When deciding our honeymoon destination, Dan immediately put Iceland on the table. He said “this is a once in a lifetime holiday for us. Let’s make it a once in a lifetime destination!” And oh, what a good choice he made!
Although it is relatively close to the UK, Iceland becomes a once-in-a-lifetime deal because of the sheer amount it has to offer. To truly do it justice, it deserves a big commitment. You’ll want to spend some time there and you’ll want to see all there is to see.
Why choose an Iceland honeymoon?
Iceland has it all! Snow, black sand beaches, mountains, waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers and bucket loads of Nordic charm. But it is a world away from your classic sun, sea and sand honeymoon. For us though it was perfect!
Once you step away from the classic model for post-marital retreats and start thinking about the best way to start the rest of your life together, you begin to form a different list. One of shared experiences, adventures and togetherness.
Iceland is the perfect setting for this. The colder weather encourages hand-holding and snuggles under blankets. With its quirky little coffee shops, you’ll be able to hide away together and talk about your experiences from the day.
And with some of the most impressive geography, the planet can offer, you’ll have all the adventures you want on your hotel doorstep. Making Iceland a truly unforgettable experience.
What to see?
What to see all year round?
Golden circle tour
If you do one thing when you are visiting Iceland then make sure it is this. The Golden circle tour takes all day but takes in many of the most remarkable geographical phenomena in Iceland.
You will get to visit Thingvellir National Park and crossover the tectonic plate line seeing the fissure they create. It is quite remarkable to drive along one road with the Eurasian plate one side and the North American plate the other.
Then includes a stop at Gullfoss (the Golden waterfall) which is breath-taking! We walked up as far as we could and looked across the waterfall with the glacial spray on our face. It is a wonderful and humbling sight!
Following this, you’ll head on to look at some geysers. Strokkur is Iceland’s most active geyser and it goes off every few minutes. Crowds will gather around waiting for the big shot of warm water rising up into the air and to feel the spray on their faces as it comes back down.
The Golden Circle tour gives you so much in just one day. You’ll need a nice long bath together when you get back to your room to talk it all over.
Not far from the airport is the misty haven that is the Blue Lagoon. A much talked about destination in Iceland this is not one you want to miss. Plus it makes the perfect addition to an Icelandic honeymoon.
With white bathrobes and slippers lining the edge and swim-up-to bar in the middle, the Blue Lagoon has turned this strange geothermal reservoir into a luxurious spa experience. Complete with cosy, steamed up corners that you can hide in.
Not only is it a beautiful place to spend a few hours but the minerals that naturally occur there are good for your skin too. I recommend stopping off here immediately you jump off the plane. Relax, warm-up and get in a facial!
The chance to see these majestic creatures in the wild is rare. There aren’t many places where you can hop on a boat and expect to catch a glimpse of one.
Taking a boat from Reykjavik harbour, or several other places around Iceland will give you a good chance of seeing them though.
Not only will you see whales, but also dolphins and porpoises swimming alongside the boat. Plus it is great to look back at Iceland from the sea to truly capture the beauty of the geography.
Iceland is an absolute goldmine of waterfalls. If like me you love waterfalls then you will be completely smitten with Iceland.
Taking the ring road along the south coast will provide you with a selection of magnificent waterfalls, including Skogafoss, Seljalandfoss and Svartifoss.
The Golden Circle tour mentioned above includes the huge Gullfoss, which is not to be missed.
We visited Laugardalsaug. This was approximately a 45-minute walk from central Reykjavik. Heated by geothermal energy, it is an unusual place to swim.
With a 50m swimming pool, outdooor pool and paddling pool for children, along with waterslides and hot tubs, you could easily make a day of it.
We spent half a day there, enjoying the different pools and appreciating swimming outside when the weather was less than its best.
What to see in Winter?
Iceland is the ultimate location if you are looking for a Northern Lights honeymoon experience. However, it is very much a seasonal event. To see the lights, you need complete darkness and this only happens in the Winter months.
We went to Iceland in April and this is the end of the season for the northern lights. Desperate to see them, we went out a few days in a row trying to chase the lights. We saw a couple of shows, but it wasn’t until the final days that the sky truly lit up. And wow, is it spectacular.
Therefore, I recommend signing up for a northern lights tour at the first opportunity as it may take you a couple of nights to get the right weather and solar conditions to see them. Wrap up warm, take drinks and snacks and put your trust in the tour guide to hunt them down.
What to see in Summer?
Although puffin spotting season technically runs from early April through until September, we missed them when we went. And I wish we had made more of an effort to search some out.
These gorgeous, colourful birds with their soulful little eyes are one of the main reasons that I would head back to Iceland again. To see and explore Iceland in the summer, experience the midnight sun and to catch a glimpse of these beautiful birdies makes me want to start planning a take back again now.
Where to stay
If seeing the Northern Lights on your honeymoon is top of your to do list then this town to the North of Reykjavik might be your ideal location.
Away from the centre of the capital, you can experience a quieter getaway. Plus, with a better geographical location as well as reduce light pollution your chances of seeing the aurora borealis is greatly increased.
With a selection of hotels and cottages in the area, there is bound to be a venue to suit your needs.
