Travel Spotlight: Iceland
Our Marketing Manager extraordinaire, Christi, has just ticked off another dream destination from her bucket list. Last month she made the most of unusually cheap flights to Iceland and booked a trip to Reykjavik. Here’s the post about her adventure, complete with some tips for those traveling to Iceland for the first time.
From stunning, otherworldly views and wild outdoor adventures, to sleek, contemporary bars and fabulous gourmet restaurants, Iceland offers everything I love about travel. Spontaneity paid off once again - our discounted flights (300 dollars from LAX) got us not only to Reykjavik and back, but also put us on the front row for the incredible spectacle of the Northern Lights.
The rest of the trip didn’t go as smoothly as many of our plans were cancelled after an intense blizzard hit the country. Nearly two feet of powder fell overnight, making it the worst snowstorm since 1937! Luckily, I was prepared for the frigid temps – my Arctery’x Proton LT Hoody (with Climashield, or course) was the perfect midlayer outside and a comfortable, stylish option indoors.
The weather only added to the overwhelming sense of remoteness that you feel in the Icelandic backcountry. To enjoy it at its best, book your stay at one of the many traditional farmhouses in advance. Every year nearly 2 million tourists visit Iceland, so it’s best to make reservations early.
My favorite lodging was at Efstidalur II in Lauvargatn. This dairy farm is a great base for excursions into the national park and offers delicious yogurts, ice cream and other milk products. It’s also a convenient first stop on your itinerary and can be reached from the capital in under two hours.
The stunning Thingvellir National Park is located right in between Reykjavik and Lauvargatn. Iceland is the only place on Earth where you can observe the effects of two major tectonic plates pulling apart and Thingvellir’s dramatic landscape is shaped by this geological activity. There are numerous hiking trails in the area and you can sleep under the stars at one of the two campsites.
Unfortunately, violent weather didn’t allow us to spend much time on the trails. We also missed out on diving in the clear waters of the Silfra lake. It’s a popular destination for both divers and snorkelers - underwater, you can literally see the fissure where the Eurasian and North American continents meet.
On the flip side, the snow got me stuck at the very pleasant ION Hotel, where I spent a few days switching between the sauna and an outdoor thermal pool. In better weather, you can use the hotel as a home base on various daytrips, from horseback riding to ice caving, all of which can be booked through the hotel.
After your backcountry adventures, the best place to unwind is the Blue Lagoon just outside of Reykjavik. An unforgettable outdoor experience, it’s much more than a spa - soaking in the mineral waters is as good for your skin as it is for your psyche. From there, you can comfortably make your way back to the airport and hope for more cheap flights to Iceland sometime soon!