Travel Guide: Reykjavik, Iceland – Where to visit on your trip

I’ve been wanting to visit Iceland for years.

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It’s a place in Europe that seems to have it all figured out: free healthcare, they love books and use 85% renewable energy. Oh, and it has some of the most GORGEOUS natural vistas in the world.

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Here’s my short guide to a weekend in Iceland.

STAY

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We decided to stay in the heart of Iceland, Reykjavik.

The streets are dotted with beautiful brightly coloured houses and you have the harbour, restaurants and bars all within walking distance.

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We stayed in an Air B’n’B on Njalsgata, it was perfectly Scandi! Reykjavik has lots of hotels too but, as we were on a budget and food was a big cost, an apartment meant we were able to cook some meals for ourselves.

EAT

That brings me to the food. Well, if you’re a fan of fish, you’ll love Iceland. They make the most of their surrounding Arctic waters, full of cod, haddock, herring, salmon… well, you get the idea.

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There are so many places to choose from in Reykjavik and, if you don’t like fish, they have Italian, Indian and Lebanese too.

Islenski Barinn

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Islenski Barinn is a cosy place off the main street in Reykjavik. It’s full of retro furniture, candles (so, sorry for the low light in the photos) and even board games to play, feeling like a proper Icelandic pub.

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The staff were friendly and extremely fluent in English and the menu was… interesting. The local delicacy in Iceland is fermented sharks head. Ew.

We decided to give it a miss but did try some puffin with blueberries (surprisingly yummy and not unlike steak) and the reindeer burger, served with camembert and cranberries – that was DELICIOUS.

The food was reasonable for Reykjavik – mains started at £13 and a pint of beer was around £10.

You can find out more on their website here.

73

73 is a upmarket family-owned restaurant, with slick sofas and antlers on the wall. Their menu consisted of fresh fish and burgers.

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We tried the arctic char (fish), salmon and their burgers. A word of warning, their TINY burger is a bit larger than a regular burger (thankfully, I didn’t order the next size up!).

We finished off with the traditional Icelandic pancakes, served with rhubarb jam and whipped cream.

Food was the standard price for Reykjavik – mains from £17 – and the meal was filling and delicious.

You can find out more on their website here.

Svarta Kaffid

Svarta Kaffid serves up lovely warming soup inside a bowl… of BREAD. Which, in a very cold country, is a godsend.

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They serve up two homemade soups each day, one meat and one veggie, both tasty and warming.

It was around £30 for two. Which is cheap, for Iceland.

You can find out more on their website here.

VISIT

The Blue Lagoon

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An absolute must. The Blue Lagoon is a spa that sits in the middle of a volcanic landscape. It’s near the airport so best if you visit after you land, or before you leave.

The water is heated by a nearby geothermal station which harnesses Iceland’s natural powers to provide heat and light for Reykjavik. It is super warm and the water turned blue by the natural minerals it contains, is meant to be healing for the skin.

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We went in the morning and you genuinely couldn’t see for all the steam but, it made all the surrounding landscapes look so mystical.

Prices start at £45 and you can find out more on their website here.

Geysir Hot Springs

If you want to get out of Reykjavik, a trip out to the Geysir Hot Springs lets you take in the local landscape – vast stretches of rocky ground and trees (and some famous Icelandic horses).

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There are Geysirs all differing in sizes and levels of activity, including the lively Strokkur which spouts a tall gush of water every few minutes. They were so impressive, surrounded by gushing water and gorgeous countryside.

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Hallgrimskirkja

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This is the local church in Reykjavik. Inside, it’s a simple place with a giant organ but the design outside is striking.

For around £7 you can also travel up to the top of the bell tower and see across the whole of the city, great views.

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Solfar

On Reykjavik’s waterfront, there’s a beautiful sculpture of a ship called the Solfar (translated as ‘Sun Voyager’).

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Most people (myself included) mistake this for a Viking long-boat but the sculptor originally meant it to be a dreamboat and an ode to the sun, symbolising freedom and progress.

Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall

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Just across the bay, the Harpa concert hall is made of panels of different coloured glass. The building alone is a sight to see, but they also have art exhibitions and concerts there.

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You can find out more on their website here.

The Northern Lights

It just wouldn’t be a trip to Iceland, if you didn’t try to see the Northern Lights. It is one of the best places to see the natural phenomenon.

We booked with Special Tours Iceland who let you have a second tour if you’re unable to see the Lights on your first time. For us, we couldn’t sail the first night because of adverse weather conditions but went out on the second.

Unfortunately, although it was a clear night, there wasn’t too much activity. We saw a dim pulsating light in the sky, but sadly no bright colours. Still, worth a shot.

Whale Watching

Iceland is also one of the best places to go whale watching. You can often see Humpbacks, minke whales, as well as dolphins and harbour porpoises.

Sadly, the sea conditions weren’t good enough for us to go on our trip but I’d love to go back and see try again.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this post, let me know if it comes in handy or if you have any suggestions for next time! Cristina x

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We were guests at some of the places featured for the purposes of this review but all opinions are my own.

8 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Reykjavik, Iceland – Where to visit on your trip

  1. Aaah I couldn’t have read this post at a better time! (though I feel really bad about only now returning a comment!). I’ve been wanting to go to Iceland for a while now as a friend of mine is currently studying there, but had no idea what to do there except visit here. Your post is honestly the most useful post I could’ve wished for and the pictures look amazing! I can’t wait to go to Iceland now, even though I’ll have to save up a bit longer if one beer already costs ten pounds!

    x Envy

    Like

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