If you’re doing less than a week in Iceland, then I would recommend you to skip Reykjavik and focus on the South Coast and up west near Snaefellsnes Peninsula. But if you have a day spare, definitely use it to explore the surrounds of Reykjavik because there are a few cool things to see in the ‘Southern Peninsula’ – the peninsula just under Reykjavik. Here are a few suggestions / reviews on some of the places we visited around the area.
1. BLUE LAGOON
Blue Lagoon is one of those places people have big opinions about. On one side of the camp, you have those who love it and say it is an absolute ‘must-do’ experience when in Iceland. On the other hand, you have those who think it’s overpriced and that you can get better bathing in ‘free’ hot springs around Iceland.
With Blue Lagoon being so close to the Keflavik airport and captured by the popularity of it, we decided to give it a visit to see what the fuss was about. And I can see why this tourist attraction is constantly booked out and packed every day. Firstly, Blue Lagoon is situated some 20 minutes from the airport, meaning that if you have a spare few hours right after your flight or before your flight, it is a common sense place to make a stop over at. Second, the man-made nature of the pool actually makes it a nice bathing experience. Of course, there are those who might like the ruggedness of jumping into a natural hot spring off road but it’s the facilities here that bring the large crowds in. All in all, it’s a nice place to relax, especially if you’ve been on the road for long days. It is expensive, but so is everything else in Iceland.
If you’re scared of all the FOMO from not visiting Reykjavik (like us, haha), then I guess you could check out Perlan whilst in the city. There are two places you can see the city from above – Hallgrimskirkja (a church where you can take an elevator ride to the top) and The Perlan (‘The Pearl’) which has a 360 degrees observation deck. We went to the latter, because it was free and because we also wanted to see Hallgrimskirkja. It was well, nice. If not a little underwhelming. The city is beautiful with its Nordic feel and country town size. But after seeing all the ridiculous landscapes across the country, this was not quite up there. But you know, at least we managed to take care of that FOMO.. Ha
3. TRY AN ICELANDIC HOTDOG
A friend of mine recommended us try an ‘Icelandic hotdog’ so we looked up a place to try it whilst we were in Reykjavik. Icelandic hotdogs are everywhere in Iceland so it was hard to choose where to try them. We ended up checking out ‘Baejarins Best Plysur’, a hotdog stand in downtown Reykjavik that’s supposed to be quite popular. When you order, you should order a hotdog ‘with everything’. That’s the one with all the toppings that you want to try. In Iceland, they do the hotdogs with two sauces (I don’t know what they were – but I think they were a type of mustard and a type of tomato sauce) and raw onions + fried onions. They were pretty good I must say – we ended up eating about five of these throughout our trip!
An impressive but totally smelly area we visited was Seltun – an area with really high levels of geothermal activity – so much so that the ground smokes and it feels like you’re on another planet. There’a a walking path through the area which you can follow to take a closer look at the colourful minerals on the ground. Despite the sulphuric stench, I actually found this area really quite impressive. It’s hard to imagine this is actually somewhere on Earth.
There is always time for horses..!