This New Year I was lucky enough to be able to visit Iceland with a group of my friends and it was the most breathtaking trip I’ve ever been on. Each day was so jam packed that I could talk for hours about it and I wanted to sit down and fill you all in on what I got up to!
By far seeing the Northern Lights or more scientifically, the Aurora Borealis, was an experience of a lifetime. Infamous for being notoriously unpredictable, if you ever get the chance to see this phenomenon in person be sure to make the most of it because it’s such a magical experience seeing the night sky alight in an array of colours, especially on your best friend’s birthday.
Another one of my favourite things about the island is just how rugged it still is. In winter you can’t really visit the north of the island because it gets completely cut off by ice and glacial expansion, so I’d definitely want to return in the Summer. The south was still incredibly cold but I can imagine how green the place would be in Summer and having the chance to explore the north of the island would be an amazing opportunity since there’s nowhere else quite like it.
When we first arrived there we visited the Blue Lagoon which is this bright blue lagoon that’s geo-thermally heated because of all the surrounding volcanoes. It was definitely very strange getting in because it’s just like a hot bath but it’s also outside and the surrounding were covered in snow! If you have the chance to ever stay here and visit it then I couldn’t recommend this place enough.
We drove through some of Iceland’s popular ‘Golden Circle’ route past the geysers and Gullfoss and the national park where there’s the deepest tectonic valley above sea level in the world which was super cool to be able see. We spent the next few days exploring more of the island’s national parks and volcanoes, along with a huge glacier near where a lot of the filming for Game of Thrones took place which was jaw dropping.
After all this exploring we made our way back to Reykjavík for New Year’s Eve. The capital is very cute and cosy but you’ll be hard pressed to find anything resembling a club, but there are a lot of bars and pubs there that sell alcohol. However, it was rather pricey and they stop serving it quite early so if, like me you want to pop some champagne at midnight, make sure that you have some in your hotel room!
I would say though that if you’re a vegetarian or vegan you might want to do some research about places to eat since a lot of local delicacies in the winter include a lot of reindeer or whale meat with some fish as well. But if you look hard you can find some really tasty dishes I can’t wait to try and recreate now that I’m back home!
Overall it was such an amazing trip, even though it was by no means a holiday! If you ever have the chance to visit this unforgiving yet charming island I’d urge you to go, just maybe not over New Year when it’s so so cold…