Iceland - our hotel and the Golden Circle tour

Reykjavik

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you probably know that I recently went away to Iceland for a few days for Luke's birthday. Iceland is a dream location to visit for me and something that has been on the bucket list for a long time but I have now been, and I can't believe it, even if that sounds daft. So today, I thought I would share with you a diary style post, similar to the one from my holiday to Thailand and tell you all about our trip.

Before I start I'll warn you now, this is going to be a picture heavy post, and it is part one of my trip. Today I will be talking about the first couple of days including where we stayed, and part two will be going live tomorrow evening talking about the rest of my trip, with even more photos.

Hlemmur Square, Iceland

Hlemmur Square, Iceland

Back on the 27th October, we headed to the airport to fly to Keflavik ready to start our holiday in Iceland. We arrived relatively late, as in gone midnight the next day so we headed straight to our transfer and to our hotel in Reykjavik. I've been asked a few times about where we stayed so I'll start with the boring information before getting on to the exciting, exploring parts of our holiday.

We stayed close to the centre of Reykjavik at Hlemmur Square, a 3-star hotel and hostel. We debated staying at a hostel for a few days and a hotel for a couple of days, but in the end, we managed to get a bargain discount of 36% on a 'superior' room as it was the last one available, so to save the hassle we just went for it. As an idea, this cost us just under £675 for 5 nights and the original price was around £1020, so it is expensive, but most hostels were around £90-£120 a night when we were looking so I don't think it was too bad considering.

The hotel was based on the fourth floor of the building and also had a kitchen on the third floor which we and those staying in the hostel could use. We didn't actually use this but it's great to have the option in an expensive country. As to our room, we had a super large bed, possibly queen size, a couple of chairs, a shower room and terrace. As you can see, I didn't take many photos (bad blogger, I know), but it was a comfortable room that was more than adequate. I absolutely loved the interior of the bathroom too, and the balcony terrace area was lovely, although a bit cold to make the most of haha. There was even a bbq outside!

Hallgrímskirkja Church, Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja Church, Iceland

After having a lazy morning we spent our first day in Reykjavik just exploring the city and going for a wander around. We started by spotting the Hallgrímskirkja Church so headed towards to take a look. It's super high at 74.5 meters and has a lovely unique architectural style.

Hallgrímskirkja Church view, Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja Church view, Iceland

I have a thing for views even though I'm crazily scared of heights so we made sure to take the lift up to the top to have a look too. There are lots of colourful houses and buildings in Iceland, and you could spot some of them from the top, and also see the sea.

Saeto Svnid Gastropub, Iceland

After a little exploring, we headed out for a late lunch at a place recommended to me on Twitter. I can't find the tweet or remember who it was annoyingly but if you happen to be reading thank you! We went to Saeto Svnid Gastropub, a quirky little gastropub with so much character. I was told the interior upstairs was gorgeous but unfortunately this was closed when we went, and we didn't get a chance to head back but I loved Saeto Svnid Gastropub so much anyway.

I chose the lamb shank, which oh my god, was absolutely incredible. I'd heard they slow cook a lot of their meat but I wasn't expecting it to taste so good, it was slow cooked for 12 hours too! It came with mash and vegetables too, which made an amazing combination.

Luke went for the grilled burger, a burger made from premium rump steak and short ribs. He wasn't sure on the waffle fries but had no complaints otherwise, and said the burger was tasty.

In the evening we headed out for our first attempt to see the Northern Lights, but unfortunately, after a very cold evening, we weren't successful so headed back to our hotel.

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

On our second day we had an adventure filled day and headed off for our second excursion (the first was technically the Northern Lights mystery tour the night before) to do the famous Golden Circle tour. I've heard so many people talk about this so it was really exciting to have a chance to do the tour ourselves.

We started the tour by heading off to Thingvellir National Park, a park where the geological changes are literally laid out in front of you to see. It's a valley where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates part and looks really cool. There are some beautiful views at the National Park, and I've heard there is crystal clear water if you have time to head down towards the bottom. We didn't unfortunately.

Gulfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Gulfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Gulfoss Waterfall, Iceland

We then head onto Gullfoss, a beautiful waterfall located in the South West of Iceland and definitely my favourite part of the Golden Circle tour. When you arrive there is a long narrow pathway which you can walk down to get an even closer view, with multiple views along the way.

The waterfall is two-tiered and is simply stunning; it's incredibly powerful and you can feel the water spray you as you get closer. I'd love to see Gullfoss another time in the snow as I can imagine that would be even more beautiful.

Geysir, Iceland

Geysir, Iceland

To end the tour we headed to our final stop on the Golden Circle tour, Geysir, a hot spring area close to a little mountain. It's a little bit of a smelly area due to the sulphur, we could immediately smell the sulphur from the springs when we exited the coach. I didn't think this was the most exciting thing in the world but it was super cool to see the hot springs spring up, especially Strokkur, the largest one which spouts 20-30 metres in the air regularly! 

And, that's the end of our first couple of days in Iceland, an amazing start to our little trip. We were meant to attempt to see the Northern Lights again but unfortunately, our tour got cancelled as it was unlikely that we would see them so we spent our evening enjoying food and exploring.

The next post will be up tomorrow sharing the remainder of our holiday in Iceland, are you looking forward to it? Have you ever been to Iceland?



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