Iceland was an absolute dream!! Just under two weeks ago a found a great last minute deal and booked a spontaneous trip to Reykjavik. Three nights/four days was absolutely not enough time to see the country, but it was worth it all the same, and definitely made a great getaway.
Iceland this time of year isn’t the typical place you’d escape to; the temperature is below-freezing and the sun doesn’t rise until 10:30am. But it’s also cheap this time of year and considerably less touristy, and with a $400 round trip flight from Montreal to Reykyavik it was a no-brainer.
I arrived to a rainy city in the dead of night and made my way from Keflavik, the international airport, downtown to my hostel. The drive takes about 45-minutes; it’s easiest to book ahead with fly-bus for a cheap ride into town. I only paid to get to the bus station, which in hind sight was a mistake – it’s worth paying extra to get dropped at your hostel. Instead I was dropped in the pitch black at a bus station with no idea how to get where I needed to be.
1 Night – $50CAD
I ended up cabbing to my hostel – the most expensive 5min drive I’ve ever had! Luckily, the hostel made it worth my while. Kex hostel is a pretty famous hostel in Reykjavik, and for good reason. It’s located in a building down by the harbour that used to be a biscuit factory (Kex is Icelandic for Biscuit – disappointingly, they did not give out free cookies). The hostel let me wait in their beautifully decorated lobby until my bed was ready, and served a delicious Icelandic breakfast while I waited. When I did eventually get my room, I was pleased to find out the hostel places solo travelers in rooms together to help people meet and socialize which is such a great idea – everyone in my room was great. The hostel also helped arrange transfers around the country and day trips with their Kexland travel company which was very helpful.
Secret Lagoon – $20CAD
There’s some really amazing hot springs all around Iceland, with the most famous being the Blue Lagoon. I wasn’t all that excited about spending so much money on such a quick trip to float around with hundreds of other tourists so I opted for the Secret Lagoon. Somewhat less glamorous, the Secret Lagoon is a small, natural hot spring in the interior of the country, about an hour and a half from the capital. I arranged a transfer through my hostel and spent my first afternoon fighting jetlag by floating around the hot springs with a glass of prosecco. I would definitely recommend checking this one out for a quarter of the price of the blue lagoon!
Southern Iceland – $120CAD / 10 hours
I only had time for one day trip without a car so I went for the southern Iceland tour, famous for waterfalls, glaciers, and black sand beaches. I booked my tour through the hostel, but there are hundreds of tour companies and as it turns out they all run identical tours. It was a full day – we left at 8am and didn’t get back until late evening. I would definitely recommend this one if you are short on time. We managed to pack in two amazing waterfalls, two stops at black sand beaches, a visit to the village of Wik, and a walk out onto the beginning of a glacier, as well as one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever done.
Overall, Reykjavik was an absolute dream. I could not believe how easy it was to get there from Canada and how much I could comfortably pack into a long weekend. I’ll need to go back and explore for longer, but Iceland was the perfect escape.