Les Roches alumna Alexandra Jourdan-Astruc was a regular blogger for us during her time studying in Switzerland. Now graduated, we welcome her back to share her experiences of one of the world’s most engaging tourism destinations: Iceland.
Iceland has always been a dream destination for me. The country has been on my travel bucket list for a long time now; it was even planned to be our Postgraduate Diploma trip during my studies at Les Roches.
As it happened, we didn’t make it to Iceland at that time. But I still had one of the best years of my life in Switzerland.
Now graduated from Les Roches and forging a career in hospitality technology, I took my chance to live my Icelandic dream. It was a different kind of trip: no hotels, but sleeping in farms, spending the evenings with our hosts learning about the famous Icelandic horse, sharing our table with other guests for breakfast. This was something different from what we were used to in Europe, and we were glad.
‘Keep discovering with an open mind and open arms’, I have always been taught.
I have travelled a lot during my life. But I’ve never seen a country as amazing as this one. The best you can imagine will still not be as beautiful and diversified as what you will find in Iceland. We discovered volcanoes, mountains on the seas, seals, icebergs, black sand beaches, the most amazing skies and even the northern lights – all within a single week!
Here are some of my Icelandic tips and highlights:
Land in Reykjavik, rent a car and start driving
Carry on to the Golden Circle. It may be the most famous area of Iceland, but it was actually among the less breathtaking parts for us. If you want to do it, be sure to do it first (and start early in the morning, as it is the busiest part of Iceland we have seen… in March!).
Drive around Thingvellir national park, do not miss Gullfoss waterfall, wait a few minutes to see Strokkur geyser explode and finish the day at the Secret Lagoon Hot Spring in Fludir.
Tip – Enjoy a really nice tomato lunch at the Fridheimar greenhouse in Selfoss.
Follow Route 1 southwards and be ready to make stops all the way down. Plan a few days in the south of the island in order to see all of it: Gljúfrabúi and Skógafoss waterfalls, Mýrdalsjökull glacier, Sólheimasandur plane wreck beach, Reynisfjara black sand beach, Vik Church and overview, Skaftafell glacier, Jökulsárlón and its wonderful diamonds beach.
Don’t miss – Glacier climbing in Skaftafell
As you head east you’ll encounter Vatnajokull glacier and landscapes, Hofn town with its famous langoustine pizzas, and Vestrahorn mountains. Alone on the road, drive as far as you can along the coast, and stop every five minutes for contemplation.
Last but not least…
Make your way to Snæfellsnes peninsula for your last day. This is the “little Iceland”, featuring: Snæfellsjökull glacier, Arnarstapi et Gatklettur, Hellnar, Kirkjufell mountain, plus the very photogenic Black Church of Budir.
Don’t miss – Snowmobile in Langjökull and ice cave visit
So few words for such a beautiful trip… and this is why we took our Mavic Pro 2 drone with us:
Between land and sea, purple skies and rough seas, I hope you will find Iceland as fascinating as we did and fall in love with the country.
Although I studied Law in Paris, I dreamed of making an international career within the hospitality industry. Thus I chose Les Roches for a Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality Management.
Since achieving my Diploma, I have taken a role at the start-up business BnbLord, a tech-enabled property management service operating in France and Portugal. I’m Product Manager for our proprietary software, which we sell as b2c (business to customer), b2b (business to business) and SaaS (software as a service). As such, I’m working every day for – and with – our different users.
We have recently merged our product and teams with GuestReady, making us the European leader in Airbnb management services. This will be our new big challenge!
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