Going To Reykjavik! Any suggestions??

My middle/older sister is celebrating her 50th birthday and we’re traveling to Reykjavik for a week!

Looks awesome! Vikings, glaciers, geysers, oh my! Who has been there or lives there? I’d love any suggestions about food, bars, pastimes. Anything! Especially languages. I work with subtitles from almost any dialect-- EXCEPT Iclandic. I’m hoping my broken French and German might help. But how often is English spoken in Reykjavik city?

What’s really cool is we rented a 5 bedroom apartment for six days, less than 1,100 US dollars. (!!)

We’re leaving early June. SOOOO excited to go!


Eat hákarl. Lots and lots of it.

Or maybe not ;).

Don’t think you’ll have any problem whatsoever with English - we got such strange ‘dur, of course’ reactions when we asked people if they spoke English that we gave up after the third or fourth time and just (rudely, I thought) assumed they did.

Go to the Blue Lagoon, it’s surreal and lovely. I also remember the Pearl restaurant as being lovely, though hideously expensive. I went for my honeymoon in January 2004 though, and when we last talked Iceland here general consensus was that the financial crisis has meant that Iceland is no longer the absurdly expensive place it used to be.

I’d also do a version of the Golden Circle tour too - it takes in geysers, continental divides and amazing landscapes. In winter it included glaciers, but I suspect in summer you’ll just have to go a bit further out of Reykjavik to see one- well worth the trip, I’d imagine.

Have a fantastic trip, I’m so jealous - it 's still on my wish list to go back to Iceland, but do the summer version.

I’ve read about that. If they have a good enough schnapps to drink before and after a bite, I might try it. But I might need to know how to say “Do you have a bucket?” in order to keep it down. :smiley:

Thank you! Oh, the Golden Circle tour is on our list! We’re headed there first week of June, so Blue Lagoon is also on there. I think I’ll be afraid to leave my iPhone at the apartment, but once I get there, I’ll think, what Internet??

I’m excited to also see Skæogafoss, Gullfoss, ANY foss for that matter.

What about meat-food? I hear it’s mainly lamb, which I’m not really gaming for (pun intended), but shrimp, haddock, bass? I’m all for that. And the dark bread, Rugbrauo (sp?)?

Also, bars I hear open late like most of Europe. Sight-see, take nap, head for bars around 1:00 AM.

Bring money. Lots of it.

OK, this may be purely anecdotal, but a friend just got back from there, and she was astonished at how expensive everything was. I can’t remember all of the details, but I remember that she said that the cab from the airport to the hotel was $150.

Moved MPSIMS --> IMHO.

A local related to me that they realized that there were only about 300K people in the entire world that speak their language, so they don’t expect any language proficiency from tourists. They all speak perfect English in my experience. My first day in town, there was a big festival and we wandered into a record store. The clerk walked up to us and said something completely unintelligible to us and we must have given him a deer-in-headlights look because he laughed and said “Sorry, is there anything I can help you find?”

I second the Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle, both were a lot of fun. I also recommend a tour with a company called Goecco. They’re a small group of locals who are proud of their country and love showing it off. We took the Glacial Lagoon Tour, which was possibly my best day of travel ever. There were 9 or 10 of us on the tour in a van with two guides and they took us all the way to Jokulsarlon on the East Coast and back in one day, stopping at all kinds of amazing places (waterfalls, lagoons, mountains, glaciers) along the way. It’s a little expensive, but so worth it. I’ve heard good things about their White Night Hike, as well.

The same group does a free two hour walking tour of central Reykjavik that is amusing and informative, as well. Their website currently only lists the winter tour (which leaves only on Fridays), but I think in the summer they do it most days. You just show up and go.

For great panoramic views of the city, I recommend going to the top of Hallgrimskirkja (the big church). Also, walk around inside the Harpa Concert Hall if you can. Very cool building.

I personally didn’t find it to be any more expensive than any other place that I’ve visited. There are regular shuttles between the airport and the city (they even drop you off right at your hotel) that were something like $15-$20. We regularly got meals between $10 and $20 and only spent more when we felt like splurging. For example - we ate at the Geysir Bistro right by our guesthouse and both got decent meals - the bill came to about $42 for both of us. A burger/fries/soda at a local joint was $12. Entrance to the National Museum of Iceland was just under $9.

I have a ton of pictures I can post, but I just did it in the last Iceland thread just a few weeks ago and I don’t want it to seem like I’m trying to pimp them out or something. Feel free to look in that thread or let me know and I can post them here.

I second everyone elses’ suggestions - I just got back from Iceland and absolutely loved it. If you don’t like lamb, don’t worry - there are plenty of affordable seafood options, as well as other meat options.

You might consider going for a ride on an Icelandic Horse - a unique breed that has been bred on the island in isolation from other horse breeds for 1,000 years. There are multiple tour outfitters that offer options ranging from 1-2 hour rides to multi-day treks.

Also, check out the ruins of a Viking longhouse from the 800s, located in a museum downtown right next to the Centrum Hotel. The museum gives a nice overview of what life was like for the earliest settlers.

Iceland is the place I haven’t been to that I want to visit the most. But for me, Reykjavik would be just the stopping off place, on my way to the rest of the country. I don’t know how much you can see in just a weekend, though. That depends on your interests.

More than you’d think, since Reykjavik is more a mid-sized town than a city. (To put it into perspective, Omaha has a larger population.)

I do agree the rest of the country is what you really want to see, though. Iceland’s all about wild, natural beauty.

Thanks to all, and thanks Artemis and Interface for the suggestions. Why I love this board. :slight_smile:

We plan to rent a car to see the countryside and some glacier tours. I’d also like to see a volcano observatory.

Thanks again and keep 'em coming y’all! All comments appreciated!

If you are going to have a car, plan on spending a full day driving along the southern coastline. There are some spectacular black-sand beaches there with fascinating rock formations just offshore, a cute little town called Vik, and a small museum dedicated to the 2010 eruption of the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull volcano, located on a farm that sits directly under the volcano and which was directly affected by the eruption.

You won’t starve, they have fast food :slight_smile:

Really, the restaurants are great, fish dishes are to die for. Also, there is a little hole in the wall just off main street that does the best sausages-in-a-bun in the whole world.

One of the hotels at the lower end of the main street (hotel 51? Hotel Nordic? Can’t remember), has a viking archeological dig in the basement. It is way cool. As I understand it, they found the oldest viking settlement ever when renovating the hotel, and instead of tearing the whole place down, the hotel donated both lower floors to the dig, and runs the museum there now. Well worth a look.

But if you can, try and learn Icelandic in a week like this guy did.