Iceland Travel Diary
After an experience of a lifetime, Iceland is definitely a place that I will revisit in the future, in a different season. We spent a total of 6 days in the country and it was unbelievable to witness all of the scenic waterfalls, mountains and natural wonders. I never thought that I would say this, but I have a new appreciation for nature and greenery. I haven’t visited enough places in the world to say that this is the most beautiful place, but granted it’s probably one of them. It’s hard to explain the beauty because it’s a place that you’d have to see with your very own eyes. I tried to absorb as much as I could before I left each destination because it wasn’t something that the camera could capture and replicate. I have a terrible fear of heights, but Iceland makes you do crazy things, such as climb on top of a plane and step onto the edge of a mountain cliff. There’s a time and place for anything and Iceland was the place for everything.
After a half-hour drive from the Keflavik airport, we set foot into Reykjavik, which is the coastal capital of Iceland and the centre of historic beauty and modern landscapes. We parked our rental car and explored the rainy streets before the city woke. It was quiet, peaceful and picturesque at every corner. The first landmark we stumbled upon was the Hallgrímskirkja church and the tower can be seen seen from almost everywhere in the city. Once we made our way through most of the streets, we settled into the Kaffitár coffee shop to warm up and then made our way to our next stop, the Old Harbour. While we were here, we paid a visit to the Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre — this stunning building was situated between land and sea. The glass facade which covered the structure reflected both the sky and the harbour. The interior was also impressive and I gazed out the asymmetrical framed windows and admired the beauty of the city. We ended our night with a dinner at Sægreifinn, where they are famous for their lobster soup (we were really there for their bread and butter though).
On the second day, we bundled up, packed our sandwiches and started our drive to The Golden Circle. The first stop was the Þingvellir National Park, where you can see the collision of the tectonic plates. It was too windy to enjoy the site so we didn’t stay long enough to witness where the tectonic plates pulled apart. The next stop was to Gullfoss, also know as the “Golden Falls”. It wasn’t as impressive as Niagara Falls, but it was beautiful to catch the rainbow over the water. The third stop was to see the Geysers, which is a geothermal area comprised of a group of geysers. The most famous one was the Strokkur, erupting every 10 minutes. We watched it twice and each time, I was stunned at how incredible it was. We didn’t end up completing the Golden Circle because we were too exhausted to make our way up to see the Kerid Crater Lake (and there was an entrance fee) so we skipped out and drove back to Reykjavik.
We dedicated our third day to the heart of Iceland and the real reason that brought us here, the Blue Lagoon. This place has been on my bucket list for years and I was finally able to check it off. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37–39 °C (99–102 °F). The geothermal spa was breathtaking and I enjoyed every minute of it. There was also a steam room and sauna available inside the facility, but we totally forgot to visit it before we left!
What was never in the itinerary ended up to be my favourite and most memorable adventure — we drove out to a little hidden treasure just 2 hours east of Reykjavik called Seljavallalaug. It was a free hot spring situated in the middle of nowhere, but look up to mountains upon mountains. Even though I can’t swim, it wasn’t going to stop me from dipping into this gem. We spent half an hour here relaxing and marvelling at the beauty of our surroundings.
On our second last day, we took our road trip out east towards Vik. The sights we saw along the way left me speechless and I was taken aback by the incredible green landscape and the snowcapped mountains that nearly touched the sky. We stopped at Skogafoss, climbed steps that left us breathless and stood at the very edge when we made it to the top. After making a brief pitstop in Vik, we drove out towards the Sólheimasandur Plane Crash. We parked our car and walked 40 minutes on the black sand beach until the plane wreck peeked through the fog and became apparent to the eyes. This site is any photographers dream and was a wonderful way to mark an end to our trip.
The best part? There were almost 24 hours of daylight so time was something we weren’t lacking — we loved exploring from dawn until dusk.