In July, I had the fortune of traveling to Scotland for my job. It turned out that flights with a stopover in Iceland were much more reasonable, so I convinced two co-workers to go on a 24 hour adventure in Iceland en route to Scotland!
Here’s what we packed in during our short stay near Reykjavik:
WHERE TO STAY:
If you plan to visit Reykjavik, you can stay in the city itself, or if your trip is short like ours was, you could stay near the airport. The airport is about 45 minutes from the city.
We opted to stay in a hotel near the airport because of our early morning flight out. Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, but the manager offered us a basement area full of couches that was being remodeled into a movie theater. This was one of the weirder travel experiences I have had. However, after an overnight flight, you take what you can get.
WHAT TO DO:
After our movie theater nap, we hopped in a taxi to Reykjavik. To maximize our short trip, we booked a tour to see a small fishing village, the Krýsuvík geothermal area, and Kleifarvatn Lake. Along the way, we saw lava fields which truly made us feel like we were on Mars. What an interesting landscape!
The geothermal area was very smelly, but really cool to see up close. We decided to hoof it up the mountain to get a better view. Amazing!
For Game of Thrones fans, parts of the show are filmed near here. Up the road, we made a stop to the black sand beach of Kleifarvatn Lake.
The Blue Lagoon was on our must-do list, and I thought it was included on our tour. Guess not, oops! Luckily, we realized before we arrived in Iceland, and were able to book tickets last minute. Tickets do sell out, so book sooner than later for your preferred time. As luck would have it, the only time slots left were around 11pm…which was a stretch after doing an overnight flight and trekking around all day soaking in the sights. But, when in Rome, you do all the things! It actually turned out to be a great time to go. It wasn’t too crowded, and the sun had started to set, giving the lagoon a nice evening glow. Some reviews indicated the Blue Lagoon was a tourist trap, but I think it was well worth a visit. Ticket price includes a drink, along with face masks. Bonus: there’s a photographer that will email you photos for free! Pics or it didn’t happen. To note: the location is actually closer to the airport than the city. You could take a taxi or figure out the bus system to get there from Reykjavik.
If you’ve got more time, check out Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik.
WHERE TO EAT:
If you need a pick-me-up, stop in to Cafe Babalu and check out the Star Wars bathroom.
We went to Sjávargrillið for dinner. It was somewhat fancy pants, and everything was very good.
Iceland is not cheap. Budget accordingly!
Summer reaches 23 hours of sunlight. Wintertime is another story, however you’d have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights then. Brrrr.
Even in the summertime, it can get a bit chilly. Apparently the children of Iceland don’t care, because they were doing a giant slip ‘n slide through the city center while we were wearing winter coats.
Fun fact: Last names are created by using the dad’s first name and ‘son’ or ‘dóttir’, depending on if the person is male or female.
Iceland in a nutshell: geothermal springs, lakes, lava fields, lots of sunlight, and good food. 24 hours later, we hopped on a plane to start our Scotland adventure. I want to come back to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, glaciers, more of the countryside, and of course, visit our vodka distillery, Reyka!