“What should I do when I visit Iceland?” I could babble on and on about this topic for hours. So before my memory starts to fade, I thought I better jot down all of my top 10 places to visit, things to do, whatever. Okay, so maybe top 10 isn’t exactly right. It’s not really my version of 36 Hours in Reykjavik either. But it is a quick list of great things to do—for visitors, friends, or anyone headed to Iceland looking for the best coffee shops, lunch spots, boutiques full of Icelandic design, you name it.
Been to Reykjavik and have something to add? Did I forget something? Do tell.
FAVORITE POOLS: Álftanes, Laugardalur, Kópavogur (the one on the peninsula)
FAVORITE COFFEE SHOPS REDUX (see earlier blog post about coffee in Reykjavik)
To meet outside Reykjavik: Sufistinn in Hafnarfjörður
FAVORITE DAY TRIPS:
— from Krýsuvík to look for the monster in the lake, then to the bubbling earth at Seltun. At the waters edge, pick blueberries and drive along the sea toward Eyrarbakki. Stop at the Rauðhusid for lobster lunch, pause at Strandakirkja Church by the sea, then head back over the steaming mountain. If there is time, go to the hot river in Hveragerði.
— Vestmannaeyjar. The Westman Islands. Ferry over. Bus around the island. If it is the right season, get up close and personal with puffins
–Glymur, Hvalfjörður. Drive, hike, climb, descend, drive, dine at Hotel Glymur.
–in Snæfellsnes Peninsula. 2-3 Days. First do the walk from Arnarstapi to Hellnar. Then have lunch in the tiny stone house on the cliff called Fjoruhusið—veggie quiche, please- – while you look for seals out the window. Drive to the lighthouse at the end of the peninsula to birdwatch, climb the small Saxhóll crater, up to the Shark Museum. Over to Stykkishólmur to putter around in the few small museums, take the boat trip to sea where you eat fresh raw fish they pull up while you are on the water. Back to eat mussles at Narfeyrarstofa. That night, a fabulous sleep at my favorite Hotel Budir.
–Reykjavik to Höfn in 4 days. First stop are the two big waterfalls (Seljalandfoss then Skógafoss). Then onward to Vík to look at the basalt formations, play in the black sand beach and make the requisite stop at the N1. Onward to Kirkjubæjarklaustur to climb beside the waterfall before heading to see the big blue icebergs in Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and the quiet, empty iceberg lagoon just a small distance away. We always liked to stay at an Icelandic Farm Holidays spot but wherever you land, find your way to the hotpots in the valley of Hoffell. Finally, don´t forget to look for the herds of wild reindeer outside of Höfn.
–West Fjords: 4 Days: Drive to Stykkishólmur then take the ferry past Flatey. Check the tires and that the car is in good shape then go west around the fjords, first the red sand beach, then ending with an Air BandB stay in some of the world’s smallest homes in Isafjordur, the booming metropolis (okay it’s a gorgeous small town at the edge of the planet).
–Of course too there’s Husavik and the North of Iceland, and Skaftafell, and Thorsmark, I could go on and on, but my fingers are tired. Go explore, I hope you fall in love with Iceland the way I did.
Note: You never know when another good thing will come and one will close, so always check restaurant and hotel listings first. This list was accurate as of August 2013. Also note, I´ve added links to websites listed above when I could. I haven´t always linked to the English language page, but most places have a button somewhere that will take you to at least one page in English. Hopefully this list will get you started.