4-5 Days in Iceland in November | Our Travel Experience

The festive period is over and I’ve finally managed to fight off my cold/flu/stomach bug, so I can take care of my blog again. And what a start in 2018 ! Indeed, I want to start the year by telling you about our little trip to Iceland. I’ve mentioned it on instagram and you all seemed keen to know more, so let’s get to it.

I didn’t plan this trip, it was a complete surprise for my birthday ! We were already passed security at the airport when he finally told me where we were going. He had told me to pack for 4-5 days in a country where it was about 5°C. So I tried to do that and off we went.

We arrived late on Thursday night after a fairly short flight from Edinburgh, during which we followed the setting sun. It was off to a great start ! Once at the airport we immediately realised that it was colder than 5°C and that we were probably going to be cold, but we didn’t care because we were too happy to be in Iceland.

We rented a little white car with studded tyres (very important for the snowy roads) and we drove to Reykjavik where we spent the first night. But not without going to a food truck to get two hot dogs each because we were terribly hungry.

The next morning, we came down from breakfast, it was a little after 9 and it was stil a little dark outside. I immediately quite liked this country where the light encourages you to stay in bed longer in the morning. Eheh. But that’s also when we realised that the hot water stank smelled of sulphur. It wasn’t only in our hotel though, it’s the way the hot water smells everywhere. Probably because it’s naturally hot.

On this first morning, we walked a little around Reykjavik, but we weren’t in fact that interested so we took our little white car and off we went to see the countryside. We took the Ring Road and headed north. We didn’t have time to go all the way around the island in only 4 days but we did part of it. We started our tour from Reykjavik, clockwise.

We followed the Ring Road until Borgarnes (nb: beware if you use the tunnel under the Hvalfjördur fjord, there is a speed camera) then we headed west on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. After a little while, we headed north again towards Stykkisholmur where we stopped for lunch in a little restaurant (Narfeyrarstofa). He had a delicious burger with blue cheese and I warmed myself up with a lamb goulash. Both were really good !

However, we started to notice that there weren’t many restaurants at all outside the capital (especially in November), so we decided that from then on, we would picnic in the car rather than spend a lot of money on restaurants that we don’t know if they’re good but that we have to go to because they’re our only option. Iceland is indeed a very expensive country, and that’s true of grocery shopping as well. We were always surprised to see how much it cost to get bread, cheese and cold meat for our picnics.

After our little stop in Stykkisholmur, we went on driving toward Blonduos, were he had booked a guesthouse for the night. We decided to use the little kitchen there and cooked ourselves my birthday dinner (I wanted mac’n’cheese ! Eheh). The next morning, we drove off towards Akureyri. We started by following the Ring Road but then decided to head yet further north towards Hofsos and Fell. On the way, we looked very closely at the ocean hoping to see whales but unfortunately, we didn’t.

It’s on that bit of road between Fell and Siglufjordur that I saw for the first time in my life a beach of black sand covered in snow. This is a very surprising sight, but oh so beautiful !

We briefly dropped our bags in our hotel (an old hospital turned into a hotel near Akureyri.) The hotel was pretty and clean but it was obvious that it had been a hospital and I had a little trouble with that. Especially seeing as I spent a lot of time in hospital last winter before my grandmother died. However He didn’t find that it was a problem so it depends on each person’s sensitivity.

After we had dropped our stuff we drove as quickly as the snowy roads would allow us to get to the Myvatn bath before the night. Unfortunately it was already dark when we got there so I have no pictures of the blue water. The Myvatn baths were not created naturally like the Blue Lagoon ones but the water is obviously naturally hot. I find that they’ve been beautifully made. They’re surrounded with rocks and the bottom of the baths is covered in very fine sand. They could be natural. The whole experience was beautiful and very pleasant.

But the night didn’t prevent us at all from enjoying the baths, and the whole experience was improved by the fact that it was -3°C. Mister even enjoyed a little beer in the baths (isn’t that a great experience ?) and our only regret is that we only realised that there were hammams when we were leaving. The big plus in Myvatn is that the baths aren’t as popular as the ones in the Blue Lagoon. This means that you don’t need to book, they’re a lot less expensive and there aren’t nearly as many people.

Each night we would check the weather forecast in the hope to see the northern lights, unfortunately every night was cloudy, and the moon was full, so there were no chance of seeing them. But we’ll be back !

The next morning, we started the drive back south. We didn’t take the exact same road but you don’t have that many choices. It was quite an impressive journey as there was a very big storm (wind and rain) and we could feel the power of the wind from inside the car. The white snowy roads were fine with the studded tyres and we weren’t afraid at all, but that storm was really impressive and we were wondering if our little light car would stay on the road. I must say I was really impressed.

We actually avoided going into Reykjavik, and instead drove trough the Pingvellir national park where the landscapes were breathtaking to reach our hotel that was on the other side of the park. We spend our time there in our room, listening to the wind and the rain going absolutely crazy outside. It was very impressive. The next morning, we ate all the waffles from the breakfast buffet and then headed back to Reykjavik for one last little walk around the city before flying home.

On the way to Reykjavik, we stopped to see the Geysir, which I found a little disappointing, but mostly all the tourists were getting on my nerves, especially after we had seen virtually no one for three days while we were up north. We also went to see waterfalls, Gullfoss, while we were there and although there were loads of tourists there too, I’d say the waterfall was definitely worth it. Very impressive !

All in all, I absolutely loved that whole trip. What I didn’t really mention is that the landscapes are truly breathtaking, all the time ! As you can see on the pictures (by the way, He took all the pictures). I could never find words to do the landscapes justice especially as overuse superlatives daily. I think that choosing the month of November to go to Iceland was a great idea. To start off with, there aren’t too many people. But other than, it’s great because it’s starting to get cold, and so it’s snowy and beautiful, but it’s not yet so cold that it’s unbearable.

We didn’t actually do much more than driving around and looking at the landscape through the car windows because we hadn’t packed all that well. We didn’t have the right shoes to start off with, which meant that we couldn’t go for walks. Indeed, after 2 minutes of taking pictures we would already have frozen toes. But I don’t think that was such a bad thing because we really enjoyed what we saw from the car windows.

I think that I would like to go back to Iceland in the summer to see what it’s like when everything is green, but mostly I think that I’d like to go back in November, with the proper clothes and shoes, to discover more of the northern part of the country.

I think it’s the trip where I spent the most time saying “wooooah”, “omg whoooooah”, “no but seriously, whoooooah ! Did you see that ? Would you look at that ?! Woooooah !”, and in the end we were so fed up saying “wooooah” all the time, we just started saying “pffff”. It’s also the destination that I’m most likely to tell everybody that they absolutely need to go. It was an incredible trip and definitely the most amazing birthday gift I could ever imagine.

Have you been to Iceland ? Tempted ?

x
Macha