Michelle and Dan's Iceland honeymoon

Final picture

Honeymooners: Michelle and Dan

Type: International travel

Budget: Mid-range ($1000-$5000)

View from our room
View from our room

Where did you go? We went to Reykjavik, Iceland for our honeymoon. We wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been and the fares to Iceland were amazingly reasonable in early 2010. In the dead of winter, most people want to go to tropical locations but we figured, as kids who grew up in Texas, why not try to experience what a real winter feels like?

We were fortunate enough to witness Northern Lights on our third night in Iceland and the memories of that night will stay with us forever.

Gullfoss Waterfall
Gullfoss Waterfall

What did you do? Our family and friends were kind enough to book us packaged activities during the honeymoon, so we were able to do a bunch of different things during our stay.

Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
  • We went to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa located outside of Reykjavik. The water is so warm and in the winter you are surrounded by snowy landscapes. It's just absolutely surreal and beautiful.
  • We also toured the Golden Circle, a journey to Southern Iceland's most famous destinations- Gullfoss Waterfall, Thingvellir National Park (home of the world's longest continuously running parliament), Geysir.
    Golden Circle Tour
    Golden Circle Tour
  • We snowmobiled on Langjökull — Iceland's second largest glacier.
  • While in Reykjavik, we did a lot of walking around and trying out all the local food. I wasn't a fan of seafood before, but everything we ate there was so fresh and delicious.
    Lobster close-up
    Lobster
  • Finally, my husband accidentally packed Deadwood: The Complete Series in our luggage. So, we ended up watching a lot of episodes during our stay. Now, that show is forever linked to Reykjavik for us.
Snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier
Snowmobiling on Langjökull glacier.

What was the most meaningful moment of the trip? When we spent three nights standing in the middle of a giant field waiting for the Northern Lights, only to have the first two nights turn up nothing but starry skies. We chose Iceland primarily because we wanted to see the Northern Lights and were afraid that it just wasn't going to happen.

However, on the third night, the sky suddenly developed a light green line over the mountains and eventually turned into a magnificent ribbon of several shades of green.

Pond
The lake outside of Reykjavik's city hall, frozen over.

What would you have done differently?
I only wish I had brought some thicker gloves. The wind is biting in Reykjavik.

What's your advice for other offbeat honeymooners? We are really glad that we booked a place with a kitchen. It enabled us to cook for ourselves and spend some time alone. Even though Iceland was going through an economic downturn at the time, things were still pretty expensive. Eating-in for breakfast and dinner a few nights allowed us to spend some of our budget on other things, like souvenirs.

Be adventurous! We are probably the poster children for the typical "homebody," but we decided to try everything we possibly could on our honeymoon. That included going snowmobiling and horseback riding. Something that our friends and family would NEVER expect us to do, and we are so glad we did.

Also, always pack a bathing suit! You never know when you might come across the opportunity to go swimming!

Blue Lagoon
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon!

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  1. Love these honeymoon posts. I hope this becomes a more regular feature, as I'm definitely looking for ideas for our honeymoon! Especially the cheaper vacations.

    5 agree
    • Hello!

      Congrats and yay on picking Iceland! We stayed at http://www.roomwithaview.is/ and the hotel/apartment staff was amazing! It's right on one of the main streets in Reykjavik and they have a roof-top hot tub as well as full kitchens in most of their rooms.

      Also, if you two plan on drinking while in Iceland (or staying at a place with a fridge), I'd definitely recommend buying some wine/beer at the duty free in Iceland before you leave the airport- it's about the third of the price of what you'll find in the liquor stores AND bars. And one of the first/best places we ate at was here: http://www.lystin.is/Restaurant.html.

      Sorry, that's probably information overload but I'm totally down to give any advice if you want! Congratulations again!

