24 hours in and around Reykjavík, Iceland
It was a sunny day when the plane landed and we saw the white mountains of Iceland and Reykjavík appearing in the distance. We arrived at 9am in the morning and were taken to the city. On the way, we saw lots of snow-capped peaks, Icelandic horses and brightly painted houses.
The country’s capital is located on the south-west coast. The best way to explore the city is by spending two to three hours with a private guide. The most striking and must-see edifice is the Hallgrímskirkja church, a modern cathedral built in concrete that can be seen from every corner of town and which has a spectacular view of the city and surroundings from its tower.
The narrow streets of the Old Town with their colourful houses, shops and restaurants make a beautiful walk. Wandering around the Old Harbour area was also a pleasure. At the end, a stunning glass structure rises up by the sea. This is the Harpa concert and conference hall, a magnificent jewel of modern architecture.
After exploring the city, we were driven the 45 minutes or so to one of the jewels of this enchanting country: the famous Blue Lagoon. The Retreat, a luxurious spa hotel, is the place to stay here. It allows day visitors to enjoy the facilities and the swimming pool for four hours in a very peaceful and exclusive way, not far from the original public lagoon that everyone knows. It is a unique and marvellous experience. From here, you can see the otherworldly landscape and feel the cold wind blowing, but you don’t mind at all as you are immersed in the hot geothermal spring waters. You can even have a glass of Champagne in the In-Water Spa. The skin treatments were amazing too.
After this relaxing afternoon, we returned to Reykjavík and went out for dinner. We chose FiskmarkaÃ°urinn (The Fish Market), located in one of the earliest and most handsome buildings of the Old Town. We had a 10-course set menu – a great combination of delicious dishes that kept coming made with a mixture of local and fresh ingredients – something we highly recommend trying.
We would have loved to have stayed for another day or so to enjoy more of what this small capital has to offer, but this was still a great taste of its charm. Reykjavík is a wonderful place to explore en route to some of Iceland’s other highlights.