For many years, Hervé and Camille have been avid travelers and regular contributors to the forum. They wanted to share their latest trip with us, a 3-day weekend in the south of Iceland.
It was almost 4:00PM when the Icelandair plane touched down at Keflavik airport. The difference in atmosphere compared to Paris CDG was quite striking: even the airport is calm and quiet which I didn't expect. The flight went smoothly, as usual, although we experienced some turbulence upon arriving in Iceland due to a sudden snowstorm that stopped as abruptly as it started.
Yes, I mentioned that the flight went well "as usual" because we have already been to Iceland twice before, once for a week and another time for 15 days, but always during the summer. This was a bit of a first for us, visiting in a different season, but probably not the last as we have fallen in love with the country. It's also the first time we've come as a party of 3, as we have our 2-year-old son with us, making it his first trip!
We wanted to experience Iceland in winter because everyone agrees that Iceland is very charming during this time of year. While we might not have the contrasts of early summer or the midnight sun, it is the period to catch the Northern Lights. Plus, a huge advantage is that there are far fewer tourists!
We chose the month of March based on the advice we received: "In March, you get the winter charms and the days are long enough to enjoy them." So we decided to take that advice.
I like to exchange Euro to ISK at the airport, at least for a good portion of the cash I'll need, while Camille collects the bags (yes, my master plan to avoid carrying bags was perfect). Then we arrived at the airport hall, and an Icelander from Blue Car Rental was waiting for us with a sign to take us to our vehicle. Perfect! It was the first time we've used them; we were pretty used to international rental companies before. It was good value and some good reviews on the forum gave us confidence. We were,'t disappointed, everything went smoothly. Although, to be fair, I never had any personal issues with other rental companies.
The guy was very nice, and he took us to our Grand Vitara. I preferred the 4x4 option because it's still winter, there's still some snow around, and winter prices are much lower compared to summer. (NB: In the end, a standard car would have been more than enough...)
Oh yes, I didn't tell you, but we got really lucky! Since the plane landed and the "snowstorm" passed, the weather has been EXTRAORDINARY for March. We weren't expecting that. On the other hand, it's chilly; around 3°, and with the slight wind it stings a bit! But big blue skies and lots of sun. According to the guy at BCR, it was going to last at least 2 days!
Regarding our itinerary and type of stay, we did things differently from our previous trips. During the summer, we usually go around the island with guesthouse reservations near the places we want to stay. This time, we planned for fewer kilometers and stayed in the south, booking accommodations outside of Reykjavík.
Camille found a cabin typical of those seen along the N1 road on the south coast, very close to Seljalandsfoss. It's at the foot of a mountain with the bonus of a hot tub on the terrace! We booked one night in Reykjavik, one night there, and the last night in Reykjavik to be closer to the airport for the early 7AM return flight...
To avoid tiring our little guy too much, we planned to visit the Blue Lagoon right after landing and then head to the guesthouse in Reykjavik. So, we headed for route 43, where a thin layer of snow remains. Luckily, the last clouds in the sky disappeared, what a stroke of luck!
When we arrived at the Blue Lagoon car park, there was a pleasant surprise—very few cars compared to usual. Especially fewer buses, more Icelanders, and fewer foreigners than in summer.
Leaving the changing rooms, with the gentle winter breeze, it didn't take us long to get into the 38° water of the Blue Lagoon. It was extremely enjoyable, and our son didn't want to leave! We spent about an hour soaking in the water before heading back to the changing rooms and then to the capital. It was 6:30 PM, and I informed our host that we would arrive around 7:00 PM.
We quickly dropped off our stuff at the guesthouse near Hallgrimskirkja and went out for a quick dinner before heading back. We had a big schedule planned the next day.