Iceland Trip Day 1-Reykjanes Peninsula and Reykjavik

This time last year, I went on one of my favorite trips to date.  I traveled to Iceland with 2 friends and it was a phenomenal trip.  If you’ve never considered going to Iceland, I hope these posts about my trip will change your mind.  And if you are reluctant to visit during the colder off season, I hope these posts about my trip will change your mind.  It was amazing to be able to stand in awe of a waterfall without any other tourists there.  We rented a car and drove on the Ring Road around the entire country and stayed at hostels and had an amazing time.  Icelandair now offers direct flights to Reykjavik from Dulles International Airport, but when we went they did not, so I flew from Reagan National to Boston and then flew Icelandair from Boston to Reykjavik.

We arrived at 6:30 am and quickly made it through customs and picked up our little rental car which costed $600 total for the week.  If you plan on driving through Iceland, I recommend traveling with a friend to help navigate especially since Icelandic road signs can be difficult to read.  My friend drove and I navigated the entire trip, which worked out extremely well.  Then we set off to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula.  Reykjanes means “smoky point” referring to its many geothermic hot spots.  We stopped at a lighthouse near Eldey Island, which is an uninhabited island that is a bird preserve.

Eldey Island

They we returned to the main road and drove toward the steam rising from the ground to Gunnuhver, which is a muddy geothermal field named after Gunna, a woman who was accused of murder and thrown into the boiling hot spring.

Gunnuhver

 Then we headed over to one of Iceland’s biggest attractions, the Blue Lagoon!  The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa.  The water gets its milkly blue color from the combination of algae, silica and other minerals in the water.  The water and silica is known to improve skin.  Even though it was freezing outside, it was very warm and relaxing in the water and in the surround saunas and steam rooms.  And we all tried a natural silica mud mask as well.  The cost of admission for adults is 30 euros (~$40).

Blue Lagoon

 Then we drove into Reykjavik and checked into our hostel.  Iceland has great hostels through Hosteling International.  We stayed at the Reykjavik City Hostel, which was about 3450 kr (~$23 a night) for a female dorm for 4 girls with private bath and breakfast.  The hostel was clean, spacious and it had free breakfast and wifi as well.  

Reykjavik City Hostel

After we got settled in the hostel, we walked downtown to explore and search for food.

 Downtown Reykjavik Harbor

View from downtown Reykjavik

For some reason, we were all craving fish and chips and after consulting our guidebooks and walking around downtown, we decided to go to Icelandic Fish and Chips.  They have various types of fresh fish and they also have a large selection of skyronnaises to pair with the fish and chips.  I had the haddock fish (990 kr or $8) and rosemary chips (450 kr or $4) with skyronnaise and it was all delicious.  I also liked how light the batter was instead of tasting like it was soaked in grease .  That is because the batter is made from spelt and barley and everything is made from organic ingredients.

Icelandic Fish and Chips

After dinner, we walked through town back to the hostel and went to sleep early since we were exhausted from the time change and from the busy day.  Stay tuned for more!

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