Iceland is a travel destination that has grown in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason. Adventure, natural beauty and local culture make it the perfect new destination to explore!
Candice, from our Gate 1 Travel Marketing team, discovered Iceland in January and after this Q&A highlighting her experience, you’ll probably feel like the rest of us in the office and be ready to pack your bags and see this captivating country for yourself!
Q: Why did you choose the Iceland trip and what had you heard about these places that made you decide to visit?
A: Seeing the Northern Lights and swimming in the Blue Lagoon were on my Bucket List, and Iceland is a place where I could potentially do both, so this trip was perfect.
Q: Iceland is becoming one of the most popular international travel destinations, how was that reflected in your trip?
A: There were tour buses and tourists in most of the spots we visited, but it did not feel crowded at all. The bars, restaurants and city streets were not crowded either. The airport is very small so it felt a little full because of its size and the amount of people that want to visit the country! Other than the airport, it was very easy to get around.
Q: What were some of the highlights of your trip?
A: I wanted to be sure to go swimming in the Blue Lagoon while it was still dark out. It was amazing to see the mist and steam coming off of the water, then to watch the progression as the sun rose. I also wanted to get an in-water massage while snow was falling on my face. I then drank champagne immediately after in the lagoon, which was definitely a highlight! Gullfoss Falls were so beautiful and incredible to see as well.
Q: What was your favourite location on the trip?
A: I would have to say the Blue Lagoon because it was a lot of fun and gorgeous setting at the same time. I also enjoyed roaming around the streets of Reykjavik, which are very walk-able, and peeking into the shops. I loved wandering around the neighbourhoods to see how the Icelandic locals live and move around their city.
Q: Did you enjoy the food and try any dishes that you felt were very authentic?
A: I loved my last meal in Iceland at Sægreifinn. It was very picturesque and I loved that it was right by the water. It also has a cozy, fisherman’s feel inside and their lobster soup was delicious. I also enjoyed the caramelized popcorn and avocado fries at Sætasvínið, a delicious hot dog with onions two-ways from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur and the Fisherman’s Stew at Icelandic Street Food.
Q: How was the shopping and did you visit anywhere specifically great for shopping?
A: I didn’t do much shopping at all. I did purchase a lava rock necklace to put my essential oils in. I purchased birch, volcanic ash, glacier ice soap, and dried fish treats to bring home as a souvenir. Also, Icelandic beer!
Q: What travel tips would you give to someone preparing to go on this trip?
A: Save up – the food and beverages are expensive in Iceland because most things are imported. Also, make sure to pack layers, as you can experience all four seasons on some days, especially if going in the winter and going on excursions. Try and visit a natural geothermal pool, such as the Secret Lagoon, so you can experience both a smaller more private pool in addition to the Blue Lagoon. Book excursions, but don’t be disappointed if they are cancelled. The weather in Iceland during the winter is very finicky and weather conditions may affect what you’re able to do while you’re there, but if you go with the flow it’s still a fantastic experience at that time of year.
Q: How did you prepare for this trip?
A: I packed warm clothing (wool socks, fleece undershirts and leggings, hand and feet warmers, etc.). I also set proper expectations regarding spending money while in Iceland, and was ready to have a good time!
Q: Would you go back to Iceland and would you recommend this trip to family/friends?
Q: What did you feel was the overall theme of your trip?
A: Winter – Snow, ice, wind, sleet and clouds. But it made everything so beautiful and authentically Icelandic!