When you think of a relaxing spa break, a trip to Iceland (no, not the frozen food store) might not be the first destination that springs to mind! But, hear me out. Iceland the country, is incredible!
Having been dragged there somewhat kicking and screaming by my husband about 15 years ago, who kept telling me I would love it, I have to admit he was right (on this one occasion) and I did love it. So much so that we have returned time and time again and I am now dropping oh so not subtle hints at him to go again.
With a flight time from Manchester to Reykjavik (Keflavik) of just over 2.5 hours, it is easily doable in a weekend. We have flown IcelandAir every time who have been great. On time flights and nice, clean airplanes with great special offers. In fact, I have been surprised every time just how good the price for a weekend trip actually is.
The Blue Lagoon https://www.bluelagoon.com/, located in the heart of the UNESCO Geopark and only a short 20 mins from the airport or 45 mins taxi ride from the capital is an absolute MUST SEE. There are buses available too.
You can just do a day trip or, make the most of it and stay the weekend which I would recommend! You almost feel like you could be on the moon, it has such an ‘out of this world’, serenity and peace about it that you cannot help switch off and relax.
Swim in the hot water, give yourself a free facial with the white silica and algae ‘mud’ that abounds and get someone to massage into your back and shoulders whilst sipping on a drink from the in-pool bar. Later, why not treat yourself to dinner at the Lava restaurant before sitting on your balcony to watch for the northern lights. Don’t forget to pack your Seaspray Swimsuit!! My personal choice would be our Narissa Classic Draped Bandeau for the spa.
Other attractions include a trip to Gulfoss waterfalls – quite simply, awe-inspiring and of course, the fun geysers. Geysir himself has been mainly dormant for years but nearby Strokkur erupts spectacularly every 5-10 minutes. My husband didn’t tell me this and I was taking a photo of the thermal pool when it erupted and we now have a video of me screaming and running away with him laughing hysterically at me!
There are tours available which we have done a few times that will take in all the major tourist sites including Gulfoss and the geyers as well as various volcanos and more. The Golden Circle tour is reasonably priced and a good one to do. We have also hired our own car and explored further afield but be careful as at certain times of the year, the roads around the island can be cut off due to snow and can be treacherous. Always ask for advice and travel safely. There are very very strict drink-driving laws in Iceland (as there should be) so definitely recommend using the plentiful supply of public transport.
Whale watching and hunting for the elusive northern lights are also popular tours too and well worth a go. We have done both and seen lots of whales…… after searching for the aurora borealis we eventually gave up and filled up on hot chocolate and fell asleep. We saw them accidentally the following evening from the airplane on our way home!
As most things are imported into Iceland, food and drink can be quite pricey but absolutely delicious! Try eating (not pronouncing) Hangikjöt (smoked lamb) with some Skyr for dessert with fresh fruit. I am not much a fan of eating fish usually but here, the fish is a staple and just delicious and fresh. We found a little deli called Johansen Deli that did the most delicious lunch time foods and drinks that you can fill up on too.
At the end, it is back to the airport where you can pick up some little gifts from Rammagerdin gift shop which is a treasure trove of stunning Icelandic handicrafts and designs or treat yourself to some Blue Lagoon spa products from their airport shop.
If you are thinking of a little weekend break, then I would definitely recommend giving Reykjavik a whirl for something out of the ordinary but fun, relaxing and special. Let us know what you think when you get back. Happy adventures.