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Iceland: Visiting Reykjavík and Blue Lagoon

Summary: After a long flight that originated in California, our first stop in Iceland was to relax in the Blue Lagoon geothermal pools located just outside of Reykjavík. We then took a free walking tour in central Reykjavík before grabbing groceries and heading out of town to our AirBnB, located 1.5 hours away in South Island, Iceland. We cannot recommend this farmhouse enough as it was the perfect place to stay while visiting Iceland.

[This blog is part of a our 4-days in Iceland itinerary, which is part of our 15-days in Northern Europe trip].

Rental Car. Our flight arrived at 8:00 a.m. in Reykjavík. We made sure to get some good sleep on the flight by using our trusty Cabeau neck pillows. Whatever the brand, the essential element is the piece that attaches to the seat. They're life-changing!

At the airport, we quickly learned why our car rental was so cheap - our rental was off-site and we had to rely on a very unreliable shuttle. Be sure not to replicate our mistake and book a rental company has cars available right at the airport if you don't want to be unexpectedly delayed. Luckily, we were still able to reach the Blue Lagoon during our allotted window of time but it added unnecessary stress right out of the gate.

Booking & Other Tips. The Lagoon itself is a product of volcanic activity, but not long after our trip, the Blue Lagoon was temporarily closed because a nearby eruption deemed it unsafe. It's not a bad idea to check the local news for any updates before heading out.

Other tips and recommendations:

  • The Comfort Package was just fine for us. The drinks were just so-so and if you're going during their summer months, the bathrobe seems unnecessary since the walk from the changing room to the water is brief.

  • Book the earliest time slot available for reduced crowds.

  • Book in advance as it does sell out.

  • Follow the Lagoon's tips for hair care.

  • Is it worth it? Be ready for it to be cool, but somewhat underwhelming experience. It very much feels like a tourist attraction. If you're on a limited budget, we would skip this experience as not being worth the expense.

  • Total time spent here: Two hours.

Free Walking Tour. If you read our blog, you know that one of the first things we like to do when arriving in a new City is to take a Free Walking Tour. We find it gives us the best overview of a city so can get our bearings, while also learning a ton about a city's history and culture. Tour guides work on tips so don't forget to bring cash.

After the Blue Lagoon, we drove into the City of Reykjavik and parked near Austurvöllur Square, the starting point for the Free Tour. This 2-hour tour ends at City Hall. The tour includes highlights of the City, including Rainbow Street, Hallgrimskirkja (the largest Church on the island), Harpa Concert Hall, City Hall, and Lake Tjornin, among other stops.

Food Halls. Reykjavík has several food halls - a central spot where street food vendors congregate but within halls or other covered, weather-friendly venues. We went to the Posthus Food Hall - twice! The first time was for dinner on our first day, and then when we returned to Reykjavík a few days later, we came here for a happy hour. Since fish and chips are popular in this island nation, we found it fitting to enjoy a street food version on Day 1.

After dinner, we grocery shopped here (better choices), before driving 1.5 hours to our AirBnB in South Island. With sunset at 11:45 p.m. in June, we had little trouble navigating the roads after dinner. It did rain the entire drive, but lucky for us, it didn't start coming down until we hit the road.

Weather tips. Even in the summer, Iceland's weather can be very unpredictable. We came prepared for all conditions by packing:

  • Lots of layers

  • Hats, Gloves, and Scarves

  • Rain Jackets and Ponchos (yes, both)

  • All weather hiking boots


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