My husband and I traveled around the periphery of Iceland (on Ring Road) over a 9-day trip this summer. We started our trip from Reykjavik, driving south (anti-clockwise) and by this time on our 6th day in the country we were in a city called Akuriyeri in Northern Iceland. It is a very friendly city located in northern fjords. These beautiful Icelandic girls in their Lopapeysa sweaters and hats were offering free Christmas ale in July. We had some along with cod liver oil (you read it right) and blood sausages and thus became a part of some tourist-project. I think a part of Iceland's charm is its super friendly residents.
They call it The Sea Baron, but ironically it's as cozy as you could wish for. This tiny restaurant is one of the oldest on Reykjavík's harbor, and serves the world's best lobster soup. Stay and rub elbows with fellow seafood lovers at the communal tables, seated on plastic kegs, or take it to go, and slurp the steaming rich stew, filled generously with chunks of local lobster while watching the Icelandic sunset.
These mohawked ponies are everywhere in Iceland. If you have time, I recommend a trip abound the entire country. Whether you rent a car or hitchhike, you won't regret spending some time in this gorgeous place.
When everyone went to Mexico for spring break, I went to Iceland...by myself. Some of my friends didn't believe it when I told them my plans until they saw the pictures. Then they were just jealous. It was one of the best trips of my life. For a geology or landscape buff, there can be no better place. Late March weather in Reykjavík is chilly but not horrible, there's just as much daylight as darkness, and there's still a chance of seeing the Northern Lights. The atmosphere lends itself perfectly to contemplative solitude, and so many people speak fluent English that it's an exotic get-away without being complicated or intimidating. Many roads to the center of the island and even around the island might be closed at that time of year, but there is more than enough to do for 10 days in and around Reykjavík. Wander the city, catch a concert, visit museums, soak at the Blue Lagoon, and...
When we talked to artist Olafur Eliasson in the March/April 2011 issue of AFAR, he mentioned some work he was doing in Iceland. And on August 20 of last year, that work was inaugurated: The Harpa-Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre officially opened with the lighting of Eliasson’s amazing facade. Go for the facade, but stay for the events: the Iceland Airwaves festival starts October 31; last year’s lineup featured Bjork and Yoko Ono, among others. And the concert hall will be home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera.
As a friend and I were westbound on the southern part of the island, we made a stop in Vik. The dominant green cliffs and relaxed vibe of the town convinced that Reykjavik could wait. Vik was our favorite part of the trip. It's a great little town with a beautiful outdoor pool, a quaint little pub, and of course, some remarkable views.
The charming red and white Garðskagaviti lighthouse near Keflavik is Ideland's tallest. Built in 1944, the lighthouse was a gift from American servicemen grateful for being rescued from a sinking U.S. Coast Guard vessel.
You can climb all the way to the top of the lighthouse for an amazing 360-degree view. But no matter the time of year, you're bound to be met with a strong wind blowing in off the ocean - pleasant in the summer but a big chilly in the winter. But even in the winter, the endless panoramic view from the lighthouse, as well as the stately lighthouse itself, makes it more than worth a visit.
Icelandic lobster—also known as langoustine—is more like an oversize crayfish than a meaty Maine lobster. Nonetheless, it’s delicious, either grilled in garlic butter or cooked in creamy Icelandic lobster soup. For seafood straight from the source, head to Fjöruborðið, a small restaurant in the town of Stokkseyri, about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík. —Michele Chabin
Fjöruborðið, 354/483-1550, fjorubordid.is. Photo by Mark Gillow/Istockphoto. This appeared in the November/December 2010 issue.
Three days in iceland. Doesn't sound like much time? I'm here to convince you otherwise. We experienced glacier hiking, ice climbing, waterfalls, volcanos, Icelandic horses, snow-capped mountains, lava fields, Vikings, Viking beer, relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, geysers, a park where continental rifts are pulling away from each other and home to the oldest continuously-operating parliament (since 930AD), runterting til 6am, Icelandic hot dogs and all of this accomplished under endless summer days.
Coffee roasted in-house and brewed by friendly baristas draws a young crowd into the old stone building near Reykjavik’s imposing Lutheran cathedral. Share one of the seven tables with a regular patron and catch up on local gossip while vinyl spins on the vintage record player.
Kaffismidja Islands. Kárastígur 1, 354/517-5535. This appeared in the May/June 2012 issue. Photo by Katy Yen.
Yes, it’s a hot dog stand. But Bæjarins Beztu might be the most popular eatery in Iceland, famous for feeding Bill Clinton as well as hordes of drunken partiers. The line starts to form at the Tryggvagata location around 10 p.m. every night and persists till 4:30 a.m. on weekends. What’s the appeal? Best damn hot dogs on the planet. You will go back for seconds.
Bæjarins Beztu. 170 Seltjarnarnes. This appeared in the May/June 2012 issue. Photo by Gustaf Brundin/IStockPhoto.com
Jokusarlon Floating Iceberg Boat Tour was a Must See in Iceland! It is South East on the ring road and is at the bottom of Skaftaell National Park on the map.
Coffee at a cafe in reykjavik, not far from hallgrimskirkja.
As soon as we got to Iceland the first thing we did was go out and wander around Reykjavik. We soon found ourselves at Hallgrimskirkja and decided to go up to the top and were rewarded with a great view of the whole city. But it was so cold and windy that we had to keep running back into the indoors part of the tower. The rest of the trip was very busy and we were up by 7 am to go on some excursion somewhere every day but it was so peaceful and nice to be at the top of the tower during the long sunrise as soon as we got off the plane to a new place.