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When in Iceland, stay at the Capital!

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July 22, 2016

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After exploring Rome, Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Positano and Sorrento, my last stop was Iceland. I spent my first full day at the Blue Lagoon, one of the 25 wonders of the world.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland I would highly recommend a day in this relaxing, geothermal natural lagoon. It’s like a gigantic hot tub, but better. Pre-booking is required and I would  recommend the Premium Package.

Find a hotel with easy bus access to the Lagoon as the Taxis in Iceland are extremely expensive. A 5 minute trip is about $30 USD. There’s a bus called Flybus that goes from the airport to the capital, Reykjavik, where there are plenty hotel options, amazing shopping spots, and fabulous dining. I stayed at the quaint Apartment K and would book it again in a heart beat.

Back to the lagoon, the Premium Package runs from $70-80 euros and includes a robe and slippers (both a must have for a comfortable day), a towel, the mud and algae masks, a free drink (they have amazing smoothies!), reservations at the Lava restaurant and a glass of sparkling wine. 

The Lava restaurant is perfect for lunch and goes very well with the Spa feel of the Lagoon. Expect to pay about $35-40 for your entree and $16 for desert. I chose the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with wild mushrooms, crispy potatoes, onion jam, and dijon mustard, and their famous local desert, “√Āstarpungar” & caramel.

While soaking in the lagoon you will have access to mud masks, and depending on your package also an algae mask. It’s pretty fun to see people with white/green faces everywhere!

The lagoon water can really dry your hair. They provide conditioner you can use and leave in your hair while there, but from experience, I would recommend clipping your hair up. After a day in the lagoon my hair felt very dry, even though a reapplied the conditioner throughout the day.

Iceland is one of three countries where you can eat whale meet. The other two are Japan and Norway. While in Iceland we decided to go on a whale tour and were lucky enough to see 4 whales! Unfortunately they were too shy, and I too sea sick to actually get a picture. We booked our tour with Elding Adventures at Sea and were very pleased with their customer service. I was very afraid of being cold so I purchased a winter parka as well as wool gloves and socks, but was very delighted once they told us they had suits for all of us to keep us warm. We saw Minke whales. 

I will mention I did NOT eat any whale meat, and would encourage you not to eat it as well. Whales are our friends :-). 

We also went on the Golden Circle Tour. I would have loved to have rented a car for this so I could have stopped for pictures at many different spots, but it was still very fun and probably more educational to do the tour. We loved seeing and learniing more about Gullfoss Waterfall (in the photo below, I love how little the people look on the top/right of the photo), and the Geysers at Haukadalur

Haukadalur is a geothermal area with geysers. Two famous ones are called Geysir and Strokkur. These holes shoot up boiling hot water that smells like rotten eggs! 

If you read all my other travel posts, I think this is the one with the least amount of photos. And yet, it was one of my favorite countries I’ve ever visited. So, why the lack of photos? I truly feel like all I wanted to do was take it in. Iceland is like no other country I’ve ever been in, and I didn’t want to stop exploring long enough to take more photos. But, I’ll be going back next year, and I promise to take a million photos of the capital, all the cute shops, the delicious food… Iceland shall see me again soon! 

Food in Iceland was probably the best food I’ve ever had. Reykjavik has the best of everything. One of our favorite restaurants was the Grillmarkadurinn. With a cozy, Islandic atmosphere you’ll find delicious food (fresh sea food),  right in the heart of the capital. 

I’ve come to love crepes, and it’s interesting that I had the very best crepes of my life in Iceland. Differently than the $3 Euro crepes from Paris, these will be closer to $12 dollars, but worth every penny. The shop is called Eldur and Is, and serves not only crepes but also ice cream and coffee.

My very last comment is that the stores in Iceland are magical. I wanted all the coats, boots, furniture, rugs/fur, so bring an extra suitcase for your purchases! 

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