Summary of article:

– Details of trip
– Good and Bad
– Things to do in Reykjavik, Iceland
– Tour group
– Self-drive tour
– Restaurant recommendations
– Highlight of my Reykjavik, Iceland – FUN STORY!

So, let’s start with a fun video. Us, obviously jubilant after hiking the ice glaciers!

I visited Reykjavik, Iceland late September 2016. I was stressed out and needed a break. I was juggling my business, raising funds, MIT Fintech coursework among others. I wanted to avoid a shopping trip, crowded cities and craved for solitude and Nature.

My visit to Reykjavik, Iceland revitalised me. The landscape, Nature and cool things I get to do helped me to get back into the swing of things.

If you are visiting Reykjavik, Iceland, I have tried to share more about my trip, the good and bad and outline some ideas on what you should do while you are there.

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland
Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon

Quick details about my girlie Reykjavik, Iceland trip:

Who

3 Asian females, early 30s

Duration

7 days:
Day 1: Chill & get over jetlag
Day 2-4: 1-day tour, two days one-night tour
Day 5-7: 3 days self-drive tourMost people tend to spend 1.5-2 weeks touring Iceland. We rushed as we were all coming from different countries and went to Copenhagen after.

Accommodation

Mostly Airbnb

Clothing

3 layers: Heat tech/ thermal, sweater and coat
*Bring a raincoat!

Footwear

Sports shoes are fine. I wore comfortable walking boots.
Rent hiking boots if you are planning to hike. If you are glacier hiking, rent the boots.

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland

Good and bad of  Reykjavik, Iceland

GOOD

BAD

– Reykjavik, Iceland is safe and very clean– Strong wind. It was so strong that we couldn’t walk straight.
– The people are polite, friendly and welcoming. They speak very good English.– Non-stop rain. I have waist-length hair…. there is never a single day where my hair was completely dry.
– Easy to drive, despite it being a left-hand drive (Singapore is right-hand drive). Road was empty and fairly easy to navigate. (See opposite for bad)– GPS can be unreliable. We use both Garmin and Google Maps. Google Maps is more trustworthy, BUT some places are hard to find.
– On the topic of the Icelandic people, there is a great story that I will like to share. Please see the bottom of this article.– Iceland is EXPENSIVE. It was expensive beyond my imagination. But we were tired, cold, wet and … I just couldn’t think of how much money we are spending. A typical restaurant meal will set you back about US$50 at least.

Top Things To Do in Reykjavik, Iceland

Let’s get it out of the way – when you are in Reykjavik, Iceland, you must and you will watch the Northern Lights. It’s the ONE thing that you must do. That, and the Golden Circle tour. So, let’s skip those. There are many websites dedicated to these tours.

I divided the things to do into 2 categories: Tour groups and Self-drive tour.

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland

1) Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and black sand beaches

A magnificent sky-blue, white and grey titanic icebergs that float majestically. The glacier lagoon is surrounded by black sand beach. It’s unlike anything that I have seen before – part candy floss colours, part regal but entirely breathtaking.

You wouldn’t be able to stop staring in silence. If you are lucky, you might get to sight a few seals jumping around playfully. You can take a boat ride around and watch the icebergs up close.

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland2) Glacier Hiking

Get up and close with the glaciers. They are made of compressed fallen snow, not frozen water, hence the captivating crystal blue colour. Watch for the giant cracks and understand how these are formed.

Fun fact: James Bond’s “Die Another Day” and Batman Begins were filmed here!

3) Chasing Waterfalls

Iceland is home to many breathtaking waterfalls. It reminds me of all the Geography lessons about waterfalls, rapids and… formation of landscapes. To witness it live in front of my own eyes was incredible and a total #throwback.

Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall) is an iconic waterfall of Iceland that rivals Niagara Falls. It is part of the Golden Circle tour. There is also a myth about a young couple who jumped down for their love. After all, what is a work of nature without some folklore?
The other two waterfalls I will suggest are Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and Skogafoss Waterfall.

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland
Gullfoss Waterfall

4) Games of Thrones location sites

For all you fans out there!  The GoT tour includes a visit to the Night’s Watchmen, including Samwell Tarly and Lord Commander Mormont, are attacked by the White Walkers.

Remember when Jon Snow met the love of his life, Ygritte? Walk the same route that the two of them and the Free Folk cross to reach the Wall. Visit the cave where Jon Snow and Ygritte first consummate their relationship.

5) Hot Springs

You can’t visit Iceland without visiting the geothermal hot spring. They have the perfect temperature to bathe and soak in. What’s the best way to relax, after bracing the cold, wind and rain, that to enjoy a dip in minerals?

Tip: You can have a glass of wine or Viking beer in the hot spring. WIN!

