One of the hottest (well, in demand) destinations today is Iceland. An island that was seemingly overlooked as an adventurer's vacation is now getting the time of day it deserves. This volcanically active island has numerous activities that will leave you feeling like you've stepped into another universe where you can explore city life one moment, or be in a snow tundra the next.
With newer and affordable options in air travel, Iceland is more accessible than ever. Icelandic WOW Airlines provides low-cost fares from the United States and Europe, to Iceland's Keflavik International Airport (KEF), just 45 minutes outside of the capital city Reykjavik. An easy shuttle transfer through Flybus provides a ride from KEF into the city, on a warm, wi-fi ready, coach. Check out the video I made while in Iceland:
Here's an overview of my itinerary:
A 5:00 am arrival to Iceland calls for a priority coffee run. Head over to C is for Cookie for fantastic lattes, sandwiches, and you guessed it - cookies. The Sunna Guesthouse is incredibly close to the landmark church Hallgrímskirkja, which I strongly encourage to visit the top of for a spectacular view of Reykjavik.
Become acquainted with the city very quickly with the FREE CityWalk tour. Just tip what you can at the end. With a full day in the city, be sure to check out The Sun Voyager sculpture and the shimmering Harpa Concert Hall. If you enjoy museums, the Saga Museum and the Vikin Maritime Museum are well worth your visit. Star Wars fans should check out the bathroom at Café Babalú. My visit here coincided with the great loss of Carrie Fisher. For a unique dinner spot, find the hidden pizza restaurant at Hverfisgata 12. It's not exactly "hidden," but you'll feel like you're sneaking into a private event when you go up the left stairs and through the black door. It's best to simply wander the streets of Reykjavik and explore new shops and restaurants.
A full day Golden Circle tour will take you a few hours outside of Reykjavik on a fascinating scenic tour of beautiful geographic sights. Stops include the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall, the Strokkur geyser, and Thingvellir National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.
Finally, your trip isn't complete without taking in the Blue Lagoon. Wade into 98 - 104°F water, sip on a cocktail, and be sure to stop by the Silica Bar for your complimentary Silica Mud Mask. While you can visit during the day or night, my visit at night made for an exceptional experience.
Unfortunately, the Northern Lights could not be seen during my visit due to the cloudy weather. How could I be disappointed? Now I just have a really good reason to go back...
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Jesse is a Nashville native and avid traveler.
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