      Michelle

      3 agree
  2. Yay Iceland! I went there a few years ago with my sig other and two other friends. It was amazing. Such striking landscapes, such different food.
    My big recommendations for anyone going: go to the Blue Lagoon, we went twice it was so nice, once our first day and once our last. Take a daytime flight there (the flight is too short to sleep on), if you'll be there for at least 5 days rent a car at the airport so you can drive around. Be sure stay in Reykjavik for a weekend night, they really party it up, buy a bottle of booze at duty free (drinks, like everything, are pricey, so it was good to drink some shots of Fisherman's Friend before heading out Sat night). Drive around to see the famous natural landscape, but keep track of time, outside of Reykjavik restaurants are only open at mealtimes in the winter, so it's hard to get lunch at 3:30. Eat some of the local food, (we tried rotten shark, icelandic pony, and whale carpaccio while we were there). Hotdogs are oddly available almost everywhere. We got to see Bjork play while we were there, so look to see if Bjork or Sigur Rós are playing while you are there. Oh god, Iceland was great.
    Oh, if you arrive at Reykjavik at 7am on a Saturday morning nothing is open, just embrace it and walk around for 3 hours until the cafes open. (Or book an expensive place your first night, who will be awake to check you in at 7, our hostel didn't open until 11am). It was brilliant. The glaciers, the fjords, the black sand beaches, the furry ponies, and the extreme hipsters in Reykjavik. 🙂
    Oh, and lastly, none of us spoke Icelandic but we were able to get by fine everywhere.

    3 agree
  3. This was AWESOME and timely…we were just looking into Iceland as a possibility for our summer honeymoon this week.

    2 agree
  4. This makes me so homesick! I lived across the bay in Keflavik for a couple of years and loved it. Iceland is a stunning country, unlike anything else I've experienced. You're very brave to go in winter! It's definitely worth going in summer, just so you have more than a few hours of daylight, as well as slightly warmer weather.

    2 agree
    • I'm guessing you were stationed there? I lived there too, long ago and I miss it. The only time I have EVER liked seafood.
      This may be a good honeymoon spot for me! now gotta talk to the trixie little hobbitsis ;p

      2 agree
      • OMG! I love it! I just saw your comment on my blog and then read THIS — you weren't kidding! (And I also love how this comment won't make sense to anyone else. 😉 I hope your trixie little hobbitsis votes for an Icelandic honeymoon too!

        2 agree
  5. Yay for Offbeat Honeymoon posts! I have been wanting to go to Iceland since my math teacher told me how awesome it was (reading that sentence over again makes me feel like a geek lol!).

    Loved all the pics and tips! Renewed my passion to want to visit there again!

    1 agrees
  6. I think that is fantastic! My fiance and I were trying to find awesome cold locations!!!

    2 agree
  7. We went to Iceland for our honeymoon in 2004, it was SO AWESOME. I'm jealous that you saw northern lights (but it's okay, I live in Minnesota so I've seen them here before). The Blue Lagoon is incredible and I always recommend that people going to the continent take a layover in Iceland just so they can go there. I also highly recommend the "golden circle" tour — if you do it on your own you can skip stuff you're not as interested in, but there are so many neat things along the way.

    We went up to Hellnar and stayed at this really neat ecolodge (www.hellnar.is) that I highly recommend. When we were there there was a magical little cafe down in the harbor. We tried to go up to the Snaefellsjokull glacier in our tiny (and awesome) European Toyota Yaris, but it was insanely foggy and we got way too close to driving off the edge of some cliffs, so we turned back.

    A few tips:
    -Food is pretty expensive, since they have to import almost everything. It might be a little better now (although Michelle and Dan's account seems to confirm it's still an issue).
    -If you want to eat out, it wouldn't be a great place for strict vegans.
    -Natives stay up LATE. We went in the summer, when there were only a few hours of darkness a night. Reykjavik is a legendary party and music city, and although we're not big partiers we wanted to try to experience it…but we could never manage to stay up late enough — people seem to have a meal around midnight and then the partying really starts some time between 1 and 3 in the morning. It's crazy.
    -Get the map showing the "haunted" spots (hopefully someone still makes it), because it's fun and funny. Iceland has a lot of lore about fairies and trolls and whatnot.

    2 agree

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