Iceland, along with other Scandinavian nations are notorious for being expensive. YES! I felt it every step of the way, but I prepared before hand. I was on a mission to get the cheapest of everything for my short stay. I managed to grab flights with Norwegian Airlines for £30 each way. Totalling to £60 Return.
Hotel transfers to & from Keflavík International Airport are £19 each way. Available at grayline, getyourguide and Reykjavik Excursions. All companies are very efficient, I booked mine the day before my arrival.
Since I was travelling solo, I opted for a hostel. I must say Hlemmur Square is simply amazing, not only for its central location. It offers a very safe, social and modern space for young travellers. Upon arrival I was given a token for a meal of any choice and a free cocktail all for £7. Probably the cheapest meal I had.
Another gift by the hostel was a coupon booklet, providing me with discounts across Reyjaviks - restaurants, bars, shops and tours. This is came in extremely handy, as I wanted to remain well within my budget.
My stay for two nights totalled to £47. £118 TRIP TOTAL
THINGS TO DO?
Spending the day venturing in Reykjavik could be the highlight of your holiday to Iceland. Reykjavik is a hip, fun, cultural capital. It’s a city defined by great coffee, boutique shops, fresh seafood and creative street art. The mountain views aren’t bad either! In fact, Reykjavik is one of the cleanest, greenest, safest, and richest cities in the world today.
As my hostel is along Laugavegur street, which is the main shopping street in downtown Reykjavik. I was able to do some window shopping, browse the boutiques, and bought some souvenirs and sent postcards home for family and friends. Everything might be a little pricier here than you’re used to – don’t say that I didn’t warn you!
On the bright side this street offers the best street art. Large murals cover the sides of buildings, walls at city parks, and even along construction sites. I recommend that you walk around the city and admire the character of the city, as presented through its artwork.
You won’t miss this one. Hallgrimskirkja is the tallest church in Iceland, and the sixth tallest structure in the country. It towers above everything else in Reykjavik, it seems. Not only is the building quite the spectacular sight, but the view from the top of the building is very awesome, too.
The church itself is free to enter. You can check out the exterior and interior of the church at no cost. However, you’ll want to splurge on the ticket to the top of the church tower. It’s an extra 1000 ISK (about £7).
I wasn’t able to stop snapping photos of Hallgrimskirkja. The architect designed it to resemble the basalt lava flows in Iceland. Perhaps that’s why it really isn’t like any other building in the world.
-- Harpa -- Perlan -- The Sun Voyager -- Icelandic Phallological Museum -- Whales of Iceland
Around 6pm the perious day my tour for the Golden Circle with Blue Lagoon Spa was cancelled , even though I had booked a month prior. I was extremely frustrated at GET YOUR GUIDE! Being alone in a foreign country, didn't help the situation. So I went to the local cafe Te & Kaffi, a young lady over head heard me furiously shouting at the tour provider. After venting she then approached me, counselled my angry self and provided me with details of another local tour provider. At this point my faith in humanity was restored.
After much disappointment, Reyjavik Excursions arrived at 9am for pick up at my hostel and I had an amazing tour of the three most famous locations in Iceland, altogether referred to as the Golden Circle. They are: Thingvellir National Park, Stokkur geysir and Gullfoss waterfall. Cost £42 on Reyjavik Excurisons, they also provide free wifi on the bus & a tablet to listen to history behind the sites.
THE SOUTH COAST
The focus of this tour is really waterfalls and beaches. You’ll get to visit two extraordinary waterfalls: Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. There’s no doubt that these natural wonders are amazing to see! Andy and I love waterfalls, so this part of the was a joy for us.
Skogafoss waterfall is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland standing 60 meters tall and 25 meters wide. You can get very close up to the base of it, but bar in mind you’ll get soaked by the spray (our cameras were not happy)! Skogafoss is amazingly powerful, loud and an truly impressive scene.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall is completely different. It’s tall and thin, falling off a cliff overhang so it’s a bit wispy, but amazingly there’s a cave behind it. The Icelander have created a pathway around this cave so you can actually walk behind the waterfall! This is a must do if you take the south coast tour.
The Blue Lagoon is a semi-natural wonder. The lakes are man-made, carved from the basalt rock that covers the Reykjanes landscape. And the water is geothermal, coming from deep beneath the ground. First it circles through pipes in a nearby factory, losing around half it’s heat, and then it travels to the Blue Lagoon and fills up the baths.
The water is still as fresh as when it came out of the ground as it remains inside the pipes. It has a high silica content which can give it a milky look, and is around 40 degrees C! That creates hot steaming pools against a magical backdrop of lava beds. DO BOOK IN ADVANCE
( After getting dissappointed to GETYOURGUIDE, I then decided to book directly with the Blue lagoon. The price offered a pick and drop off service)
THE WATER HAS SILICA WHICH DAMAGES YOUR HAIR! THANKS TO ASC MY HAIRS SOFTNESS WAS RETAINED!! CHECK OUT MY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS FOR MORE INFO
Other popular Lagoons include ; Secret Lagoon, Viti, Landmannalaugar and Grjótagjá
WHAT TO EAT?
I had to taste the local Icelandic delicacy, after a long day around the city I headed over to Loki a bright yellow restaurant across the church. I dived straight into the emblematic fermented shark with Icelandic rye bread, filled with smoked salmon ,cream cheese chopped and blended in ice cream, served with extra creamy butter and crunchy lava salt. That was £25
Another iconic Icelandic food: the hot dog, or "pylsur." So why does everyone obsess over Icelandic hot dogs? Well, they're made with lamb in addition to the usual pork and beef parts. The lamb presence deepens its flavor, It was also by far the snappiest hot dog I've ever eaten. Like, you can hear the casing suh-nap as you bite.
The most famous pylsur kiosk is in downtown Reykjavik across from the harbor. It's called Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, which translates to "the best hot dogs in town." Order it "eina með öllu" (one with everything) for the works: a sweeter brown mustard ("pylsusinnep"), ketchup, raw onions, crunchy deep-fried onions (see "Cronions" in the slideshow), and a mildly tangy remoulade. You could also order it "Clinton" style with just mustard, as the former U.S. president did on his visit in 2004.
As expected food is very pricey in Iceland! So I had packed instant noodles from home. However next to my hostel is this a great Noodle Station, serving the best hot noodles for cheap. ( well Icelandic cheap lol). I went there twice, that's how yummy and fresh they are. If you’re thinking about drinking, you can pick up alcohol at the duty-free shop at the Airport. It’s definitely cheaper than drinking at the pubs!
After the Northern lights, I went out with the friends I made at my hostel. We literally went club/ bar hopping across the Laugaver street, Prikid was by far my favourite spot. They played the best of Rnb, Hip hop and Rap.
Have you traveled to Iceland? Any places that you recommend that I missed? What do you think of my trip? Would you dare to go alone?