Due to our flight being delayed, plus the ice on the roads we arrived at Reykjavik bus station very late. Due to the cost of the transfer bus to our accommodation at Galaxy Pod Hostel we decided to walk, using google maps to help. It was snowing gently, and the streets were eerily quiet, just the two of us. We made it to our hostel eventually after an hours trek through the snow, luckily we just had small rucksacks, myself and my husband in the same room but separate pods due to a mistake made while booking – starfish mode activated. Luckily, the accommodation had pizza available to buy and beer. The friendly staff spoke excellent English and were able to draw us directions on a map to where we had to go the following morning for our Golden Circle Daytrip.
We arose early and layered up ready for the blizzard outside, it was still dark but would be until 10:30am when the sun rose. We made our way to the meeting point for the coach and luckily found somewhere out of the wind to wait, it was well below -10°c. The coach took us to a petrol station on the outskirts of the city to swap to our coach for our Golden Circle tour, including Secret Lagoon. Our first stop off was at Kerið Crater, a crater lake created by a volcano a long time ago. Next up was the Secret Lagoon a geothermally heated lagoon for bathing; we picked this over Blue Lagoon due to the easier logistics, much cheaper price and the fact that it is a natural lagoon, unlike Blue Lagoon which is man-made. After this we headed to Geysir to see the Strokker Geysir which regularly erupts and get some lunch. Did you know that the word geyser comes from the Icelandic word Geysir?
Following time to explore at Geysir, we made our way to Þingvellir, t8he seat of the Icelandic Parliament for hundreds of years, since the time of Vikings, making it the world’s oldest modern parliament. It is also the place where the North American and Eurasion tectonic plates meet, seen as a rift along the roadside, you cross over from one to another on the journey! As the sun began to lower in the sky, we then travelled to the famous Gullfoss waterfall, also known as the Golden Waterfall in English. The bus then headed back to Reykjavik and dropped us off near our hotel. We head back inside to warm up and prepare for the nights’ adventures!
As the temperature had dropped to below -16°c we added extra layers and made the trek back to the bus station to join our Northern Lights tour. The tour took us back to Þingvellir, due to the lack of light pollution in the area and amount of coach parking available. We were extremely lucky that nice as we did manage to see and capture the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). It was the only day in a whole week that they were actually visible! My advice to anyone going to see them, take a camera stand, your photos will come out much clearer (you can thank me later!).
We allowed ourselves a little lie in after a few late night and early mornings. First on the agenda was the Phallological Museum – and yes, it is about what you think it is. It was certainly… an experience. We had some Vietnamese food from a restaurant opposite to get out of the pouring, freezing rain. The rain eased off, so we decided to walk down to the sea front, taking in the Sun Voyager and along to Harpa Concert Hall. Unfortunately, the rain came back with a vengeance, and it’s no lie to say we were soaked to the skin.
We decided to visit Perlan, partly because of its high status on tripadvisor and also because there was a free bus going from Harpa. We got the double ticket that included Wonders of Iceland & Áróra. The Ice Cave made from real ice and the show Áróra being highlights. The café upstairs had a great selection of food and drink, and a great view. There is also an outside area where you can see the city, due to the fact that Perlan is on a hill, it was a great place to watch the sunset.
We wanted to sample some more Icelandic cuisine, and had been recommended Café Loki, opposite Hallgrimskirkja church, plus we had a voucher (voucher books can be found at tourist attractions and accommodation, they definitely help as Iceland is not a cheap country!). We had a platter of an assortment of Icelandic delicacies but decided not to try the shark due to my views on hunting them, the café kindly swapped it for mashed fish on Icelandic bread at no extra cost. The food was very different but delicious all the same, I would say it’s a must if you visit Reykjavik!
We packed up our belongings and left the hostel to explore the city centre better, taking in the shops and grabbed a selection of different dishes at Hlemmur – Mathöll food hall before continuing into the centre. We had a wander around Kolaportið flea market before walking back to the bus station to catch our coach back to the airport. Until next time, Reykjavik!
Author – Hi, I’m Cerys, a 27 year old, married mature student with a love of travelling and a mission: to visit 50 countries before I’m 30. Currently 35 down. I like to take photos along the way and share my tips for making travel easier for everyone! You can find find me on instagram under @gothgirltravels !