When I first started thinking about going to Iceland everyone thought I was going a little bit crazy. My favorite response was the confused and semi-judgmental “really?” that I would get after I described my desire to travel to the land of fire and ice. I totally get it. Iceland is not your stereotypical Euro trip or Caribbean beach vacation. It isn’t known for pristine white sand beaches or charming cobblestone streets. However there is a certain allure to the minimalist design, Scandinavian architecture, and stark landscapes that I just had to experience.
It took some convincing, but I managed to persuade nine other people that Iceland is in fact the perfect place to spend Labor Day. We were able to find some fantastic deals on Wow & Icelandair, which made the trip very doable. After a few months of planning, we packed our bags and were off. Our flight was quick – 5 ½ hours – and we were pleasantly surprised that we got to see the Northern Lights from the air.
After taking a cab from the airport to our picturesque scandinavian Airbnb in downtown Reykjavik, our first stop was to find some latte’s. It’s always good to take it easy the first day- especially after an overnight transatlantic flight. So instead of road-tripping right away, we took a quick cab ride just outside the city. Imagine five city girls at a horse ranch—armed with our mirrored sunglasses, Barbour jackets, and fishtail braids, and waiting to meet our Icelandic horses. Luckily, the tour was geared towards beginners. Icelandic horses are small, but they make up for their size in personality. My horse Ivan loved having his ears scratched, head butting other horses, and speeding up whenever we were going down a hill. I’d love to go horseback riding in Iceland again. It was a wonderful way to experience the landscape and unwind after the flight.
After we finished our trail ride we were off to the Blue Lagoon, possibly Iceland’s single-biggest tourist attraction. I was very skeptical that the Lagoon would live up to the hype, and pleasantly surprised when it did. It was incredibly relaxing to float around the lagoon, drink smoothies, try out the silica mud masks, & sit in steam baths. The Lagoon staff did a great job of keeping the Lagoon from being over crowded and there were many native Icelanders at the lagoon.
Our day horseback riding and enjoying the Blue Lagoon were the perfect introduction to our time in Iceland. By the end of the day we were exhausted but excited for the week to come!