July 17, 2016
A Surprisingly Cool Vacation Destination
While planning my vacation last year, I was faced with the usual Caribbean options. The thing is, I don’t like to go to the same vacation spot twice. That’s why a Groupon offer caught my attention with special pricing to Iceland. Surprisingly, I knew a handful of friends who had already gone to Iceland.
The more I looked into it, the more I wanted to go. It’s only a five hour flight, direct from Toronto on Icelandicair, with Wi-Fi to boot (there was Wi-Fi everywhere actually, even coach buses). The vacation package included 4 nights and 3 days including air, hotel and two tours all for about $800. I booked for the first week of March so there were snowy conditions, but still a good time to see the aurora borealis for that time of year.
There is a five hour time difference between Toronto and Iceland. I took an evening flight, so when I arrived it was already morning. There was no time to waste though, the weather was cooperating so we made arrangements from our hotel to depart to the Blue Lagoon Resort that same day after a quick nap.
Note: the weather can change quickly from sunny to rainy, rainy to snowy, etc. The best way to visit Iceland during this time is to layer your clothes. There were many tourists that did not come prepared.
The Blue Lagoon Spa
The Blue Lagoon’s geothermal water in Grindavik originates from the ground below and is accessed by the geothermal power plant nearby. The three active ingredients in the water are Silica, Algae & Minerals. Enjoy the hot baths, steam room, sauna, and relaxation rooms or book a massage if you plan to visit. You need to coordinate your time of arrival with opening hours and the last bus back to your hotel. I would recommend not buying a bus ticket or entrance fee in advance. Wait until you arrive in Iceland and see what the weather conditions are like. The baths are accessible almost at all times, however.
From Keflavik International Airport, 23 km
From Reykjavík: 47 km
South Shore Adventure
This day tour is packed with walking on the ancient Mýrdals
jökull glacier and violent black sand beach waves in Vik and Skógafoss waterfalls with a pot of gold legend. It’s said that a chest of gold is waiting for you just beyond the falls, if you ca
n reach it. Check out the Turf houses and Museum at Skogar too.
Golden Circle Tour
Here you will find Þingvellir’s North American and Eurasia tectonic divide, Strokkur geysir, and Gullfoss waterfall.
Yes, the rumour is true, Iceland is expensive (all you can eat breakfast was approximately $25 per person, albeit you got organic, high quality options at the hotel). One way to save on costs is to buy your meals from the supermarket and prepare it yourself, that is closer to Toronto prices. Mom and pop fast food joints are about the same as Toronto while on tours. Check to see if your hotel has a bus pass that you can use to get around, mine had one that was free to use at no charge. The airport has a money exchange office that doesn’t charge a fee, so change your money there. If you have some vacation time still unplanned, why not visit Iceland?