If it wasn’t for Ingólfur Arnarson, Reykavik could have been named Thor Ragnarok. Just kidding. But Ingolfur, the Viking, did actually name Reykavik, which can be translated to “smokey bay” due to the heat rising from the hot springs. In the 18th Century, a hint of industry was born when wool workshops were developed, but it was not until the late 1700’s when Reykavik became an established trading town. It was briefly under Danish rule at the beginning of the 20th century but obtained independence by 1944, therefore, you will see certain Scandinavian similarities not only due to its geography. It is now the most northern capital in the world and is a melting pot not just of hot springs but for shopping, restaurants and lifestyle. Reykavik, and Iceland in general, can be extremely expensive, but spend a few nights on the front and back end of your trip to explore. Just beware of prices and please budget ahead of time! There are a multitude of sweet traditional airbnbs to stay in as well as funky port hotels. Reykavik will be the beginning and the end of one of the most fabulous trips of your life, so don’t forget to enjoy, visit the blue lagoon and get ready for the big chill.
DO. THE BLUE LAGOON
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Nordurljosavegur 11, 240 Grindavík, Iceland if you can shell out the $300 per person, do this instead of the regular blue lagoon which can look like an EDM nightmare.. and choose the 8am slot, you will be alone in the geothermal waters and spa experience to exfoliate, dine, rest and come out sparkling
Hallgrimskirkja, Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland the immensely epic Catholic Church built in 1986 the architecture will astound you and is the first of many out-of-this-world churchs that seem to line the country
Perlan, Reykjavík, Iceland another architectural feat, the dome structured dining room is equally important just to walk to and witness as it is to eat there
The Volcano House, Tryggvagata 11, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland geological museum a nice starter kit to understanding the country and its nature
Thingvellir National Park, you can day trip to this national park but beware of the tourism
Akkúrat, Aðalstræti 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland concept shop of new designers from Iceland and Nordic countries, the “Colette” of Iceland
Skólavörðustígur 17b, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland husband and wife team hand craft the coolest jewelry pieces in silver and gold. Check out that bracelet, out of this world..
EAT. PRAY. PARTY
Skelfiskmarkaðurinn, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland hot new shellfish restaurant where they have cultured oysters made in Iceland, a first for the country and it also looks like the old Pastis inside
Fiskmarkaðurinn, Aðalstræti 12, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland try the tasting menu, but be wary there is whale on the menu
Grillmarkaðurinn, Lækjargata 2a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland meat is great but expensive but so is everything in this country
Kol Restaurant, Skólavörðustígur 40, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland three course meal is awesome especially tuna tataki
Fish Company, Vesturgata 2a, Grófartorg, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland best fish in Iceland don’t forget lobster salad, it is epic!
Sjávargrillið, Skólavörðustígur 14, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland everything you need ambiance, delicious food try one of the grilled tasting menus!
Lebowski Bar, Laugavegur 20a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland fun and touristy bar, but amazing music and extension list of white russian variation cocktails
Bar Ananas, Klapparstígur 38, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland this tropical bar will warm you right up in the center of town
Emilie and the Cool Kids, Hverfisgata 98, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland french coffee shop arrives in Reykavik
Kaffibrennslan, Laugavegur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland a great cappucino next to 66 North and Sputtnik