Everybody seems to want to go to Iceland these days, along with Machu Picchu in Peru – they seem to be the ‘must go’ to places now. Anyway, I found cheap flights with EasyJet for £57 return from Manchester to Keflavik airport, about 40 minutes south of Reykjavik.
I normally just arrive at the airport and find the bus or train station, jump on one, and end up in the city centre for a fiver or so. Well, you may have heard Iceland is expensive… It cost me £50 to get from the airport to the city centre, and the bus got stuck in a one way, tiny street. Even though I landed at 18.30, I didn’t get to the hotel until 21.30, and I was knackered, so I went straight to my room and chilled out, because I was planning on getting up early to do loads of stuff.
Reykjavik Harbour and City Centre
I asked the lad on reception in my hotel how to get to the city centre, and he had a hack, kind of. He told me to walk up the hill to Perlan, which is a museum, with an Ice Cave underneath, and with the entry ticket, you get a free bus shuttle to Reykjavik harbour.
Perlan was awesome – I spent about 30 minutes checking out some stuff about volcanos and ice caves around Iceland. After I was finished reading, the tour guide gave me a shout as the next tour of the ice cave was ready to go. They gave us these padded ponchos as it was -20 degrees in the ice cave.
The tour guide gave a great overview of the cave, and it was a great thing to see, but the most impressive part was the layers, as you can see in the pictures below. The layers are actually layers of ash from volcanic eruptions over the years, with the second-to-top layer being from the eruption that caused all the havoc in 2010. It’s the one that nobody can pronounce, the guide even struggled a bit, and she was Icelandic.
When I was done, I scribbled on the little piece of plastic (image below) and went on my way, getting the shuttle to the city centre.
Reykjavik Harbour and City Centre
Reykjavik is tiny; it didn’t take me long to walk around it and get a good idea of where everything was, especially as there’s a huge cathedral in the middle. You can jump on the hop-on-hop-off buses, but I was only there for 2 nights, and it was my second day. I had tickets for The Blue Lagoon for 16.30, so after wandering around, buying a piece of local art as I plan to do in all countries I visit, grabbing some lunch and taking some pictures, I was ready to jump on the bus to The Blue Lagoon.
Reykjavik is so cold, but mainly down to the wind by the harbour. On the high street and around the church, it wasn’t as cold. I’d say that if you’re going for a few days, take A LOT of cash, and go to see the whales and puffins on a tour, go to The Blue Lagoon, check out the penis museum (I heard about this, but didn’t see it) and try out some of the local food. They actually serve puffin and whale!
When people say Iceland is expensive, they are not joking, it is so expensive. In The Blue Lagoon, it’s £15 for a pint of beer, just bare this in mind and make sure you know the exchange rates. The way I figure it out, is to find out what a tenner is in the local currency, and work from there. So a tenner in ISK is around 1400, 700 is a fiver, and the beer was 2100, so £15 – yep, absolutely ridiculous. I paid 12 euros in Paris for a beer and a tenner in Dublin, but £15 is just plain stupid.
If you’re into photography, you’ll spend all day taking photos.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is such an Instagrammable place, and I only really went because ‘you’ve just got to go’. I mean, who goes to Iceland and doesn’t go to The Blue Lagoon? It was £70 for the cheapest entrance ticket, which got you a drink, a mud mask and towel rental. I went alone, so it was always going to be hard for me to stay for long, as I don’t really like sitting still in one place.
I swam around, had a drink, put the mud mask on, took some photos, chilled out as much as I could, and after about 2 hours, I just had to leave as I was done with it. As amazing as it is to look at, you’re in a hot swimming pool, as it’s man-made. Bet you didn’t know that! It’s basically a swimming pool in a weird shape, with these wooden sections around it where the geothermal heating takes place. I spent most of my time by these springs I guess they were, as they were about 15 degrees warmer than the rest of the pool.
I’d go again, but with a girl, or a group of people and loads of cash.
The huge church in the centre of the city is called Hallgrímskirkja, and you just cannot miss it. It’s huge!
I went inside to check out what was going on, and it was your standard cathedral with a bloke playing the organ – a creepy sounding instrument in my opinion. It seemed more of a tourist attraction than a place of worship though, but it’s good for some photos.
I used Hallgrímskirkja as my central point in the city, and I spotted a public toilet next to it, so I always knew where to go for a wee. They’re free in Reykjavik, and relatively clean. They have those singular cylindrical public toilets that only let one person in at a time and automatically clean themselves after you leave.
- Iceland is perfect for photos
- Unbelievably expensive
- Cheap flights
- Public transport arrives to the minute but is so expensive
- Nothing is cheap
- £15 a beer
- Very cold
- Loads of stuff to do