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 clich
d, 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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
via Hotel Borg.
Check out my review about my stay at Hotel Borg.
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.
I also want to tour Harpa, this beautiful 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.
via Laundromat Cafe
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.
via Dive Iceland
I’ll also go horseback riding on these gorgeous Icelandic ponies.
via Fine Art America
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!