When my husband and I were planning our honeymoon, we toyed with the idea of going to Iceland. We thought about going to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) which would be a dream come true.
Fast forward a few months later and we actually made it to Iceland! We flew to Iceland on New Year’s day, although before we got there we took a side trip to Paris, France first.
We knew that Iceland would be cold, but never expected it to be THAT cold! The temperature when we arrived was -2°C, but sometimes it dropped to -12°C. It was winter, after all, which meant that daylight was only for a few hours. There was also rain and a snowstorm too. I would have preferred to go during summer but we really wanted to see the Northern Lights, which only takes place in winter.
Upon arrival, we took the Flybus to Reykjavik and stopped at the nearest bus stop to our Airbnb house. Flybus buses are prompt and very efficient. There are very few transport options available from the airport and taking the bus is the cheapest option. Tourists who don’t want to drive in Iceland would need to follow a tour.
We had actually booked for one to see the Northern Lights on our first day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see anything due to bad weather but we didn’t worry because we could use our ticket again (it is valid for two years). Apparently, this is the same for all tour companies in Iceland.
The next day, we went on a Golden Circle tour. Our first stop was the Pingvellir National Park. The whole park was covered in snow but the scenery was picturesque. It’s like I landed in the winter wonderland of my dreams.
We did a bit of sightseeing before heading to the Geysir hot spring. There are a few hot springs there that would erupt from time to time and we had patiently wait to see one. Then the driver rushed to Gullfos Waterfall just before sunset. We had to be quick because sunset is at 3pm in winter. The waterfall was majestically beautiful. Some parts were frozen but there was still water running down and it was a view like no other.
At night, we went to the Blue Lagoon. It was one of the best experiences for us. Blue Lagoon is actually a geothermal spa where you can soak in the water, known to have benefits for the skin. But the best part during winter? You’re actually bathing with snow around you. One quick note: The people at the spa are not shy and would just strip naked in front of everyone (men and women are in separate sections, though). Feel free to do the same!
The next morning, we went for an ATV ride, instead of a snowmobile tour which was cancelled because of bad weather. It was freezing cold because the ATV itself was not covered, but we had a lot of fun. At night, we ate at a beautiful restaurant called Apotek. We chose this restaurant because they had whale meat and I was told that if you come to Iceland, you must try this. The meat was partly grilled, and was quite chewy but overall, I must say it was a sensory experience.
After that, we went to “hunt” the Northern Lights again. It was our last night there so we were really hoping to see it. And we did! There was this green light across the sky which can be seen clearly with the naked eye but you would need a very good camera to capture it. It was so surreal.
When it was time to go back, we were hit with a snowstorm, so the airport was forced to close. Roads were also closed and our bus was unable to pick us up.
We were already at the pick-up point by then, and, as usual, it was freezing cold. When we realised the bus wasn’t coming, we walked aimlessly to find a restaurant to sit down in.
Luckily our flight was also delayed and when we finally reached the airport, we managed to board our flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Unfortunately, we we missed our connecting flight there so the airline compensated us with a free room for the night.
It was a long journey home with unexpected events but thank God my husband was with me. We laughed throughout our ordeal and we had such a memorable adventure.
The views expressed are the reader’s own.
We may not be able to travel now but would still love to hear what made your previous holidays so special. Your story (experiences, tips, advice) should be 700 to 800 words long in Word or Text format. Please attach at least five photos (1MB, captioned) in a separate e-mail.
We also accept photo essays. Send us at least eight Hi-Res pictures taken during a holiday. Include detailed captions for each item. Photos must always focus on the destination (eg: sunsets, beaches, food, local folks, costumes, traditional dances, nature), so please don’t just send us your selfies and wefies. There is no payment for submissions, and we reserve the right to edit all submissions. E-mail email@example.com with the subject “Readers Share”.