The last leg of our honeymoon was spent in the southwest, with Reykjavik being our home base. Each day we would venture out, but we loved coming back in the afternoons to enjoy walking around and taking in the peaceful and colorful city.
Our day started off with driving out to The Secret Lagoon. I took the wheel this time, and it was the first time I was actually scared to drive in Iceland. The fog was so dense, and I could barely see! We would go in and out of patches of it, but for the most part, our drive was very eery.
We arrived at the Secret Lagoon a little after it opened and were ready to relax in the hot spring. I would highly recommend making a reservation and going as soon as it opens. This is only because first thing in the morning there aren’t as many people there and it feels so secluded (the secret lagoon really isn’t a secret, so it does get crowded).
The lagoon is a natural hot spring, and much smaller than the Blue Lagoon. A very different experience, but it was great! The fog was still in the air, and we picked up a few foam noodles to lay on in the water. The water was the perfect temperature, and the sun was covered by the clouds so it didn’t shine in our faces. We floated past the chatting tourists, and practically fell asleep in the water. It was the most relaxed we’d felt the entire trip.
On our way back to Reykjavik, we stopped a Mosfellskirkja Church. It was drizzling, but we drove through the little village to the top of the hill that the church sat on. It was one of the smallest churches I had ever seen. It was locked, but looking through the windows, it could probably sit 40-50 people. The graveyard surrounding it was covered with wet, overgrown grass and it felt like the whole town was still asleep at 1pm.
We spent the rest of our day walking around Reykjavik. While souvenir shopping, we walked in and out of local stores and found ourselves at the most adorable Christmas shop. I always love picking up ornaments for our tree from the places we travel too, so this was the perfect shop for me! We picked out a few things for family, a little Icelandic wool sweater ornament and mini hand-painted candles for ourselves.
We came to the famed church, Hallgrímskirkja, and wandered in to find a gorgeous space unlike any church we had seen before. Light pouring in, with green pews and a huge organ. I love going to local churches when we travel, and if there is an opportunity to venture to the top, I always do! It’s usually a pretty unique experience getting to the top, and once you may it, the views are always spectacular.
Finishing our day, we had dinner at Salka Valka. Enjoying yet another bowl of fish soup and plokkfiskur (fish stew). Followed by a night of relaxation and local desserts.
Snorkeling day! This was probably my most anticipated excursion of our honeymoon! We went snorkeling between continents in a rift called Silfra. Silfra is located in Pingvellir National Park and is the tectonic divide between the North American and Eurasian plates. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t actually touch both of the plates at the same time, but you can touch both sides of Silfra!
We got to our tour company to get suited up for our swim, and we were the only people that had signed up for the wet-suit snorkel. The difference between wet-suit and dry-suit snorkeling is pretty simple. With a dry suit, you don’t get wet at all, except on your face and hands. The suit is much more buoyant, so you simple float on the top of the water. In a wet suit, you get wet. Everywhere. This suit is also more flexible so you are able to dive into the water and swim much deeper than a dry suit.
I am a firm believer in the “go big, or go home” philosophy, so we went all out and did the wet suits. The glacier water is about 34 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, so you’re body goes into a little bit of shock when you enter the water. Brian seemed totally unfazed by the temperature, while I couldn’t really breath for a good 4-5 minutes. This is 100% normal, and your body heat warms up the water that is in your wet suit after about 5 minutes.
After I was comfortable in the water, it was an amazing experience. This is some of the clearest water in the world so you could see every detail in the rift. The crispest teal blues, the brightest greens and the deepest navy toward the bottom. I was able to “duck dive” once or twice, but you really gotta work for it! Because of this, Brian and I concluded that unless you are an avid snorkeler and can dive really well, you should probably just stick with the dry suit to make your time a little less cold and shocking to your system.
We concluded our snorkeling in the lagoon area, and quickly walked back to the truck where we could change and get warm. The whole snorkeling team was very accommodating and made sure we were safe and warm once we got back. I started to get pretty cold at the end, and my lips were so cold I could barely talk. (It was more funny than serious, so don’t worry!) We got some dry clothes on and enjoyed some hot chocolate before heading back to the city for the afternoon.
Once in Reykjavik, we walked around the city towards the Harpa and lunch at Baejarins (great Icelandic hot dogs!). We grabbed a few hot dogs and made our way to a square where all of the locals were watching the world cup. This was the first time Iceland had ever made it to the world cup, so it was a pretty exciting thing to experience. We ate our lunch and enjoyed a beer or two with the game.
Unfortunately, Iceland lost, but everyone was still in high spirits. Very different to any local sporting event I have ever been to in the states! We finished the day by walking in and out of souvenir shops and grabbing ice cream at a little shop next to our hotel.
Our last day in Iceland… Since we were unable to see Puffins in the north, we decided to book a Puffin tour in Reykjavik! The seas were pretty choppy, but we were able to go out to an island just off of the coast and see a huge group of puffins.
Puffins mostly spend their life at sea, and only come to land to mate during the summer months. They are adorable little birds that mate for life, even though they will only see their mate when they are on land in the summer. They also only lay 1 egg a year!
I was so excited to see the puffins, but I was very surprise to see them all in the water! Once we got close to them they started flying around, much smaller than I thought they would be. They are not good flyers, so the kind of looked like a bunch of bats flying above the water. We watched them swarm around the boat and dive for fish before heading back to the harbor.
We stopped for breakfast at Stefan Kaffihús, which ended up being one of our favorite spots! We picked up a swiss mocha, waffle and nutella, and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with garlic sauce. Everything was delicious, and the atmosphere was so warm and inviting. We just sat there for a while to soak it all in and relax. As we were leaving the cafe, I noticed an award by the door that read “Voted Best Place to Read a Book,” to which I would 100% agree.
We had some time before we needed to head to the airport, so we decided to go for one last hike. We read that Mount Esja had great views of the city and was a beautiful trail. This sounded perfect, other than the fact that it was starting to rain.
We decided to do the hike anyway, and were pounded with rain the higher up we got. We got close enough to the summit, and we decided to turn around. We. Were. Soaked. My leggings got so wet that they started to get soap suds (apparently our rinse cycle isn’t that great on our washer), and my socks had dripped so much water into our hiking boots, that we literally had to dump out the water when we got back to the car.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at a Te & Kaffi drying off and warming up with some coffees and pastries, before it came time to drive to the airport. We dropped off our adorable little rental car and waited for our flight back home, thinking of all the memories we made on a pretty incredible trip. Iceland will forever hold a very special place in our hearts.
Where did you travel on your honeymoon? What are some adventures you’ll never forget?