The Travel Diaries - Iceland


Let me start by saying that Iceland is by far the most beautiful and most expensive place that I have ever visited. But, if you budget well and stay self catering you can easily explore Iceland on a smaller budget. If Iceland is somewhere that you have thought of going but never have gotten around to, I urge you to go. Visit the Islands capital of Reykjavik and book a hire car and you can explore some of the more well known parts of the West side of the island. We plan to go back and visit more of the South, the Ice caves and stay for a little longer. I hope my travel diary helps you see what a beautiful and amazing place Iceland is and gives you an idea of the budget and time you will need to experience it.

Saturday 5 December

We landed in Iceland in the early evening and were collected at the airport by our hire car company, who drove us to our car. We hired a 4x4 as the weather and the snow had been getting quite bad and we wanted to be able to drive around the island without getting stuck! Make sure that your car has winter tyres on and it will be fine. We saw 2 or 3 abandoned cars and only 1 accident, the roads aren't as scary as they seem as long as you drive carefully. From the car hire place we drove to Reykjavik to our self catering apartments which took us about 45 minutes or so. We stayed in Grettisborg self catering apartments, which were just what we needed and they also provided a washing machine which was great and meant we took home less washing that usual! After we had unloaded our bags out of the car we headed to the nearest (and most expensive! ) supermarket for some supplies. We picked up some cereal, Milk, bread, some pasta and salad bits and it came to around £40 so be very careful with what you pick up! 

Sunday 6 December

We got up and wrapped up super warm and headed our for our first day out at about 8.30 am. The sun is due to rise at about 11am but it is getting quite light already. The landscape is really beautiful with lots of mountains and as the sun never rises past a certain height in the sky, the scenery is always beautifully lit with pinks and oranges reflecting in the snow. Our first destination was þingvellir National Park, which is a lovely park that marks the crest of the mid-Atlatic ridge. The meeting of the tectonic plates in the area can cause quite a few earthquakes, but we were lucky enough not to experience any during our week! We walked around for about 2 hours and watched the sunrising over the mountains - the snow has become very deep here and it was about -8 degrees when we visited.

Afterwards we headed back to Reykjavik for some lunch and a wander around the capital. We stopped off at a little restaurant called Primo and both had a lasagne and a drink. It was £35 for the lunch, but was definatly the best lasagne that I have ever eaten!

After our walk around we headed back to the apartment and had some dinner before going out at about 8pm in search of the Aurora. We didn't have to look for long because as soon as we stood outside our apartment we could see them! We headed back out to þingvellir to get a better view without the lights of Reykjavik.  

Monday 7 December 

Today we had booked our tickets for the Blue Lagoon but there had been a really bad storm coming so the whole island had to stay in doors, and all of the roads had been closed off. It was the worst in over 20 years and the winds reached about 160 miles per hour which is just crazy! Lucky we called the Blue Lagoon and they moved the ticket onto the next day and were completely fine with it. The winds weren't due to come in until about the late afternoon, so as our apartment was so close to the main street, we went into a lovely coffee shop called Mocca Kaffi and had the most amazing hot waffles with cream and jam. They were so good and we had been craving some for ages! It cost us about £20 altogether for a waffle and hot drink each. The wind was picking up a little so we headed back to the apartment to settle in and watch some TV

Tuesday 8 December

We got up and set off about 10.30 am to go to the Blue Lagoon. One thing that I found the most hardest to get used to was how dark it was in the morning and it felt really early when it was quite late in the morning. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the lagoon from Reykjavik  We bought our tickets online when we were in the UK and it cost about £100 for two people. It was so cold and the lagoon is cold in some places and really warm in others, but defiantly worth the experience and relaxing with a clay face mask for a few hours! We got a free drink in the bar that you can swim up to, so we both opted for strawberry smoothies which were really yummy, then after we had turned into prunes we headed back inside for some lunch. We went to the little cafe and both had a baguette drink and snack and it cost us around £22. After we had finished we headed back into Reyjavik and had some dinner at a really lovely restratnt called Uno. The portions were so generous and yummy and we both had a gourmet burger, chips and a drink. On the way back we looked at some of the festive window displays and once we were back at the apartment opened up a bottle of Prosecco and watched Grand Designs!

Wednesday 9 December

We left the apartment today at about 9.30 am and headed out to look at some waterfalls.
Afterwards we decided to go and visit the site of the DC 3 plane crash. We already knew that this would be a bit of a walk to get to, and so we parked up at the gate and walked for about 45 minutes. We didn't want to take the car in case it got stuck in the snow. It was completely worth it! It is really fascinating to see and you can climb inside it and you can really imagine what it was like when it crashed. Lucky we reached the plane just before a coach of tourists, so we headed back to the car. The sun had started to set so it was getting quite dark and very cold by this point. We headed to Black beach but I had a nap in the car while will took some pictures! Afterwards we picked up some hot drinks and got back into the car, the drive back to Reykjavik is about 2 and a half hours so we were ready for some dinner in the apartment and then straight to bed.

Thursday 10 December

At about 10 am we set out to explore the rest of the golden circle. One thing that Iceland is full of is beautiful horses so we had to stop and get a few snaps of them! It took us about 1 and a half hours to reach the first Guyser. It was so impressive and it went off every few minutes. 

Another hot chocolate in had and we were off to Gulfs waterfall. This was the most beautiful stop of our trip so far in my opinion, the waterfall itself is so big and where the sun falls on the spraying water you can see a rainbow coming from the water. It was about 0 degrees at this point!

Friday 11 December

We left again at about 10 am and headed to Kirkjufell mountain for our last full day in Iceland. It took us about 2 and a half hours to reach and was the longest drive so far. Once we were the we stayed for about 45 minutes and headed back to the apartment. We had a little bit of spending money left so went back to Uno for some dinner. A few hours later and belly's full of pasta we wandered back to the apartment and as soon as we got there we saw the Aurora again dancing around the skies. It was a lot more intense that the last time so we hopped into the car and drove back to þingvellir  It was quite late by the time we got back so went straight to bed.

Saturday 12 December

It's our last day today and we are catching our flight back home! We checked out of the apartment at 11am and went into the city for some more hot waffles, they were so good! We also went to the infamous Baejarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand as we had heard so much about it! Afterwards we dropped the car off and got on the plane home!

If you are thinking about visiting Iceland, you should definaly go. You will be more likely to see the Aurora in September to January and it is at its warmest in June to September. We plant to go back again one day and explore more of the island. Hopefully it will be around June time, when the sun in still out at midnight so it should be really interesting!

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