Ready for an adventure? Welcome to Iceland. Although this volcanic island is small, there is so much natural beauty packed in that you could truly spend a lifetime exploring every nook and cranny, yet still not experience every last bit of it. The waterfalls, glaciers, hot springs, it all looked incredible and we wanted to try and squeeze in as much possible in the three days we were there. I spent most of my time on this trip in awe, so humble, I was sure I was dreaming.
I have wanted to share our journey with you for such a long time and I have finally got round to doing it, hallelujah. Grab yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up, and take it all in. Ps, all photos are my own.
~ Hotel Berg ~
Let me start off by telling you how insane our hotel was. The boy did well. I couldn’t have pictured it any better. Hotel Berg is a newly renovated four-star boutique hotel on two floors located above a small marina in Keflavík. It is only a 5-minute drive to the airport, yet has the most peaceful and quiet surroundings. Each room has free Wi-Fi, a fridge, a flat-screen TV and a desk. A private bathroom with a shower, a hairdryer, and bathrobes, oh how we love a matching bathrobe, are in every room, too. Hold up. That’s not the best part. There is a warm outdoor pool on the hotel rooftop. Oh my goodness I could not wait to slip into my swimming costume and melt away under the magical starry sky overlooking the town. Can you think of anything more romantic? It’s not true when they say it only happens in the movies. Oh, it’s also perfect for ordering in a cheeky Dominos pizza when you’ve had a long day travelling which is the first thing we did when we arrived at the hotel. Eat your heart out I say.
~ Day 1. The Golden Circle ~
What is the Golden Circle you ask? There is no better way to be introduced to Iceland and its magic. The Golden Circle is a 300km route covering some of the most beautiful landmarks on the Island, a shorter route compared to driving the Ring Road (which circles the country) Perfect for us. One thing I learned from this trip was that boy the weather changes quickly. Rain showers, rainbows, and a golden sunny morning can turn into a snowstorm later that day. We took the plunge and hired out a car for the majority of our time there, I cannot recommend this enough. We were able to explore and jump out for a picture at our own pace and visit the sites we wanted to see for a fraction of the cost.
~ Kerid Crater ~
Our first stop was the Kerid Crater. Iceland can’t just have a beautiful lake, no no, it also has to be inside of a volcanic caldera. Wait for I’m not finished, with its opaque aquamarine blue water surrounded by red volcanic rock, it’s not to be missed. At an incredible 55 m deep, 170 m wide, and 270 m across, the Kerid crater is a sight that will truly make you feel small. The lake, however, is only about 7 to 14 m deep, depending on the weather in the area.
A closer look –
While most volcanic craters are usually formed by huge volcanic explosions, scientists believe Kerid in Iceland is a little different. It is thought that Kerid was once a cone volcano that erupted, depleted all its magma, and then collapsed under the magma’s weight. The land around the Kerid crater is not public, and its private owners charge a fee of 400 ISK (2.55 GBP) to see the crater, which is used to maintain the area. Ever fancied attending a concert inside a volcano? Well, you can do just that. Yep, that’s right – music concerts are sometimes held at the Kerid crater, due to its unique shape that is somewhat like an amphitheatre. Performers will often float on the lake on a raft, while viewers fill the surrounding hills to watch and listen.
~ Faxi Waterfull ~
Oh Faxi Faxi, you’re a real gem. Trust me guys, if you’re wanting to take a break from the crowds throughout your Golden Circle itinerary, opt for these smaller waterfalls. Having the place all to yourselves is much more magical. A little tip if you’re thinking of visiting Faxi, there is no sign and it cant be seen from the road, AND the GPS doesn’t always recognize it, try putting in Vatnsleysufoss and once you turn onto the correct place it is just a minute drive down the gravel road before you have pretty Faxi insight.
