Updated: Jun 8
This month's blog post is by Manushi Shah, a Houston-based Entrepreneur who is extremely passionate about the art of storytelling and living life to the fullest. In recent years, she has been incorporating more travel time into her schedule and decided to take on this journey to Iceland with TWC. Manushi absolutely loves traveling and photographing nature, cultures, and experiences around the world.
Manushi joined the TWC Iceland Northern Lights trip in March 2023. If you're interested in seeing Iceland during the same time of year or during summer (the warmest months in Iceland as compared to the winter wonderland that it was in March 2023), check out our upcoming Iceland trips.
Photo credits go out to Siddhant Chauhan and Manushi Shah. Find them on Instagram: @sidd_z_chauhan and @manushi.shahhh
If you would be interested in guest writing for the Travel World Culture blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of around 364,000 and an area of 103,000 km2. It is geologically and volcanically active and has a unique landscape of glaciers, hot springs, and lava fields. Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland and is known for its strong welfare system, renewable energy, and its thriving tourism industry.
Iceland is a popular tourist destination due to its breathtaking natural beauty. The country's unique landscape of glaciers, hot springs, and lava fields makes it an otherworldly destination for nature lovers.
My Blue Lagoon Experience
One of Iceland's most popular tourist attractions is the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa located in a lava field in Grindavik. The lagoon's mineral-rich waters are heated by geothermal activity and are said to have healing properties. The Blue Lagoon is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Iceland.
The Blue Lagoon is not only a relaxing and rejuvenating experience but also a unique and beautiful one. The milky blue waters stand out against the black lava rocks and the steam rising from the water creates an ethereal atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a range of spa treatments, including massages and facials, and can even dine at one of the on-site restaurants. The Blue Lagoon is easily accessible from Reykjavik by car or bus and is open year-round. However, it's important to note that reservations are required in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
From the moment I entered through the doors, I could instantly feel the refreshing warmth of the geothermal energy. We approached the customer service desk where we got to check in and the staff handed us our wristbands that all guests have to put on throughout the duration of the stay at the lagoon. The process was seamless as our group had a prior booking, which I highly recommend doing as the spa gets busy during peak tourist times of the year.
Once we all got checked in, we made our way to our own appropriate changing rooms. The changing rooms were a decent size and included rows of lockers and showers. Each guest is to change into their swimsuit and take a “pre-soak” shower. Each shower stall was equipped with the “Blue Lagoon” branded shampoo, conditioner, and body wash toiletries. I had done my research before the trip and had read in detail about the dangers of geothermal water that can be done to our hair if not handled properly. It is strongly encouraged to have any long hair tied and lathered up with conditioner during the pre-soak shower and before entering into the spa.
After I lathered my updo with conditioner and rinsed my body, I now made my way to the entrance of the lagoon. There was a staircase to go down directly from the changing rooms and into the water all from the inside of the lagoon building, which I found extremely convenient. I made my way into the spa, feeling almost speechless about this bucket list experience I have always dreamt about.
Everything we needed for the ultimate Blue Lagoon experience was easily accessible directly from the water. There were multiple beverage and mud mask bars that guests can swim up to. Upon ordering, guests are to scan their wristbands which keep track of everything that was ordered and can be settled for before leaving the lagoon. We spent approximately four hours in the lagoon before making our way back into the changing rooms. There were plenty of towels available, and those with an upgraded pass are also provided with specialty robes that they can use to lounge around in. Guests went immediately into the showers upon exiting for a nice cleanse from the spa water while enjoying the amenities.
The building contained an extensive cafe with snacks, baked goods, and drinks. And lastly, I made a stop at the Blue Lagoon store which was aesthetically stocked with all the exclusive branded products.
Though we went during a busy time, the heavy fog around the lagoon made it seem like we were floating in our own private paradise. It was just the relaxing afternoon that I needed.
My Northern Lights Experience
We went on a search for the Northern Lights during our visit to Iceland. The best time to see the Northern Lights is from September to April when the nights are longer. We went on a late night boat cruise to hunt for the lights. The captain took us deep into the Northern Atlantic waters, away from Reykjavik to get a clear exposure of the skies. Imagine being on a boat in the middle of nowhere on the coldest of nights, I’m thankful we all had on our large winter coats while my group and I huddled together for warmth.
After a while, we saw the sky light up with green and pink hues. The Northern Lights danced across the sky, creating a breathtaking display. It was a magical experience that I will never forget.
My Food Experience
When thinking back on the food adventures that I experienced in Iceland, my top favorite was this hidden “Black Crust Pizzeria”!! This establishment had exactly what was said to be in the name, these delicious varieties of pizza made on black crust that comes from the preparation of activated charcoal.
Icelandic cuisine offers a wide range of dishes that cater to different tastes. One of the most popular dishes is Hákarl, which is a type of fermented shark meat. While it has a strong and pungent smell, it is considered a delicacy in Iceland and is definitely worth trying for adventurous eaters. As for me, I sat back and saw my co-travelers have at it with this unique experience, as I am a vegetarian and naturally opted out from trying the wild sea creature.
For those looking for a healthier option, Skýr is a great choice. It is a type of thick and creamy yogurt that is high in protein and low in fat. It is often eaten as a snack or used in cooking and baking. Furthermore, all dairy products in Iceland are absolutely divine and thriving due to the lack of the overly processed industry that normally occurs in the States. Even a simple cup of yogurt was richer than I had ever tasted back home.
While some of these dishes may be an acquired taste, Icelandic cuisine is definitely worth exploring for those looking for a unique culinary experience. The country offers a wide range of dishes that cater to different tastes, and it's always exciting to try new things while traveling.
Iceland is a country of unparalleled natural beauty. From its glaciers to its hot springs, the country is a treasure trove of unique and breathtaking landscapes. The Blue Lagoon is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to experience the beauty of Iceland. The milky blue waters and black lava rocks create an ethereal atmosphere that is unlike anything else in the world. The Northern Lights are also a beautiful natural phenomenon that can be seen in Iceland during the winter months.
Overall, Iceland was everything and more for an adventure seeker like myself. There were ample opportunities for both wild, exotic experiences as well as relaxation. One day I plan to return during slightly warmer months so that I can visit other popular sites such as the luxurious sky lagoon and the wrecked airplane.
Thanks for reading,