Iceland. An incredible place and a beautiful country, the focal point of which is the bustling city of Reykjavik. During my stay in Iceland i spent 4 days in the dainty city and I’m going to share with you some of the things to soak up whilst you’re there.
Check Out The View From Hallgrimskirkja Church
Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the city, this impressive building is the ultimate definition of a landmark. Visible from pretty much anywhere and very useful when gathering your bearings on where you may be within Reykjavik.
Soak up some of the most incredible views of the city from the tower itself, a brief elevator ride grants you views of the multi coloured roofs of the city, seen far and wide in every direction. You really get a scale of Reykjavik from the summit of the tower. The building itself is an impressive feature, as is the huge organ that sits at the back of the church. Be sure to light one of the “make a wish” candles when inside.
Visit Grotta Lighthouse
This was a place I accidentally stumbled across while exploring, but one I was incredibly glad i did! A little way from the lights of the city this was the location I chose to try and see the, so far illusive in my life, aurora borealis. It's around a 40min walk from the city centre but a beautiful walk along the Icelandic coast, taking in the fresh sea air and rolling mountains as you go. If you’re in Iceland and hoping to see the lights, here is as good a place as any.
The lighthouse itself is only accessible at certain times, the rest of the time the sea tide cuts it off from the mainland. It's a great place to visit and if the northern lights are out, a breathtaking place to see them from I’m sure, away from the light pollution of the city. Unfortunately on this trip, the northern lights evaded me, even after cuddling up against the light house for 6hours in the night sky as the cold November air whipped and swirled round.
Enjoy A Hot Chocolate With The Locals
One thing Reykjavik has in plenty, is coffee houses. But unlike most cities where a Starbucks lines every street, here, the coffee houses are still independently run and each one holds a character of its own. These places are a welcome break from the chill and are a great place to catch up with locals and find out about the area.
I spent a good few hours in a fantastic cafe called Kaffibrennslan, drinking countless cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows. The cafe itself reminded me of an American cafe, full of life and lots of quirky things inside that gave it charm. A great place to watch the world go by. The city has an awful lot of character and is like nowhere I’ve experienced before, I'll certainly be back!
Experience Icelandic Brennivin
Coming to Iceland and not sampling “their drink” would be like going to Moscow and missing out on Vodka. This popular drink has to be sampled, and it’s often served alongside fermented shark. Yup, you read that correctly. The taste of the shark is actually much nicer than the drink.
It was actually my dive instructor that introduced me to this while in one of the local bars, Ölstofan. This bar has a great atmosphere and some real characters inside, as well as a huge selection of ales and spirits. Reminds me of a British bar a little. To keep costs down, stick to local drinks. Anything imported jumps dramatically in price. But when in Rome, do as the Romans do anyway right…
Pretty difficult to miss this place. Located on one of the main roads into Reykjavik and right on the coast itself, this huge angular building stands out against the traditional skyline of the city. It's an impressive building and is always a hive of activity, there's always something on inside, from shows to exhibitions. Check out the website for more information, click here.
During my stay, Reykjavik rapidly became one of my favourite cities, it seems to have a little bit of everything here, no matter what your tastes. But be mindful, summer sees a high temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius, so dress accordingly. November was pretty chilly!