Travels: The land of fire and ice

Iceland is a stunning island full of volcanoes, tectonic plates, polite people and Viking history. This is my photo blog and thoughts on a place I highly recommend visiting.

ReykjavikThings we didFoodAccommodationA short post by my wife

Reykjavik

The scenery and distant plumes of steam are the first things you notice en route to Reykjavik by plane. The black volcanic lava fields of the Keflavík area in the southern peninsula are very different and it’s almost like you landed on another planet.

The bus shuttle takes about 50 minutes from the airport to central Reykjavik, with correct ticket they will pick up and drop you off at your accommodation.

The city itself isn’t a large as I was expecting. You could walk the length of the city in about 20 – 30 minutes. The centre has a harbour, restaurants and bars, museums, shops and a beautiful church that you go up to take great pictures of the views. Another good view point in the city is the Perlan.

Some must visit places are the church, the Viking Settlement exhibition, Hljómskálagarður park, Perlan, sea front Harpa centre, Blue lagoon, and the Big Lebowski bar.

Reykjavik from the church tower

Reykjavik from the church tower

The Big Lebowski bar

The Big Lebowski bar

Things we did

On our 5 day trip we took in the sights of Reykjavik. We did our own “Golden Circle” tour by renting a car from the what’s on centre, more leisurely and cheaper than taking the tour, and visited the Blue Lagoon.

Unfortunately we didn’t see the Northern lights, so we’ll have to go back soon. Anyway I’ll let the picture paint the rest of the words on what we saw.

Stones piled up next to a lake, on the way to Þingvellir

Stones piled up next to a lake, on the way to Þingvellir

Pingvellir - The site of the first Icelandic parliament, formed by the Vikings and the oldest in Europe

Þingvellir – The site of the first Icelandic parliament, formed by the Vikings and the oldest in Europe

Þingvellir - Where the European and American tectonic plates meet

Þingvellir – Where the European and American tectonic plates meet

Þingvellir

Þingvellir

Geysir's volcanic pools

Geysir’s volcanic pools

Colours at the Geysir volcanic pools

Colours at the Geysir volcanic pools

The Geysir!

The Geysir!

Sploosh

A video posted by James Morris (@jimmymorrisuk) on

Huge waterfall at Gullfoss

Huge waterfall at Gullfoss

Gullfoss gorge

Gullfoss gorge

The blue lagoon pool,  where you can bathe in volcanic springs

The blue lagoon pool, where you can bathe in volcanic springs

Food

Hákarl, wind dried cod, rye bread and herring.

Hákarl, wind dried cod, rye bread and herring.

There is an international selection of restaurants, Asian, Italian, American, Indian, Nepalese and of course Icelandic. It’s expensive (£50 ave. for two people, without booze), prepare your wallet to stomach it.

The Icelandic food we tried was mostly traditional and consisted of Hákarl, a very smelly, rotten shark, with wind dried cod and pickled herring. Order with extreme caution. The Hákarl has to be served in a pot due to the smell of ammonia and the taste can only be described as acquired, acquired!

The Icelandic soups are really tasty. I also enjoyed Chicken estragon and a huge burger at 73. You must however, try the lamb as it’s very tasty and feeds on grass and herbs, that you can taste in the meat. I had top notch lamb at the Lava restaurant at the Blue lagoon. There are also lamb hot dogs, from a famous vendor on the seafront in Reykjavik, which are the best I’ve eaten.

Famous Icelandic lamb hot dog. A photo posted by Mariana Mota Morris (@marianamorris) on

Accommodation

We stayed about 10 minutes walk from the centre, which was a pleasant one, when the cold wind wasn’t blowing. Our accommodation was a studio apartment, that meant we had the flexibility of cooking for ourselves, although we dined out, it at least made breakfast lazier ;). It cost about £63 per night for a double room, so pretty affordable at that time of year.

It’s worth saying though because eating out is very expensive, when visiting Iceland again we’d eat in more. Iceland does operate a tax refund system for tourists if you want to fill out forms, app needed.

Check out my wife’s post on Iceland too for another view on Iceland!

On the last day we had snow

On the last day we had snow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *