If the Blue Lagoon’s too pricey and you’re keen to avoid the barrage of selfie-stick wielding tourists, swim with the locals in Reykjavik's volcanically heated open-air pools. Thrash out a few lengths in Vesturbaejarlaug’s 25-metre pool, and warm up afterwards in one of three steamy ‘hot pot’ tubs that’ll keep you cosy at a balmy 43 degrees. Want to turn up the heat even further? Dip into the steam rooms and sauna. You’ll get a real glimpse into Icelandic life too – it’s where all the locals choose to spend their evenings, and, at £6 a dip (or 825 Icelandic Krona), it’s easy to see why.
Iceland has a very meat-heavy menu, and you can tuck into a lamb hot dog from the stalls that line most street corners. It’s probably the cheapest meal you’ll find, too, with a tasty £3 price tag. Fancy nibbling on some local delicacies? If you’re feeling courageous, dine on jellied sheep head and shark at Café Loki. Grab a main for around £15, and reward your bravery at one of the nearby ice cream parlours for £3 a scoop. Alternatively, go half-board at the Grand Hotel Reykjavik and you’ll never have to cash out for breakfast or dinner. There are loads of Icelandic classics on its menu, and twice a week there’s live jazz to entertain you as you eat.
Excursions can be the tip of iceberg when it comes to a pricey Iceland getaway. So, why not book a break with excursions included? To help you experience this star-studded country at its best, all of our holidays include a day-long Golden Circle tour where you’ll explore Thingvellir National Park, Iceland’s largest lake, Gullfoss- a huge glacier waterfall, and Strokkur- an active geyser. We’ll also throw in a trip for you to the northern lights so you can get starry-eyed over how much money you’re saving.
Whale watching trips will set you back a chilling £80. But, from April to September, swap them out for Iceland’s fluffier, cuter residents, the puffins, at a snowball of the price. 60% of the world’s puffin population congregate here to breed, so pitch up and prepare to watch babies take their first flight. Fancy it? Take the ferry from Reykjavik harbour, or hop on the boat at Landeyjahöfn where you’ll pay around £10 each way.
Download the ‘Appy Hour’ app , free on the App Store, and find which bars have a happy hour, when it is, and what’s included. Use it wisely and you’ll find yourself cheers-ing to £2-£3 pints – an icicle of the usual £9 price tag. It’s a great way to see more of Reykjavik too, and meet some of the locals. If you’re feeling flash thanks to all your savings, go upmarket and guzzle on a cocktail in multi-coloured Bravo, one of the city’s most popular bars that’ll make you feel electric with its techno tunes. Go early, though, if you want to guarantee a seat.
…And you’ll find that Iceland’s stunning scenery is no exception to this rule. Pack a pair of Timberlands, and head just outside of Reykjavik to Hafnarfjörður, known as ‘the town in the lava’ for stunning volcanic scenery that doesn’t come with a receipt. And, if you want free ticket to the best seal show on planet, pitch your towel on Budir beach, a 15 minute drive from Reykjavik and watch the seals splash about in the waves just in front of you. The dramatic mountain backdrop will look amazing on your Facebook feed too. Liked. Or, if you fancy staying indoors and have little ones with tired legs, take them to Reykjavik City Museum, where they’ll get in for free and discover how Vikings first came to populate Iceland through smart tech and fancy multimedia boards. Who says holidays aren’t educational?
The busiest months to visit Iceland are June and July, when temperatures creep up the thermometer and it’s light for a full 24 hours. November to March, on the other hand, tend to be the cheapest times to travel, and it’s also when you’re most likely to catch a glimpse of the northern lights – so if you’re not stuck to particular dates, aim for then.
Got the chills in a good way?
Have a look at our great deals to Iceland or, if you’re still picking your favourite excursions, check out our five reasons to see the northern lights and see if it flicks a switch. And - dare we say it - if you’re getting into the Christmassy spirit already, make the festivities start early this year with a trip to Lapland.
Author: Lucy Perrin
The Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura embraces its Icelandic roots with nature-inspired decor and a geothermal indoor pool.
The Hilton Reykjavik Nordica is one of the most modern-looking hotels in the city, and comes with a stylish restaurant and a top TripAdvisor rating.
The brand new Alda Hotel flaunts high-design interiors and has an unbeatable location on Reykjavik’s main street.
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