It seems for the past couple of years everywhere I look I see Iceland. Other travel blogs, all over social media and I hear people talking about it. We have seen amazing airfares published from all over the world to visit Iceland, but the timing just hasn’t worked out for us. Now this summer, we’ve been seeing pictures from fellow traveling families and friends we know. This leaves me wanting to visit Iceland and experience all that I am seeing even more.
So now the questions begin. How do we fit a visit to Iceland on to our travel schedule? Should we visit in the summer or winter? What are the best things to do? Is it worth pulling the kids out of school to get the best deals? And the questions keep rolling in for me. So I have decided to do a tad of research to help me decide and then maybe, just maybe, we can fit it in over the next couple of years. I need to do loads of research, just to decide when to go, so thought I would share my thinking process with you. Maybe you can add fuel to the fire for me.
Which things to do in Iceland would be top on our list?
Iceland is the land of water, ice, nature and volcanoes. We have a few must see items, but it would all depend on the season. Actually it seems like our list could be endless, but doing this research will help us figure it out.
The number one biggie would be to experience Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. This had been a family dream and we have been researching all of the locations we could possible experience it. Since we are based in Europe, we have many options, but it seems Iceland has some really good flight deals. The one drawback would be, you aren’t guaranteed to see the northern lights in any of the locations. We could plan an entire trip for a week or two and still not see what we dream of seeing, but we would still be visiting Iceland. We hear if we choose one of the northern lights tours in Iceland, they know the best areas to visit to increase our chances.
Heck, who doesn’t want to say they have visited Iceland? We even had the thought of meeting up with Gma Linda for Christmas. She would fly from New York and us from Spain, making it a nice meeting point. It won’t be happening this winter, as we already have other plans up our sleeves. Perhaps next year? We just need to decide if we want that winter visit or summer visit.
Visiting Ice Caves
This can only be done in the winter and looks absolutely amazing. There seem to be many options not too far from Reykjavik, so that is good. I think the kids would go nuts for this experience, but I do worry about being warm enough. I guess we would just hire the right gear and perhaps take a tour.
Our friend Suzanne and her daughter visited Iceland this summer, before visiting Spain, and they absolutely loved the puffin tour. I know this would be a dream of ours and the kids would just fall in love with the puffins, especially Anya. This would be an ideal summer activity and while it would still be chilly out for us, it wouldn’t be the dead of winter. We would have more daylight hours and be able to plan more activities.
Iceland is situated on a ‘hot spot’ of the earth, which means there is plenty of geothermal activity mixed with the ice of the glaciers. This forms many geothermal pools, some of which are just the right temperature to bathe in. You know how we love to do cool things and I think this would certainly be a highlight for us. The one I have read most about is the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is on the Reykjanes peninsula, close to Reykjavík, so it would be easy to access.
Driving the Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a popular circular route from Reykjavik, which consists of Iceland’s most famous and most popular natural attractions. It looks like there are many tours available for the Golden Circle, but you know us, we like going it on our own. I wouldn’t like to do the driving in the snow or ice, but Alan has no fear. He would love to drive the Golden Circle, but maybe it would be better to take a tour and just not worry about driving.
From what I have read we should allow about 5-6 hours to cover 3 main stops:
A National Park full of nature and history. There are many hiking trail, which again would lead us back to a summer schedule. By the way, who wouldn’t want to see where Iceland’s 1st Parliament was held?
A geothermal area from which all geysers get their name.There are two famous geysers here called Geysir and Strokkur. Apparently, its activity has been dated back more than 10,000 years! Of course we would see geysers here, so we would need to be prepared for the lovely aroma! I am sure it is all worth it for some spectacular views.
Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall)
You know how we love waterfalls. This one drops down 32 meters, into a canyon with walls of 70 meters. I bet it is spectacular in person. I just love the energy and power you feel around water and nature. It is located in South Iceland on the Hvítá (White) River which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull.
A crater filled with a gorgeous blue water, surrounded by beautiful red volcanic rock. This is our kind of place! This receives great TripAdvisor reviews and is apparently the place to be for a great sunset.
Okay, so this exercise didn’t help me decide at all. The only thing it did was make me want to go in the summer and the winter! What about you? Which would you choose and why?