Brr! It's cold in here! There must be some Toros in the atmosphere.
Ice! Ice! Ice!
We stayed at the Foss Baron Hotel in Reykjavik. This was the perfect spot for walking access to food and shops.
The food here was priced really high. What my sister and I did was walk to the grocery store called Bonus. We bought snacks and packs of water for $23. This was a lifesaver. I highly suggest to do this.
1. Aktu Taktu
We ate at Aktu Taktu and it was the local fast food chain. It was right next to our hotel. We had a hamburger and fries and it was $14. This was an actual cheap meal here.
2. Grai Kotturinn
One place we ate for breakfast was Grai Kotturinn. It had a filling breakfast in the cutest shop that was like a little library.
3. Hard Rock Cafe Reykjavik
Hard Rock Cafe in Reykjavik was another place we ate dinner. This was very low key and not crowded at all. It is also right next to a big shopping area that has stores like H&M.
4. Eld Smidjan
This was the cutest pizza place. They gave free soft drink refills and had the best cheese pizza.
All of the food was walking distance from our hotel too so it was super nice.
We ate here for breakfast and it was the most quaint little cafe. It had such a modern vibe to it. We ate pancakes with bacon and candy coated pecans. We also got a cinnamon roll and a glass coke.
I used my currency converter app to convert the Icelandic Krona to US Dollars for each purchase I made. The souvenirs are priced high, but you have to get some Icelandic memories while you are on the island of fire and ice.
They speak Icelandic and everything is in Icelandic. There will be some signs in English and most of the local shop owners and waiters speak English too.
The Fly Bus is the way to be transported from Keflavík Airport to your hotel in Reykjavik. It is $56 round trip and it takes you on a nice charter bus 45 minutes to and from your hotel to the airport. We bought our tickets at the airport and then hopped right on the bus from there. It was super simple and the best bang for your buck.
Northern Lights/ Aurora Borealis
Aurora came out to dance while we were on our Northern lights tour. Let me tell you it was a neat experience.
But, here are some things I learned:
Our eyes see just white. Yes you heard me right. We don’t see the green hue. Only the camera (certain ones) can pick up the green hue. Our eyes only see white/gray in the sky. Also you can’t use a flash to take the pictures. It isn’t even about the weather whether you see the lights, but instead the sun and the acceleration of the particles. The aurora is constantly changing and moving while you’re looking at it.
The aurora only appear to us in shades of gray because the light is too faint to be sensed by our color-detecting cone cells. So, the human eye views the northern lights generally in faint colors and as shades of grey/white. The camera sensors don't have the same limitation as our eyes.
Here is an article explaining what we see and why: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.huffpost.com/entry/the-northern-lights-dont-look-anything-like-they-do-in-photos_n_5500a4d9e4b0e62d0dd4f9bb/amp
We booked our tour through Viator.com and it was $62. They picked us up from our hotel and dropped us off. It is a neat experience for sure, but don’t get your hopes up of the sky lighting up in amazing colors because we only see it in white.
Day in Reykjavik
We walked to the Hallgrimskirkja Church. We paid $12 to go to the top of the church to see the amazing views of Iceland. This did not disappoint. We went up a little before sunset and we got to see the whole city clear and picturesque.
We then ventured down to the rainbow road. This is a pedestrian only zone. There is not many people around so you can take in the colorful road and enjoy it.
We went and saw the Harpa and it has stunning architecture. It had cute handmade Iceland jewelry here too. We also took some pictures in front of the mountains from this spot also.
We visited the Lucky Records Store in Reykjavik and it was every record lover’s dream. It had any and every record you can ever need.
Day trip to the Southern Coast of Iceland
This day trip was booked through Get Your Guide. It was $89 a person and this included pick up and drop off at your hotel for this day trip. This was a magnificent excursion that I highly recommend. It was around an hour and a half out of the city of Reykjavík.
Skogafoss: this waterfall was our first stop on the trip. This waterfall is ginormous. It is situated out in the country of Iceland with a panoramic view of the mountains, glaciers, and volcanos. Make sure you bring a rain jacket because the water sprays you. The ground is very slippery too.
Our next stop on the trip was the Solheimajokull Glacier. I had never seen an actual glacier before so this took my breath away. We hiked for around 10 minutes to get to the glacier. We got to go down on the sand to see the glacier more up close. Some of the glaciers had even broken off and drifted from the main one. There was an array of colors in the glaciers. We saw white, blue, and then the sandy black on them.
Reynisfjara-Black Sand Beach
Wow! Is all I can say about this beach. This is like nothing I’ve ever seen or experienced before. There was so much detail on this beach. I felt as if I were in a Game of Thrones episode. One view you see the black sand and get to watch the sunset on the crashing waves. The more you walk you see this rock formation that is a cave on the black sand beach. The reason for the sand at Reynisfjara being black is that it is formed from heavily eroded volcanic rocks that is cooled lava which turns black as it cools and hardens. The most stunning view on the beach are The Reynisdrangar Basalt Columns.
Reynisdrangar is the name given to the freestanding sea stacks which stand off the coast of Reynisfjara, not far from the town of Vik.
This was our last stop of the trip. This waterfall was breathtaking. You can actually walk behind it. It sprays you, but it is so worth it. The views from behind this forceful beast are truly the best. Be sure to be careful because it is icy and slippery as you are climbing.
Day trip 2: Kerid Crater, Golden Circle, and the Blue Lagoon
Our first stop on the trip was Thingvellir National Park. Here we got to see Eurasian/North American Tectonic Plates. It was such an incredible view.
The next stop was the Strokkur Geysir. This is such a powerful force of nature to behold. The geysir erupted around every 4 minutes. We watched it multiple times in awe. This stop we ate lunch at the restaurant next to the geysir.
This was by far my favorite waterfall we experienced in Iceland. All I can say is wow! It’s the most stunning and breathtaking view. The snow and the ice make it even more of something out of a Hallmark Movie.
Our driver was super nice and let us stop at a farm and see some of the Icelandic horses. They have such a chill demeanor. I wanted to bring one home.
This is a volcanic crater and it was iced over on this trip so we didn’t get to see the most colorful views it has to offer. It was still neat to see!
This was the last stop and my favorite stop. We spent two hours here. Now the catch is the entrance to the Blue Lagoon was not included in this trip. We had to buy it separate after we booked the excursion. It was $95 and it included a face mask, a drink, and then your entrance to the Blue Lagoon. It was 32 degrees when we were there and I didn’t even know it. You have to shower when you get out because the silica will be rough in your hair. It is communal showers and dressing areas. The water was magnificent in this cold weather. I was never cold. We went when it was night and it was so peaceful!
I booked this day trip through Trip Advisor and it was $134 per person. This did not include the entrance ticket to the Blue Lagoon either.
Going to Iceland in winter was a dream. We saw the Northern Lights and got to experience the Icelandic culture. There were not a lot of tourists here and nothing was crowded at all.