Iceland Part 1: Reykjavik

Sunday, February 12, 2017

In the summer of 2016, we travelled to Iceland for an epic road trip around the entire country along the Ring Road.  We flew Wow Air from LAX to KEF and it was a relatively easy non-stop flight.  WOW air is a newer airline and has really inexpensive flights to Iceland from the east and west coasts.  It's a bit of a different experience than other airlines, basically you just want to make sure that you buy your checked luggage up front when you book otherwise it winds up being pricey.  Also, load up your laptop with movies because there is no in flight entertainment.

We started in Reykjavik and stayed two nights there.  We stayed in an airbnb in 101 Reykjavik and got some really great recommendations from our host.  The location was about a 10 minute walk to downtown which was perfect.  I loved the minimal design of the flat.

Our first stop was the Vesturbæjarlaug public swimming pool.  Iceland has this great culture that really embraces lots of soaking in hot bodies of water and I have to say I was very on board.  By the way, most swimming pools require you to bathe naked before swimming.  After a long flight, a soak in a hot tub was the perfect way to ease into our trip.

Also in the area was a wonderful cafe - Kaffihús Vesturbæjar that we visited a few times.  Reykjavik Roasters also makes a great cup of coffee, and the hot dogs in Iceland are a thing so we made sure to snag one at Bæjarins Beztu.  I was dying to go to Dill for dinner but we couldn't get a reservation in time, but thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Kex Hostel.  With 23 hours of daylight, it felt like we could explore the city forever.

Some of my favorite shops we visited were Farmer's Market and Geysir.  They do sell some of the Farmer's Market brand at Geysir so if you're short on time just hit Geysir.  I couldn't resit a couple of amazing Icelandic wool sweaters that I'll have for the rest of my life.  Wandering around, we found a couple of bars (cafe's by day) that we really enjoyed as well: Kafibrennslan and Kaldi Bar.

To get out of the city, we went snorkeling in the Silfra fissure.  This area is where the North American and Eurasian continental plates are splitting, with some of the clearest and most pure glacial water on earth.  Our guide told us to taste some, and while I sputtered a little at the cold temperature, I have to say it was delicious!  The water was around 40 degrees and totally freezing (we wore dry suits).  With visibility of 100 meters, the snorkeling experience was truly wonderful once in the water.  Underwater was otherworldly, with great large red rocks, electric green algae they call 'troll's hair', and the brightest color contrasts.

After our dip in the fissure, we went horseback riding.  Icelandic horses have an extra gait, which as an avid equestrian I had to experience.  This particular tour was a bit slow going with a large group, not the best for experienced riders but fun nonetheless.  We rode through beautiful fields of purple lupin flowers to a look out point over Salmon River.

Next up is our trip through Southern Iceland, the Eastfjords, and Northeast Iceland.


  1. That looks so fun! We are planning a great adventure to Iceland next March and I can hardly wait!

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