If you have been following along on my Facebook or Twitter pages, then you probably know that I’m heading to Iceland in just a few weeks at the end of September. When I booked this trip nearly 8 months ago, it seemed so far away and I honestly wasn’t even entirely sure that the trip would actually happen. The plane tickets via WOW air were on sale for just $99 per way and I couldn’t resist the great deal. I hoped that everything would work out of course, but I didn’t know anything about how accessible Iceland would be. Are there accessible tours? Taxis? Is the Blue Lagoon accessible? Are there roll-in showers in the hotels? All of these were questions that I had immediately after booking the flights. I quickly began frantically researching (gotta love Google!) and after months upon months of planning, I’ve came up with the following itinerary:
My mom, stepsister and I will be leaving out of Atlanta and we’ll fly up to Boston. We have a four hour layover in Boston because it usually takes a bit more time for me to get off the plane and for the airline personnel to bring my wheelchair up to me. If you’ll have a layover on a trip and you’re in a wheelchair, definitely try to make it at least a few hours long. By the time you use the restroom and everything else that flying with a wheelchair entails, it really won’t seem that long I promise. After our layover in Boston, we’ll be boarding a WOW air flight straight to Reykjavik. It’s only a six hour flight from Boston, so not too bad. It’ll be a thousand times better than my fifteen hour flight to Sydney, Australia last year! Haha!
We’ll arrive at Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik at about 4:00 AM and I’ve booked a fully accessible taxi to take us to our hotel. Booking airport transportation in advance is extremely important as a wheelchair user because many cities do not have accessible taxis readily available at the airport. Better safe than sorry…
Hreyfill Taxi Company will take us to our first hotel, the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel! This hotel is the only hotel that is actually at the world famous Blue Lagoon. Rooms here aren’t incredibly cheap (about 270 euros per night for a double room), but the hotel does have roll-in showers and is accessible. Staying at this hotel also means that you’ll automatically have tickets to the Blue Lagoon, plus the convenience of being near the Lagoon is worth the extra cost in my opinion. On this day, we’ll probably relax and try to recover from jet lag. A swim in the Blue Lagoon will be in order as well.
This day is entirely devoted to the amazing Blue Lagoon. Swimming here has been on my bucket list as long as I can remember and I couldn’t be more excited! We’ll start the day out by going to the Blue Lagoon Spa. I’ll be getting the Men’s Facial Boost, which includes a head, neck and shoulder massage. It’s okay to be pampered every now and then, right? 😉
After drifting into a state of pure relaxation, I will further drift by enjoying swimming in the Blue Lagoon some more. The Lagoon actually has several accessible features, including an access lift to get into the water and an accessible roll-in shower with a shower chair (it’s required to shower before getting in the water). I’ll have a post up after the trip about all of the accessibility at the Blue Lagoon. I’m hoping that it will really be as great as I’ve heard.
This day will be pretty epic! Iceland Unlimited will be picking us up at our hotel early this morning and taking us on a full day accessible tour of the Golden Circle. This is another big bucket list item for me!
We will visit sites along this famous Icelandic route such as Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the Iceland Unlimited website, “The natural beauty and history of the park make it a must see highlight of Iceland. Here you can see how the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are diverging, as well as the location of the first democratic parliament in the world. The paths in Þingvellir are covered in dense gravel and most of the places are accessible by wheelchair”. Sounds amazing, right? Well, that’s not the only place we’ll visit on this tour! We will also see the Geyser geothermal fields and Gullfoss.
After all of this adventure, we’ll check into our second hotel for the trip, the Kvosin Downtown Hotel. This hotel is located in a brilliant location in downtown Reykjavik. There are 24 rooms/apartments in the hotel and we have the accessible room, which has a roll-in shower. Unwinding in these awesome accommodations will be a great ending to a fun day.
The day will start with breakfast at Bergsson Mathús. Breakfast here is provided complimentary to all guests of Kvosin Downtown Hotel and the food includes homemade muesli in yogurt and homemade sourdough bread. Yum!
A few hours later, we’ll head over to the Old Harbour for a whale watching tour with Elding. Once again, this is a big bucket list item for me! It seems like this whole trip is full of bucket list items… because it is! 🙂 Hopefully we’ll spot some minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises. Other species such as humpback whales, killer whales/orcas and even fin whales have been spotted on tours as well.
