I’m so blessed by my sweet husband’s desire to show me the world! I was beyond excited to add this trip to our never-ending adventure when he surprised me with a vacation in Iceland for our first anniversary + birthdays. And, put my passport with my new last name to use! Whether for newlywed travels or a quick getaway, it’s not hard getting to Iceland (5 1/2 hour flight from Baltimore). So, it would also make a great honeymoon destination! Flights are reasonable, but you will have to plan wisely while you’re there. It’s a rather expensive place to visit!
Newlywed Travels | Tips While Visiting Iceland
Favorite Foodie Finds
- Even if you only go down to the harbor once, it’s worth it for Valdís ice cream. Yes, no matter how cold it is! On a chilly day, you’ll still find the line out the door. Talk yourself into the double scoop so you can try two flavors (you’re on vacation after all). Then, walk around the harbor enjoying this delicious treat. The Biscoff cookie and salted caramel peanut flavors were our favorites!
- Bryggjan Brugghús! This is a hip and modern bistro and brewery. And also, one of the only places you’ll find craft beers like you would in the U.S. I tried their red, Josh had the wheat. It was a pleasant change up from the light beers served elsewhere. We went for lunch and tried their fish and chips, which was delicious. Also, a smoked salmon, arctic shrimp, avocado and tomato sandwich with garlic sauce on sourdough bread. They also had awesome sweet potato fries!
- Sandwiches are always a good option because the bread in Iceland is amazing! We stumbled upon Bakari Sandholt on our first day. Josh got a sandwich to hold him over until lunch. We went back every single day after that, trying different sandwiches and pastries. This cozy bakery is definitely at the top of our list of favorites!
- Another restaurant we visited more than once was Svarta Kaffid, a quaint spot where soup was the star of the show. Among the best deals we scored on our trip, this was one of them! You get your choice of either a veggie or meat soup in a bread bowl (the menu changes daily) and soup refills are free!
- Noodle Station was a great find and perfect for warming up on a cold winter day with delicious pho. It was also super close to where we were staying and relatively cheap!
- I’m surprised to even put this on our favorites list as it’s an “American” restaurant. Roadhouse was actually a pleasant surprise! It was fun to compare an Icelandic burger joint to what we’re used to in the U.S. We split a burger and amazing double fried fries!
Newlywed Travels Money-Saving Tip: If you’re looking for a quick snack, don’t be afraid to check out the local grocery stores! Skyr was my go-to option, which is very similar to Greek yogurt. We even tried a frozen pizza as a late night bite! We also packed some protein bars from home to fill us up between meals or snack on during our flights.
- I was really excited to try the local coffee shops, but sadly wasn’t impressed. The bakery above, Sandholt, ended up being our breakfast spot. We thought their breakfast sandwiches were so good and they had free coffee refills! Do this and skip the overpriced coffee shops. Pair your joe with a chocolate croissant and you’re good to go!
- Perhaps one of our top newlywed travels tips: We opted for Airbnb over a hotel. It was a great decision as it was cheaper and put us right in the heart of all the happenings! We also chose to rent a car and got our money’s worth driving the Golden Circle on our first day. And to Blue Lagoon during the weekend!
Do the Golden Circle! Some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen! And Blue Lagoon. Especially if it’s a cold and rainy day. It might be a tourist trap, but it’s so beautiful and relaxing. Pay $20 more per person to get the premium experience so you don’t get stuck in line. With this, you will also get two different masks while you’re relaxing in the geothermic pool. And each of you will get a free drink, flip flops, a towel and a robe.
- If you think you’ll want a glass of wine or cocktail at your place (or want to save money by not buying drinks out), purchase your alcohol at Duty Free before you leave the airport. The beer you can buy at the grocery store is limited. It’s also a watered down version of what you purchase at restaurants and bars. And you can’t buy wine or liquor at the grocery stores at all.
Our Favorite Newlywed Travels Souvenirs
- The flea market was a fun experience and good opportunity to get a feel for the culture! Out of all the many stores that sell lava rock jewelry, the vendors at the flea market have the best deals. They can even customize the jewelry on site so it best fits you!
- We found really cute handmade in Iceland ornaments at The Little Christmas Shop! This also inspired me to DIY my own ornament from a Blue Lagoon lava rock found on our adventure to the spa.
- We picked up a couple maps as our GPS didn’t seem to be all that trustworthy, when driving the Golden Circle. They highlight the route we took and some of our favorite scenic spots. The perfect souvenir and we didn’t even know it!
- While browsing the grocery store, I picked up a free Icelandic newspaper. I can’t wait to see what DIYs I can come up with for this souvenir!
- Pay attention while at your favorite restaurants and pubs. We ended up finding free cheeky postcards that ended up being fun little finds!
What to Pack for your Trip to Iceland
- Layer up! Bring base layers for under jeans and tops. I didn’t need them during the day, but at night, it was so nice to have those extra layers as it got colder. A scarf, hat or ear warmers and mittens will also come in handy!
- Bring a lighter jacket to avoid getting too hot walking around and going in and out of shops and restaurants. A waterproof jacket or raincoat isn’t a bad idea either. I needed mine twice due to a little sleet and rain!
- I brought two pairs of boots, my winter boots and riding boots. But, didn’t end up needing my winter boots. As long as you have a comfy pair of shoes that are warm and water resistant, you’re good to go! Pack some warm socks as well for those chilly days and nights.
- Don’t forget your swim suit if you’re visiting the Blue Lagoon!
- Sunglasses and chapstick (it was so windy)!
- Pack a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. You’ll do lots of walking and their water is so pure, you can drink it right from the tap! This will also come in handy for on the plane. The airline we flew didn’t provide free water or drinks.
Other Newlywed Travels Tips for Visiting Iceland
- If you want to see what night life is like in Iceland, you’ll have to stay out late – music doesn’t even start most places until 11 pm.
- Consider attending a church service in English – beautiful, historic churches.
- Read up on the culture before you go so you can appreciate the quirky things you’ll see – like the rock statues/elf homes and why the horses are so small and fluffy.
- Find something the locals are into! We had a blast watching soccer and a UFC fight (Icelandic fighter) with the locals at a sports bar and the English Pub. It was fun to see everyone getting so into the fight!
- A long weekend was the perfect amount of time for our newlywed travels! As mentioned above, we started visiting the same places twice during our 4 day trip. If you stay any longer, it can get quite expensive dining out!
For those who have Iceland on their newlywed travels list or bucket list, we highly recommend visiting! WOW air also specializes in “stop overs” – allowing you to visit Iceland on your way to another destination for no additional fee. Another great resource we used while planning our trip was this Iceland travel guide from The Fox & She.
-Kristen + Josh Green