Three incredible experiences in Reykjavik

I can’t say it really crossed my mind to visit Reykjavik whilst backpacking; tight budget and Iceland are not traditionally synonymous. However, as I discovered recently, it is possible to comfortably mix the two. Don’t be put off by expensive reputations when planning your gap year; Iceland will be an experience you will treasure for the rest of your life. For accommodation there are some pretty inexpensive hostels as well as some good B&B’s. To eat out in Reykjavik is never going to be ‘cheap as chips’ but if you keep your eyes peeled and check out the menus before going inside – then you can keep control of the pennies.

Despite my travels there are still a fair few things on my bucket list and a long weekend in Reykjavik hit three in one go. As our taxi took us through the impeccably clean streets, the brightly coloured rooftops glinting beneath the sparkling spring snow, we felt an immediate affinity with the city. And don’t let the placid exterior fool you, there’s vibrancy to the worlds’ Northern most city that burns bright with the midnight oil. By day there are lovely walks to be taken and excellent galleries and museums to visit and by night some cool clubs and bars to hang out in, but for me there were three things I just had to do…

Blue Lagoon and Gulfoss

One of Iceland’s most famous natural wonders, the Blue Lagoon isn’t a cheesy 80’s teen movie but a geothermal spa in the midst of a lava field that not only cleanses the skin but also the soul. As we soaked in the steaming waters we were blown away by the tranquillity. The clear azure sky hovered over the turquoise water like a security blanket. I could have stayed there forever, but reluctantly we continued on. We were glad we did when we saw the stunning waterfall of Gulfoss and the incredible spouting hot springs of Geysir and Strokkur….well worth a visit.

Whale Watching

This is literally an awesome activity that everyone should experience at least once in their life. Take one of the boat trips that depart Reykjavik harbour daily and you’ll have an excellent chance of spotting a whole array of these majestic animals. We were lucky enough to spot mink, sperm, humpback and orca on our trip. Blue whales are also a regular visitor to the area.

Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis is one of the most spectacular natural phenomenons this planet has to offer. The best time to glimpse them is with a clear sky (sadly not guaranteed) between September and April. We took coach tour from the city but private options are also available. No matter how scientific your mind, I defy anyone not to be blown away by the magical swirl of neon green and purple that flicker and ripple across the sky. It was an experience truly out of this world.

Author Bio: Liah S Thorley

Liah S Thorley is a travel writer and novelist from the UK. She has travelled extensively and particularly enjoys history and the arts.

2 Comments

  • The Travel Chica

    June 2, 2011

    Those are three incredible reasons to visit Iceland.

  • Tijmen

    June 7, 2011

    The Blue Lagoon and Gulfoss are definitely worth visiting. I was especialy impressed by the Gulfoss waterfall, it looked amazing.

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