iceland, europe, travel

3 Day Trip to Iceland: Disasters in the Snow


On our second full day in Iceland we visited Blue Lagoon, a Geothermal Spa and one of the most popular attractions in the country.

We’d booked to visit Blue Lagoon online a few weeks before we arrived and got a deal that included transport there and back via coach from the bus station in Reykjavik. I definitely recommend this rather than getting a taxi if you’re trying to watch the pennies.

On the journey to Blue Lagoon we went through the Grindavik lava fields, which were pretty cool with endless sights of black rugged volcanic rock covered in snow. On arrival to the Blue Lagoon we queued up with our order confirmation to get our wristbands. The electronic wristbands are used as locker keys and to pay for your expenses during the day. At the end of your stay, you hand in the wristband and pay for everything that you bought, ate and drank. This means that you don’t have to bring money around with you in the lagoon. You can get four different ticket types for Blue Lagoon, including Standard, Comfort, Premium and Luxury. Standard, which we went for, includes just entrance to the lagoon whilst the other tickets offer luxury items such as gowns and a meal at the on-site restaurant.

iceland, europe, travel

After changing into my swimming costume, I realised that I’d lost my wristband, which you have to pay a fee for if lost. I scoured the changing rooms for about half an hour before giving up. As I couldn’t lock away my clothes and towels, I had to bring them all into the lagoon lobby so that Josh could lock them in his.

The lagoon itself was incredible. The temperatures outside were sub-zero but it was only quick run into the toasty blue water. The water really is as vividly blue as the pictures show. We spent the day lounging about the lagoon and taking in the sights of the surrounding magnificent jet black mountains. Steam rises from the surface of the turquoise lagoon into the crisp Icelandic air. You can get a free silica face mask, use the saunas and buy a drink from the pool bar. We stayed until dark and the few golden lights dotted around the lagoon illuminating the mountainous crevices and the rising steam creates a surreal and cinematic illusion.

Read about Sidewalk Safari’s experience of visiting Iceland’s Blue Lagoon under the Midnight sun.

Once we returned from Blue Lagoon, we were surprisingly tired and ravenous. It was late and we didn’t think many restaurants would be open at that hour so we decided to order a take-out. Whilst choosing our pizza, the door of our room slammed open. It was the host and the owner of the apartment. We hadn’t met her before that day because she’d been away in her holiday home across Iceland. Josh embarrassed himself by leaning in for a hug but obviously Icelandic people don’t often do this has she recoiled and gave him a strange look. She then proceeded to tell us off for the mess of our room and storing drinks in the main fridge rather than our guest fridge- of which we had no idea existed until then. I was a bit annoyed that we were treated like children but it being her house we were respectful to her and her wishes. Afterwards we had a chat in the kitchen. As she’d been a tour guide around Iceland’s natural wonders for most of her life, she was well informed on the best places to go. We wanted to spend our last day hiking or at least seeing the mountains more up close. However, she let us know that due to the time of year we had visited, there were few places it was safe to hike without experts or experience. She highlighted the dangers of the mountains in that season, saying that the snow could get up to five feet deep and could also conceal hidden hot springs that were much hotter than the ones at Blue Lagoon, too hot to touch. Deterred by the thought of being drowned in snow, freezing to death or being burnt alive, she recommended the small town of Hveragerdi for a day-trip. She said it was a cute town right within the mountains, where we could explore.

Related: For more incredible winter escapes in Europe, check out Evan’s post.

We decided to use the public bus system to get to the town and it was about a two hour journey getting there. The views from the bus were spectacular though as we drove through the snowy plains and mountains.

iceland, europe, travelThe bus arrived outside a petrol station and we immediately could tell how isolated the town was. Going into the petrol station to get some snacks and drinks, the owners gave us strange looks. They clearly weren’t used to having tourists milling about on early February afternoons. Opposite the petrol station was the ruins to some sort of building, where beautiful art had been painted. We perused the art and then wandered further into the town, up a steep hill towards the mountains. The sun began to set, giving the snowy mountains a glorious golden colour. The road was too icy to walk on and on the pavements, the snow was knee deep. It was absolutely freezing and we had to keep moving to stop the cold from becoming too unbearable. The town was definitely more of a residential area than a tourist destination. It was lovely being away from the crowds and seeing the mountains and nature close up. We took a walk along the icy river and enjoyed the mini waterfall. However, only a few hours later it started to get dark and we realised the error of not starting our day much earlier. Attempting to navigate our way back to the bus station was difficult, both our phones died and with the sun setting and a lack of public services I was beginning to worry we’d be stranded in this town, isolated and freezing cold. iceland, europe, traveliceland, europe, travelI was getting increasingly worried when we somehow realised we’d found ourselves back on the main road. In the distance we could see the last bus to Reykjavik and we desperately half-ran down the icy street whilst trying to avoid breaking our necks. Luckily the bus waited for us to get on and we got a cosy seat back to Reykjavik in the dark.

