being that we never get to see stars in NYC. I’d advice you to bring a digital camera to capture the Northern Lights because IPhone camera captured absolutely nothing but a dark sky. You can definitely skip the Northern Lights and just enjoy the sunrise and sunset in Iceland. This excursion was prices at about 5,000 Kronus per person.
Golden Circle and Snowmobiling
This was amazing. Definitely something everyone should do. You get to experience the hot springs, the glaciers, and the Gull Foss waterfall. It was very cold on the mountains I’d advise everyone to be suited in all winter gear, hats, gloves, scarfs, leggings, thermals and a warm jacket. Definitely wear some boots for the walking in the snow on the Mountains. The views are absolutely beautiful. When you get to the Snowmobiling part they do provide all of the gear for you and safety equipment, which was great because I was not buying a snowsuit at all. Snowmobiling was a fun experience and you get to ride for an hour, two people to one bike, which I was happy about. I was kind of scared to ride by myself and we basically took turns riding. They do not leave you stranded but believe me it is easy to get left because riding a snowmobile is not as easy as it looks. I fell off the Snowmobile about two times, but I’m clumsy and I think everything is a joke. Definitely bring a small camera because you will stop to take very nice pictures. However, our IPhones were cold as hell and died on us so we didn’t get to take any. Of course our IPhone’s turned back on fully charged once we finished snowmobiling and we were definitely annoyed with Apple and ready to switch our phones to Androids. This excursion was priced at about 30,000 Kronus per person.
Ice caves, lava caves, horse back riding, whale watching, and ATV’s are some of the other excursions that are available. If you need any more details in terms of prices for these excursions I can give you the prices if you comment below. All and all, Iceland is definitely a place you want to experience even if it’s for two days. Dress warm, take nice pictures of the scenery and have fun with whoever you travel with!