Is Traveling to Europe Through Iceland Worth It?

picture of Northern Lights Iceland

Courtesy of flickr.com/claudiaregina_cc

Iceland has been on our bucket list for a while, and we hope to plan a group trip there to see the Northern Lights. Lately, we’ve seen lots of deals to Europe on budget airlines based in Iceland and the deals seem almost too good to be true. The only catch- you have to stop in Iceland. We asked one of the members of our Nomads4Life community to tell us about her experience traveling through Keflavik Airport and what she did (or wish she had done) during her layover.

By Melissa McCall

Melissa McCall

 

 

JFK to Heathrow for $341! Return. I rubbed my eyes twice and pinched myself. This had to be a mistake, a dream, it was all too good to be true. But it was real–with a unique caveat: I had to go through Iceland. Yes, Iceland. In November (there were other travel dates). But, for $341 (including 1 checked bag!), I did what any fearless travel junkie would do: immediately booked a flight!

I don’t know about you, but as a lover of all things travel, I try to stay on top of travel trends. Right now, in my opinion (and as of Thanksgiving break, my experience), there is no hotter travel trend than flying through Iceland on your way to London, Paris, Stockholm, Edinburgh or Berlin, to name a few popular cities. As an added bonus, some airlines, like Icelandair, offer a FREE Icelandic layover of up to 7 days in either direction. Yes, I said FREE. Seven extra days in the Land of Fire and Ice. Even the shadiest Game of Thrones character would go for this deal (Cersei)!Cersei from Game of Thrones

My trip to London through Iceland was near perfect. I received a bottle of Icelandic water as I boarded and I enjoyed my five-hour flight. My chips and hummus could’ve had a few more chips, but that’s just me. My outbound layover was brief and early (think 5AM). However, it was not too early for me to notice how utterly cold it was as I crossed the enclosed bridge to my connecting flight.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Blue Lagoon in Iceland

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my return, I had scheduled a longer layover. Of course, in August, when I was all excited about this great deal, all I could think of was the Blue Lagoon, the Hallgrimskirkja Church and, of course, the Icelandic Phallological Museum (yes, it’s what you are thinking) ). However, I did not anticipate how cold it would be (18 BELOW ZERO), so those plans evaporated….quickly.

That said, the Keflavik Airport is one of the most jumping airports I have ever been in.  Ever.  Joe and the Juice (coffee, tea, smoothies) is the perfect spot to grab a drink while enjoying a wonderful selection of old school Hip-Hop (Biggie Smalls), R & B (BlackStreet, Ginuwine, Destiny’s Child and vintage Mariah) and soul.  Yes, I drank my tea in Keflavik, listening to Marvin Gaye.  Don’t let the icicles fool you….Iceland has some soul.

sunrise at Iceland airport

Everything about this airport is modern, from their automated self-service baggage drop-off to the 100 charging USB charging stations throughout the airport to the convenience store in the arrivals hall (in case you need a six-pack of beer). They even have cute lounge chairs where you can watch the sunrise…..at 10:30AM.

The departure lounge was so lively in fact (thanks to Joe and the Juice) that I almost didn’t want to leave. Almost.

airport chairs in Iceland

Melissa’s lounge chairs made her feel like she was in the Caribbean

In closing, what I know for sure that is this was the first of many trips to and through Iceland. You can often find flights as low as $99 each way, on WOW Airlines (does not include luggage) to Reykjavik or other European cities and with the possibility of a layover (and dip in the Blue Lagoon), this is a fearless budget travelers dream choice.

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