Thanks to WOW Air’s cheap and easy flights direct from Dublin to Reykjavik, I’ve made it over not once but twice this year. Two very different trips. Read this if you’re interested in what Iceland is like in winter. That time I visited one of the most remote parts and was completely alone. This time I found out what summer in Iceland is all about. I headed over with a dream team for two photo shoots.
That’s Emily Quinn, the photographer and me trying to soak up the last of the sunshine. It was probably around 9 or 10pm. But once the sun sets, it still doesn’t get dark. For about an hour or so around 2/3am it’s a bit dusky, but never fully dark. So you find yourself eating dinner at nearly midnight and no matter how early you set the alarm in the morning, you’ll wake up to fully bright skies. It does take a bit of getting used to, but it means people are outdoors eating and drinking, shopping late, or even sightseeing ’til all hours if you fancy it. Pokémon Go was quite new while we were there, so that seemed to be the biggest late night activity in the centre of Reykjavik.
The temperature in summer in Iceland can average around 10-13 degrees celsius during the day, getting nippy at night. We stayed at the Loft hostel right on the Bankastraeti which runs through the city and is home to most of the main shops and bars including this roof top one. I’m sure you’ll have heard how expensive Iceland is, so there are definite perks to staying in a hostel. Especially when it has one of the best bars (with happy hour) and views in Reykjavik like the Loft Hostel which we found on hostelworld.com, free breakfast and yoga. Are dorm days are over though, so we went for a private en-suite and it was perfect for what we needed.
That’s stylist Corina above, during one of our Instagram scouting sessions. Travelling with a stylist and a photographer certainly has its advantages and fair play to them, they were v. patient with me! Both of our coats are from Penneys, aren’t they divine? There are lots more photos of summer in Iceland (as well as the winter ones) on my Instagram if you want to see more of what it’s really like.
So, anyway, that is what we were in Iceland for. One of the shoots featured exclusively Primark clothes and accessories. We travelled a couple of hours further south to Vik beach and worked our way back to Reykjavik, stopping along the way ticking off locations. Model, Sigrún, from Icelandic agency Eskimo was a trooper…that was one looong day!
Switching roles, Emily standing in for Sigrún with me behind the lens. And Skogafoss waterfall…
Of course a visit to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Book ahead and opt for one of the premium packages for included extras like drink and robe. Trust me, you’ll want it the second you’re out of the hot water and back into the chilly air! They’re currently undergoing a massive expansion, including a new hotel. It’s going to be pretty fab! If you’re stuck for time, visit just before leaving as it’s on the way back to the airport.
We hired a car and did some location scouting for our second shoot on one of our days off (we’re kind to ourselves like that). Reykjanes, the southern peninsula in the south west of the country is only about 45 minutes from the capital and throughs up hidden beauties like this around every bend in the road.
Out of nowhere you’ll see other-worldly turquoise lakes, red earth, bubbling hot springs and purple lupine fields (like lavender). The landscape is so diverse, it left me a little lost for words at times. Especially if you consider the last time I visited literally everything was covered in inches, if not feet, of bright white snow.
We also moved to Hlemmur Square, a hotel and hostel hybrid, another Hostel World offering and just down the end of the same road. The interiors are gorgeous, especially in the evening light and they’ve got a banging brekkie. Rooms are pricier here, but it’s pretty plush.
Where to eat:
- Laundromat Cafe (pictured below, get the salted cod)
- KEX (hipster hostel, try the burger)
- Pizza place with no name (ask a local to help you find it)
- Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand (translates into “the best hot dog in town”, order one “with everything”)
Where to drink:
- Loft Hostel rooftop bar (try a cherry tonic with your gin)
- KEX (again! They do reasonably priced prosecco)
- Loftid cocktail lounge (ask for something with citrus infused Mezcal)
- Lebowski Bar (a White Russian is their speciality, natch)
Grab some booze and snacks in the supermarket beside the baggage reclaim on your way in through Keflavík airport. And download the ‘Appy Hour’ app, for times of all the bars that do happy hour in Reykjavik. Both will save you a few pennies so you have more left to enjoy summer in Iceland!
What to pack for summer in Iceland:
- Sunglasses (it rarely gets dark remember)
- Layers, sunny days and activities can warm you up fast
- Hat and scarf, the temperature might not be low but the wind chill factor will get you
- Warm, comfortable shoes (snow boots not necessary unless required for a specific activity like glacier hiking)
- Jeans and more jeans, you’ll live in them day and night (casual stuff is fine for going out)
- Loads of money!
Where to stay:
- Budget option – Loft Hostel
- Splash the cash – Hlemmur Square
How to get there:
WOW air is the only airline to offer direct flights from Dublin to Reykjavik. Flights operate five times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Prices from €69.99 including taxes and charges.
For more information visit wowair.ie.
See my portfolio for the results of the stunning photoshoots, featured in Weekend and Life magazine.