On revealing to various members of family and friends that I was travelling to Iceland with OTMT for a trip to explore our packages and the activities we offer the reaction was overwhelmingly similar across the board.
The phrase “I have ALWAYS wanted to go there!” combined with a playful (or was it?!) and slightly jealous punch on the shoulder was the most common reaction!
There is no doubt that Iceland has won over the hearts of many, even those who have never visited, due of its sheer beauty and how diverse it is as a country while still being relatively unexplored. Reykjavik itself sees vast quantities of tourists due to the ease of flights from all over the world and the possibility of seeing some extraordinary sights: geysers, hot springs and geothermal baths can all be enjoyed in a short weekend break, making it especially attractive. However, there is so much more to Iceland than just the capital, which is why we think you should star for a little longer than just a weekend.
Our trip went a little like this…
We arrived in Keflavik airport and headed straight to the Whales of Iceland Museum just outside of Reykjavik city centre. One of the main reasons for visiting Iceland on this trip was the introduction of our new ‘Whales and Waterfalls’ package, which includes entrance to this incredible display. 23 life-size models of the species that visit on migration or that resides in Icelandic waters have a permanent home here and there is so much detailed information for adults and children alike. We had lots of fun learning about each species and picked up so much information!
Once finished, we headed to Reykjavik to check out some of our amazing city-centre hotels. We had a look round the rooms and communal areas and then set off on the drive up to the North coast of Iceland. The drive is 4.5 hours but whilst that may sound long, the scenery is so breathtakingly beautiful and changes so frequently right before your eyes that it feels like no time at all. It is also possible to take an equally stunning internal flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri if you prefer. Arriving in Akureyri this evening, we checked into Landelit house as our base for the next two nights. This newly renovated, luxurious and historic house offers the perfect base for a Northern Iceland experience. The house can sleep up to 9 people in 4 bedrooms. It has 2 bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, 2 sitting rooms, television, free Wi-Fi internet and outdoor gas grill, so there is everything you need!
Getting up early this morning, we went down to Akureyri harbour to meet our guide for our first trip of the day – whale watching! In the summer months whales flock to these waters in the North to feed on the herring along the coast and in the fjords. We were lucky enough to see several humpbacks on our trip – there is nothing quite like seeing the fluke of a whale’s tail as it dives into the water. We then enjoyed a delicious lunch in Akureyri at one of the fjord-facing restaurants, complete with amazing views and outdoor terrace. From there, we headed off to see some of our other accommodation options in Akureyri including some fantastic self-catering apartments and houses with private hot tubs! We made sure to see some of the key attractions of the Lake Myvatn area before heading to the Myvatn Nature Baths. Here we were able to spend some time relaxing in the geothermal waters. The minerals and salts in the water leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated – which is a good thing as we still had more to see! Two amazing places of unbelievable natural beauty were the glorious Godafoss Waterfall and also the Viti Crater. We then headed back to Akureyri for our final night in the North.
Our third day began with a long car journey back down to the Southern Coast of Iceland. On the way we stopped off at the Gulfoss Waterfall and the Strokkur Geyser. Gulfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland, located in the canyon of the Hvita River, and is incredible to watch. Strokkur is one of the most famous fountain geysers in the south-west of Iceland – it erupts once every 8-10 minutes! Between the two, you can stop off and watch some of the boiling mud pits in the hot spring area of Geysir. As we headed further south still, we stopped off at the Secret Lagoon which is home to our very special ‘Floating Aurora’ tour. Not only sold in the winter for the Aurora, you can visit Iceland’s oldest geothermal swimming pool during the summer too. While we were here we got to experience cooking an egg in one of the hot springs! The springs are naturally between 90 and 100 degrees Celsius and after 8 minutes in the hot spring our eggs came out perfectly hard-boiled! I will never eat a boiled egg in the same way again! Next on our list was Hotel Ion which is arguably one of the most dramatic-looking hotels in southern Iceland. Its huge glass front gives incredible views from the bar area and the outdoor geothermally heated swimming pool enjoys the same aspect. Once finished here we drove to Hotel Ranga which another of Icelands southern gems. Ranga is notorious for its celebrity visitors and it is easy to see why. Positioned in the middle of nowhere with far-reaching views of the incredible volcanic scenery, it is a truly spectacular hotel. We were able to enjoy an amazing dinner at Ranga before heading back to Reykjavik for our final night in Iceland.
Checking out early from our apartment in the city centre, we made a bee-line for THE most famous place in Iceland – the Blue Lagoon. No trip to this amazing country would be complete without it. We took a quick dip before heading back to the airport to return to the UK. Needless to say the OTMT team had an amazing albeit busy weekend in such a short time but you could also enjoy this incredible country for yourself as either a short trip or longer stay.
If you are looking for a city break you can look at our Reykjavik city break which is great for 3 nights. If you wish to combine the North and the South during the Aurora season then Incredible Iceland is for you and if your passion is whale watching and you would like to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat then check out our Whales and Waterfalls package which is at its best between May and September.