6) Iceland Moss
Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland
Waves and waves of Icelandic moss that never ends. It’s different from what you have ever seen. While it’s lichen, it has medicinal properties. It was used to make bread too.
It’s a rare sight anywhere in the world to see fields of neverending moss. It is also very #InstagramWorthy !

Self- Drive Tours:

Day 1:

1.1 Gerduberg Basalt Cliffs (Gerðuberg)
1.2 Quaint old fishing towns: Arnastapi and Hellnar
1.3Vatnshellir lava cave
1.4 Djúpalónssandur beach

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland

Accommodation: Hálsaból Sumarhús
Snæfellsnesvegur, Háls, 350 Grundarfjörður

Day 2:

2.1 Mt. Kirkjufell

2.2 Pretty town: Stykkishólmur
*Tip: Eat at Fjöruhúsið in Hellnar – excellent fish soup by an old couple. Have the cakes!

2.3 Sólhestar Horse Riding Tour Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland
I had always loved horse riding since I used to do it when I was young. We were in for a treat; this combines horse riding and sightseeing into one. The Icelandic horses were huge, magnificent and friendly.  They were easy to manoeuvre, even for beginners.

We were treated to spectacular scenery and the surrounding mountains.

2.4 Hiking at Reykjadalur hot springs

I enjoy exercising but never thought that I will hike 3km (one-way) during my holiday. Usually, I like to laze around but hiking at the Thingvellir National Park blew my mind away. The views that you are treated are breathtaking. You will marvel at the gorgeous scenery and landscape that Nature creates.  The whole hike is filled with steam floating in the air everywhere!

The reward for your hard work? At the end of the 3km trail, there is a natural, geothermal hot spring that you can enjoy.

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland

Accommodation: Mýri Guesthouse
Ásamýri 2, 801 Selfoss, Iceland

Day 3:

3.1 Dog Sledding

If you are a dog lover, you must try dog sledding in Iceland. You will interact and play with the amazing Greenland Huskies leading the pack. The dog sledding place we went to had 60 over dogs.

Note: Dog sledding is neither cruel or torturous for the dogs. It doesn’t create any air or noise pollution too.

3.2 Friðheimar Greenhouse: Tomato Farm

3.3 Hot Spring Spa: Laugarvatn Fontana
This was our third hot spring. You can honestly skip this.

Where to Eat in Reykjavik, Iceland

Cafes and Food

Food matters a lot to me – it makes or breaks a trip. Before I came, a lot of people warned me that the food in Iceland sucks. Yes, things in Iceland are expensive so be prepared to pay.
But here’s a few things you have to try!

Pastries:

Brauð & Co: Best bread in Reykjavik! We went there every morning to get our breakfast.
Sandholt: Love the chocolates

Coffee:

Reykjavík Roasters
Mokka

Both are equally satisfying.

Dinner:

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland
Snaps Bistro

1) Snaps Bistro 
Voted Best Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland for many years running. A charming Parisian-inspired bistro with hearty food that all of us enjoy. Oh, the servers were good looking too.

2) Dill Bistro
Fine dining. Some hits and some misses. It was okay but I’ve had better. The bread and butter was delicious!

3) Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur Hot Dog Stand
If it’s good enough for Bill Clinton, it’s good enough for you.

 

4) The Fish Market
High-quality seafood but not cheap.

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland

The highlight of my trip – FUN STORY! : )

Car stuck backward in a deep pit. 2.5 hours freezing and drenched in the heavy rain, hail, strong wind and cold. 6 selfless strangers. ♥️??

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland

I don’t know how to articulate my appreciation for them… But I’m extremely touched by their selfless gestures. They literally braved the wind, rain, and cold just to help us. For 2.5 HOURS!!!! How nice is that?

I was super traumatized, freezing, feeling sick and stressed. They didn’t even want anything in return – we offered.

Our car was stuck in a pit. We called the host, and he sent his wife to help us. She called her friend and another fellow guest to help. The 4 of us braved the rain/cold/strong wind, and the 2 of men relentlessly tried to pull our car out with another car. The pit was so deep; the string snapped thrice. It finally gave way.

I was ready to call the car tow to get it out, but they toiled away. They were so sweet and asked me to get into rest and be warm.

Half an hour later, 4 other seniors from the village came. Again, when we offered to help, they asked us to “drink tea.” They got a tractor to help us get the car out – explains the sound of this video.

I was ready to give up, but they managed to get the car out! FINALLY!

Fun Things You Must Absolutely Do When Visiting Reykjavik, Iceland

How often do you meet such kind people? I can’t stop smiling or thinking how sweet these strangers are. The world is beautiful with these angels. God bless them. ♥️

 

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Opinions
SHARE
Previous articleKnow Yourself And The Market Before Investing
Next articleTravel in Style and Save : Hacks For The Savvy Traveller
C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).