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Cabinet of Chic Curiosities

Iceland


I’m planning a trip to Iceland. Have you covered some Iceland tips on the blog yet?

We do indeed have some Iceland tips in our vault, hopefully some of them match up with your plans so far. Outside of Reykjavik, we’ve focused on the southern and east coast, which is the best place to start for a first time trip (preferably with a car). If you’ve got a week to 10 days, this would be great. If you’ve got longer, let us know and we’ll look into the northern / western parts for you. 

Reykjavik

One or two nights in Reykjavik is enough to see the city (Iceland’s true beauty is in the nature).
– Wander through Reykjavik’s historic harbour and city centre by foot
– For a picturesque walk, wander along the waterfront on a paved pathway that connects many interesting sites including the Harpa, Sun Voyageur sculpture, and old harbour. 
– Outdoor eclectic “museum”: The Raven’s Nest– Saegreifinn 
– A shack down at the old port. Sægreifinn specialises in lobster soup and fish kebabs.
– Grái Kötturinn – cosy, dimly lit, book-lined café in an old townhouse
– The Icelandic phallological museum
– Tjornin pond is a beautiful area surrounded by green-space in the city centre and the perfect spot to unwind and people watch should you find yourself there on a sunny summer’s day
– A great selection of budget friendly restaurants on Hafnarstraeti, just up from the Harpa
– Lebowski is a great bar downtown
– Fancy hotels: 101 Hotel and Hotel Borg or if you’re on a budget Vibrant Iceland Hostel
– Best bang for the buck in terms of sleeping and amenities.
– Free Reykjavik city tour walk: www.citywalk.is

Around Reykjavik

– If you go to the Blue Lagoon: the barebones entrance package into the geothermal pool is just fine. Schedule your time right early. Get there early and get changed quickly. You will have the pool to yourself for a little bit before the crowds. The website www.visitreykjavik.is provides a handy guide to Icelandic bath etiquette and lists 16 thermal baths in Reykjavik alone. 
– Krisuvikurberg Cliffs (45 mins scenic drive), with views of active volcanoes along the way. You’ll see tons of birds nesting here, puffins if it’s the right season. You could do this on the same day as visiting the Blue Lagoon. 
– When trekking in the Icelandic countryside, you’ll see tiny elf houses (‘álfhól’ in Icelandic) springing up all around. Make it part of your road trip to spot them!
– Golden Circle (1 hour drive). 
– Consider staying at the Golden Circle Hot Tub Cabin
– Very under visited spots include 1) Gjáin – beautiful, nature, Game of Thrones filming location and 2) Sigoldufoss waterfall. 3) Eat at Fridheimar and visit the farm/ greenhouses. 
– At the Secret Lagoon some geothermal baked bread and boiled eggs in a hot spring and see the northern lights.
– Iceland’s bath in the mountains (2 hours). You will pass Iceland’s bra fence, Eyjafjallajökull Erupts museum and the Gljúfrabúi waterfall, as well as the Seljalandsfoss and  Skógafoss waterfalls. 

Further afield: 

– If you’re worried about the roads, try planning on traveling the south coast out to Hofn. It is usually well taken care of and has some spectacular sights to see like black sand beaches, towering waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanoes. The following destinations are more or less in order taking the ring road from Reykjavik along the coast. You can rent a small SUV from Blue Car Rental. 
– Jökulsárlón, a massive glacial lagoon known for the countless icebergs that collect there. You can stay in or near the town of Vik. It’s a good drive but you’ll be passing through some of the most out-of-this-world landscapes. On the way, a good stopover is the town of Vik (The Barn is a good hostel). En route is Skaftafell national park, where you can take trips up into the Vatnajökull Glacier that feeds Jökulsárlón. The lagoon itself is free to wander around, but there are boat tours. 
– In the quaint fishing town of Hofn, eat at Pakkhus for some grilled lobster. 
– The Viking Village film set, built in 2010 at the foot of Mount Vestrahorn in southeast Iceland for a movie that never was filmed. There’s the beach nearby where you might see seals. 
– Hafaldan Hi Harbour 
– A picturesque cozy town with great restaurants, Seydisfjordur hostel is lovely. 
– Visit an elderly couple’s hand-picked collection of rare gems in their personal home in the nearby town of Eskifjörður. You might also find this website helpful (other than Airbnb for renting cottages in Iceland: http://www.bungalo.is/)

Wishing you many adventures!