TheStyleTraveller guide to Reykjavik – Iceland
Where? Reykjavik, Iceland
Why? I was very lucky to be invited to the Winter Lights Art Festival in the beautiful Nordic country of Iceland.
When? Feb 2015
With? The Iceland tourist board at Visit Reykjavik
The incredible Northern Lights over the Ion Hotel
Iceland – What to do in the day?
We spent 4 days on the spectacular island and managed to cram in a fun packed itinerary. Here is TheStyleTraveller’s list of the Top 5 daytime activities to try out in Iceland.
1) The Blue Lagoon – My favourite activity of all and the reason I was so eager to visit Iceland again. Floating in the warm, healing, milky-white waters of this natural geothermal spa, you get a deep sense of relaxation and feel utterly blissed out afterwards. Cover your body in the soft, chalky clays and feel the benefits of silky, smooth skin for weeks to come. It really works! I can see why this is one of the natural wonders of the world.
2) Helicopter? Horse riding? Or super jeep? Which ever mode of transport you opt for, don’t miss the golden circle tour. What happens? We took a half day trip to see the natural erupting hot spring of The Great Geysir, we were mesmerised by the sheer power of the Gullfoss Waterfall and we visited the Thingvellir National Park, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet. The incredible black rock, volcanic landscape of this desolate, lunar-esque country is completely other worldly and an awesome sight to behold.
3) Nature at night – To see one of the earths most spectacular, natural phenomena, take a night drive into the interior of the island and simply look up into the skies and witness the incredible Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.
4) Whale Watching – Charter a boat or join a group trip from Reykjavik harbour – this is the closest many of us will ever get to seeing one of the world’s largest and most beautiful mammals.
5) Visit Reykjavik – Iceland’s capital city is easily explored in an afternoon. Spend time wandering around the streets and absorbing the quaint, traditional, wooden houses juxtaposed with the huge, modern glass and metal architecture of the Harpa, Reykjavik’s opera house on the harbour front. Indulge in a spot of retail therapy on trendy shopping street, Laugavegur and stop off for tea and cake in quirky, retro cafe, Laundromat.
For packing advice, where to shop and what to wear in Iceland, check out my post on Reykjavik street style, fashion and shopping.
Eating and Drinking
On an island famed for its excellent seafood, the best restaurants in which to sample the local delicacies are Fish Company,(pictured below) Fish Market, Sjavargrillid or one the many chic seafood restaurants on the old harbour. I would also recommend Dill at 101 Hotel and Lava Restaurant at The Blue Lagoon for a fine dining experience.
Not the most obvious of destinations when it comes to partying, but Reykjavik is a really fun night out.
If you want to hang out with the creative, artsy set, start the night with drinks at uber hipster bar Kaffibarinn, part-owned by musician Damon Albarn. Then for late night drinks continue onto edgy Kex Hostel Bar or Boston for dancing. Don’t arrive to the bars before 11.30pm / midnight, it’s all about late night drinks here.
For a more upmarket, handbags and heels type of crowd, head to the Slipp Bar at The Marina Hotel or the bar at 101 for a cocktail or two. As these also happen to be the chicest hotels in the area, you could always just check into a room after drinks!
Sleeping – Where to stay? Iceland
From sophisticated, design hotels like the 101 and the Reykjavik Marina Hotel, to understated, hipster havens like the Kex Hostel, Reykjavik has a diverse range of accommodation to chose from. If you’re visiting during one of the many festivals like Iceland Airways Music festival or the Winter Lights Arts Festival, make sure you book in advance, as this is a small island and hotel occupancy reaches capacity quickly.
For those of you spending a few days here, it’s well worth checking into the Ion Hotel just an hours drive out of Reykjavik. Be immersed in the hauntingly, barren scenery and find yourself truly in the heart of nature. Away from the city lights, relax and indulge in a range of fantastic spa treatments. It’s a great place from which to view the Northern Lights, wine glass in hand, sat in the outdoor heated pool. Divine.
101 Hotel – Lobby
Northern Lights over the Ion Hotel