2/13/2016

My trip to Iceland in January 2016 | Experience, Tips, Facts, Budget

Iceland was a huge challenge for me. It was one of the hardest trips to plan till now maybe cause its a totally different country than what i am used to go on holidays. 
Iceland is expensive, the weather changes in seconds and its hard to choose the right time for some available tours. 
We went in January 2016 i can say the weather wasnt so cold as i was expecting - but it was cold!
Check here what to pack for Iceland!

Me and my partner tried to do as much as possible in a budget such as buying tickets in advance, eating sometimes food from supermarket, cheap hotels and more.
Airplane ticket was cheap and it took about 3 hours and a half from London Gatwick.
From Keflavík Airport to Reykjavik takes around 45 minutes by bus.
This company FLYBUS  picks you up outside the airport and drops you at your hotel for an extra cost. 
On your way back, make sure u check your departure times from BSI and your flight departure.

We stayed at Studio Apartments (Address:  Grensasvegur 14, Reykjavik 108, Iceland)
Formerly it was called Hotel 66, we had few problems with the name of this hotel when drivers wanted to pick us for tours. I also heard Atlantic Apartments & Rooms and Reykjavik Bed and Breakfast. Ok, so 4 different names. That's a Thumbs down for it. Although it was super cheap for 5 nights, self check-in and self check-out, modern furniture, good WiFi connection and comfy bed, it was also quite far from city centre. It would take 40 minutes walking to get to the heart of Reykjavik. Well, for us might take longer than that due to snow and wind conditions, but was also nice to take lots of pics on our way to the centre. 
In my opinion, in Summer time must be better to have long distance walks.
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City Centre is delightful! Houses are beautiful and colorful. 
StreetArt is fantastic! People are very creative there.
City is calm and safe - its safest country in the world.
They got lots of second hand shops and markets, gift shops, local stores and brands, expensive of course, but very nice to see and to fall in love!



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 At Reykjavik you must visit Harpa Opera House, The Sun Voyager, The Icelandic Phallological museum, in other words, the "dick" Museum where you can see all types of mammals penises, including whales. 
 ⬆ Harpa and The Sun Voyager. 
⬆ The Icelandic Phallological museum ⬆ 

COSTS OF LIVING:
 currency: ISK

MILK: 152kr | 0,82£ | 1,06€
WATER: 233kr | 1,26£ | 1,63€
PACK OF CIG: 1,225kr | 6,26£ | 8,56€
MEAL NON-EXPENSIVE RESTAURANT: 3,000kr | 16£ | 21€
TAXI START PRICE: 660kr | 3,58£ | 4,62€

Try traditional food from Iceland. Its so nice to taste different cultures. We ate whale for the first time (its legal there!) and we had a very nice lobster soup at the Sea Baron by the Old Horbour. Hot dogs are important too! They even have hotdog holders, haha so funny!
#01FACT: There aren’t any McDonald’s Restaurants anywhere in Iceland. But you can find Subways everywhere! 
 ⬆ Hot dog, whale, lobster soup. 

I loved Reykjavik! People are happy, helpful, pretty and looking at the mountains covered with snow will make you feel so small and special!

#02FACT: In Iceland they pay very little for hot water, electricity and heating, they have enough renewable energy for everyone.
#03FACT: A majority of Icelanders believe in elves.

We booked a Northern Lights tour with Reykjavik Excursions https://www.re.is/day-tours/northern-lights-tour at 8pm, it was 33£ per person.
The tour was very nice, the guide explained us lots of things about northern lights on our way to þingvellir National Park. It was freezing there, but a very nice place to be. Beautiful! Unfortunately, we're out of luck. The sky was cloudy and the lights didn't happen. We rebooked again and again (you can do that for free if you dont manage to see the northern lights), but it didn't happen to us due to weather conditions and lack of time. It was very frustrating, cause January is the best month for Northern Lights. Maybe next time we will be lucky.

We also did  City Sightseeing & Golden Circle Afternoon. Thats a must! It was one of my favorite days in Iceland. We learned so many things!! Beautiful places and awesome facts about the island. This tour takes 10 hours with free pick up from hotels and guesthouses starting at 8:15. The first tour City Sightseeing: we visited Hallgrimskirkja church, Perlan, (amazing view from there), the president's house which is impressive - theres no police by the entry, no protection, very simple and calm, and many others stops. 
 ⬆ Hallgrimskirkja Church and view. 
⬆ View from Perlan and inside Perlan 

⬆ The President House. 

At Golden Circle Afternoon, you are going to visit þingvellir, Geyser, Gullfoss and Hveragedi.
This tour pack costs 70£ per person.
The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in South Iceland, covering about 300 km looping from Reykjavík into central Iceland and back. It is the area that contains most tours and travel related activities in Iceland.

⬆ Geyser 
⬆ Frozen Gullfoss Waterfall. 
#04FACT: There is a volcanic eruption every 4 years on average.

We wanted to do a Glacier hike through a wonderland of ice sculptures tour, but it was cancelled. As you see its very difficult to do all you want to do in such short time. The weather changes very quick thats why its so difficult to plan Iceland. I would say always have a plan B, in case your plan A is canceled. When canceled, you can request a refund online without any problem. 
In Iceland they give to their restaurants names of famous people Lol
I ate there a Snoop Dogg burger too. 

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Blue Lagoon 
- Its something for a lifetime! You will never forget it. I recommend 100% and i would go there everyday if i could!
Blue Lagoon its a thermal Spa surrounded by rocks, and black lava with hot pale blue water. Pre book your tickets online and you will save time, money and no disappointment. 
We chose a Premium Ticket 70€, and i think its the best choice. 
With this ticket you will get Entrance to the Blue Lagoon and other facilities, including changing rooms, the sauna, the steam bath, the relaxation area and more. They will give you a large towel, robe, slippers on arrival. You are also entitle to a free drink at the Lagoon bar or Blue Cafe. They offer you a  Silica Mud Mask & Algae Mask at the Silica Mud Bar in the lagoon. You have a right to book a free table at LAVA restaurant and a free glass of sparkling wine! 
AMAZING VALUE FOR ALL OF THAT, ISNIT?

If you are travelling with your luggage, they've got a place to keep your luggage safe!
No need to take your wallet to the pool to pay for your drinks at the lagoon bar. At the reception they will give you a bracelet, which you're gonna use to open and close your locker and all drinks you buy they will scan your bracelet at the bar, and the bill you just have to pay in the end before you leave. 
So far i think LAVA Restaurant was the most expensive thing we did in this trip. I dinner for two cost us around 18,000kr. But the experience was unique, food was delicious, the restaurant was so romantic. I think it was worth it. Its good to feel like that sometimes.

MORE FACTS ABOUT ICELAND:
#05FACT: Iceland does not have an army, navy or air force.~
#06FACT: In 2010, 97.6% of Icelandic population had Internet connection.
#07FACT: Icelanders watch more movies than any other nation.
#08FACT: Iceland was one of the last places on earth to be settled by humans.
#09FACT: Mosquitoes do not exist in Iceland.
#10FACT: Crime in Iceland is very low and violent crime is practically nonexistent.

Surely, I would like to go back sooner or later.
Have you been there? Any questions?