For the past few years I’ve seen non-stop incredible photos of Iceland 0n my Instagram feed — images of the Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon, the Icelandic horses, and so many natural wonders that I knew I had to go. I felt overwhelmed though trying to figuring out what to book. With just a plane ticket (booking was the first step!), I started reading articles, reviews and asking advice of friends so here is the quick and easy guide to what I did, and what’s on my radar for next time.
WHERE TO STAY: Downtown Reykjavik, Room with a View
There are loads of hotels all over Iceland but if you’re limited on time, downtown Reykjavik is ideal. All of the tours pick up from there and it’s a really cute scene, filled boutiques, restaurants, popular attractions and life. We stayed at Room with View Luxury Apartments, which was the most ideal location. In fact if you’re looking at other hotels see how close it is to this one since it doesn’t get anymore prime and right. Although dubbed an apartment, it’s more of an upscale hotel suite complete with a kitchen, doorman and helpful staff to accommodate any bookings. There’s also a steam room and Jacuzzi on the property! We were a party of 4 people and one thing I learned is two double beds in a hotel basically doesn’t exist. This was the only hotel I found that could accommodate us in one room. I highly recommend emailing them in advance your needs. We ended up with 3 single beds and one double bed in our huge, beautiful, dream apartment with 2 bathrooms suite that was cheaper then booking two rooms somewhere else.
How to Get Around:
Your options are basically, taxi, car rental, bus, ferry or tour buses (more info HERE). I highly recommend renting a car, we used Lagoon Car Rental which was wonderful. They picked us up from the airport and drove us 5 minutes away to the car location and made it all super quick and easy! And also through a wi-fi router we had internet in the car the whole time. Renting a car made the most sense for us since we were a party of 4 and getting to/from the airport to Reykjavik is about a 45 minute drive and pricey, so is the Blue Lagoon (we were quoted $40 each way from Reykjavik, although they have ticket options that include a shuttle). Reykjavik is a very walkable city so we basically used the car for day trips and otherwise found easy street parking and did tours. The tours pickup from hotels in Reykjavik so that part was easy.
We rented a Renault Talisman which had plenty of space in the trunk for all of our stuff. Some people prefer a 4×4 SUV but I found the roads really well paved and since we were doing tours (all listed below) for more of our nature excursions, and the weather was mild, we were more than fine in a regular car. If you are doing more off roading and driving yourself around the country (especially in harsh weather) you may want to consider a 4×4.
WHAT TO DO IN ICELAND:
Blue Lagoon and Thermal Baths
I could not leave Iceland without visiting the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Bath. It’s one of the 25 Wonders of the World and with good reason, it’s incredible! Most people visit on their way to the airport or leaving it since it’s on the route from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik. Pre-booking is required and they also offer massages in the water which is apparently incredible! They have different ticket rates, all of which get you the same access to the Blue Lagoon and access to the mask bar for the Silica Mud Mask — everything but the Standard Ticket also gets you the Algae Mud Mask (you can learn more about the ticket options HERE). Both of these skincare products are two of Blue Lagoons top selling skincare products, and they have a store on site (as well as at the airport and downtown Reykjavik) where you can purchase the whole line. I highly recommend the masks as well as their lip balm — pretty much all of it is incredible and makes for a great gift! There are two restaurants, a cafe and more formal dining option on the property. There is also a bar in the water to purchase drinks.