If you want to miss out on our whole journey and selfies haha and just want to see some of my favourite landscape photos of Iceland you can check out my post here:
As most of you will know I took a couple of weeks off for my holiday with my boyfriend back in September 2017. This is the first time since I started business that we have managed to get away for a full couple of weeks work free! We debated a summer holiday by a beach or an adventure somewhere not as chilled out. In the end it was decided we would try tick off a bucket list item and explore Iceland including the blue lagoon and fingers crossed that we would see the northern lights. Obviously as much as this was a holiday for fun and the experience a big part of it was the photo opportunities. From research the best time to see the lights were the middle of September through until April I think it was. September was our only option as October-end of December gets very busy with my work so wouldn’t have time then and we didn’t really want to wait until next year haha.
WHERE WE STAYED
Our two goals when booking a holiday is to make it as cheap as possible (like most people) and also to plan out everything we want to do so we can fit in time for everything. Were not too bothered about the hotel being 5* etc as were never really in it anyway, much preferring to be out all day exploring then back to the hotel to sleep. When searching for a place in Iceland we found that most of the places were hostels with shared bedrooms and bathrooms which really wasn’t what we were after. We eventually came across this place: http://www.icelandcomfortapartments.is/ which was perfect. It included your own bedroom, bathroom and a small area for cooking. It actually much bigger in person than what we thought when we booked, there was even a balcony which was nice. We had no issues while their, everything was great I’d absolutely recommend and go back their to stay. We also spent one night up north in a place called Akureyri we stayed at Torg Guesthouse (http://www.torgguesthouse.is/), I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their. It was very cosy, quite a small space but had everything we needed for the night, we weren’t in until late and then left pretty early in the morning so it was fab for us. The bed was super comfy too! The thing I liked about both these places was it was very easy to pick up our room keys without having to go and speak to someone for them (antisocial I know haha) it was just awkward timings when we were ready to get the keys for both places so was much simpler being able to get them ourselves.
As a lot of the things to do in Iceland are spread out over the island we decided to rent a car and that way we can go around freely and not have a time limit on each area which I think worked out soo much cheaper than each individual tour as they are quite pricey if you wanted to do many of them (which I’m sure you would). As we had it scheduled out I have to say we done it all pretty perfect. We rented our car from Blue car rental: https://www.bluecarrental.is/ after reading up on reviews etc. They are a good price (we chose one of the cheapest cars) Their depot is close to the airport, we found it fine and had a small wait for our car due to a mix up but they sorted it quickly and added in an upgrade for the trouble. My partner was the driver for the holiday where he had never rented/driven on holiday before (on the other side of the road!) but luckily it was nice quiet roads and he took to it very easily. The car was clean, we got a very new one, easy to drive and returning the car after our holiday was really easy to do with zero issues. Filling up our car was no trouble either. In the car they had included a little discount card for Olis I think it was called and map of where this brand was located around the country so we knew if we needed to fill up we knew where the next on of at least that brand was. I would highly recommend this company and use them again when we return at some point. Also after about the 2nd day we discovered the heated seats which was amazing as it was very wet and cold during our time their. I would say if you can I would maybe go for one of the bigger cars as some of the roads it felt a bigger car would have been able to deal with it better.
When we arrived in Iceland we immediately sought out a supermarket to pick up lots of snacks and try out the local food. We had heard of a few different things through researching which some sounded good others not so much. I have to say it is expensive (in comparison to our Scottish prices). I cant remember exactly but for the food in the photo it came to something like the equivalent of £70 and most went in the bin as it wasn’t nice haha. We pretty much ate out every night and tried taking sandwiches and snacks on the road with us for during the day. I’m sure you could make it cheaper if you were eating in every night but when were on holiday that’s the one thing we never really like to do and we also weren’t home until very late each night so it wasn’t really practical. We found a few places which we loved, the first being American style which was a burger franchise where one was just down the road from the apartment and in comparison to everywhere else it was pretty reasonable priced with the most lovely burgers. We went their a few times. We also went to a local Chinese which was soo amazing but very expensive. The most expensive meal we had, had been decided on before we even went on holiday as a treat. It was to a place called Grillmarkadurinn: http://www.grillmarkadurinn.is/matsedlar/kvoldsedill/. We went for the taste menu which cost 10,900 each which is £97 per person. Next time if we were to go back their I think I would just go for a standard meal (the steak was lovely) as although I’m glad we chose that to try and taste lots of the different things I would say we definitely had some favourites out of them all.
The weather in Iceland is quite similar to Scotland at this time of year. I knew it wasn’t going to be warm sunbathing type weather, expecting more rain and cold but not snow and ice and it was exactly as I had imagined. It would be lovely to go back at a different time of year where it is snow and ice as were a little too early to see the ice caves/icebergs on the black beach etc as it needs to be a lot colder, the photos would look very different covered in snow. It might be a bit more difficult for driving etc in the snow though so its something to consider.
WHERE WE WENT
We set out our routes before we came on holiday and managed to stick to them pretty well. We filled each day with so much stuff as we wanted to make the most of our time their so it was pretty exhausting most days but it was definitely worthwhile doing it this way.
DAY 1 We flew into Keflavik airport, picked up the car, drove to the apartment and then went shopping at Bonus for some snack food (see first photo). The flight was good we flew with wow air. When we were booking we found lots of different options for ‘upgrades’ to our flight including extra leg room. Im only 5.3″ so leg room wasnt really an issue in my mind, but for my boyfriend he is 6.3″ so its something to think about more for him. In the end we just went for the standard size and hoped for the best and it worked out fine for us. Maybe if the flight was longer that 3 hours it would be a problem. On the plane I was doing a Sudoku and my pen burst all over my hand but luckily the nice woman next to us gave me some tissues as I was stuck. We picked up the car from the airport once we landed, we circled the airport trying to find the right direction to go in but we figured it out quite quickly and headed over their.
We got settled into our apartment and then went into Reykjavik for some dinner. We ended up at Roadhouse. It was a nice place, quite busy when we went but got a table straight away. We chose cheese dippers and chicken strips to start and I didn’t really like either of them. For mains I had ribs and Daniel had a burger, these were both so lovely. So if you go their I say skip starters and go straight to the main haha.
DAY 2 our first full day! We travelled down the south east side of the country along to our first stop at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, I would say its a must do. It was very cool as you can go behind the waterfall by walking around a carved out bit. You will get soaked so definitely wear waterproofs and take a towel in your car haha. Also if you want to get a photo of yourself behind the waterfall you will need to use flash otherwise you will come out as a silhouette with the waterfall bright behind you!
We next stopped off at Skogafoss Waterfall which is now one of my most favourite places ever! Daniel proposed here! I of course said yes. It was very wet from the spray of the waterfall but absolutely perfect. My only regret from their was that we didn’t take many photos of ourselves on the main camera just on our phones. The one place I want to go back to if I visit Iceland again is to go here and take some proper posed photos maybe even with a photographer.
After all the excitement from Skogafoss we continued on our plan to head to Solheimasandur Plane Wreck. I love the photos I got from their but make no mistake it is thee longest most horrible journey to walk when the rain is pouring down and the wind soo strong and you just have jeans on no waterproof trousers. Their and back its about 5 miles which we didn’t realise at the time. I would still say to do it but maybe on a better day! We were supposed to head to the black beach after that but we were soaked through and freezing so we just wanted to head home. Typically the next day we discovered the heated seats in the car which would have been amazing for our journey back this night!
Love that I wasn’t the only one amused at Daniels flight attendant skills haha