ICELAND GETAWAY for P100,000 or LESS with a side trip to PARIS!
You can check our video here
Every time someone mentions “Iceland”, the one thing people will always have in mind is that it is “EXPENSIVE”. That was what I thought before our honeymoon as well.
Last Year - to be honest, because I thought Iceland was a SUPER expensive place to go to, I thought I’d be going there when I was in my mid 30s or something, I guess I was not entirely correct. Iceland is expensive – but not super expensive. BUT if you’re practical (like us), you can spend a couple of days in Iceland, with tickets and see the Northern Lights (if you’re lucky) for less than P100,000 for 2 people.
So let me tell you about our Icelandic Getaway (that saved us a whole lot!)
The initial honeymoon destination I planned was Paris, fortunately it was given to us as a gift from my parents, BUT based on research, the cheapest airfare you can get for Paris is actually pretty affordable. It can go as low as around $580 that’s around P31,000 (depends on the dollar exchange as well, so this can actually go lower.)
Unfortunately for us, our airfare would sometimes be a more expensive compared to airfares direct from Manila (that was then, thank God for the new airlines that opened in Cebu), but in spite of incoming carriers, a trip to Iceland from Cebu or Manila is still more expensive than a trip from the Philippines to Paris (or another city) then to Iceland. (Not sure with the new promos now, I’m sure better airfares are available, but last year this was the PH-Paris-Iceland fare was just the better option.)
I booked a lot of my tickets via KAYAK, they’re very reliable when it comes to promo fares, so be sure to watch out for price drops.
One more thing - Always book plane tickets ahead! It comes out way cheaper, try aiming for the yearly travel fairs too, they have extremely good deals!
Here’s the price point comparison when booking straight to Iceland as compared to having a quick stop, so you can see the difference (from today’s rates, it would be cheaper during promo periods, so just watch out for it.)
Swimming in Blue Lagoon
It was EXTREMELY COLD. It was the first day of snow when we arrived and it was so cold, but see that’s the beauty of Blue Lagoon, even if it was ridiculously cold, when we got inside the water it was so warm – it was the best of both really. It felt so nice! Rap and I met up in the lagoon right after. It’s best to discuss a meeting point since it’s not really recommended to bring a phone and the place is really so big and during night time it’s hard to see.
We got our free drinks and free facial masks and basically swam around for an hour just enjoying the scenery without our phones. We had a go pro though, so we were able to film and take photos, it was night time thought and it was snowing hard, so there’s not much to see. I realized it’s better to go there before 4PM during winter since days in Iceland are shorter.
Rap and I really enjoyed our time in Blue Lagoon. It wasn’t only romantic, but the scenery was so beautiful. Truly one of a kind, and we were just lucky that it snowed, it made everything look more magical.
The ONLY problem -ROCK HARDHAIR!!! Don't forget to tie your hair ladies!
I’d wanna go back and swim in Blue Lagoon but the only problem I had was my hair!!! Before getting inside the lagoon, they actually give instructions to cover your hair with serum or repair cream, which I actually did. But I guess the sulfur content was really too strong that right after an hour swimming around, my hair literally hardened. I was so worried that I’d have to cut my hair. Thankfully I remembered I brought 3 minute repair and miracle creams and for the next 5 days I had to leave it on for around 30 minutes per day before washing it off.
Our photos weren't too clear, so we didn't take too much since 5PM there was already night time. Hopefully next time we'll see it during the day. But all in all, our experience was really memorable. Is it worth visiting? YES! Definitely. It’s better to visit the lagoon during the day so you can see it more, but it was still beautiful in the dark. So this is an excursion worth doing.
5. SELF DRIVE TOUR
For our self drive experience we wanted to go to the following places.
(1) Golden Circle Route
Here are some photos we took from our South Coast Tour:
3. Reykjavik Tour
3. Southcoast Tour (Ice and Fire)
Seljalandsfoss waterfall is unique because it is possible to walk behind the waterfall, where you can see the world from the other side through the falling water. The views and the sounds from behind the waterfall are astonishing!
Skógafoss is a very powerful waterfall, and due to the amount of spray it produces, single and even double rainbows are often seen on sunny days.
