Have you ever considered travelling to Iceland? Here’s an incentive: Iceland Air has this really great deal where passengers may stopover in Iceland for up to 7 nights at no additional cost when you fly to Europe from North America. Click here to find out more. When we did our research into airfare pricing, we found that Iceland Air was more competitive than other airlines flying to Europe. This makes for a win-win travel situation!
My friends and I traveled to The Netherlands to visit our friend, Emily who is an expat in The Hague. Since we had a very full travel itinerary packed into 8 nights, which included visits to 5 European cities, we could only afford a 24-hour stopover in Reykjavik.
Iceland makes a nice travel option from many North American cities since it’s only a 5 hour flight away from Toronto. From the airport, take the Flybus to get into Reykjavik – the bus makes stops at most hotels. Another option is to take a bus from the airport directly to Blue Lagoon.
To maximize time, we took a bus from Keflavik directly to Blue Lagoon. However, our flight arrived in Keflavik at 6:20am and the first bus didn’t depart for the Lagoon until 9:30am so we had to kill time at the airport.
You can spend a couple of hours at the Blue Lagoon or a good chunk of the day depending on which spa package you get. The Blue Lagoon caters to travellers and even offers a luggage storage on site. Enjoy soaking in the milky blue geothermal waters as you wander over to the barrels of free silica mud that you can apply liberally over your face for a revitalized glow. Don’t forget to bring a waterproof camera case so you can selfie all you want in the lagoon.
Click here to read: Guide to the Blue Lagoon
Because we got the premium package at the Lagoon, which included a 3-course lunch at Lava Restaurant, we were severely delayed getting into the city center and missed the Reykjavik city tour.
It was late afternoon by the time we started roaming around the main street Laugavegur.
There was just enough daylight to see one of the major landmarks in Reykjavik – Hallgrímskirkja, a Lutheran church with its impressive tower.
By this point, we were hungry and exhausted from the day, despite our relaxation time at the Lagoon. Since we had an Icelandic lunch at Lava Restaurant, we were open to other recommendations for dinner. Café de Paris was a name that came up several times in reviews and we had a quick meal of burgers, pasta and salad.
There are lots of options for accommodations in Reykjavik. There are a lot of guesthouses, hotels and airbnb apartments. We stayed at Einholt Apartments. It’s a no frills apartment in that it didn’t have a concierge. Room keys are simply left on the front desk and you check yourself in.
To our surprise, the apartments were overbooked and our names weren’t on the list. After our booking was sorted out, we were upgraded to a larger 2-bedroom apartment across the street, which we were very satisfied with. Dealing with this mix up further cut into our already limited time in Reykjavik!
Who brought the rotten egg?! You’ll notice a foul smell everywhere because the water that comes out of the faucet contains high levels of sulfur! But the water is completely safe to drink straight from the tap. The sulfuric taste surprisingly doesn’t come through the taste.
Try to be ambitious all you want, but it’s impossible to see everything in 24-hours! We missed the Golden Circle tour to see geysers, Gullfoss and þingvellir, a national park and UNESCO world heritage site. The Golden Circle tour is 8 hours long and we wouldn’t have been able to visit the Blue Lagoon.
We also missed seeing the Northern Lights. The best chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis is usually between November to February. We kept checking the Northern Lights Forecast website (here) and on the March night we were there, the conditions were not favourable. Most tours offer a repeat tour if you don’t see any lights the first time.
Before you leave Iceland, don’t forget to try their famous hot dogs. Unlike North American hot dogs, Icelandic hot dogs are seasoned differently and made from a mix of Icelandic lamb, beef and pork. The lamb is grass-fed and organic. I would’ve appreciated the hot dogs more if I ate lamb in the first place, but I found the gamey taste too overpowering. Hot dogs are available at Keflavik Airport so you can grab it on the fly if you miss having it in the city.
Spending 24-hours in Reykjavik has definitely whet my appetite for another (longer) visit to Iceland!
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