Brimming with Nordic charm, breath-taking views, Reykjavik is dotted with boutiques, charming cafés and colourful two-tone houses.
This tiny little island had it all, read about our story in Reykjavik…
In all my years of dreaming, I’ve never seen an environment as diverse as Iceland’s. It has everything to offer; the beautiful, the sparse, it’s welcoming, tame and wild. It’s hard to comprehend all of this on one tiny island.
Flying into Iceland was an experience within itself, the landscape looked like we had arrived on another planet. Landing in Keflavik we followed the rest of the passengers onto our Flybus transfer, then sat back and took in the moss covered, lava field journey, on the 45 minute trip into Reykjavik.
We arrived at our accommodation which was located a 10 minute walk from Laugavegur.
Foss Hotel Reykjavik
After a long days travelling night had fallen on Reykjavik, we decided to check out the hotels bar as trip advisor recommendations highly suggested we checked it out. We were not disappointed, The Beer Garden or Bjórgarðurinn, featuring a serious amount(25) of craft beers, as well as a handsome selection of bottled pale ales, porters, ciders, lagers, stouts, dunkels, witbear, sours, and wild beers – truly something for everyone. Bjórgarðurinn emphasises a hands-on approach from the staff, with the idea being that you volunteer the types of beers you like and they offer suggestions based on your preference.
After sampling a number of the beers we decided to stroll into downtown Reykjavik. We soon got our bearings and ended up at the remarkable Hallgrímskirkja, its perfect symmetrical concrete architecture stood proud in the night sky.
After a further wander round we walked around Reykjavik harbour discovering the Harpa concert hall. What a treat this was, the building was a giant outdoor work of art, featuring a glass facade which created an incredible play of light, capturing sunlight and the Northern Lights. We followed the Atlantic waterfront and stumbled upon one of Iceland’s most well-known statues, the Sun Voyager. This massive steel structure resembles a Viking ship but is actually a dream boat and ode to the sun. The backdrop of Mount Esja makes this a romantic place to stop and gaze at the night sky.
We were soon back at our hotel, exhausted, bathed and ready to crash out. Our first day in this magical place was over.
Bright and early our alarms rang out, we jumped straight up excited for what the day held.
We headed to Reykjavik Roasters Cafe which was recommended to me before I went, this traditional quaint coffee shop was the perfect place to plan our day ahead. This was our first full day what better thing to do than be proper tourists for the day. The all day Golden Circle tour. We rushed back to our hotel and jumped on the intimate minibus that would take us around the wonders of Iceland.
We spent 6 hours exploring some of the most visited, and beautiful attractions in Iceland:
Faxi waterfall – Surrounded by amazing lava formations this was our first taste of an Icelandic waterfall.
Geysir – A geothermal area where the Strokkur geyser shoots a column of water up to 30 metres (98 ft.) into the air every 4-8 minutes in a thrilling display of nature’s forces. Truly breathtaking (and interesting to see how accurately you can time a picture!)
Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall – An unreal sight, I could hardly believe my eyes. Created by the river Hvítá, which tumbles and plunges into a crevice some 32 m (105 ft.) deep.
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park – This is where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year. This is home to Iceland‘s largest natural lake and there’s a beautiful waterfall nearby as well, in fact Öxarárfoss and Thingvellir have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
During our Golden Circle tour our tour guide also took us to a small unique farm where we had homemade ice cream while looking at the cows that made it!
Once back at the hotel we quickly washed, changed and were soon on the search for somewhere to eat! We found a very traditional restaurant, the menu was full of typical Icelandic cuisine (Luckily no fermented shark). I had the chance to try the sumptuous Minke Whale (See below) – melt in the mouth.
While walking back to our hotel we stumbled upon a bar called “Lebowski” which was packed with travellers from across the world. Kitted out in an old school bowling alley, this was the ideal place to try out some cocktails! A few drinks later, we made our way back to the hotel, exhausted from a jam packed but truly memorable day.
Day three. The last full day, we woke up still excited for what the day was to bring but with a slight sadness that we were to travel home the following morning. After we had enjoyed our hotel breakfast one last time we headed straight out to Laugevegur for some serious souvenir shopping. We explored all the interesting boutiques that Iceland has to offer, as well as all the souvenir shops that you know sell the same things in each shop but you have to go and look anyway.
We took a quick break to explore the Hallgrímskirkja, taking the lift up 70 meters to the viewing point boasted incredible panoramic views over Iceland – A must if you are nearby. The concrete columns on either side of the tower represent the volcanic basalt. While out front, gazing proudly into the distance is a statue of the Viking Leifur Eiríksson, the first European to discover America.
Everyone had been raving about the hotdogs in Iceland, so from the moment we got there we had been desperate to try one. Icelandic hotdog for lunch was a must and boy, it was worth the wait. The tiny hotdog shop that wasn’t much bigger than the inside of a Ford KA was filled with the smell of melt in the mouth hotdogs, as well as a bunch of overly enthusiastic Americans that were ecstatic that Leo had finally won his Oscar.
After we had shopped and dropped we headed back to our hotel to prepare ourselves for a relaxing afternoon in the Blue Lagoon. The journey was long, it was hot, we were hungry, but most of all we were eager to get to the lagoon. As we headed closer, the breathtakingly blue, steamy water was running alongside the road in small streams. It was almost as if the lagoon was teasing us for what was to come. We arrived. We quickly headed in and luckily didn’t have to queue as we had pre booked our visit. We grabbed our towels, found the locker rooms and stripped off, ready to freeze our toes off on the way in. the blue lagoon was like nothing I have ever experienced. It was so freezing cold outside it was hard to imagine ever being warm again. Stepping into the water was like stepping into heaven after feeling like your toes were going to fall off. We had a little swim around, explored the surroundings. Then we headed to the lagoon bar to grab our drinks – a beer for me and a smoothie for the lady.
After a few hours spent at the spa it was time to head back to our hotel for dinner and to prepare to fly home early. With relaxed minds and shrivelled fingers, we headed back for more hotdogs in our hotel bar.
Home time. Not much of a day spent on this wonderful island as we were packed and out the door by 5am.
Before we knew it, we were on our plane back to Gatwick. Iceland was one of those moments that will stay with me forever.