Reynisfjara is located very close to the fishing village of Vík, which is only a two-hour drive from Reykjavík (180 kilometers).
It is situated 180 kilometers from Reykjavík, along the ring road. Vík is surrounded by beautiful valleys, black beaches, cliffs and mountains, offering extremely varied landscapes. Mýrdalsjökull glacier is very near to the village of Vík, this glacier has the threatening volcano, Katla, lurking beneath it, for sure this is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes.
Vík is an important local commercial and service center for the travel industry and the local people. You can find lovely cafes, restaurants, accommodation, shops and all of the most important services.
One thing you can’t miss when you are in Vík is its white church with the red roof, named Víkurkirkja, it is located at the top of the village. Built in the years 1932-1934, it has become, nowadays, a totem of the village and an important stop for tourists.
The cliffs around Vík are one of the best places in Iceland to see puffins and other seabirds, mostly during the summertime.
The South Coast is beautiful, it's falloff Waterfalls, Glaciers and even a beach! Unfortunately, when we went there, the weather was extremely unstable. It would change every hour so we were not able to do a lot of things. However, when we drove to the South, it made us realise that if we just had better weather, we could have done so much more and we would have save a lot considering that the tours to the South were quite expensive! When we headed South, we didn't spend anything. We actually brought our own snacks inside the car. Then every time we would see a site, we would stop by, take a picture and just gaze at its magnificence. No one was rushing us, we enjoyed every minute of it - at our own pace. I'll write more about it some time and the drive going there. But for now, this'll do.
Here are some photos we took from our Golden Circle Tour:
SAVINGS AND ADVANTAGE
To be honest, Rap and I could have made it even more affordable if we didn't stay in 4 star hotels, but it was our honeymoon and aforementioned, a honeymoon is usually once in a life time. So yes, there are better alternatives. You can check it on booking.com
But for what it's worth, through renting a car, you can save Time, and do everything at your own pace, you can even drop by more places and take more photos because no one will rush you!
Also, if you are a group of four (4) you can save more.
Here's a sample calculation of the cost for tours are in Iceland:
Golden Circle Tour : P3233 per person
Southcoast Day Tour: P6,073 per person
City Bus Tour: P1,500 per person
Northern Lights Deluxe Tour: P9,070 per person (I placed this simply because it is a known fact that when you are in a tour, time is crucial. A lot of times the northern lights does not show up early, a lot of my friends visited Iceland a lot of times and joined group bus tours and missed out seeing the aurora. However, for those who know where to go, even without spending a lot, and with a car, you can see the Northern Lights. Just make sure that you have the tracker.)
To be honest with two (2) people, we were still able to save up, but we could've saved more with a bigger group. But nonetheless we were still able to save and oct importantly do things at our own pace and take a lot of photos, which is the most important factor!!!
Before ending this entry, don't forget to do the following:
Eat a Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur Hotdog - This is seriously the best hotdog I've ever had in my life! I would go back just to eat this
My love for art, film and photography started when I was only 9 years old, believe it or not - at that time we didn't have youtube or technology that made life easy.. because of how much I loved film editing, I found a way and assembled my own computer just to make my first film - "The Ringie", and other videos I made in highschool. I started with a DSCR Sony tape camcorder, then eventually I got my first DSLR after using film and point and shoots.
Years later, whenever I travel, the souvenir I cherish most are the photos I get from our trip - vacation. To be honest, I don't have much photo of myself in the place since I'm always the one carrying the camera.
But, nonethless I thank God everyday for being able to see everything similar to a painting in a canvas - that's the best souvenir I can keep.
So going back, for the last few weeks, the one question I’ve been getting a lot lately is “What’s your Cam, what’s your lens?” etc. to be honest - it’s really not the cam, I’ve taken nice photos even with a simple point and shoot before social media existed - it’s really the person and how he/she sees things. BUT for what it’s worth, compared to all the camera brands I’ve used for the past 15 years, I’d have to say that Sony is by far my favorite. So I posted my complete and recent line up below, and you can see some of the photos I took, most I took handheld.
So for those who are just starting photography, I suggest you guys grab a Sony.