This week’s virtual travel journey takes us to Reykjavic, Iceland.
Reykjavik, on the coast of Iceland, is the country’s capital and largest city. It’s home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history. A capital city encircled by waterfalls, whales, and glaciers galore and for many Icelandic visitors it also serves as a gateway to wilderness adventures beyond. This city merits its own exploration. Reykjavik’s creative culture includes a hip and internationally recognised music scene, great food, and nightlife that doesn’t quit.
Iceland’s capital city is also a terrific base from which to experience some of the island’s breathtakingly beautiful natural wonders, such as the famous Blue Lagoon Geothermic Spa, the Northern Lights or the Golden Circle, where you’ll witness spouting geysers, waterfalls, rift valleys and more. Whatever way you choose to spend your time in Reykjavík, this is one city break that is truly unique.
It just so happens that the weather in Iceland is notoriously unpredictable. In summer there’s a fair chance of bright and sunny days, and temperatures can reach 17°C, but good weather in Iceland is often interspersed with wet and misty spells, when the temperature can plummet to a chilly 10°C. Winter weather in Iceland is a frosty and dark affair, with temperatures fluctuating at 7–8°C. December to February sees Iceland at its iciest and its coldest. You’ll need a 4 wheel drive for many of the mountain roads, and you may find many of them closed during the iciest months. This is the prime time to visit Iceland so, unsurprisingly, it’s also the busiest time. You can make the most of the Midnight Sun, those long days when it never rarely gets dark, to see as much as you can of Iceland’s unique landscapes and enjoy activities in the great outdoors. The peak season for whale spotting is June to August, although one can go any time of year.
The Northern Lights season is from late August to mid-April. However, from late September to late March, it is dark after 6 pm, and one enjoys maximum chances. On a yearly basis, the Lights are at their peak in September and March. The reasons for this trend are due to the March and September Equinox.
The top 6 activities to do/see in Reykjavic:
Bathe in the Blue Lagoon
Iceland has known the world over for its famous geothermal heated pools, with the Blue Lagoon being one of it’s most pristine.
Head across to the Blue Lagoon (around 10 minutes drive from the airport) and spend a good few hours relaxing in these piping hot pools. The lagoon can get busy, so book your tickets in advance and make sure to visit at less busy times. Usually, first thing in the morning is a little quieter. Also, if you arrive in winter, you can actually head to the Blue Lagoon to watch the sunrise, a magical experience that is well worth seeing.
Go Whale Watching
There are an abundance of whales that call the shores of Iceland home. Head onto one of the whale watching tours that depart from Reykjavik, and try your luck at spotting some of these majestic mammals in the wild. Taking roughly 3-4 hours time, it’s the perfect way to see whales in their natural habitat.
Bake Hot Spring Rye Bread in the Earth
There are few places where the heat of geothermal activity can actually bake bread in the ground – Iceland is one of these places. Head over to the Fontana Hot Springs or even at some hotels and restaurants, where they will help you prep, make and (the best bit) eat the baked rye bread. Iceland is one of these places.
Watch The Sunset
One of the best places to watch the sunset is at Dyrhólaey. Head there to see the sun slowly descend over the horizon, all whilst standing on the iconic black beach that Iceland has become so famous for.
Drive The Golden Circle
One of the main routes visitors to Iceland take, is The Golden Circle, encompasses quite a few incredible sites you’ll not want to miss. Including the iconic Strokkur Geyser (that erupts every few minutes) and the waterfall Gullfoss, that looks stunning in both winter and summer. The Golden Circle can take about 4 – 5 hours to complete, but I’d always give a little extra time to relax and enjoy this stunning route. It really is one of the best things to do on a first trip to Iceland.
Eat Typical Icelandic cuisine
Traditional Icelandic Cuisine is little unknown outside of Iceland but that doesn’t mean it’s not yummy!
Head to one of the delicious restaurants in Reykjavik and try some local dishes like; Harðfiskur which consists of dried fish is a firm favourite!
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try Svið, a baked sheep’s head.
Like in most of Scandinavia, the cuisine is entirely inspired by the ingredients Icelanders have around them, from the free-roaming sheep to the cod, herring, and char that splash around the cold Arctic waters.
If you want to eat like a local, you need to eat Skyr, a thick and creamy dairy product that’s best described as a marriage between yogurt and cottage cheese. Made from pasteurized skimmed milk and a bacteria culture similar to yogurt, this thick and creamy delicacy is often served with a tart berry jam and tastes a like Greek yogurt and creme fraiche.
Icelandic Lamb is served a variety of ways all around Iceland, sometimes stewed with root vegetables or roasted with a spiced gravy. KOL, one of Reykjavik’s best restaurants, presents their roasted sirloin in new way, alongside blueberry polenta, pistachio crumble, and aged Tindur cheese.
Reykjavik’s Hot Dog
Reykjavik’s Hot Dog Stand has been in business for over 60 years, serving some of the best hot dogs — made from a blend of beef, lamb and pork. Order some with everything; which includes crunchy deep fried onions, raw onions, sweet brown mustard, and a creamy remoulade. Not just a place for tourists, locals frequent the stand just as much.
Look out for another exciting adventure next week,
P.s check out the latest news in Iceland where a volcano has erupted near Reykjavic: