During the winter time, you either ask yourself if you should go skiing or fly into the sun. That’s not the only opportunity you have during autumn and winter. Don’t you want to do something different? Then you should definitely try Reykjavik! A short trip with unforgettable experiences of nature. As almost every trip to the sights start from Reykjavik; it is the best place to be!
How to get to Reykjavik?
I flew from Dusseldorf to Reykjavik by AirBerlin. The return ticket costs 250€, which includes one suitcase. I know that Eurowings, Wow Air and Icelandair also fly to Reykjavik and are cheaper most of the time. It is important to know that all international flights fly to Keflavik, which is 40 minutes away from the Reykjavik. Only domestic flights fly to Reykjavik airport. The bus from Keflavik to your hotel, in Reykjavik, costs around 20-25€ (one-way). You can either choose between Gray Line or Flybus. The public transport is not much cheaper and takes way longer!
Where to stay?
Luckily, I could test one hotel and one apartment in Reykjavik. 22 Hill Hotel is in a great location, just off the main road to the city centre.
It took me around 10 minutes and I was already on the shopping street. The staff is extremely friendly, informative and helpful. Coffee is always free on each floor. Unfortunately, the WIFI was a bit slow, which is not too bad, because you surf less and talk more! My room was spacious and clean! I loved the big TV! If you have to leave early to catch a flight, you will get a “take away breakfast”.
I’m afraid that I was not really impressed by the breakfast hall and the breakfast itself but that’s only my personal opinion. The breakfast buffet had everything you need but it was not beautifully presented. Furthermore, the kitchen staff tried the marmalade with his knife just next to me. I really enjoyed the delicious bread!
Price range: 119€ – 269€
My absolute favourite was “Room with a view”.
I am still amazed when I think about the stunning apartment! The name says it all! The gigantic view over Reykjavik’s main shopping street beautified my stay. It was hard to leave the apartment for any sightseeing as it is so adorable!
At my last night I enjoyed a soothing bubble bath.
I ate the grill fish feast menu. The best of the menu was the starter, the Hallgrims Shellfish soup with scallop, blue mussel, shrimp and fennel. I also liked the grill fish combo and of course, the dessert. The atmosphere is really nice and comfortable. The friendly staff of the modern restaurant is more than helpful.
You almost always have a line when you go to the canteen style restaurant, but it is worth the wait and the line goes by quickly. All the salads are tasty and the portions are really gorgeous. My favourite is the chocolate cake with cream.
Find out more about what you have to do in Reykjavik in my article HERE.
There are loads of attractions in Iceland, which are worth the visit. However, they are all so far away from each other that it is difficult to see everything within a few days. Therefore, I have made a list of the most important sightseeing in Iceland. If you are still not sure what to do in Iceland, check out the travel agency, Katla Travel. The agency is specialised into traveling to Iceland. The very warm and friendly employees helped me with my trip, too.
First of all, rent a car!
You will definitely save time and see more than going on tours with a tour company. I know that it can get quite expensive but if you follow the following steps, it will be cheaper!
Pre-book your car online and use a voucher code to reduce the actual price. I decided to use the company, Hertz.
For those who need an automatic car (like me!!!), make sure that you book your car in advance. They are gone really quickly. I had a Kia Sportage, which was perfect!
Don’t forget that gas will get expensive. Travel with friends and share the gas!
Plan your route before you go on the trip.
Don’t forget that the actual sun hours in Iceland aren’t long during winter time. So be careful with your time!
Travel along the south coast and experience the beautiful spots for taking unique pictures, as well as several fascinating waterfalls. The breath-taking Seljalandsfoss waterfall has a magnificent size and force alone. You are able to walk up behind the waterfall and right in front of it.
The Skógafoss Waterfall is just another 25 minute drive and you will see a stunning waterfall, which almost always has a rainbow. It is great for taking pictures. You can walk up on the top of the waterfall for a better view. The glaciers are also close by.
30 minutes further, you will find a small village, which leads to the black sand beach, called Reynisdrangar. On your way to it, you will see beautiful horses, sheep and a great landscape.
Important essentials for your trip
Rain jacket (I wish I had one!!!!)
Earmuffs (Highly important because of the wind!!!)
The first question I asked myself when I heard about the Golden Circle: “what is the Golden Circle?” Well, just about some of the most amazing sights in Iceland! You can either book a Golden Circle Tour from Reykjavik (there are loads of operators), or rent a car and drive the route by yourself, which is much more convenient, because you are able to stop at the countless stopping points along the route.
Here are the most important stops:
The fountain is located in the southwest part of the country. The entrance is for free, similar to all the natural attractions in Iceland. In front of the geyser, it took only about 4 minutes and I saw the first eruption. Then I had to wait another 7 minutes for the next eruption, which was directly followed by a small one. Its height was about 15 – 20 m but it can also be higher. You don’t have to worry that you will not see the eruption. It is one of the most reliable geysers I have ever seen. Be careful, the water is really hot.
One of the most impressive waterfalls I have ever seen and it is just a 10-minute drive from Geysir. The waterfall is so big! Even though some sections were covered in ice, it was an amazing sight. The stairs are quite slippery at the moment. The view is great from both platforms. Sometimes the lower part is closed due to weather conditions. On your way back you can buy some accessorises in the gift shop.