~ Gullfoss Waterfall ~
It was time for the mighty, golden, majestic Gullfoss. Its truly one of those places on the planet that you would never stop watching. Its power, oh my. You could feel a slight cold mist hit the tip of your nose from the moment you get out of the car. As I write this blog, I struggle to think of a way to explain how incredible it was. But the truth is its something that isn’t, quite, explainable. Waterfalls are experts of sinking their claws deep into you, keeping you there, in a slight, daze? I was stuck. Gullfoss was alive and I was its prisoner.
I will warn you that this is the most popular waterfall in Iceland, (as far as I know) which of course means it’s super busy. It can be quite a slip hazard, so be careful, hold onto the ropes if you can, (which I think were quite pathetic) but it was safer for them to be there, rather than nothing at all.
There were so many different angles and corners to view this magical waterfall, I think we came away with photo albums worth of images we captured, we just couldn’t get enough, and can you blame us?
~ Geysir ~
One of Iceland’s most famous tourist attractions, Geysir, is the original hot-water spout after which all other geysers are named. While the original geyser is no longer very active, its neighbour, Strokkur, shoots an impressive 15m to 40m plume of water into the air above us to a collection of ‘wows’ ‘oooooh’ and whoops of excitement. I was so excited to see this natural beauty in real life.
(Skip to 34 seconds for the video)
The final waterfall of our Golden Circle trip was the Öxarárfoss which we had all to ourselves. It was getting dark, chillingly cold and pouring with rain by this point so we quickly jumped out of the car to get a good few pictures. If that isn’t commitment then I don’t know what is! The waterfall flows from the river Öxará over the Almannagjá and is one of the main attractions of Þingvellir National Park.
~ Blue Lagoon ~
If the Blue Lagoon isn’t on your bucket list, are you really living? I think this has to be a staple of any trip to Iceland. To reach the car park, you face an unending drive over lava fields which many would find perhaps ugly, but to me, all I could see was black beauty. There are a couple of different packages you can opt for during your time there which needs to be booked in advance. We went for the comfort package which includes a Silica mud mask each, use of towel and slippers, and a drink of your choice. When planning our trip we were getting slightly worried about having to shower naked publicly, my oh my what an experience that would be. Luckily the changing rooms offer private shower cubicles, although it is still recommended to wash naked, shake what your Mumma gave you I say!
There are also swim-up stations where you can get more free Silica mud mask which was a bundle of fun to put on each other’s faces ready for a few selfies. Oh, the milky blue water was toasty. We were so relaxed. Our surroundings were beautiful. Its as if we were in another world. At one point we experienced a slight treacle of rain but we didn’t mind. It was magical.
~ The Northern Lights ~
Its been a dream of mine forever to see the Northern Lights and even though being in Iceland doesn’t guarantee a sighting, my fingers, toes, everything was crossed in anticipation. I and Sean were slightly disappointed when we attempted to see them our second night. Our hotel was situated right next door to what I want to call a cliff? Overlooking the marina below. We had heard this was the perfect spot to be in for a chance to see them. After our day bathing in the Blue Lagoon and exploring the island capital, Reykjavik, we had already planned to get back to the hotel, wrap up, and head out for our second attempt, being the last night I was praying for us both.
We pulled up outside our hotel, jumped outside the car, it was then that I looked up and I could see a slight streak of green in the sky. I don’t think me and Sean have run so fast in all our lives. We headed straight to the clifftop. And, there they were. The aurora comes in waves. They start off as a single streak in a dark sky full of stars. The waves grow and shimmer, building up more purples, blues, emerald greens, pink. They surround you and make you feel teeny tiny and incredibly emotional all at once. I cried, it was beautiful. It felt like a once in a lifetime show that I never wanted to end. There is nothing more magical than standing under a blanket of stars with the sky on fire as the streaks of colour dance their way across the dark winter sky. My best friends hand in mine, I’ve never felt more present, blessed.
I cannot thank Sean enough for taking me on this adventure. The beauty of Iceland left me breathless. I fell completely in love. It stole my heart in the best way possible and I know we’ll be back.
Till next time,