Most couples envision a honeymoon destination that’s south of the border with azure waters and endless umbrella drinks. But for those adventurous few looking for somewhere unique yet equally picturesque, Iceland may be the place for you. While most of us look at the country’s name and assume it to be a merciless, frozen tundra, it has so much more to offer. Travel Consultant Jill Kelm of At Your Service Travel in Wheaton recently went to Iceland and shared her trip with me:
Iceland is the perfect honeymoon destination for what kind of couple?
“More adventuresome people who like to try new things and new destinations. Iceland isn’t for everyone, especially in the winter because although it’s usually in the 30s during the winter, when you get away from Reykjavik, it’s cold and snowy and quite removed from civilization. People who like active travel because you can ski and snowshoe and view the scenery in Super Jeeps. I was there in winter but everyone says that in the summer it’s very green and full of grasses and flowers, but in the winter it is very stark and everything is in shades of black, gray, white and green.”
What are Iceland’s top attractions? Which was your favorite?
“The top attractions would be the Blue Lagoon, which almost everyone visits either at the beginning of their visit or at the end because it is close to the airport and convenient to do in the beginning or before you catch your flight back home. It’s a huge, steamy pool where you stand around and visit, enjoy drinks from the in-pool bar, take a mud treatment, or enjoy the waterfalls. So many people rave about this and, of course, I tried it, but probably isn’t my favorite thing to do, standing in hot steamy water! The volcanoes are a big draw as are the geysers. The city of Reykjavik is a typical European city with a lot of hotels, restaurants, and shops. Waterfalls are all over the country and many take a trek behind the falls. My favorite was traveling out to the glaciers in the middle of the country because it was so wild and riding in the Super Jeeps up and down the mountains and crevasses was exciting and pretty daring for me. Many people come to view the Northern Lights, whether by boat or just traveling away from the city so the city lighting doesn’t interfere. I went twice to view them and was hampered by the weather (clouds and rain), but several of my traveling companions tried and succeeded in seeing them the third time and couldn’t say enough about how exciting it was and beautiful to see.”
How expensive is a honeymoon in Iceland versus traditional honeymoon spots such as Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, etc.?
“The expense is actually probably about the same because with the all-inclusive resorts you’re paying a little more because your drinks and food are included, whereas in Iceland you’ll of course pay for each meal and hotel night. However, the way that many people visit Iceland is as a stopover on the way to Europe. It’s almost like getting two trips in one because you fly to Iceland, spend a few days there, and then fly on to England or Ireland or any country in Europe. Right now Icelandair, the main supplier of air to the country, is running a lot of good specials to Iceland so a package includes airfare, three or four nights in a hotel, a tour or two, and sometimes a meal credit. Prices run anywhere from $900 to $2000 per person, depending on when you travel and how long you stay.”
Why is Iceland becoming one of the most popular honeymoon destinations?
“Iceland is said to be the newest up and coming destination because it’s different than any other location on earth. People who like to try something new and are always looking for a place to go that is off the beaten track are the ones who will enjoy Iceland.”
What are the native Icelanders like?
“The Icelanders are happy and helpful and very easy to deal with. I didn’t meet anyone there who wasn’t happy and helpful.”
How’s the food?
“All of the food was good but I didn’t think outstanding. They eat a lot of lamb, fish, and vegetables. Supposedly their food is much better than it used to be and they highlight the fresh grown produce and locally raised meat. Wherever you travel, you see greenhouses that are powered by steam because of the underground steam, whether they raise vegetables or fruits year round.”
What activities are there to do in Iceland?
“Whale watching on the northern coast, brewery tours, volcano and waterfall tours, Northern Lights viewing, greenhouse and botanical garden tours, hiking, historical tours, museums, beaches, horseback riding, seeing the miniature ponies native to Iceland, biking, even surfing on the southern black sand beaches.”