When you are thinking of honeymooning on an island, you’re probably thinking tropical, right? A place with warm ocean breezes, exotic fruit cocktails with paper umbrellas, and white-sand beaches? Iceland is unlikely to be the first island on your list, but it is – perhaps surprisingly – an up-and-coming honeymoon destination that offers natural beauty (including volcanoes, glaciers, natural reserves, waterfalls, geothermal baths, and, of course, the Northern Lights), a sophisticated city center in the capital city of Reykjavik, and plenty of opportunities for activities such as horseback riding, hiking, golf, cycling, river rafting, climbing, caving, whale watching, fishing, and skiing.
Iceland Honeymoon: What you might not know!
In spite of what you think you may know about Iceland’s climate, because of warm Gulf Stream waters, the weather is fairly temperate throughout the year, with the coldest temperatures (mid-30s) occurring in January and the warmest (mid-50s) in July. While you are unlikely to be wearing your bikini (except in the thermal pools), you will be comfortable in most seasons with moderate clothing topped by a warm jacket.
Be aware that many places in Iceland are closed during the winter months, so you will definitely get the most out of your visit in the summertime. In summer, the light bathes Iceland both day and night, so you can also do some of your exploring (or even play golf) in the middle of the night if you’re so inclined. Fitness buffs should consider entering the Reykjavik Marathon, which happens in August and draws runners from around the world.
You will probably want to book accommodations in Reykjavik, as it’s a good base from which to start your explorations. See the Reykjavik Art Museum, including the Harbor House, which features temporary exhibits by Icelandic and international artists, as well as exhibitions from the collection of works by Erro, the Icelandic pop artist. Other notable places to view Icelandic art include the Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum and Kjarvalsstadir, which houses the works of landscape painter Johannes S. Kjarval and other 20th century artists.
Also in Reykjavik is the Arbaer Museum, an old farm that contains the some of the area’s oldest homes. Here, people dressed in Icelandic traditional attire focus on the culture of the country in days gone by. This is a good place to stop for a historical overview and to pick up some Icelandic sweets or souvenirs. Tour the National Museum of Iceland for a look into the country’s history from Viking times to the present, and don’t overlook the city’s architectural sites, among which is the beautiful Hallgrimskirkja Church.
Laugardalur Park has the largest geothermal outdoor pool in the country (imagine immersing yourself in the warm water as the snow falls around you) as well as a botanical garden and a zoo specializing in Icelandic animals. Also here is the country’s largest sports stadium.
About 30 miles from Reykjavik is the world-famous Blue Lagoon, a warm geothermal pool made up of two-thirds seawater and one-third fresh water. The Blue Lagoon attracts people from around the world who bathe in its 98-102 degree waters to simply relax or to partake of the medicinal properties of the water (which contains large amounts of silica, minerals, and algae). The Blue Lagoon spa offers massages (you can even book an in-water massage!), body treatments, Blue Lagoon skin care products and several dining options.
Be sure to spend some time on the country’s famous Iceland horses, a breed that was originally brought to the island by the Vikings hundreds of years ago. If you are experienced riders, book a multi-day tour into Iceland’s interior, and see the countryside in this unique way.
Consider signing up for a glacier picnic. A snowcat or snowmobile will take you to the top of a glacier, where an “ice picnic” of lobster, shrimp and other goodies will be spread on a table made of ice. You can also combine this tour with a boat tour of a glacial lagoon.
Take a ferry to the island of Vioey, located offshore from Reykjavik. Here, you can see historical sites that date back centuries, or you can horseback ride or hike. Beatles fans should stop at the Imagine Peace Tower, dedicated in 2007 to John Lennon by his wife, Yoko Ono.
Reykjavik also has a lively and plentiful nightlife. There are a number of hot restaurants in the city, including Orange, a futuristic eatery where the chefs experiment with liquid nitrogen, helium, and other elements in order to make dining “fun.”
While it’s true that you won’t find any warm, sandy beaches in Iceland, the country’s incredible natural beauty, unique sights, and recreational opportunities will more than make up for the lack of tropical seas. Enjoy!