Part one: Reykjavik attractions – pure, unpretentiously elegant and beautiful!
Most likely you have already heard a lot about Iceland and even more than that, you also have seen many splendid picture of this island.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s all true & right said and to be honest – it’s even better!
It’s hard for me to describe our Iceland trip with few words and quite many times, during the roadtrip, I was thinking how to describe this fascinating and unique landscape with one sentence.
The conclusion: Nothing is enough.
A world of its own: Iceland
Even a Blog is not enough to describe these incredible wonders that are waiting for you there.
Of course, seven days, as planned, are far too less time for discovering Iceland throughout.
Anyway, we made it! We gathered impressions and collected experiences.
But back to the very beginning with our Reykjavik attractions.
Quite recently, in January this year, Birdie and me were thinking about feasible travel destinations for a crisp, short week, sometime at the end of the first half of a year.
Sun? Not really necessary, we will have this more than enough in July.
The plan to get this Iceland trip was not a hard decision, because we both seemed to be already dreaming of it quite a while.
Said and done, fortune favors the bold.
Somehow Iceland is a destination, where everyone says “Wow, have to go there for sure!”
But only few really fulfill this trip.
The Reykjavik attractions are wating
We flew to Keflavik with Airberlin in the evenings of May, the 30th.
Keflavik is a small town with approximately 15.000 citizens (for Icelandic standards very big) with about 50 km distance to Reykjavik.
Night flights are profitable, when you fly against clockwise and save time like this.
This meant exactly in our case, that after three hours flight we arrived at about 3 AM in our Guesthouse in Reykjavik, while in Germany it was already dawning.
Dark it was not at all the whole flight – instead there were always these dawning colours.
After the usual procedure with baggage claiming, toilets, we went directly to our Car-rental station, Europcar.
The way with the car from the airport to Reykjavik was already overwhelming.
We were admiring these fascinating Lights of the Midnight-sun of Midsummer and watching into this eternal width during our way to the Hotel in Reykjavik .
This intesive beauty, a deep bright orange-purple Sky, as far as the eye can see, clear and sharp without any clouds or pollution, as you may know for example from Berlin – that was something totally new and overwhelming! But look for yourself…
I have to admit, that I had goosebumps nearly the whole time. It was as a veil is falling.
From Keflavik to Reykjavik
Whenever I have a possibility to experience new places, and see new wonderful things, I react like a child. I feel completely overtaken by it and I am just admiring innocently the view.
This exactly could describe maybe how I felt on our trip from the airport to the capital of Iceland.
With the rental car, a brand- new Golf 7, we started our Reykjavik vacation, also the northernmost capital in the world, which is located in the western part of Iceland, the so-called Vesturland .
And here also comes the first official tip for all you Iceland -Maybe’s out there:
Pay attention on the details while renting a car. Comprehensive coverage against falling rocks, flat tires , broken glass , etc., all these should be compulsory.
In relevant forums such as www.islandreise.info (this one is in German, but in English you find suitable ones of course as well just by googling for it) you will find this information in more detailed.
It is, I think needless to say how disastrous a holiday can be, if it fails in such things like worrying about eventualities itself all the time.
But in any case, there is no time for such things because every minute is precious in Iceland.
Book your Iceland trip early!
It is from our experience highly advisable to book accommodation in advance of few months, as well as to define a route and to consider how one wants to discover Iceland.
There were (thankfully) no incidents, no glitches, no bandits.
Even the famous Iceland trolls stayed in their caves and did not wake up.
So we were able to spend the rest of the night in our Hotel, which was located in Laugavegur, the most famous and biggest street of Reykjavik.
About street Laugavegur should be mentioned briefly that the name comes from the fact that in earlier times women took that way to the place where they washed their laundry somewhere in the park at the end of the road.
This tradition finally gave the street its name, Laugavegur. Water in Reykjavik has a very special sulfur scent because of simple geological reasons.
Reykjavik by day
First of all – Weather. OK.
It is Iceland, not Texas and it is called Reykjavik vacation.
The sky was cloudy, but it was changing every minute because of the wind, which is really strong in Iceland.
It can rain any minute and it can also stop any minute.
All the habitation is located by the coast, so this alone explains why the wind is always present.
Our host mom in Höfn Inga (German-born) told us this could be the coldest beginning of the summer in Iceland in 40 years.
I did not feel it unpleasant, temperature of about 10 degrees on average is perfectly acceptable and if one adjusts to everything, these are not too violent surprises.
And since any weather is a good weather, only bad clothes can cause a bad experience…
Taking pictures was a bit awkward in these conditions, particularly the long-term exposure, which is helpful to capture the magic of the various lights, is not possible with the strong northern wind.
Anyway, I tried to make some photos with the SLR Cam.
A Photo festival in Reykjavik
The ideal location for this was quite close to our place at the Sæbraut street, which is the coastal road.
It just comes to mind, that on the entire trip we nearly did not make any pictures with smartphones, just because we wanted to get the best possible pictures and in that case a mobile even with a good camera would not reflect the pureness and clearness of the landscape which was surrounding us.
