Another Planet

by Nikki Desuasido


I'm happy we were able to make it up to Northern Iceland since the volcano eruption almost detoured the remainder of our road trip. With the possibility of a bridge closure (and the only road to pass to the next region, Myvatn), we fortunately got so lucky with timing and that made our stay there much more special

After a quick visit to Akureyri for lunch at Backpackers Cafe, a cute coffee stop at Blaa Kannan Cafe, and some window shopping around town, we headed towards our next hotel at Vogafjós Guesthouse. On the way, you will see many interesting sights that will make you feel like you're literally on another planet. We checked out the Krafla Lava Fields, Viti CraterHverarondor Hverir, along with Jardbodin vid Myvatn. Oh and brace yourself for the smell of sulphur -- it's basically the equivalent to rotten eggs and will take some time getting used to. 


Myvatn Nature Baths

by Nikki Desuasido


People call Myvatn Nature Baths the Blue Lagoon of the North -- although it's much smaller, less crowded, and not filled with as many tourists. I had never been in a thermal bath before so it was a real treat dipping in for the first time. It felt so nice soaking in the hot temperatures of the milky-glowing-blue waters, though it was tricky transferring out of the pool since the bite of the wind was intense! Regardless, it's definitely worth a visit and it prepared me on what to expect for our visit to the Blue Lagoon.


Waterfall of the Gods

by Nikki Desuasido


Top: Arcteryx, Pants: Patagonia, Base layer: Arcteryx, , Boots: Lowa

Goðafoss is my favorite waterfall in Iceland. It's located up north, between Myvatn and Akureyri, and we were so excited to see it since the eruption of the Bárðarbunga Volcano closed off many roads to other attractions -- like the Dettifoss waterfall.

Anyway, this outfit was pretty much on repeat throughout the trip and kept me very warm. In colder conditions, I basically added this Aether jacket, some Arcteryx gloves, and a beanie to complete my adventure uniform. The weather changes very quickly in Iceland, so it's useful to dress in layers and be prepared for strong winds or rain.


Westfjords

by Nikki Desuasido


I have talked nonstop about the Westfjords, so here are a few pictures of fun things we encountered while we were there: 1. Lopapeysa - these Icelandic woolen sweaters are itchy but will keep you super warm as the temperature drops and when the winds try to swallow you/ 2. Hvammstangi Cottages - this was such a cute cabin and one of our favorite accommodations. It’s a good resting point after Myvatn to break up the long drive to the Fjords/ 3. Geitafell - It took a lot of faith searching for this restaurant, dressed in a castle. Driving on gravel, along the coast, for over 30 minutes as a storm was about to hit made it quite the trek, but it was definitely worth it and the food (vegetable soup and skyr) did not disappoint/ 4. Puffins at the Latrabarg Cliffs - this is THE place for for sightseeing puffins/ 5. Garðar at Patreksfjörður - an old steel shipwreck in Iceland6. Icelandic Horses/  7. Iceland Churches - white churches with red roofs are peppered everywhere on the island/ 8. Heydalur Guesthouse - this is where we stayed in the Westfjords, and at the time I wasn't a major fan, but it was really such a unique experience. The restaurant was excellent and I'll never forget what it was like to travel there/ 9. Arctic Fox - definitely one of our highlights from the trip/ 10. Hiking in the Westfjords - this is one of the most pleasant hikes I've done. If you're searching for adventure and solitude, you will enjoy exploring the pristine surroundings.


ION Luxury Adventure Hotel

by Nikki Desuasido


The ION Luxury Adventure Hotel is hands down, the coolest place you can stay in Iceland. We experienced all sorts of hotelsguesthousescottages, and the ION was by far our favorite. You get the best of both worlds: rugged scenery, a feeling of solitude, both without sacrificing the comfort and amenities a sophisticated hotel like this can offer. It's nestled in Thingvellir and is a good place to get revitalized if you’re coming from the Westfjords as we were. 

The ION is the perfect escape, with easy access to the plenty adventures of Iceland. While at the hotel, be sure to check out the restaurant Silfra, the award winning Northern Lights Bar, and the amazing Lava Spa and Pool, filled directly from the nearby hot springs. The ION oozes style and you don't have to take my word for it -- check the feature in Porter Magazine


Last day in Reykjavík

by Nikki Desuasido


Jacket: Aether, Jeans: J Brand, Boots: Steven by Steve Madden, Sunglasses: Ray Ban

After touring the entire island, we ended up in Reykjavík, the capital and largest city in Iceland. It was bittersweet making our way back to civilization because the peace and quiet had really grown on us. I've never felt so far removed and isolated; we encountered more sheep than people as we explored the uninhabited spaces, took serene hikes, and experienced a certain type of silence you can only find in the Westfjords.

On the way, I had romanticized about how amazing Reykjavík would be. It was all I could think about every time I felt out of my element in the wilderness; and what was interesting was when we got to the city, I immediately missed the countryside. But I was definitely happy to have more options to eat, more reasons to dress up, and it was really nice to walk around such a quaint and charming area.

When we arrived, we walked around the colorful town and checked out the Hallgrímskirkja Church. We had lunch at the Laundromat Cafe,  took a helicopter tour, then had dinner at Grillmarkaðinn (The Grill Market). We stayed at the perfectly located CenterHotel Thingholt, next to the main shopping street, Laugavegur.  There were a ton of cafes, restaurants and shops. I really wish I could tell you how crazy the nightlife is in Reykjavík but the truth is, we were too exhausted to make it out. We were told the parties don't start till midnight and we didn't want to miss our early call time for the Blue Lagoon the next morning! I had been daydreaming about that on my Pinterest for months so we called it a night, but it was a full day well spent.


Glacier Landing

by Nikki Desuasido


The Essential Iceland helicopter tour was the perfect way to spend the last day of our trip. At that point, we had been traveling for 9 days, driving around the Ring Road, so it was refreshing to experience the views from up top. Seeing the island over the course of an extensive road trip was so much fun, with the best guide ever (Alex)! But there are places a helicopter can reach that a car cannot...

We retraced our steps, flying over Thingvellir (and our hotel Ion Luxury Adventure), the geothermal power plants, both Gulfoss and Háifoss waterfalls, StrokkurGeysirMt. Hekla, and a breathtaking view of the rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar. This quick overview of the Golden Circle was an overwhelming conclusion to our week exploring the epic Icelandic landscape. My top highlight from the journey was our stop after Thórsmörk Valley and Eyjafjallajökull glacier where we landed for a picnic lunch by Gígjökull. It was one of the the most extraordinary meals I've had and can taste the Skyr just thinking about it.

Photos by Alex Cornell