Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik

You may be wondering what made Eric and I decide to visit somewhere as random as Iceland. Well, did you know Iceland Air is often the cheapest way to get to Europe and they offer a free stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days if you use their airline. Good advertising ploy, no? Though I will say I think Iceland needs to do some more things to really become a big tourist hub. Mostly improve their weather and make things less expensive. I mean I had heard it was not cheap but I don't think I quite pictured $60 to fill half a tank of gas in a Toyota Corolla. I doubt these are really within their control, but definitely are things to consider if you plan to visit!

Some of the logistics of Iceland: It was a 4 hour, 15 minute flight from Boston. You have a TV in front of you and the flight was amazingly not packed. We rented an apartment in downtown Reykjavik for 4 nights, but our flight in was at midnight and our flight out at 7 am so we really had 3 days. If you plan to stay in Reykjavik, definitely go the apartment route. I rented through Homeaway it was a million times cheaper and better than a hotel. We had a ton of space, our own kitchen and it was clean and super nice. If you plan to spend a lot of time in Iceland, then I think it's similar to Ireland in that it makes sense to rent a car and stay in a new place each night as you drive around the country.

On our first day in Iceland, we took it easy and visited a place called Blue Lagoon.


Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, located about 40 minutes from Reykjavik. It's basically a huge pool/hot tub, filled with sea water, heated with the Icelandic hot springs placed in the middle of a lava field. Many people believe it has healing properties :)
I think it's a unique and beautiful place to relax with a cold drink or a popsicle.

Our last day in Iceland was spent exploring Reykjavik, with a day of exploring outside the city in the middle (will post about that next). Reykjavik is a nice city to explore, lots of good restaurants and shopping. I highly recommend Italia and Ban Thai for dinners. There are also two places I recommend visiting for nice views of the city, Hallgrimskirkja Church and Pearlan.

The church is a pretty famous landmark in Reykjavik and can be seen from almost anywhere. It also has a statue of Leif Ericson out front, a gift from the US acknowledging that he was really the first European to "discover" America. Here is a view from the observation deck:

Another great view in Iceland is from a building called the Pearlan, another unique building with 360 degree views of the surrounding area (though not from as high up).
Also located in this building is the Saga Museum, which gives a good history of this time period in Icelandic history. It's a museum where you put on head phones and it tells you about each thing, and it takes only about 30 minutes to go through the whole thing.
There are probably some other sites we missed in downtown Reykjavik but we had a big day of travel ahead so we didn't want to overdo it. I guess that just means we will have to come back to Iceland some day!
I will be back soon with photos of the Golden Circle of Iceland :)
Would you ever consider visiting Iceland? Do you have any impressions of what it might be like?



  1. I have been in the Iceland airport, but not outside of it. I flew to France on Iceland air when I went to Paris in 2008. That is awesome that the flight was only just over 4 hours for you guys! It was a little longer coming from Minneapolis. ;)

    I would consider checking out Iceland. The Blue Lagoon sounds so good, and it just seems like a cool place to check out. Plus I like the free stopover option!

  2. Don't worry, you're not missing any good weather back here! Heat waves actually have me yearning for Boston winters! .. Okay maybe not quite. Anyways, I think Iceland looks really cool and unique. I'd definitely consider visiting. I imagine it to be kind of like Yellowstone haha but that might be completely wrong : )

  3. We're going there in Sep! Stopping over for a couple days between London and NYC - you're right in that it's a really easy stopover. Look forward to reading your next post too.

  4. Very cool! I can't believe how short of a flight it was from Boston! Amazing. I can't believe how expensive it was to full up a TOYOTA though! Insane.

    The Blue Lagoon looks so mystical. :)

  5. That is pretty awesome about the free stopovers!! Ok, it does not cost THAT much to fill up a car in Canada, but gas in Canada is a lot more expensive than gas in the US!

    I would totally go to Iceland. Why not! The Blue Lagoon place looks very cool.

  6. Such adventures!!!!

    We've totally thought of going to Iceland and plan on doing so in the future. I've traveled to Scandinavia before and I kind of expect Iceland to appear similar! lol Stereotype much?!?

  7. Iceland has been on my list for a while but it's a cost thing that's kept me from going. Some day!

    And, having been to Ireland, you should know that St. Brendan was actually the first person to discover North America! Sure, we can't prove that's the land he actually found - or even if he actually went on a voyage - but we're going to cling to that belief because Tim Severin proved that it was possible to travel that distance and back in the type of boat St. Brendan would have had :)

  8. I've heard really amazing things about Iceland (though, the pricetag was not included in those descriptions). I think I'd travel through Iceland just to visit the Blue Lagoon, on my way to Europe and again on my way back home!