The Sæbraut not only a perfect place for amazing landscape pictures, it is also full of sculptures and works of art.
So we went along the beach promenade towards the west to the National Music & Conference Center.
Here is a direct response to all design fetishists, photographers, lovers of extravagance – visit this place!
The architecture of this building leaves nothing to be desired more. Light, lines, shadows , shapes – in this building – there is nothing predictable, every corner has its own charm and individuality.
A few shots here …
The clear, not squiggled, but by no means boring Scandinavian design has therefore here fully flexed its muscles and was putting its spell on us for about two hours.
After this we decided to discover more of those so many significant buildings in the city.
Reykjavik is (fortunately) not very big, with about 120,000 inhabitants and a total area of approximately 274 km.
So we took our road along the harbor where many whale watching tourist offices are offering their special prices and offers. Then later we switched from the shore side onto Vesturgata and from there onto the old town of Reykjavik, where the city itself pours into smaller streets, lanes and alleys, where you easily can get lost. Reykjavik attractions at its best.
What I felt very pleasant about Reykjavik is that everything happens apparently less stressy, relaxed and peacefully.
But what here again Iceland makes so special, is a very unique, special form of kindness and simplicity of the people .
Hospitality are encountered from our previous experiences in pretty much every country in the World , but in Iceland something special is swinging with it.
Honesty and friendliness. Wonderful, Iceland i love you !
The Oldtown of Reykjavik
In Reykjavik there is of course a lot to discover, starting with the classic tourist shops, that offer their brand new, unique lava-distilled Iceland-whiskey, passing by locations that are suitable for every kind of taste, no matter if you prefer the burger with fries or lobster in white wine sauce and of course tourist magnets like sacral buildings such as the “Cathedral of Christ the King” or the most famous building itself, which is located on the Tungata street, the most impressive Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgrims Church), which can be associated with the modern church together combined with the statue of Leif Eriksson’s the discoverer of Vinland (the current United States), there is plenty to see.
Said and done, here are a few snapshots .
A hot portion of soup in bread, which actually is a classic Czech national dish, served here with Italian ingredients in Iceland. So traveling is fun.
Buying food in Reykjavik
Because of lack of evening- or night darkness, we hardly could fell asleep. But this may have been because of the great impressions of the city.
What has been proven to be very practical and relatively cheap for a road trip, is to get all the groceries from a normal supermarket.
In every town in Iceland can be found at least one supermarket.
Same goes for time of our Reykjavik vacation.
The best known of this type is called “Netto” which probably has no relationship to the German counterpart, and “Bonus” with a very strange brand logo.
The pig looks as if it has a hardest hangover in all times, and seems he is more wasting money than saving.
Iceland is (very) expensive!
In the very city center of Reykjavik , there can be found also some of these markets and for about 10.000 to 15.000 ISK (converted about 65 – 100 EUR ) you can buy everything for an upcoming “Road Trip”.
Iceland has undergone a radical change since the 2008 financial crisis .
It can be seen in many places a similar picture like it was in Spain or Greece.
This also lead to the fact, that Iceland became more affordable travel destination, because locals tried to lower the prices .
Although still very expensive, but not that astronomically as before.
So we shopped everything as well as also one or another Icelandic specialty and then we went back to the hotel in the evening after a long and impressive day.
At this point I would like to point out that Reykjavik has an excellent party scene and the youth does not need there to hide when it comes to drinking and partying skills.
Due to the given circumstances, however, we have been apart from any party excesses. Too bad.
Day 2 in Reykjavik
The second day of our stay during Reykjavik vacation we spent exclusively only in the morning time there because the next stage Snæfellsbær (Arnarstapi) was already waiting for us.
We decided to revisit the Hallgrimm Church, which is only 10 minutes walk away from our stay (everything in Reykjavik is just about 10 minutes away) to make in the bird’s eye view photos of Reykjavik from the highest tower.
The only access in the church to the top is going via elevator and it costs 5 EUR per person.
And here is Tip Number 2 (but highly unofficial):
Rumor says that you can also go without a ticket straight up, making your photos and again moving down without anyone checked.
This, however, unconfirmed.
Reykjavik attractions – pure and true!
This deeply honorable kind of cooperation works to my knowledge only on the basis of mutual trust.
You can buy a cup of coffee at the gas station and refill as often as you want to.
Meanwhile in Germany is a machine, that counts cent-based and possibly withholds the money for nothing.
I hope and wish for Iceland that this will remain so for a long time.
With best wishes, we left our Reykjavik vacation with a heavy heart, but also adopted in anticipation towards Arnarstapi, which lies 200 km north of Reykjavik.
See you soon on the second stage of our Roadtrip Iceland 2015: Arnarstapi / Snæfellsbær – westerly winds of bliss 🙂
Check out more photos from our Reykjavik vacation and soon the other 5 stations of our road trips in our gallery…
Stay tuned, always travelling with the Bird,
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Thank you sincerely, Birdie & Hendrik.