“Greenland is full of ice, and Iceland is very nice.” This quote from one of my favorite childhood movies popped into my mind while driving through Reykjavic this past week. It’s true, I thought to myself – Iceland IS very nice, and no ice in sight! Granted, it was September, and Iceland is kind of a misnomer after all when you realize the true Iclandic spelling of their country is actually “Island.” Upon arriving in Reykjavic I was surprised at how non-North Pole the country felt. Here is Global Adventuress the…
Best of Iceland!
Colorful buildings, smiling people, beautiful golden-red-brown leaf-covered trees dotting the streets, and views of the deep blue Atlantic Ocean from almost every populated spot on the island. There is a strong sense of community in Iceland that visitors can quickly glean – the small population means that everyone knows everyone, or at least knows someone you know…. This sense of camaraderie means the people are happy, and happy locals means happy tourists! Plus, it’s only a 3 hour flight from the East Coast – the perfect weekend trip!
The city of Reykjavic in Iceland is clean, neat, tidy, and compact. It’s cold, yes, but still bright and cheerful in its own way. The downtown area only spans a few miles in its radius, so it’s the perfect town for walking and exploring in one day. Walking through town you might find yourself in one too many wool shops that make you feel like you really do need Nordic-patterned knitted wool sweaters, gloves, slippers, and vests regardless of the climate of your hometown.
Start at the main church (a striking classic yet contemporary Nordic design), then make your way down the hill and get lost on the cobblestone streets as you make your way down to the harbor. If it’s the weekend, be sure to stop by the Kolaportio flea market. A few great restaurants include: 3 Frakkar, Dill 5 Sturlugotu, and Segurmo at Boston all included in our Best of Iceland list!
Next up, the famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland. The journey from Reykjavic is a short and scenic 40 minute drive – a beautiful drive through endless moss-covered lava rock, when finally you catch your first glimpse of the bright sky blue waters you’re forced to do a double-take…the black lava rock against the blue-almost-white waters make for a stark and stunning contrast.
Upon entering, you pay an admission fee that grants you a locker and an all-day pass to the lagoon. The facilities are spic and span (no germs here!), and amenities include food, spa treatments, mineral products for sale, and meeting space should you choose to have your next corporate retreat here. If you have a limited amount of time, spend it basking in the soothingly warm lagoon (free silicone mud included!).
When finally getting out of the lagoon, I was surprised to feel that the outdoor air didn’t feel cold against my skin – I guess my body temperature really did increase!
For those of you staying longer than 24 hours in Iceland, there are countless worthwhile day trips one can take outside of Reykjavic, including excursions to see the Northern Lights, visits to volcanoes, gorgeous glacier sightings in the winter, rides on Icelandic long-haired ponies, and whale watching to name a few. Wherever you end up, expect to have a Viking good time!