On our last night we went to Shalimar, a Pakistani restaurant on the high street. We thought it would be pretty good value for a 3 course meal deal for the equivalent of €25 for both of us. The portion sizes were pretty measly and the naan bread was pretty much garlic bread but we weren’t too fussed until we found out that we had misread the menu and it was actually €25 each! We’d spent €50 on a sub-par curry. Again, we felt we’d been ripped off by the food in Reykjavik.

After the meal we went to the lighthouse to watch the Northern Lights but after a couple of hours freezing our tits off staring at the sky with cricked necks and enviously sniffing at the people waiting in their warm cars, we gave up and got a taxi back to the apartment with an air of disappointment. iceland, europe, travel

  • Prices: 5/10
  • Accommodation: 10/10
  • Veggie options: 8/10
  • Food: 5/10
  • Favourite spot: Blue Lagoon

Iceland is probably the most beautiful and unique place I’ve ever visited. It’s an absolute winter wonderland but I still wish the circumstances of our stay had been different. If we’d gone later in the year, when the weather wasn’t quite so unbearable, had a bit more money saved up and could drive, it would have been the most incredible experience. However, we were sadly limited in our options and the natural wonders we were so excited to see were a bit outside our reach with the poor transport system in Iceland. Next time we’re in Iceland, we’ll definitely rent a car and experience an epic road-trip like this.

Read more: for spectacular pictures taken by someone who didn’t fail to see the Northern Lights, check out Ryan’s blog here.

I will undoubtedly be back in Iceland in the future to explore its magic thoroughly-

If you liked this post, give it a share or re-pin to make my day!

Much love <3

P.S. A big thank you to my lovely boyfriend Josh for taking me to Iceland, I couldn’t ask for a better travel buddy.

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  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Its so refreshing to see an honest blog post where you have highlighted the cons as well. Definitely helpful 🙂 I have always wanted to visit the Blue Lagoon. Is it worth it? What do you think?

    • Reply
      June 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Definitely worth it! Its not that expensive to buy online in advance 🙂

  • Reply
    June 4, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    One of my dreams! Hope to have the chance to visit it one day! Looking forward to hear more from you and to see some more pictures from you!

    • Reply
      June 5, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 7, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I giggled at the end – “I’d change all of this, but ps thanks so much!” – I know the feeling on all ends of the few panicky failures, which thankfully weren’t too bad for you, and the “god dammit I wish I knew more about this so it was better.” My time in St. Petersburg, Russia was similiar – cold as hell, a bit shaky, but overall let’s go back type mentality.

    Love the honesty, love the voice. Definitely will be on the look out for more from you!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I love your description of the place! I’ve never been to Iceland, but read other people’s accounts of it. Somehow yours is so vivid, I feel like I’ve been there already.

    And thank you so much for your comments on my pictures. I feel double flattered by looking at yours! You have a wonderful eye for photography and a great aesthetic.

    • Reply
      June 11, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely words <3

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    I’ve just booked Iceland this week, so will definitely be keeping your post in mind!

    • Reply
      June 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Hope you have an amazing time!!

  • Reply
    Miss Kris
    June 13, 2016 at 12:52 am

    This is definitely on my bucket list! ?

  • Reply
    June 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

    The Blue Lagoon is great, glad to see you made the most of your time, hope you can go back there a see more of the sights, maybe when its a bit warmer, though I have to warn you the wind never stops blowing there.

  • Reply
    Lilia Rendon
    June 21, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Great post! I love how honest it is. I loved the Blue Lagoon as well, it is so magical and beautiful! You should definitely go back and rent a car; that is what my friends and I did when we went to Iceland and we have the liberty to go wherever we wanted, and stop at the many interesting sights on the road! (Whatever you do, do not rent from Go Iceland car rental, it was the worst experience of my life, we were stranded twice with no help from them whatsoever!)

  • Reply
    World Inside My Pocket - Reykjavik, Iceland: A Fairtytale Weekend Trip to the Land of Ice and Fire
    October 31, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    […] on Reykjavik and Iceland in my next post, check them out to hear about our adventures at Blue Lagoon and the town of Hveragerdi, the small […]

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