Europe, Iceland, Reykjavík

Christmas in Iceland.

December 23, 2013
Blue Lagoon Iceland
(Last Updated On: July 1, 2016)

Since travelling to Berlin for a vacation this past summer, I’ve kept unusually still. For the past four months, I haven’t travelled anywhere. So, it’s fitting that my next trip will be insanely over-the-top as I’ll be heading to Iceland for Christmas!

Spending yet another Christmas at home wasn’t an option. As I’m not so close with my family, I’ve memories of sitting at home alone on the couch ordering pizza, drinking wine, and watching old episodes of The OC in my PJs. Not a bad way to spend the holiday, but there are certainly better ways.

Recalling an amazing trip three years ago that saw me touring like a madwoman across Eastern Europe, I’ve fond memories of celebrating Christmas in Vienna where I salsa danced with strangers until the wee hours of the night. It’s a long and hilarious story of how that came to be, but it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

I know this is going to sound terribly clichéd, but happiness doesn’t just happen, you need to make it happen. If I wanted to repeat the happiness I had in Europe, then it seemed appropriate to return. So I immediately began planning a trip back to my favorite continent.

Should I go back to Berlin I wondered? In the end, I decided against it as most of my friends there would be busy. Besides, it was high time I went somewhere new. So I looked at the map of Europe and chose Iceland, a destination that’s long been on my travel radar.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what’s in store. A fine itinerary for anyone visiting Iceland at Christmas if you ask me!

Bucket-List Item Checked

Minutes after my plane lands in Iceland, I’ll be checking off one of my old bucket list items and visiting the Blue Lagoon. It’s going to be a dream come true to visit this geothermal outdoor pool in the middle of a lava field.

Blue Lagoon Iceland via HeatherMG on Flickr.

Not only will I be taking a dip in these ultra-blue waters, I’ll also be receiving a spa treatment … outside … in warmth of the water … in the middle of the winter … with puffs of steam climbing up into the air around me … and views of the majestic mountains in the distance.

My treatment will be a 30-minute, full-body salt glow using salts and oils directly from the lagoon itself. Afterwards, I’ll celebrate with a glass of champagne! It will be morning but alcohol that early in the day is totally justified when you’re on vacation. Right?

Blue Lagoon Spa via Gray Line Iceland

Recommended reading? My post about getting rubbed down at the Blue Lagoon.

Getting My Hostel On

Despite only being in the country for a week, I’ll be staying at four different places in Reykjavík – two hostels and two hotels. Starting off with budget travel options, let’s talk about hostels.

First up is Loft Hostel – with a cozy common area that’s perfect for chilling out at the end of day, its cafe/bar promises slow-brewed coffee in the morning and Icelandic beers in the evening. I plan on sampling both!

Their large balcony is also a place where you can kick back and watch the Northern Lights – something that Tiny Iceland told me on Twitter today that has a good chance at happening over the next three days. This is where I’ll celebrate Christmas! Can’t wait.

Loft Hostel Iceland via Iceland Design Center.

Second is  Kex Hostel – a rather quirky place that offers up a gastropub, heated outdoor patio, a gym and even an old-school barber shop. I seriously can’t wait to hang out here!

This is where I’ll end my vacation in Iceland.

Channeling My Inner Princess

This is where I love my job of being a travel blogger and reviewing hotels from time-to-time. For a couple of nights, I can pretend to be fancy like in my old days when I was a princess who’d never once think of staying at a hostel.

First up is the 101 Hotel, a high-end design hotel that has an art gallery, sophisticated restaurant/bar and the funky lounge area you see in the picture below. I cant wait to sleep in a real bed (I sleep with a mattress on the floor at home) and most of all have a big room to myself.

101 Hotel Iceland via 101 Hotel.

Check out my personal review of 101 Hotel

I’ll also be staying at Hotel Borg, another luxurious hotel in Reykjavík housed in a timeless art deco building. This also means another night in my own room and sleeping in a real bed (yay).

Hotel Borg Iceland via Hotel Borg.

Check out my review about my stay at Hotel Borg.

Exploring Reykjavík

Of course, I’ll fill my time with exploring Reykjavík camera in hand, ducking into warm cafes and restaurants for a drink or bite to eat whenever it gets too cold. Some of my planned highlights are to visit Hallgrímskirkja, a Lutheran church. A journey to the top means seeing an incredible view of Reykjavík – which I hope to see during the Golden Hour for a picture-perfect photo opportunity.

