An Adventure in Reykjavik.
Today’s travel blog is from Iceland, quite right as it feels like that here at the moment. A short break to this exciting destination, should go on your travel “to do” list.
How to get there and getting around
There are plenty of carriers from Gatwick, EasyJet of course, Iceland Air and WOW and it is only short 3 hour 30 minute flight to the super modern airport.
The Flybus from the airport drops its passengers off at some of the major hotels and guest-houses in Reykjavík with a last stop at Reykjavík bus station. Grayline seem to have coaches all over the island. At this time of year, some of the roads are closed and some only open to 4×4’s.
Plenty of hotels including the big chains are represented in the city, as well as smaller inviting B&B’s. Some are in the suburbs, but transport links make it easy to get into town.
Reykjavik has lots of character. There is a new concert hall that dominates the waterfront. Again it is easy to get around town on foot, or take the hop on hop off bus that starts from the concert hall and has 15 stops all around the city. There is a new cathedral, that was too stark for me, but the organ set up was stunning.
The Perlan (pearl) building has a dome roof and there is revolving restaurant that offers superb views.
The old fishing area has kept its old world charm. Window shopping is recommended, as prices are off the radar. The Red Cross shop has some delights with some locally made items and realistic prices.
What to do next
Then it’s time to arrange your trips to see the stunning landscapes. Traveling around in the snowy conditions is no problem for Icelandic drivers. There is thick ice on the roads. Looking out it feels like you are on a moon landscape with the volcanic rock peeking through the snow.
There are many national parks throughout the islands. We visited the Pingvellir. It is set in a valley where the tectonic plates are tearing the landscape apart. This is also the site of the first Viking Parliament.
The Geysir is worth the stop. Steamy shots fire into the air. Don’t get too close! For me the Gullfoss Waterfall was so stunning. Some of the fall was frozen, but plenty of water was rushing over the cliff and there are maintained pathways to make it easy to see and photograph from every angle.
The highlight for me was the Blue Lagoon. Swimming in 38 degrees of thermal waters with the snow coming down is such a different type of experience. It is worth the upgrade to get a dressing gown and drink laid on at the swim up pool bar. This is all very organised, with all the facilities you might need. Remember your waterproof bag for your phone so that you can take shots while in the water.
Finally the Northern Lights. On the Grayline tour to see this wonder of the world, if you don’t see them the first night they will take you back, and back ….. Alas, we didn’t see them on the organised tours. However we were very pleased to be sitting on the left side of the aircraft flying home when the Captain pointed out that this amazing site was exhibiting itself our side. They really are unbelievable.
So I would recommend a 3 or 4 night stay to cover all the sights, and not to clear out your wallet too much!
It must be a very different place in the Summer. One I think I may want to try……….