We took a red-eye in from JFK and landed super early in Iceland (KEF). I have a love-hate relationship with red-eye flights, but it worked out super well this time. Getting to the airport early meant we could get through customs, grab our bags, and find our car rental without feeling like we had to rush.
I was super hesitant about renting a car and driving around in Iceland. It definitely took a little getting used to at first (they had a TON of roundabouts), but it was so worth it in the end cause everything was so far away from each other! (P.S. Cabs are ridiculously expensive, and Uber doesn't exist...for now). We specifically planned our itinerary so that we could hit the "local" sights first before tackling the natural wonders that were a longer drive away.
First stop: Blue Lagoon / Silica Hotel (20 min drive from KEF)
Check-in wasn't until 3pm so we had a couple hours to kill before our room was ready. One of the benefits to staying at the Silica Hotel was that they provided each hotel guest with 1 complimentary premium ticket to the Blue Lagoon during your stay--this ticket is usually $100! The premium ticket means extras at the Lagoon, like complimentary bathrobes, slippers, the silica AND algae masks, plus a free drink at the bar! Uhm, SOLD. Oh, did I forget to mention that the bar was in the actual Lagoon? Love that the hotel can give you the tickets even before you check-in to the room. #Priorities.
The Silica Hotel is only a short 15 minute walk from the Blue Lagoon through the scenic lava fields. I swear I thought we were going to get lost in the ongoing fields of lava, but it was actually pretty easy to navigate with the man-made gravel road.
10:30 am: Finally made it to the Blue Lagoon and super grateful that the busloads of tourists hadn't arrived just yet. We got our bathrobes, slippers, towels right away and headed into the changing rooms.
What was interesting and ingenius was that everyone received a plastic electronic bracelet right at check-in, and that bracelet would be used for the lockers in the changing rooms, and keeping track of food, drinks & services purchased during your visit. So really, all you ever had to have with you was this bracelet and a <waterproof> cell phone for photos, of course. ;D
It wasn't very crowded in the Lagoon when we first arrived, so we were able to maintain a certain level of privacy. It felt unbelievable to step into the gorgeous blue silica waters and mentally feel all the responsibilities just wash away. We refused to leave the Lagoon until our hands had turned into quite an unattractive state of pruney...and it was worth every last minute. The Lagoon experience was truly everything I had imagined, and more.
The LAVA Restaurant @ The Blue Lagoon
We'd heard so many rumors before traveling to Iceland that the food was going to be pretty subpar, to say the least. We definitely tried to research as much as possible while level-setting expectations. The reviews were phenomenal for The LAVA Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon, so we decided to indulge for the night and kick things off with the tasting menu. Another perk of stay at the Silica Hotel? Making reservations with the touch of a button in your hotel room and a complimentary glass of wine at dinner! The tasting menu actually lived up to the hype and we were all super impressed with the fresh quality of the seafood.
Breakfast was covered by the hotel in the morning and the spread was pretty amazing. Did not expect to be able to make our own heart shaped waffles (so cute!) and have unlimited access to an expresso machine...which let's be real, is all anyone really needs. :P
The Private Lagoon @ Silica Hotel
Decided to take one last dip before checking out and that was one of the best decisions of our stay. Although the private lagoon at the hotel was a lot smaller than the Blue Lagoon, the temperatures were hotter and the experience was much more intimate. There were maybe 5 people, at most, in the private lagoon and it was nice to have entire areas all to yourself at certain points.
Feeling recharged and refreshed after an entire spa day and it was time to head out and explore the city center!
To Be Continued...
With Much Love,