Happy New Year! I hope you had a great night and are excited for 2015. Who knows what it’ll bring but all we can do is make the most of it. I’ll be posting a bucket list next week of adventures and places I want to visit so keep an eye out for that. I spent the countdown in Fargo, ND with friends. I’ve never been up there before and blimey it was cold haha. There’ll maybe be a post on that trip but for now I need to get you all caught up with Christmas and Reykjavik!
Reykjavik is the most populous city in Iceland with around two thirds of the population living there. I’ve wanted to visit for a few years now as it seemed to be this up and coming city – which is definitely true. The whole vibe and atmosphere from just walking around is great. There’s this beautiful mix of modern and trendy amongst classic and more rural. It’s a small city and I’d recommend exploring as soon as you get there to truly get a feel. This post is going to be about places you can walk around and see in the city and then next week will be the outskirts.We decided to Airbnb it whilst there and ended up staying just down the road from one of the main icons/tourist spots – Hallgrimskirkja. It’s a church that sits at the top of a hill that overlooks a majority of the city. You can go up to the top and observe (unfortunately it was closed when we tried). If you use it as a landmark you can never really get lost in the city. Down the hill leads to a maze of little, cute streets with shops and cafes. They were all decorated for Christmas with lights and bells. I found out that they end up keeping their lights up until February/March as during the winter months they only receive a few hours of daylight (which was a weird thing to experience but you get used to it).
A quick must-do food spot is Bæjarins beztu. It’s a tiny, hotdog stand near the water and you have to go as it’s a) delicious and b) the local joint. They’re open until crazy hours in the morning and there’s constantly a stream of people there. The dogs are cheap and considered an ‘Icelandic National Food’.
From there we walked along the coast (I’m not sure if it’s the Norweigan Sea or North Atlantic Ocean). You get to pass Harpa Concert Hall which lights up at night, some beautiful mountain views and The Sun Voyager (a dreamboat sculpture).
Two more food places to check out are Icelandic Fish and Chips and The Laundromat Cafe. The first is just a usual fish and chips place but truly scrumptious. I went for the ling with rosemary potatoes yum yum yum. They’re also pretty famous because of their Skyronnaise dips (which are made with Skyr cheese/yogurt aka the best thing on the planet). In the picture below you can see basil and garlic, honey mustard and chilli with roasted pepper. The Laundromat is basically a trendy, hip spot for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner – whatever. It has maps on the walls and books on the shelves and even a downstairs kids play area with washing machines. I’d recommend you go for either dinner (as apparently the burgers are amazing) or for breakfast (as pictured below is the ‘dirty brunch’ and it’s incredible).
Lastly something to see/do within the city is the Northern Lights. I would 100% recommend booking a tour for the earliest day you can and then if they have to cancel you have the rest of your trip to hopefully see them. For us our tours kept getting cancelled so we couldn’t go on it but fortunately we managed to see them from our apartment one night. The photos really do it no justice (and honestly we didn’t really try to take good photos as we were too busy watching it). It’s a ridiculously, amazing experience and one you won’t and shouldn’t miss out on.
Sorry this was a little late but with the new year I’ve been busy with other things. Next week will be stuff to do outside of Reykjavik and tours!