A few years ago, my favorite travel buddy and I sat in a cafe one night and ripped up twenty pieces of paper. We each wrote the names of ten places we wanted to see before we died, and the plan was that every time we got together we would pick one of the names from a hat. Great idea, huh? Just so you know, the last name we picked out was Machu Picchu. Iceland happened to be one of mine, and when I saw that Wow airlines ran some amazing deals to Europe, I jumped at $189 tickets to Iceland.
This is a no frills Icelandic airline, so if you want to go cheap you have to bring your own food and entertainment. You could easily load up an IPAD and pack your own sandwiches. Food and beverages can be purchased, and they didn’t seem too unreasonable for an airline. The plane itself was immaculate and the staff very friendly. I really suggest looking into it for some good European deals.
Before you board the plane, make sure you stop into a duty free shop to purchase some alcohol. Drinking in Iceland is ridiculously expensive. A long island iced tea at a popular Icelandic bar was the equivalent of$25
Stop 1: The Blue Lagoon
I loved this place, and thought it was worth all of the hype. It has a bar where you can purchase beer and Prosecco while you swim around. There are also two saunas, a cave, and a waterfall. We spent three hours there, and could have easily spent more. They even have complimentary mineral clay for your skin. Everyone told me to not get my hair wet, because the water is hard on your texture, but I couldn’t resist. It is rather close to the airport, so if I was every lucky enough to go back for a layover, I would return immediately.
Stop 2: The Golden Circle Tour
Pingvellir – This was the ancient seat of power for the vikings. You could be banished for twenty years to the wilderness.
This was my favorite waterfall. It was really several waterfalls in one.
This is the Icelandic version of Old Faithful – they actually have several geysers on site.
Hotdogs? Everyone swears that these hotdogs are amazing. Seriously, the way they talk it up its like the second coming.
Lobster Rolls? Everywhere was amazing seafood. I kept searching for an elusive lobster roll food truck only to find it the last night after I was already stufffed. I am still bitter.
Saegriffin – this was the best meal I had. It was incredible. Fresh skewers of fish, and the lobster soup was the most divine, delicate seafood stew I have ever had in my life. It was worth putting up with a wax effigy of the dead owner sitting in the corner.
Eldsmidjan – this is a bit on the outskirts from downtown, but it was the most delicious pizza. They have a quality woodfire pizza oven and the crust is on point. You can get traditional pies – we opted for lamb and feta.
Skuli Craft Bar
The beer here is not too exorbitant and is mostly craft brews that are delicious.
Tips to do things cheaply
- We bought liquor at the duty free shop in the airport and brought it with us
- We brought our own water bottles and refilled – the water is delicious and clean
- We made sure our hotel had continental breakfast and packed ziploc bags. we loaded up on sausages and breads for lunch and our treks. We walked to downtown rather than take a cab.
- The tours make sure that you stop at every tea shop known to man. That quickly adds up if you don’t bring your own goods.
- The hot dogs were meh.
- Skyr is amazing. I wish I could get some in the states. Eat it whenever you can.
- Although people by nature weren’t as prone to smile as an American, everyone we spoke to one on one was lovely and welcoming
- EVERYONE speaks English. I mean it, everyone.
- Lamb is in everything.
- The landscape is gorgeous and alien. I would welcome an opportunity to see the other side of the island
- Iceland has the most extreme weather I have ever experienced. We went from sunny, to rain, to snow, to sideways sleet, and sun again within 15 minutes.
- Black death (the unofficial liquor) tastes pretty awful.
Cool things you can do other than what I mentioned…
A lot of people rent cars/trucks and drive around the country themselves and there is Game of Thrones tour, as well.