On this day, we’ll be exploring downtown Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland and the world’s northernmost capital, with our Reykjavik City Cards. The City Card gives free access to many museums and the city buses. From what I’ve read, buses have a kneeling function that allows wheelchair users to board. It also provides discounts to a LOT of other attractions and tours. Maybe we’ll visit the National Museum of Iceland, the Reykjavik Zoo, or the Maritime Museum.
For dinner, we’ll be dining at one of the most highly ranked restaurants in the city – Resto! Resto is owned and operated by Chef Johann Helgi Johannsson and his wife Ragnheidur Helen Edvardsdottir. They serve classic Icelandic dishes with a delicious twist, including fish soup, salmon, and much more. I’m extremely excited to try out their specialties!
More of Reykjavik’s attractions are on the itinerary for today, thanks to the City Pass! I’m not entirely sure what all we’ll do, but the Icelandic Phallological Museum (an entire museum devoted to penises from over 200 different species) or a guided tour of Harpa (basically Iceland’s version of the Sydney Opera House) are possibilities.
We also could take a ferry to Videy Island for a few hours. This island is located near Reykjavik, but is a popular getaway for Icelanders. There are various attractions here, including the Imagine Peace Tower, which was envisioned and built by Yoko Ono.
This will be a sad day as we depart Iceland and head back to the USA. We will have a full night layover in Boston and will be staying at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport Hotel, which looks extremely nice, but I’ll still be sad to see that this adventure is finally over. But really, it won’t be completely over because I’ll get to relive everything while I write and publish posts all about my experiences in Iceland right here on Curb Free with Cory Lee. I’m looking forward to bringing you guys tons of new content!
P.S: In addition to everything listed above in the itinerary, we are also planning a Northern Lights hunt with Iceland Unlimited. Not exactly sure when this will happen though because it all depends on how the weather is. Please keep your fingers crossed for clear skies for us! 🙂
** Updated January 20th, 2016 – The trip to Iceland was unbelievably amazing. Here are some posts about my trip if you’d like to check them out:
A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
Hunting the Northern Lights in Iceland
On a Wheelchair Accessible Golden Circle Tour
6 Things That You MUST DO in Reykjavik, Iceland
Wheelchair Accessible Transportation in Reykjavik
This sounds absolutely fantastic Cory! So many bucket list items on one trip and accessibility sounds great to. Really looking forward to your posts, I’m guessing there will be plenty to write about and some pretty spectacular photos. Have a brilliant trip – Rob
Wow! Awesome trip! Looking forward to pictures and updates!
I’m in a chair and just got back from Iceland last night, 8/30/15. Please double check any company that tells you they have accessible accommodations or transportation. I had lots of issues at the airport and with transportation to Reykjavik.
Remember to layer up! It was in the low 40’s this weekend with lots of wind..
Have fun and let me know if you need any recommendations for Reykjavik.
Thanks Mike! Everything worked out great for the most part in Iceland. It was a bit chilly, but I really loved everything about Iceland. Accessibility was actually better than I expected also.
Thank you so much! I am trying to plan a quick spur of the moment getaway to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. This is a huge help in getting the basics of Iceland while on wheels all settled. Can’t wait to hear how it goes.
Oh awesome! I got to see the Northern Lights when I was there. It was breathtaking!! Hope you get to go soon! 🙂
Your trip sounds amazing Cory! You’re going to have the best time I’m sure of it. Can’t wait to read all about it and see your photos. I’m also looking to plan a trip to Iceland, so really looking forward to reading your experiences regarding accessibility etc. Have a great time!
I was wondering about your experience with Reykjavik restaurants? Were many accessible, and if so, please could you name a few that you found the best?
Hey Laura! Accessibility at restaurants really fluctuated. I’d say that about 50% were accessible. Some of my favorites were Islenski Barinn (call before you go and they’ll put the ramp out), Resto (there’s a bit of a step to get in, but the chef literally came out and lifted my very heavy powered wheelchair over it. So incredibly nice!!), American Bar (fully accessible with great burgers, fries and drinks) and Lava Restaurant (it’s actually at the Blue Lagoon, but is AMAZING).