Tuesday, 3 January 2017

TRAVEL | Reykjavík

Hey Everyone! 
I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and a fantastic New Year! 

At the beginning of December i went on a 5 day city break to beautiful Reykjavik in Iceland. We had the most amazing time despite the very wet, cold and dark weather! Reykjavik is famous for it's Northern lights sightings, beautiful scenery and geothermal pools - so I thought I would share some of my favourite sights, snaps and yummy eats with you guys!

We arrived to Keflavík International Airport around 6.30pm after a 3 hour flight from Gatwick. I had pre-booked our coach journey to our apartment in advance so we literally collected our luggage, walked outside the arrivals hall and the Flybus coach was waiting. This then takes you to the BSI terminal, where you get on another smaller minibus and they transfer you to your apartments. This was quick, easy and hassle free so I would 100% advise pre-booking to save yourself taxi money and time. 

Reykjavik City Centre 
There is a lot to do in the city centre and lucky for us we decided to stay in a lovely Air B & B (would highly recommend this apartment, was clean and the host was so friendly!) straight behind the main street of Laugavegur. This street runs from the harbour up to the church and beyond. This has all the main restaurants, shops and supermarkets - so if possible I would recommend staying around this area. As we went at the beginning of December we were lucky enough to see this pretty town decorated with Christmas decorations as well as all the cute little Christmas shops being open! 

This breath taking church building is beautifully designed and a must see, you will not be able to miss it as it stands tall over Reykjavik. We paid 900 ISK > £6.37 to go up the tower and take in the beautiful views around us - well worth it in my opinion! Once at the top you can see the Reykjavik from all directions.  

Harpa Concert Hall 
Another amazingly designed and unusual building on the sea front. This is Reykjaviks main concert and conference centre, it contained a cute Christmas shop selling decorations. This was a lovely (and warm..!) shelter from the rain and wind. We looked around, took in the view and shopped the Christmas decorations. You can see concerts here throughout the year, so make sure if you are visiting Reykjavik to keep up to date with their what's on guide. 

Solfar Sun Voyager Sculpture
Just a short walk away from the Harpa concert hall, this sculpture sits proudly on the shore of Reyjavik and was sculpted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city. It's a nice walk down from the concert hall with a beautiful view. 

Special Tours Northern Lights 
We decided to book our Northern Lights trip with a company called Special Tours. This was mainly down to them doing boat tours and not wanting to go on a coach! They provide everything you need to wrap up warm from the Arctic chill and it was a really fun experience, our tour guide George was absolutely fantastic and very knowledgeable. Unfortunately we only saw a glimpse of the Aurora Borelleis, still a glance is a glance and i enjoyed every minute of it! Book directly through their website and you will receive a 10% discount per person. 

The Golden Circle Tour 
I was really excited to go on the Golden Circle Tour as i had heard so much about it. You visit 3 main locations, a horse park and a few places to warm up and grab a cup of coffee.
We booked the tour through Gray Line once we had arrived, which i must say i would not book through again. They seemed to lack customer service and it was very clear on the day our tour our guide just wanted it be over and done with. She seemed to sprint of without half the coach once we arrived at most destinations which was incredibly un-helpful. However, moving on the sites where still amazing and this didn't put a downer on our day, we where lucky enough to tick the following sites of our bucket list; 

Þingvellir National Park 
This was the first stop on the tour, it looked amazing however the low cloud provided difficult to see the view from the viewing platform and due to the wind and rain we shortly abandoned this idea and walked down the path between the north American and Eurasian plates, the rain was torrential (i couldn't even get my camera out for a snap!) so we decided to take shelter on the bus!  

Next on the tour was the incredible waterfall Gullfoss, it is fed by Iceland's second biggest glacier - Langjökull. The water plummets down 32 meters in two stages into a rugged canyon which walls reach up to 70 meters in height. It has two separate viewing platforms, one higher and one down closer, it was amazing to see the waterfall and get so close to it! I really enjoyed this part of the trip.. Not only this they had incredibly rich and yummy hot chocolate to warm us up! 

The Great Geyser Strokkur 
Next up we ventured to the  world's most reliable geyser which bubbles and spurts a column of super heated water every 4 to 8 minutes which travels up to 20 metres into the air. Super impressing to see, but watch out your not underneath as it will make you smell like Sulphur!

The blue lagoon was my MOST favourite thing to do in Iceland, after the very wet week we decided to do this tour as a part of our transfer back to the airport. We booked this with Reykjavik excursions, the same company who we used for transfers (and i can't recommend them enough!) This was one of those places I've wanted to go for a long time and it did NOT disappoint. The geothermal water which fills the blue lagoon has three active ingredients - Silica, Algae & Minerals. Make sure you head over the the face mask bar and try out the different selections - they made my skin super soft. We also got to enjoy a lovely ice cold beer whilst bathing in the warm waters! 

Favourite Pit Stops 

Svarta Kaffid 

This tiny knook in the heart of Reykjavik did the BEST soup I've ever tasted in my life. Don't be put off by the outside - you really must try this. Located half way down Laugavegur, they have two things on the menu.. Soup and Soup! The specials change daily but we where lucky enough to try Iceland's famous Reindeer Soup! It was absolutely delicious and the staff where SO friendly! 

Cafe Babalu 
This hidden gem was another we took shelter in on a very rainy day. Located near the 

Hallgrímskirkja church we walked past a few times and finally we where drawn in by the cosy atmosphere, Christmas decorations and homely feel. It was a mix match inside filled up with random nick naks! The hot chocolate was delicious and we ended up staying for lunch.. and the desert! The world famous Nutella cheesecake is an absolute must as well as their banana and chocolate crepes.

Roadhouse Reyjavik 
Another yummy pit stop was the American themed bar we stopped at on the first night! The food was delicious and they had Icelandic beer on tap which was amazing, we mostly all had burgers. 

So that's been my Iceland Adventure, I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it! I can't wait to visit again in the Summer to see the Puffins and Whales. 

Have you ever been to Iceland? What's on your bucket list? 

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P.s we also made a short video with our GoPro! Enjoy! xo 


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