Thingvellir National Park
Personally, I could not make it to the UNESCO World Heritage but I have heard that it is wonderful and that you can see lakes, waterfalls and pure nature. Furthermore, it belongs to the Golden Circle tour.
Ultimate Place for the Golden Circle tour
Guesthouse Fludir is just 25 minutes away from the attractions mentioned above and 1 hour drive away from Reykjavik. The peaceful and beautiful environment will let you relax from your everyday life. I loved the river, which I could see from my balcony every day. My room was spacious and very clean. Especially the bathroom was excellent.
The freshly made breakfast was exceptional. During my seven-day stay in Iceland, it was the first time that I got a self-made smoothie and fruits. In addition, the breakfast included a variety of cheese, ham and hearing. Dinner can be taken, too, at the restaurant. The running people are very nice and helpful.
What to do in Fludir?
The secret lagoon is just 10minutes away. I have been horse riding at Riding Tours South Iceland. It has been the best experience during my whole trip. The staff was more than kind, so warm and friendly. The horses seemed so happy and healthy. I had the feeling that they all gave me a warm welcome. Marcus, who was my tour guide, was super friendly and always looked after to me, to make sure I was ok. The scenery during the riding tour was unbelievable. I always wanted to ride through the snow. I felt really safe on the horse and even it was cold outside, I was not freezing due to the ski suit. If you want to have an amazing experience, have a tour at Riding Tours South Iceland.
Avoid the expensive Reykjavik and visit Hveragerði with loads of thermal baths and greenhouses. Stay in a peaceful town to nature. Hveragerði is only a 35-minute drive from Reykjavik and it is a great starting point to visit main attractions in Iceland! To get to Hveragerði, you should rent a car. In general, it is cheaper to rent a car and explore the country this way if you are traveling with more than one. Furthermore, you are more flexible and able to make new plans if the weather condition changes. You can even spend several days in Hveragerði for hiking, playing golf, riding horses, visiting an art museum or culinary delight.
Place to stay
I spent three days at an apartment, at the lovely Guesthouse Frumskógar. I really liked that a supermarket, a bakery, tourist information, gift shops, petrol station and restaurants were just 2 minutes away by car. It is a good base to visit the famous Golden Circle, which is an hour and a half drive away and to visit Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss Waterfalls and Reynisdrangar, which is about the same distance as the Golden Circle and also a beautiful route.
I lived in a spacious apartment with my own bathroom. The apartment was really clean, the Wi-Fi worked great as well as the heating. I liked the choice of books in the apartment. Every morning, I could listen to the stylish radio and in the evening,watch the television with candlelight and sip on delicious tea. The kitchen has everything you need for cooking a meal.
Outside you have the possibility to use the hot tub or steam sauna. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to use it. I loved that I could just park in front of the apartment.
An apartment for two people costs around 115€/night and a double room with a shared bathroom costs around 80€/night.
Where to eat?
Restaurant Hver at Hotel Ork, offers a very delicious à la carte menu or Christmas buffet during the holidays. I ate a slowly cooked lamb fillet, potato terrine, root vegetable and herb stock. As for dessert, I had chocolate mousse with homemade raspberry sauce. The tasteful and modern decorated restaurant has a really comfortable atmosphere and you will just feel good. The service is excellent! Very friendly and courteous.
One evening, I went to an exciting horse show at Fakasel Horse Park. The show is perfect if you want to know more about the history of Icelandic horses. A cat joined me on the tribune to watch the show, which made me feel good and comfortable. The show was about 40 minutes and the rider have made a great effort to entertain the audience. After the show, we could meet the horses and pet the horses backstage. If you are hungry before or after the show, you can have dinner or drinks at the restaurant.
Actually, Iceland has only one main route… Route 1! The ring road goes around the whole island and is about 1330 km long. It is hard to get lost because this road connects all the villages on the island. Additionally, major attractions are by the route 1 such as Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls. Even though it is difficult to get lost, you have to be carefully if you drive in Iceland for your first time. Luckily, Íris from Route 1 Car Rental informed me about the roads in Iceland. Of course, you cannot remember everything what you are told not to do (at least I can’t) and you have to experience the roads by yourself.
If it is your first time in Iceland, I would recommend to rent a car like my Suzuki Jimny, which I got from Route 1 Car Rental. Why I recommend you a 4×4 for your first time? Well, if you are not used to the “off roads” and the signs, a small SUV will save your life! So it is worth it to pay around 86€ for a day! The pick up in Reykjavik is for free and it costs 18€ at the airport, which is still much cheaper than the fee of their compeitiors.
Be aware of the following signs:
Single lane bridge – Only one car can cross the bridge.
Gravel road – Honestly, if you are not used to it, drive especially slowly. Your tires can lose grip if you are too fast.
Pavement changes to gravel – A gravel road is coming up. Same rules as mentioned above.
Danger of sudden icy conditions – As it can be really cold in Iceland, icy really means icy!
Blind crest – I did not like this sign. It means that you cannot see what is coming! Keep on the right side of your road.
Don’t forget that all off-road driving is illegal! During the wintertime, roads can be very icy. Reduce speed if you are not used to this. Don’t just stop on the road for a picture. There are almost every place for taking a picture. Check conditions before you start your trip because I did not and ended up in front of a road, which is closed during wintertime. It took me 40 minutes more to get to my destination. Call 112 for an emergency. And always remember to Fasten Ur Seatbelts!