Four days in Reykjavik, Iceland.

December 10, 2016

 

Thank-you to Greg for this article recounting his trip in January to Iceland for his 40th Birthday.

It’s about a 45 mins drive from the airport to Reykjavik bus station.  Get used to the bus station as you will visit it many times if you have trips booked. It’s usually a case of mini buses collecting you from hotels for you to change for larger coaches at the bus station. The journey from the station to Reykjavik centre is approx. 10 minutes.

For our 4 night stay, we stopped at the “                                                                                          ”. This modern hotel offers a great location just 6-minutes' walk from Harpa concert hall and conference centre and 1 km from Sun Voyager, a stainless steel sculpture of a boat along the Sculpture & Shore Walk, 5 minutes from the harbour and in the other direction 5 minutes from the main shopping area.
Colourful rooms with chic Scandinavian decor offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars, plus tea and coffee making facilities. The slight negative are the rooms are quite small, however, do not let that put you off.

A breakfast buffet is included. The top floor has an airy restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and sea views as well as a sleek bar with a striking glass-enclosed fireplace. The evening menu is also top standard. There’s also a Turkish bath, a hot tub and a sauna. Tours, activities and airport transfers can be arranged for a fee.

 T he location of the hotel was a great starting point to explore the city, albeit on foot we were somewhat hindered by the worst snowfall the city had seen for 11 years. Heading south the first building that grabs your eye is the Harpa Reykjavik concert hall. It only opening in 2011 and features a distinctive coloured glass façade apparently inspired by the basalt type landscape of Iceland.  Unfortunately, there were no shows at the time we went but with a couple of cafés, it's worth popping in for a quick coffee before heading onwards.

Off towards the harbour is a pleasant walk this is where you will find stalls offering boat trips some to Greenland others to look for the local whale population and some to seek the northern lights from the water. Due to the adverse weather conditions, these were all closed at the time. There are plenty of restaurants around the harbour many of them specialising in seafood. Also a couple of “greasy spoons “offering the traditional breakfasts.  A walk along the coast in the opposite direction you will find the sun voyager or “Solfar” as locally known. A sculpture next to the saebaut road. Sun voyager is a dream of a boat Viking ode to the sun. It stands for a promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hopefulness and freedom, set against the snowy background was perfect to practice the camera angles.  



Harpa Conference Center and Concert Hall

Sun Voyager Sculpture.


Our next chance to explore is one I highly recommend and that is north through the main shopping centre to find the breath taking church Hallgrimskirkja. At 73 metres it among the tallest structures in Iceland. Not a religious person myself but when you go inside just to sit on one of the pews and look at the architecture and one of the world’s biggest church organs is a must. You can then purchase a ticket to catch a lift to the top of the church spire. The views of Reykjavik from this height capturing the city covered in a blanket of snow were awesome.

Hallgrímskirkja Church

Freemont Street Experience.
Freemont Street Experience.
Finally we then had some free time to hit some bars around the centre. The first one that we come across was the aptly named “English Pub” somewhat traditional but did have in hindsight the best collection of lagers and ales including Guinness. Offering traditional English menu. Plenty of TV screens showing all the football from England. Prices of the traditional pint ranged from 5 to 9 pound a pint. There is an extra charge for using the euro so it is well worth as soon as you get to the city to find the main bank and change your euros into Icelandic krone.  Another well worth a mention is the micro bar serving a wide range of ale’s and bottled beers from far and wide.
Restaurant wise we found a quirky place called RVK Magasin offering an Icelandic version of Spanish tapas amongst others well worth a visit.

There are too many restaurants to choose from the standard of food was very good. If you look hard enough you can still find whale and puffin served on local menu’s although it has been a taboo talking point.
The centre like most contains the usual name shops along with many local craft shops.
Most produce is imported so be prepared for slightly higher prices.

Alas 4 days are never enough to explore everything in Reykjavik especially with 3 or 4 trips booked. I can assure everyone of one thing that I will be returning to Reykjavik in the not too distant future. Please click button below to see the three trips I went on.
Iceland Trips