Iceland

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When you come across $300 plane tickets to Iceland, you don’t pass them up.

End of story.

This was our excuse for our latest adventure at least.

Trekking through one 2017’s destination hot spots, and the country voted the safest travel destination (for the 6th year in a row): Iceland.

Top Tips

*Rent a car: All of the best sights are far, and cab fare is expensive. The roads are easy to navigate, and having a car allows you to explore at your own pace. Plus there are plenty of hidden gems along the side of the roads requiring pit stops.

*Food is expenisve: Like $30 for a pepperoni pizza, and $14 for a foot long Subway sandwich expensive. Bring as much non perishable food as you can to help cut costs. We lived off of granola and Cliff Bars. If you can stay at a hotel with a kitchenette, do it. Purchasing groceries from the local market will also help save $$$

*Pack for all types of weather: Snow, rain, sleet, hail, sun. And repeat. That was a typical day during our stay in Iceland. Not to mention the blistering windstorms we encountered. Iceland didn’t recieve a reputation for having bipolar weather for nothing.

How We Got There

16681732_1209050295880271_2309747913462787871_n We booked a round trip flight on WOW Air (wow air.us) for $310. No that is not a typo, it’s just the insanely cheap rates of the new Icelandic airline aiming to increase tourism in their country. The cheapest flight to Iceland we could find during these dates with the leading competitors was $945….

 

If you’re an aspiring wanderluster on a budget then this airline is a game came changer.
We’re flying WOW Air roundtrip to Europe in June for $400. Just saying. But that’s a story for a different day.
We were graced by the presence of a special guest during our flight, the fickle fickle Aurora Borealis.What We Did

16602953_1209050459213588_2242739831802530474_nThe Golden Circle

One of Iceland’s most iconic tourist attractions, and it definitely did not disappoint. Scenic highlights include: Pingvellir National Park, Haukadalur Geysir, Gullfoss, and my personal favorite: the Icelandic ponies. But there are plenty of hidden gems along the way just waiting to be discovered.

It took us a little over three hours to drive the entire Golden Circle by car. The beautiful thing about this country is that no five miles of its terrain is alike, so you’re constantly awestruck by the sights outside of your window.16683882_1209052199213414_6404118454195230448_n16508833_1209059562546011_6500183238414480067_nPingvellir National Park

16681456_1209050305880270_459276911428666017_n16473404_1209050299213604_2079557043194505811_n16730644_1212343945550906_2669182918414920247_n16508444_1209051972546770_1818014672395243434_nHaukadalur Geysir16681718_1209050899213544_7216469868031285176_n16649400_1209050902546877_6658610216399962227_n16681717_1212380612213906_845652132853351410_n16640622_1212380615547239_4210528625525333331_nGullfoss16507827_1209050992546868_8757723672825320667_n16711671_1212331422218825_7829707853648602701_n16473800_1209050922546875_3241297296064850800_nAnd last but certainly not least… the Icelandic ponies.16641002_1209050465880254_56936109166805050_n16640762_1209050812546886_5413729471816237357_n
16683976_1212331345552166_5716577411539753901_n16681483_1209052015880099_4921551642213148060_n16681535_1212343952217572_4099053164206637489_nSeljalandfoss 16602688_1212331498885484_8813440709230917215_n

16640878_1209051645880136_5511646837740518516_nWe saw hundreds of waterfalls as we drove along the coast of Southern Iceland from Reykjavik to Vik, but our favorite was Seljalandfoss.

A popular tourist spot due to the fact that it’s the only waterfall in Iceland with a clear-cut path allowing you to stand directly behind the falls. The beauty of Iceland is that it offers so many incredible sights to see, so crowds really aren’t a thing over there.

16473256_1209051089213525_5891299102448126115_n   16730558_1212331298885504_928494063875427137_n 16649310_1209051655880135_5623793194563566011_nWORD OF ADVICE. Bring a poncho, or at least bring a change of clothes with you, because the spray from the waterfall is intense. If there is even the slightest gust of wind, then consider it game over. It seems like everyone had received this memo but us. Ourselves and our best Hollister furs learned that lesson the hard way.

