I love to travel, and we were recently lucky enough to visit Iceland for 5 days. It’s a place that both Kelly and I have always wanted to go, and we were excited about the prospect of seeing the Northern Lights.
We completely lucked out and saw them on our first night/morning, such an amazing start to the holiday!
We booked to stay at Hotel Ranga after a recommendation from my friend Lina. This hotel is located in the south of the country, and feels like the middle of nowhere. It was the perfect, peaceful base for us. The really great thing about this hotel is that the Northern Lights come to you, rather than you having to go on a trip to find them. They offer a wakeup service where they will call you (regardless of time) if the lights appear.
Our phone rang at 5.40am on our first morning. I don’t think either of us had expected the call, so we quickly chucked on our clothes and excitedly headed out.
We stood outside for around 30 minutes but nothing was appearing, so we went back in to get warm and actually contemplated going back to bed. We were so pleased we didn’t as we headed back out and there they were! I had my camera setup so took lots of photos, tweaking my camera settings for different exposures. Kelly went in to get warm while I carried on taking more photographs. It worked out perfectly as it was then time for breakfast before we headed out on our Golden Circle tour.
Our guide Valdi picked us up at 10am in a big SUV. It was great to have a guide to ourselves and show us some of the most beautiful places in the south of Iceland. The tour began with a trip to the Gullfoss waterfall which was absolutely stunning. We then continued to the geysers area with the famous Geysir which all other geysers are named after. The lively geyser Strokkur erupts roughly every 5-10 minutes, and can reach a height of up to 25 meters.
We then headed to Thingvellir National Park and UNESCO Heritage site where we took a walk around taking in all the amazing sights. This setting really would make the most perfect wedding backdrop. The tour was awesome and I would highly recommend the company South Adventure.
The next day we had a day of relaxation making use of the outdoor hot tubs, pool table and the bar!
For our final day in the south we wanted to do another trip but couldn’t decide on a glacier hike or snowmobile. The decision was made for us as the glacier hike was fully booked. Snowmobile it was then!
We headed to base camp for 10am where we were provided with full body suits, helmet and gloves. It took around 30 minutes to get to the top of the glacier and we were amazed at the amount of snow still up there. Kelly had already decided she didn’t want to drive the snowmobile which meant more driving for me! The controls seemed pretty easy, but the leaning issue was a bit confusing – more on that later.
We all headed out in a line and had to follow the tracks of the instructor to make sure we didn’t go off course and end up going over a massive hole. We also had to keep a safe distance from the person in front, around 10 metres or so.
As we climbed the glacier the visibility got really bad and was a complete white out. I lost visibility of the people in front so put my foot (well, hand really) on the gas to catch up. What I didn’t anticipate was a bend and with Kelly leaning the wrong way, (ok, both of us really) off we came with a massive thud! “Oh shit” were my words – actually maybe a bit stronger than that!
The instructor came over and asked if we were ok, pulled the snowmobile up and off we went again. Kelly was panicking that she had landed on the camera and didn’t really enjoy the rest of the tour 🙁
It was amazing when we reached the top and incredible that we were actually standing on top of an active volcano (Katla).
Overall it was fun, although don’t think either of us will be rushing to go snowmobiling again!
We then had a 2 hour drive up to Reykjavik, which seemed really long. We booked a AirBnB for two nights and our host Helga was very helpful – giving us lots of suggestions for places to go.
It was really nice to have our own apartment right in the centre of Reykjavik. It gave us a great base to be able to explore the city. The Icelandic Fish and Chips were amazing and Harry’s was also really good.
Before we headed home we went to to Blue Lagoon, a must of you’re visiting Reykjavik. It was winding and very cold on the face that day, but a great experience. We got there really earlier around 8.30 and it was still dark. It definitely got a bit warmer later in the day. A perfect relaxing way to end the holiday.
Here are some of the photographs I took during the 5 days.