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Before the kids hubby and I spent 10 days in Iceland at Easter and it is still one of the best trips we have ever been on. There are photos from the trip all around our house and we have recommended it as a trip to countless people. I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone who has been who didn’t love it.
We had decided we wanted to try and do the trip as cheaply as possible (and we are not really known for that!) but were persuaded to try Youth Hostels for a change.
We started the trip in a central Reykjavik Youth Hostel for two nights in a really quite comfortable room for two with an en suite. It even had breakfast and sheets and towels included, not what I had thought youth hostelling was all about. I instantly decided that staying in a youth hostel was going to be fine!
My initial thoughts on Reykjavik was that it was quite small and quiet. The hostel was situated in one of the city’s most historically rich neighbourhoods and it was only a short stroll from the old harbour so it was in a perfect location. We visited the museum and shared a few beers but I was itching to get off on the road and the first time round didn’t really give Reykjavik the credit it deserves!
We had booked a car which we collected on day 3 and we set off around the Island. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the road between Reykjavik and the golden circle but this is what the roads in Iceland mainly looked like during our ten day trip – Stunning and Empty!
Some of the best known natural phenomena in Iceland are within a couple of hours drive of Reykjavik so if you only have a few days Iceland is still definitely worth visiting. We visited Pingvellier National Park, the waterfall at Gullfoss and the great Geysir area all on day 3. One of the easiest things about visiting Iceland is that the one main road round the Island takes you directly to the Island’s main attractions, you literally pull off the road into the car park and are greeted by stunning sights like this:
Our third night of our 10 days in Iceland youth hostelling didn’t go exactly to plan. We arrived cold and tired to the second youth hostel we had booked and I immediately panicked. No locks on the doors directly onto the street, it reminded me of a scene from an American serial killer film where you wonder why the youths decided to stay in such a strange looking motel anyway! We didn’t even check in we just upped and drove back to the nice hotel we had seen on the way! Not an amazing start to our cheap and cheerful week, but hey I slept better!
Day 4 of the 10 days in Iceland involved driving to see more incredible waterfalls Seljalandsfoff and Skogafoss and the incredible rock formations of Dyrholaey and Reynisdranger on the black sand beach south of Vik. It was an opportunity to take more incredible photos and just soak in the beauty Iceland has to offer. Back to youth hostels that night and for the rest of the trip thereafter!
What followed though was possibly the highlight of the trip. We saw the Northern Lights. Travelling at Easter we knew that seeing the Northern Lights in any glory at all might not have been possible, we may have been too late. We took a chance though and it paid off. Lay on our back in the freezing cold in the middle of the night listening to a tip from the nice hostel manager, we saw them! We couldn’t believe our luck. We really wish we had taken a Northern Lights tours in Iceland but we just hadn’t thought they would be possible at Easter. I can’t take the credit for this photo below (Iceland Tourism can), as hubby who can take the credit for all the other images, decided he wasn’t going to waste precious moments trying to get the right shot of the Northern Lights he just wanted to enjoy them, and so we did. We just watched and wondered at the incredibleness of nature.
10 days in Iceland
Day 5 (and I still can’t believe how much we fit in in the 4 days before!) was a drive onto Skaftafell National Park. We spent a day hiking on the trails and finding yet another stunning waterfall. We didn’t make time for a trip on a boat through the glacier-calves (maybe next time) but mainly due to the wheel we needed to change! Breaking down was helped only by the fact that this was the view! Not a bad view really!
Days 6 and 7 merge into one in my mind and involved a lot of driving through stunning scenery and a very icey and terrifying drive through a LOT of snow that had fallen overnight. We went from cold but sunny skies to dark winding roads.
However somewhere in the middle of those two days we had a lovely afternoon in Northern Iceland’s version of the Blue Lagoon, the Mývatn Nature Baths which are fed by the run-off from a nearby geothermal power plant. At the time it was half the price of the Blue Lagoon and equally as fun (we subsequently visited the Blue Lagoon when back in Reykjavik) just sitting in the bath like warm warm water whilst icicles formed to the side of you, took your breath away, quite literally.
It was day 8 of the 10 days in Iceland when we stumbled across the last day of skiing in Akureyri and I tried skiing for the very first time. As terrible then as I think I was on our Mark Warner ski holiday last year but with a less patient instructor (hubby!) we resolved then and there that he wouldn’t ever be able to teach me to do anything and he shouldn’t ever consider a career in it!
Before heading back to Reykjavikj on day 9 we managed to fit in some whale watching with some of the first whales to arrive back to Iceland for the summer: it was incredible really to see the winter Northern Lights and do some Summer whale watching all in the same trip! Very very lucky indeed.
We went at Easter and managed to fit in both wales and the Northern lights but we were definitely lucky. If you’re wondering when to visit Iceland why not read this post about the Best Time To Go to Iceland.
If you fancy a trip to Iceland here is a fab post all about What to Pack for a Week in Iceland.
A trip to the Blue Lagoon before driving to the airport completed our 10 magical days in Iceland and has left us desperate to take the children back. A fellow family travel blogger Ting has done just that and you can see some of her adventures here!
Equally if you don’t have 10 days in Iceland and only have 5 why not check out this itinerary for a 5 day winter-road trip in Iceland.
Thank you Iceland you were amazing and we will be back! Why not PIN this for later!