Skogafoss

Another famous waterfall that’s in between the country’s capital and the tiny sea town of Vik. We liked that this was one of the few waterfalls that we were able to gain direct access to and get as up close and personal as we pleased. 16640740_1209051889213445_2226686823892848503_n               Unlike Seljalandfoss, the falls of Skogafoss are massive. Nothing like standing next to such an unbelievably powerful force and feeling so small to put things into perspective for you. The unique feature of this waterfall is the 250 step stair case built next to it that offers  a stunning view from atop the falls. 16507916_1209051829213451_5699017804866573096_n16602933_1209051769213457_4509505864720205158_n16712025_1212331575552143_2207869443904573237_nAnd same rule applies here. Ponchos. Ponchos. Ponchos.

Vik

A picturesque seaside village located 2.5 hours outside of Reykjavik. We stayed in Vik for a night to break up our drive from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. If you have the time, this tiny town is worth the visit. 16640740_1209057375879563_2341434446019108916_n    Our personal highlight of our stay here was the red roof church nestled in the hills above this storybook village. It looks like something straight out of a fairytale. The view from the church provides the perfect overlook of Vik and the surrounding scenery.

16602607_1209060265879274_6334022689317365871_n    16681979_1212331652218802_8497149378043110237_nVik is also home of the famous Black Sand Beach and Black Sand Beach Bistro. Both offer killer views and are worth a visit. 16507951_1209057472546220_9046086131730312760_n16508637_1209057335879567_7343553941154226100_n16508101_1209057475879553_7783179461645808355_n16708336_1209057619212872_6833693039074673843_nJokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

There we were, day two of our trek from Reykjavik to Juokulsarlon, and eagerly awaiting our first glacier spotting. We had just driven through five miles of what looked like a scene out of Lord of the Rings, when we came around a bend and BAM. There was one lodged between two mountains.

Obligatory celebratory photos obviously followed.16640848_1212331292218838_8386167105310795534_n      There were no road signs that specifically guided us to the Glacier Lagoon. A few times we were worried our navigation had betrayed us and considered turning back. It’s a straight shot from Reykjavik, and you’ll know you’re there when you come across a steel rod bridge. The giant chunks of ice floating in the water in the distance are a pretty good indicator that you’re in the right spot too. 16508097_1209057032546264_5233143219529796843_nThis was probably the highlight of our trip.

On one side of the road you can walk along the beach where you can get up close and personal with shards of glaciers that washed ashore. It looks like giant diamonds have been strewn across the beach. If you can wait to visit at sunset you won’t be disappointed. 16640896_1209056949212939_4062589836671202938_n16508134_1209056855879615_6974213826436329182_n16681922_1209059645879336_6929029137631400005_n16603066_1212331242218843_817849860194132301_n  The other side of the road offered an overlook where you could view the gentle giants as they slowly floated in from sea. Both sides are worth a stop.16640690_1209057045879596_368434462146063437_n16649023_1209057042546263_1296543215171242185_n     Apparently Iceland is the “it” destination for wedding and engagement photos?Let us remind you it’s a crisp 3 degrees celcius in this picture. Talk about dedication….16683834_1209059709212663_6620262404789827756_n

Reykjavik

The country’s capital is a great place to mesh with the locals and absorb Iceland’s rich culture. Downtown Reykjavik is adorable and offers a wide array of ecclectic shops and local dining. 16640741_1209059729212661_3241126454732913954_n

16649345_1209060139212620_4406635992975061724_n

Not to mention a great bar scene. Seeing that it is located in the center of a college town.

As the barista tol
d us at our favorite icelandic coffee shop, “Reyjkavic knows how to party.”

Unfortunately we didn’t get to party like it was 1979 Iceland style this time around, but it’s on our to do list for our trip this summer.

Hallgrimskirkja

The famous church towers over the city of Reykjavik, and offers stunning views both inside and out. You can purchase a ticket that grants you 16682029_1212369468881687_7005781426466035140_naccess to top of the church’s tower for $9 USD. From the tower you have 360 degree views of Reykjavik from the sky. Definitely worth it.

Please excuse our blurry photos here. The hurricane level wind had absolutely no chill.

16649516_1212331662218801_350300349903031640_n16681524_1209060269212607_2707685792982573288_n16681459_1209060009212633_3531537612241881355_n Although five days isn’t nearly enough time to explore this storybook country, it definitely gave us a solid preview and left us wanting more. You truly can’t go wrong when planning a trip here with so many incredible sights to see.

We’re already planning our return trip this June. But for now…. 10 more sleeps until India!16508063_1209050525880248_7922745759422655010_n16640710_1209050332546934_3661082918392877519_n16730120_1212331312218836_3223849627814548285_n

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