For an unforgettably wedding destination, we checked out the incredible landscape of Iceland for some nordic nuptials with a twist…
Love Our Wedding’s very own Andy Allen explored the breathtaking scenery of Iceland and reports back on what winter nordic nuptials would be like in this magical land…
Arriving in Iceland feels like the start of an adventure novel. As we touched down into Reykjavík airport, we were welcomed with -2C bitter winds. A snow blizzard had just begun. But we were prepared for this – after all, Iceland is a land of ice and snow, the midnight sun and hot springs. We hopped into a Superjeep to begin our journey to Hotel Rangá, situated an hour south of the airport.
A visit to Geysir
En route we stopped at the famous Geysir. This hot spring bursts into life every five minutes with a tremendous explosion of hot water and steam, which rises up to 30 metres. The anticipation was excellent: the water pool starts to churn and bubble, signalling an imminent eruption and a distinct smell of sulphur. We discovered almost instantly that Iceland has unique geography. It has both vast areas covered in glaciers and as well as many live volcanoes. This incredible juxtaposition of hot and cold make it like no other destination on the planet.
We hadn’t even reached the hotel yet and we were already very excited!
We also visited the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall, one of the most popular tourist destinations. There are many waterfalls spread around Iceland, each set in breathtaking settings. During the winter months the waters continue to flow, but they’re decorated with huge swathes of icicles and frosted rocks. This makes for a spectacular sight. (See more at gullfoss.is)
You gain a sense of luxury and tasteful design as soon as you arrive at Hotel Rangá, which goes to show why it’s a popular choice with celebrities, too. The rooms were beautifully furnished and just beyond our balcony we had a hot tub, heated thanks to the natural hot springs below. Sitting in a piping hot jacuzzi with a glass of bubbles while the outside temperature is well below freezing is something you have to experience. Just make sure your hair doesn’t get too frosty! The fine dining experience at the hotel was superb. A real taste of Iceland was on offer, with many seafood dishes as well the best meat, poultry and vegetarian options. Some of the more unusual dishes, such as smoked puffin, could also be sampled. Local beers and liquors like Brennivín (a type of schnapps) were available, too (See more at hotelranga.is)
Getting married in Iceland
There is a dedicated team on hand at Hotel Rangá that can answer all of your wedding questions. They can arrange everything from unique venues (beside one of the waterfalls, perhaps?) to the many quaint village churches like Oddi Church (left). There’s even a man-made cave carved by monks where you can get married! We recommend concluding the evening with a gourmet dinner at the hotel’s outstanding restaurant. (See more at hotelranga.is/weddings)
The Northern Lights
The aurora borealis is notorious for being hard to catch, because it can appear and disappear so quickly. Fortunately Hotel Rangá has its own observatory, with its two quality telescopes making it Iceland’s most advanced place to see the stars. We had a guide give us a tour of the night sky, which was fantastic – the skies were so clear due to very little light pollution on the island. The Northern Lights did not appear during our time at the observatory, but thankfully the hotel staff have a great solution to this – you can request that you receive a telephone call to your room should they appear. The concierge at reception check every ten minutes throughout the night, ensuring you don’t miss out. We received a late night call on our second night, and we were so glad we got to see them. The hotel supply snow suits at reception, so it’s a quick dash to get dressed, getting into a snow suit and heading out into the bracing night air. The bright green lights appeared and then vanished as they danced across the sky. This was a genuinely magical moment.
When in Iceland, something you must do is take a trip into the glaciers in a Superjeep. These expert-led group tours take you across the icy terrain, deep into the glaciers before parking up, where you can then have a gentle hike and explore. We found a gorgeous ice cave that had only just appeared. (See more at southadventure.is)
Alternatively, if you’re a bit of a thrill-seeking couple, then you should consider an All Terrain Vehicle (quad bike) trip across the snow and frozen lakes and through the icy streams. All clothing and safety equipment is supplied. Hold on tight!
More of a history buff and want to find out about the Vikings? At The Saga Centre you’ll find fascinating information and stories – as well as a fun dress-like-a-Viking area! We enjoyed a traditional Viking meal and even sampled the famous fermented shark delicacy – a chewy, white block of fat with an ‘interesting’ smell. (See more at njala.is/en)
You can’t go to Iceland and ignore the volcanoes. There is a superb new museum called The Lava Centre, which is an interactive experience that teaches you plenty of facts about the volcanic activity, earthquakes and how Iceland was created millions of years ago. There is fascinating footage from the 2010 volcanic explosion that caused travel chaos across the Atlantic. (See more at lavacentre.is)
You’ll have to be prepared to travel to see Iceland in all its glory, but a honeymoon or wedding in this wonderful country truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Iceland’s wondrous sights and the memories you’ll share here will take your breath away.