5 Reasons we’re traveling to Iceland and one really big one

Merino wool gloves. Down-filled vest. Check.

Sorel’s and Canada Goose Snow Mantra Parka. Check.

“I don’t want to get cold, it’s the worst.” Mary quips as she throws a 6-pack of hand warmers into the suitcase.

We continue the drill. Warmth will be our best friend and we can’t leave home with it.

Yes, we anticipate cool (no wait) ‘cold’ weather on Friday when we land in Reykjavik. But, we’re Canadians so we’re good with cold weather. Actually when I looked, the weather in Iceland (all depends where in Iceland), but it’s relatively similar to our Toronto winters. So we’re good with cold weather, so long as you’re dressed for it – and we will be.

While most Canadians are heading south (snowbirds), team CiaoMary will be heading north to extreme cold.

And we can’t be more excited!

As an avid travel and destination photographer, I’m stoked about the location. And with so much to see, in so little time, I’ve narrowed down our ‘must-do-and-see’ list to the following five along with one really big one.

So, let’s just start there. The really big one.

The Northern Lights

aurora or northern lights

We’re off to witness natures light show and we’re hoping that Iceland delivers. In two words, Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). We’ve been infatuated with this phenom since the bucket list was first a word.

Although there are a lot of variables to consider for seeing them: season, weather, length of stay, location and luck, but according to Northern Lights Iceland, your chances improve between September and mid April. So February just may work for us.

The Blue Lagoon

Okay, we may be falling victim to this tourist trap – Iceland’s top tourist attraction, the world-famous Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa. But look, we’ve traveled this far, so we might as well (pardon the pun) soak up the experience. After all we’ve packed our suits and the lagoon water has medicinal qualities. 

Take a road trip

We plan on taking in as much of Iceland as we can, and there’s nothing like hopping in a rental car and seeing it on your own terms. Taking our time, (Ring Road?) with no agenda or timetable. Breathtaking images of this island fill the net, so it’s not hard to understand the urge to see it for ourselves. Rugged landscape offers white glaciers, black sands, green mountain tops, rock formations of different varieties, blue or brown rivers, colorful hot springs, small waterfalls, big waterfalls and black volcanoes. I’ll be armed with my Nikon (and a couple of empty cards), and I’ll be sharing these photos in a follow up blog once we’re back.

Skaftafell Park

More than 1800 square miles of parkland, this is no ordinary piece of landscape. Skaftafell is home to some of the strangest and most surreal landscapes on the planet and has been the go-to location for a number of Hollywood films like; Tomb Raider, Die Another Day, A View to a Kill, and Batman Begins.

We’re open to some exercise, and will likely hike the 45 minutes to Svartifoss (Black fall) to capture that waterfall you see in the image above. This is another CiaoMary must see.

Seljavallalaug Pool

While we’re on Ring Road, we might as well pop in to see this little marvel. I know what you’re saying, “another pool,” so what! Well, Seljavallalaug is one of the oldest outdoor swimming pools in Iceland. This unexpected architectural marvel is built into a wet hillside, at the base of a mountain, complete with naturally fed warm water.


Despite the fact that we fly into this countries capital, we’re leaving Reykjavik last to explore. This will be home base and most of what we want to explore will be outside the city center. But, having said that, we are foodies and look forward to experiencing local Icelandic cuisine. And, thanks to The Spice Girl, we have a nice selection of local restaurants (that are apparently light on the wallet). Can’t wait.

Back to you

Have you been to Iceland? There’s a whole bunch more to explore but given the time restriction (4 full days) we keep having to narrow the list. Let us know if you have a favorite ‘must-see’ that we’ll just have to squeeze in.

Otherwise, stay connected and look for the photos in our follow up blog.


Add Yours
    • Murray Sye

      Hi Mark, we are really looking forward to this trip (and the Blue Lagoon). We hope to catch the Northern Lights so stay tuned to @CiaoMary as we’ll be posting images of Iceland upon our return. Have an amazing Friday.

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