Travel & Culture

Iceland: A Wellness-Lover’s Travel Guide (+ 3 Essentials You Must Pack)

May 22, 2024

Fellow wanderers, if you’re a wellness and nature lover like myself then Iceland must be on your bucket list.

Renowned for its hot springs and beautiful landscapes, Iceland offers travellers a unique escape into nature. Whether you want to soak in the hot springs, swim in the ocean, go on a hike, or see famous landmarks, there’s a healing power to Iceland’s serene wonders.

I finally crossed Iceland off my travel list and here’s everything you need to know if you want to go as well. –Farah Khan

How To Get There

When it comes to travel, Play Airlines, a low-cost airline offers affordable flights directly from Hamilton to Iceland in just five and a half hours.

If you’re ready to splurge in Iceland, taking a low-cost no-frills airline like Play Airlines can help balance the cost. Currently, Play Airlines has deals from Hamilton to Reykjavik, for low as about $211 CAD one way. You pay for what you want; luggage, food, or extra services, but if you’re looking to check Iceland off your bucket list, an affordable flight across the Atlantic Ocean is totally worth it.

I would highly recommend it and would absolutely do it again. 

Where To Stay

Grandi by Center Hotels: Situated in Reykjavik’s creative quarter, Grandi by Center Hotels is the perfect mix of urban, classy, and calm luxury. From the moment you walk in, there is a warm and welcoming Icelandic atmosphere. You will find cozy, equipped rooms, a beautiful cafe and restaurant, and spa.

The hotel also offers free wifi and free breakfast, plus it’s minutes away from restaurants, bars, trendy boutiques, gift shops, and local museums. 

What To See and Do

Sky Lagoon:  Looking to experience Icelandic bathing culture with a modern twist? Sky Lagoon is a must-visit geothermal spa located right in Reykjavik’s city centre with beautiful views of the ocean. It offers a 7-Step Wellness Ritual that takes your bathing experience to the next level. The experience includes a heated infinity pool, cold plunge, sauna, cold mist, body scrub, and steam. Sky Lagoon is a luxurious sanctuary that blends nature with modern comforts. If you’re seeking relaxation, rejuvenation and tranquillity, trust me you will leave feeling refreshed. At the end of your experience, you can enjoy a bite at Smakk Bar. 

Hvammsvik Hot Springs:  Nestled 45 mins away from Reykjavik and away from crowds, Hvammsvik Hot Springs are situated right on the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by the Old Hot Spring, the hot springs offer a true authentic Icelandic bathing experience surrounded by the beach and mountains. You can soak in any of the 8 natural hot springs, take a paddle board for a ride, or swim in the ocean—experience the stunning nature and pure bliss. After a soak, grab a bite at the Stormur Bistro & Bar and try their famous seafood soup. 

Reykjavik Excursions: If you want to see famous Icelandic landmarks, embark on a captivating journey with Reykjavik Excursions. They offer tons of different tours in Iceland. I went on the Golden Circle & Fridheimar Greenhouse tour which is an 8-hour tour and includes 4 famous sites—Fridheimar Greenhouse, Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Thingvellir National Park. With knowledgeable and friendly guides, you get to not only learn about the places, you will get a chance to spend time up and close at every location. 

Where To Dine

Kol: Indulge your taste buds in dishes inspired by Icelandic and international fusion cuisine at Kol. From the moment you step in, there is a stylish, warm and contemporary ambiance. The restaurant offers a range of dishes whether you prefer vegan options, seafood, or are a meat lover, there is something to satisfy your palate along with unique mocktails and cocktails. 

Monkeys Food & Wine: If you’re a fan of Nikkei cuisine, Japanese and Peruvian fusion food, Monkeys Food & Wine is a spot you’re going to love. You are welcomed to a warm and colourful atmosphere, that offers a flavourful and classy dining experience. With tons of food options from tasting menus to sushi rolls, Monkeys Food & Wine is sure to delight your senses. They even have a chic train-cabin designed space called ‘The Champagne Train’ inside for drinks before heading off to your table.

Oto: The first Japanese and Italian fusion restaurant in Iceland, Oto is a culinary fusion like no other. There’s a modern and lively ambiance as you step in, along with flavourful and beautifully crafted dishes to choose from. From unique breads, mains, and desserts with nods to both cultures, it’s a must-try. While the combination may seem unconventional, Oto seamlessly pulls it off leaving you with a delicious and memorable dining experience. 

Essentials To Take

If you’re thinking about what to pack for your upcoming trip to Iceland, if there are any items you need to take with you are these three.

Rudsak Merina Xtralight Matte Down Jacket ($545): The weather in Iceland changes fast. A lightweight jacket that can still keep you warm is essential. My Rudak Merina Xtralight Matte Down Jacket was perfect and I would highly recommend it. Whether you’re exploring the city, going on a hike, or visiting a national park like I did, this lightweight and packable option was perfect and still provides warmth up to -5 degrees Celcius. 

Reebok Floatzig 1 Shoes ($185): Built with premium lightweight foam technology, the Rebook FloatZig 1 shoes offered me comfort and support throughout my trip. Even if you aren’t planning to run, having a versatile and lightweight pair of shoes for travel and sightseeing can make all the difference. While I did spend time relaxing in spas and hot springs, I also spent a good amount of time outdoors, walking and exploring sites, so I would highly recommend a good pair of running shoes like these.

Ultra Violette Extreme Hydrating Body + Hand SPF ($40): No matter where you travel, SPF is a must all-day, everyday. But, especially if you’re going to a place like Iceland where it can be chilly and spending time in hot springs and beaches, a water and sweat resistant hand and body SPF is crucial. I love the Ultra Violette Extreme Hydrating Body + Hand SPF because it is very hydrating and smooth on the skin, it blends easily, and gives you a beautiful glow. 


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