Reykjavik. The genuine friendliness of the people of Iceland began the moment we landed at the region’s International Airport.
My trip to Iceland this past March was not even a bucket list destination. My daughter had visited Iceland prior and was so enthralled by her trip there, and the affordability of it, that I looked into it and booked a flight for March 2016! The only exception with regards to affordability, on this trip we had reserved a rental car but did not complete the booking online back in the United States and once we were at the counter the rates soared sky high. It was impossible to contact the rental car company from the airport. The weekly price of $179.00 jumped to close to $400.00! Tip: Get insurance, GPS, and any other feature you may need online.
The moment we arrived downtown Reykjavik we spotted Mount Esja—it was surreal. The ride to downtown, (about 40 minutes from the airport) the main hub of the city, was on a flat road with views of volcanoes and a unique landscape in every direction I explored the downtown neighborhood and stopped at the Old Iceland restaurant where I had my first incredibly fresh and delectable meal – baked codfish, grilled curled veggies and sweet potato puree. Eating out can be pricey. I stopped at a local supermarket to stock up on supplies for my first tour the next day.
During my trip I saw volcanoes, glaciers, the northern lights, hot springs, geysers, and rode an Icelandic horse through a volcanic trail. Being a horse lover I was in heaven! These beautiful, fluffy 5 gait horses are everywhere! They roam free among pastures and meadowlands and for me, I could literally stop along the road and get my ‘horse fix’, petting, hugging and taking tons of pictures with them. They are truly unique and beautiful! Also see my article on Icelandic horses “The Icelandic Horse…“.
The Land of Fire and Ice: The Golden Circle
Three of Iceland’s most famous natural wonders may be in experienced in one daylong tour, these are Gullfoss, Geysir, and Pingvellir.
Gullfoss is Iceland’s most famous waterfall. With a dramatic 32 cm double cascade drop it is absolutely a natural wonder. It was a cold snowy day and I could feel the walls of spray and a glittering of ice was visible at the waterfall. It was a spectacular sight.
Geysir, sprouting hot springs can be seen and a wait of no longer than 5 minutes will awe you for the water to swirl up 15m to 30m before vanishing down.
Pingvellir, the day I visited this National Park was quite cold (or warm if you ask Icelanders!), a bone chilling 7 degrees! I did see Pingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest lake but only for a short while.
I was chilled to the bone and removing gloves to take pictures left my fingers red and tingly!
Additional Reykjavik attraction (s):
Hallgrimskirkja, a towering white-concrete church offers the best view to take pictures high up in its 74.5m tower. The downtown center with its row of neat colorful houses can be seen through open towers. The church boasts a 5275 pipe organ (did not get to experience its sound).
Blog contributor: Yube Miah.