North Iceland’s biggest town has plenty to offer on your Icelandic honeymoon. With a selection of nice hotels and various attractions in is most definitely worthy of consideration.
If you want to catch the Northern Lights, fancy a bit of whale watching or are just looking to see an alternative part of Iceland, then Akureyri should be on the list.
The south coast of Iceland is littered with waterfalls. With the addition of the black sand beaches, glacial lagoon and generally stunning views it is an idyllic place to stay.
Hotel Ranga has an excellent reputation amongst honeymooners. Oozing with Icelandic charm and boasting outstanding views of the Northern Lights you’d be silly not to consider it.
The Blue Lagoon
If your Iceland honeymoon is all about relaxation then it does not get much better than staying in the Blue Lagoon.
The views across the Blue Lagoon and the surrounding areas are amazing. Watching the steaming water rise across the rugged volcanic landscape will make you never want to leave. Not to mention have you wanting to jump straight in.
We stayed in Reykjavik and I would thoroughly recommend this. Being the capital city if offers lots to see as well as providing a good platform for adventuring out to the rest of Iceland.
Transfers from Keflavik to Reykjavik are easy to come by and takes about 45mins to an hour. However, you can arrange to stop off at the Blue Lagoon on the way to break up the journey.
We stay in “Room with a view” apartments on the main street through Reykjavik, Laugavegur. This was a top choice as we were surrounded by restaurants, cafes, bars and shops.
From here, it was easy to access many of the other attractions in Reykjavik, and the coast was only a few minutes away.
Exploring Reykjavik on your Iceland Honeymoon
Iceland’s capital city is worthy of thorough exploration. We spent a few days of our trip wandering around Reykjavik and enjoying everything it had to offer.
As well as being aesthetic interesting with its colourful buildings, stunning coastline and mountain views, there is something in this city to capture anyone’s interest.
A 30-minute walk from the centre of Reykjavik and a top of a big hill, the Perlan is a unique landmark.
It has been converted from several hot water tanks and is now open to the public to enjoy a restaurant, an observation deck looking over Reykjavik and a planetarium.
The views from the top of the Perlan are well worth the walk up there. You will get to see Reykjavik from above with its spectacular mountain backdrop.
If being high up and looking down over Reykjavik are your ideas of fun then you’ll love Hallgrimskirkja.
Impressive from internally and externally, Hallgrimskirkja is one of Reykjavik’s most prominent landmarks and is easy to find in the centre of the city.
The best part of this Lutheran church is that you can take a trip to the top (some 70m high!) and look out over the rest of Reykjavik.
This stunning concert hall is unavoidable on any trip to Reykjavik. It’s impressive architecture immediately captures your attention and lures you inside.
Unless you are seeing a performance, there’s not much to do inside on an average day. However, it is worth a visit to enjoy the views out of the odd shaped glass walls across the harbour. And there is a café for a coffee too.
Coffee is a big part of Icelandic culture. Icelander’s typically like their coffee strong, black and in ready supply.
Therefore, there are several beautiful cafes around Reykjavik, where you can lose yourself in a comfy chair and sit and drink endless coffee.
With the cold weather and expensive alcoholic beverages, we found ourselves seeking out new places for a hot drink almost daily. Reykjavik has many. You’ll enjoy trying them out with skyrkaka as further motivation.
Like all capital cities, Iceland boasts an excellent selection of restaurants. Each serving up the local delicacies.
Iceland has a bit of a reputation for serving up some strange dishes including rotten fish. But they are also very good at making delicious lamb and fish dishes.
We were in Iceland for 10 full days and ate out in Reykjavik twice most days. We were able to eat at a different restaurant each time. Some were cute and romantic, some vibrant, some overflowing with the sights and smells you would expect from Icelandic restaurants.
On top of this, a trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without trying a pylsa or Icelandic hot dog. Icelander’s are proud of these and they come with an array of toppings. I recommend going for all of them and enjoying the full taste experience.
What is the weather like?
There is a bit of a joke in Iceland that says “if you don’t like the weather, give it 10 and it’ll be completely different”. And it is so true.
During our time there, we had large amounts of snowfall followed by days when we were walking around in just a t-shirt. There were some days when both happened within an hour.
Although Iceland sounds cold, it is warmer than you might expect. This is largely due to geothermal activity warming the island.
That said, it is still cold. Iceland in winter will get down to as low as -10C but is typically closer to 1-2C. Iceland in summer will be around 10-12C but can go lower or higher depending on the weather specifics at the time.
My best advice is to be prepared for all weather. On a drive back from an excursion one day, we were admiring the beautiful clear skies and an amazing sunset over the beach. Next minute it was a blizzard outside.
How much it costs?
One of the many reasons that we chose to spend our honeymoon in Iceland was because we knew it would need to be a special trip. It is expensive.
By way of an example, we ordered an on-tap lager and a spirit and mixer in a bar one evening. It totalled over £15 and this was a few years back.
Along with the expensive costs, there is also the fact that there is so much to see and do. You will need to spend money to truly embrace everything that the country has to offer.
Is Iceland your perfect honeymoon?
For us, Iceland was the seed that grew into our love of adventures. It was the moment that we knew we would travel as a family. We had so many amazing adventures while we were there that we knew we wanted to get back out into the world and see it all.