Hallgrmskirkja Church Iceland via Style Circle.

I also want to tour Harpa, this beautiful concert hall.

Harpa Concert Hall via Urban Peak.

After viewing the concert hall, I’m convinced it’s the most beautiful concert hall in the world

Being the cafe addict that I am, I also plan on hitting up the quirky Laundromat Cafe.

Laundromat Cafe via Laundromat Cafe

Because I love all things weird and offbeat, of course I’ll be paying a special visit to the The Icelandic Phallological Museum – a museum dedicated purely to the male member.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum
via Yeity.com

Everything Sporty

As Iceland is THE place for adventure and hard-core sports, I plan to try my hand at the extreme and not so extreme. Extreme is that I’ll be snorkelling in the clear blue green, very cold waters at Silfra – where one can actually swim between two continents! I already have my long underwear and thick socks packed for the experience but am still sure to freeze my butt off.

Snorkelling Silfra via Dive Iceland

I’ll also go horseback riding on these gorgeous Icelandic ponies.

Iceland Ponies in the Winter via Fine Art America

Finally, I’ll be doing the touristy Golden Circle tour which includes a visit to Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area and the glorious Gullfoss waterfall.

Gulfoss Frozen in Winter via Mikael Strandberg

See my photos of Gullfoss in the winter and the geothermal fields at sunset.

All in all, this is going to be one heck of a vacation and yes, a dream come true.

Have you been to Iceland? If you have any tips, be sure to leave them in the comments below. My readers and I will welcome your suggestions!

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15 Comments

  • Reply Scott December 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I spent just a little over three months there. Landed in Reykjavik in early May, caught a ship for Denmark in early September.

    A great trip, at any time of year, but I’d like you to get back there in summer. There are places you just can’t get to in winter . . . But I’ve gotta think you’re going to have a blast.

    Safe travels

  • Reply Cheryl Howard December 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks Scott! So cool that you were able to live there for a while. What an experience that must have been.

    I have a feeling this will not be my last trip to Iceland. 🙂

    Do you have any tips about what to see, where to eat and the like?

  • Reply Jenna December 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Iceland is on my travel wish-list, too. I am looking forward to seeing how your trip goes and all the highlights! Merry Christmas!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard December 23, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks Jenna! I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas as well. 🙂

      I hope you make it there someday. I’m just killing time at the airport right now (arrived way too early) but already know it’s going to be a fabulous time.

  • Reply Sam December 24, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Wow, looks like you’ll have a great time! I went to Reykjavik just over a year ago and did most of the things you mention there, except the phallological museum; I couldn’t bare seeing so many severed penises! Have fun!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard December 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Sam – It’s been amazing so far. I’ve done everything except snorkelling and the horses. Both will be completed this weekend! 🙂

      The penis museum is … well, interesting. Overpriced but hilarious nonetheless.

  • Reply Zara @ Backpack ME December 26, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Christmas in Iceland sounds awesome!
    It’s also on my bucket list.. but oh well, not this Xmas.
    Have a great time! 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard December 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you Zara. So far it’s been wonderful! I’ve managed to complete most of the items on my list here. I really hope you make it soon – Christmas and NYE are a great time to be in Reykjavik. I regret not staying for NYE. 🙂

  • Reply Jade January 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Hope you had a good time! Laundramat cafe is so cool isn’t it!!? How did you like the Blue Lagoon? We only went to take photos but didn’t actually go in the water. We were super tired and jetlagged, and also I heard the water is really bad for your hair. I already have a hard enough time controlling my afro as it is. God I love Iceland.. I can’t wait to go back in the summer.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 1, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Jade – I had such a good time! I’m already plotting my return. Loved the Blue Lagoon and would repeat the experience again. 🙂

  • Reply Satu VW / Destination Unknown January 2, 2014 at 10:38 am

    This sounds…. DIVINE!!!! I’ve been dreaming of heading to Iceland for a looooong time and it seems like recently many of my Instagram friends have been there. Maybe, just maybe we make it there in June, we have New Zealand coming up first! 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      It was wonderful! Just got back a couple of days ago and can’t wait to write about my experiences. Hope you make it there soon and NZ sounds DIVINE as well. 🙂

  • Reply EuroTrip Tips January 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Going to Iceland in June, so I can’t wait to read your reviews and articles!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Awesome! Hope you enjoy. There will be LOTS of posts coming up. 🙂

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