Iceland Part 2: All You Need to Know.

March 21, 2018

I have just posted a visual diary of our trip, in case you missed it check it out here.  There were just too many photos to choose from so I put up all my favorites and saved the logistics and FAQ's for this post.  Lets dive in.  We stayed in Iceland February 19th -23rd.  I purchased the trip (airfare+hotel) via trivago as a Christmas gift for Michael, the total for 2, roundtrip was $1,500.  February can be tricky because of weather for both NY and Iceland, so it was a gamble and probably a big reason why the trip was so inexpensive.  I took the plunge and hoped for the best.  We had great weather leaving NY (no snowstorms), the weather in Iceland was a little trickier.  Here is what you need to know about what to pack, where to stay, what to do and everything in between.

What to Pack- Ladies, no joke this is not a trip to be cute for, at least not in February.  You need comfy warm clothes and walking boots that will keep your feet warm, dry and off your butt (think slippery ice everywhere), gloves and a hat.  The wind is so insane at times without a hat I would just get a headache.  Layer it up!  Think sweaters, thermals and jeans.  Tip- pack an extra pair of socks and gloves just in case your feet get wet or you loose a glove.  You don't want to be forced to pay top dollar for a pair of gloves, save that money for coffee! :)

The Flight- We flew Icelandic Air out of Newark airport on a Sunday afternoon.  This was probably the first time we flew out on an evening flight and I really enjoyed not having to wake up at 4 in the morning to catch a crack of the morning flight out of NY.  The flight from NY to Reykjavik is about 5 hours and 45 minutes, Iceland is 5 hours ahead so we landed in Iceland at 6am their time (that was brutal). Pro-Tip - I didn't realize it but when I purchased the package, the flight was Economy "lite" so that meant that I had to pay $60 per suitcase both ways which was crazy!  Beware when purchasing these package deals because sometimes the price is lower than you'd expect because you are going to get nickel and dimed all over the place.

Transportation to and from airport- We booked with Grey Line when we landed at the airport for our transportation to the hotel and back to the airport.  Total cost was about $80 for two, roundtrip. You can do it ahead of your flight but the price is pretty much the same.

Where We StayedHotel Reykjavik Centrum centrally located in Reykjavik historic city center, a 2 minute walk from City Hall (important pick up drop off for all excursions), shops, restaurants, night life etc.  It is clean, neat, reasonably priced, we loved it!  Highly recommend booking a room here.

Time Change  - Iceland is 5 hours ahead of NY time

Currency- Kronos is king in Iceland but you can use plastic to purchase everything! No need to use cash at all.  Breakdown, 1 krone is equal to .17 USD.

Weather - I am not joking when I say that Iceland felt like another planet.  The weather was really unpredictable and always windy.  Icelanders don't bother with umbrellas when it rains, what is the point?  No umbrella can withstand the winds.  On our walking trips around the city, it would rain, hail, snow with gusty winds and then the sun would come out and that was just in a half hour!

What We Did- Secret Lagoon Early Access + Golden Circle -
This was an amazing and highly recommended excursion, it is an 8 hour trip with three stops.  The first was the Secret Lagoon which we loved.  It was a private little getaway that seemed to be family run.  We also saw the Golden Circle geyser and the Gullfoss waterfall, probably the most amazing site I have ever been blessed enough to witness.

Northern Lights Tour -
We booked this for our first night in case it wasn't visible we would be able to catch it again another night.  We did see it but it wasn't very luminous and it was rainy and SUPER windy! We drove out to the coast by a light house and saw a sliver of the northern lights that could have been mistaken for a cloud.  Funny story?? We saw the Northern Lights out of our airplane window on our trip back home. :)

Blue Lagoon- 
The blue lagoon has nearly 700K visitors a year, that is nearly 2k a day and counting.  We booked this excursion and were given the time of our visit.  Unfortunately we were scheduled for a 7:30PM visit, I realize it is a different experience at night but we really wanted a daytime appointment.  It worked out. We had a great time and slept like babies when we got back to the hotel.  Definitely more commercial than the Secret Lagoon which we REALLY loved.  The Blue Lagoon has become such a "must see" that developers are cashing in by expanding and charging a fee for everything including, lockers, towels, face mask, and a drink from the swim up bar.

What We Ate - Iceland isn't known for their cuisine, so we were hard pressed to find reasonably priced spots throughout our stay.  We did end up almost everyday at a Te and Kaffi, Iceland's answer to our Starbucks, only better (sorry Starbucks, lol).  Iceland is cold, windy, rainy, snowy, icy..all of those things so you are going to need to check in to thaw out and warm up.  Highly recommend this spot whenever you spot one.  We didn't eat three square meals a day, we would have coffee and croissant or breakfast sandwich, an energy bar while we were on the go and save our larger meal for dinner.  (Highly recommend you pack some snacks from home to save you a few kronos, thank me later).  If you want to splurge for dinner like we did our last night, check this place out, ROK.  Every dish was better than the last.  It is sort of a tapas restaurant so you will order a few dishes to share, do not leave without trying their risotto! Looking for some great ice cream and crepe? Please check Eldur, its AMAZING and we ate there three times!

Cost - I won't sugar coat it.  Iceland is pricey, everything is expensive! They are essentially an island where almost all of their goods are imported so the import taxes are crazy and passed on to the consumer.  In total, between the air, hotel, excursions, food, transportation + incidentals the 5 day trip cost about $4500.  Pretty pricey in our opinion compared to our other trips and the length of the stay.

Bottomline - We fell in love with Iceland, if you can make it, do it! It is worth the money and then some.  It was amazing.  Do it! GO!

I hope this answers most of your questions, please drop me a comment if there is something you want to know that I didn't cover.

In case you missed the visual diary check it out here.  Thanks for reading loves.

Until our next adventure!


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