Hello lovely people!
This is the first post I write on the new blog. Exciting!
I am going to start out with a guide around my home city, Reykjavík which is the capital city of Iceland.
Down town Reykjavík is a very nice place to live in and I can imagine it is a very curious place to visit – especially for people who live in big cities around the world. Us Icelanders are often thought a bit strange to outsiders. We are famous for our nightlife, nature, believing in elves and trolls and eating ice cream in snow storms.
This article will hopefully be helpful for people who are wondering if they should travel to Iceland and to those who are all ready planning on going there.
Why should you go to Iceland?
Being from there I might be just a little bit bias… But.. I think everyone who loves to travel for adventure should try to stop by.
One of the biggest pros in my opinion is that everyone can find something there – except maybe people who only like traveling to hot countries.. Then you should stay far, far away – yes – even in the summer time. BUT if you love the sunlight (no matter the temperature) I can tell you that in the summer it doesn’t leave us alone. It goes away for maybe an hour in the night but it is usually daylight 24/7 from mid June to mid August.
- Wherever you go you are surrounded by nature. Esjan is the mountain on the picture. You can see that mountain from wherever when you are down town shopping, partying or enjoying your coffee. And if you are in the mood its only a bus ride away to go to the roots of the mountain and its a fun hike up!
- There are tons of nice coffeehouses down town so if you are a coffee lover you will have enough to do. We are one of very few cities in the world who don’t have a Starbucks (or McDonalds for that matter) so if you can’t live without your Venti-skimmed milk-flat white-caramel-decaf-latte Reykjavík is probably not the place to go.. If you are intrigued I will have a list of nice places below!
- Swimming is wonderful and in Reykjavík you have numbers of outdoors pools with warm water, saunas, hot tubs and so on. I love, love, love going to the swimming pool when its cold outside and my recommendation would be Seltjarnarneslaug. It’s small and not many tourists know about it!
- Taking a walk. That is no doubt fun everywhere and pretty much the best exploratory advise I could give anyone. When Tom (my boyfriend) came to visit me in Iceland for the first time I was so confused.”What is the most fun thing for tourists to do. I don’t know how to be a tourist in my own city!”Then I realized that i think its way more fun to know a city with someone who lives there.. So I’m not only doing the “typical” stuff.. So we went for really long walks and it was so much fun! We saw so much. On the other hand it can be very good for you to be a tourist in your own city. You do things you would never do otherwise and you see your home from a different view. I would strongly recommend a walk to the old harbour and stop for a cup of coffee at Kaffivagninn and have some ice cream at Valdís.
- Partying is of course fun wherever as long as you have good company and the nightlife in Iceland is no exception. We don’t really have clubs. Its more about bars with a crammed dance floor. There are different places so everyone should be able to find something to there taste. If you are there in the summer – it might be a little weird. You go out at 22:00 – its bright outside. You enter a dark bar, drink, dance and forget the bright summer night outside. Then you come out a few hours later and its still sunny. This is not something you need to worry about in the wintertime. Then you might be walking home under some northern lights in crunching snow. Very different!
- If you are planning on staying in Reykjavík its pretty easy either to take day trips organized by travel agencies (like the Golden Circle or something similar) or rent a car and take short trips away from the city. For first timers I would personally recommend a trip to Snæfellsnes or the South side of Iceland. In the south because in 4-5 hours you can for example drive by two very big and beautiful waterfalls, get to the black beach: Reynisfjara and visit the lovely town of Vík.
You would for example drive by this cool waterfall me and Tom visited in February 2015; Skógarfoss.
Well.. I guess its fair to say that Iceland is a great place for nature lovers, party lovers, ice cream- and coffee lovers.
Now.. Sold all ready?
If so You can check out the lists below for some more ideas.
Where to eat?
I have a few favorite places to eat in Reykjavík. They are pretty price friendly and have awesome food.
- For burgers – either vegetarian or not I will recommend that you visit Tom’s Burger Joint (Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar). There you order The Offer of the Century and you get a burger, fries and soda. The burgers are yummy and the vegetarian burger too. Its a tiny place so its also nice to take away but for the full experience you should try to get a seat!
- Ban Thai is a really nice thai (duh) place just a little further than the main bus station Hlemmur. It has a scrillion different things on the menu so take your time and choose wisely. They have little marks to tell you how strong the dishes are and it is very, very legit. So.. if you don’t like strong food don’t try to be a tough guy and think you can handle something with two marks. You can’t. Its strong. as. fuck. Okay? But.. its so good! My mouth is watering.
- Mandi is… small, shabby and it has such deliciously good kebabs. My god. Their falafel kebab and the fries. So GOOD! If you like kebabs you have to go there. Its a take away restaurant so bare that in mind. You just have to go and try for yourself. Really.
- Public House is a fairly new place in the middle of Reykjavík’s main shopping street; Laugavegur. The food there is really good and a bit different from other things you can find in Reykjavík. They serve small dishes so you can order a few and taste different things – don’t be scared if it sounds a little weird – try and you will be intrigued. If you don’t like the food they anyways have amazing cocktails so your night can’t go wrong.
I could go on and on.. Lemon is also a really nice place for lunch or a quick bite. They serve healthy, fresh juices and super good sandwiches. I recommend the spicy tuna if they haven’t changed their menu. Then there are of course more fancier restaurants and if this post is considered of much help I’ll make a nicer “wine and dine” map of Reykjavík! How does that sound?
Where to go for coffee?
My favorite place is called Kaffitár. They have a small, colorful and cozy place in Bankastræti downtown Reykjavík and are soon opening a place in the National Culture house – next to the ever so beautiful National Theater. Its such a nice place and they make the best coffee. You can also get nice toast there. I should be ashamed of how much money I have spent there haha. But that coffee. I love it. They usually offer two types of filtered coffee with a free second cup! Or you can have the nice baristas make you your favorite drink.
Another nice place is Te & Kaffi. They too have very good coffee and a lot of nice light bites. My favorite thing there is this small piece of delicious dadel, chocolate thingy.
Reykjavík roasters is also a very cozy little place close to Hallgrímskirkja. Their place is very friendly and you could easily get to know new people there since the place is small and usually pretty crowdy. Very nice coffee and a nice place to chill at.
I hope you found this a little bit helpful. I am sure I will make more posts about my home town and country but for now this is what I have for you. All those places I mentioned in the post are places I have been to many times and it’s all stuff I would do on regular basis going about my day.
In my next post I will tell you a little bit more about myself, my life here in Holland and a small trip I took with my family when they came for a visit!
Happy travel planning!