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After cruising the British Isles in 2017, we flew to Reykjavik, Iceland where we had an outstanding 4 day/3 night stay. Not only were the tours outside the city spectacular, the city of Reykjavik was a pleasant surprise.
With a population of about 110,000 (approximately one-third of the country’s population), Reykjavik was charming, quaint, active, and unique. Although I’ve already posted about the city, Reykjavik has an outstanding collection of murals! … and Resa would love them!
Although I originally planned a more informative look at the murals, this post (the first of my Closeout Tour) looks at some of the one’s I captured. “Resources” at the end offers links for more information and additional images of the beautiful murals in Reykjavik. Many of the murals in those links are stunning!
Do you have a favorite?
At the airport (KEF) I was surprised to find this complex mural.
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Since about 2012, vacation travellers to Iceland has drastically increased – and the trend seems to be continuing. Because one’s travel will probably involve Reykjavik, here are some tips that are worth knowing before arriving.
Consider flying KEF-based Icelandair or WOW airlines (discounter) as they may provide considerable savings. We used Icelandair for our entire trip to the UK, and we would fly them again.
The international airport for Reykjavik is not in Reykjavik, but actually in Keflavik (KEF) – which is about 45 minutes from Reykjavik.
Given the airport location, Flybus and Grayline provide bus transportation to Reykjavik. Visitors can purchase tickets in the baggage area at the airport.
The buses will not take passengers to their hotel – but will stop at designated bus stops within the city, so select a hotel close to one of the bus stops. We got lucky with our hotel as it was very close to two stops. Thumbs up to the Skuggi Hotel.
Reykjavik is a very walkable city – so select a hotel in the city center or in the old city/harbor area.
Tour companies are abundant, and also use the same bus stops are airport transportation.
We found hotels and food to be expensive. Before booking we expected $300+ per night for a hotel. Once we were there, you learn to accept the $30 for pizza or spaghetti.
We mistakenly thought restaurants would be mainly fish – Not true as there are a wide variety of culinary offering.
Previous posts about Iceland
Enjoy any or all of the videos about intriguing Iceland.
We spent bits of four different days in Reykjavik. It is an easy city to walk, and there is enough to keep us busy. Interestingly, about a third of Iceland’s population is in Reykjavik.
Admiring the architectural pattern of basalt rocks of the Lutheran Cathedral
Smiling at the Sun Voyager metal sculpture saluting the Viking heritage
Engaging in the quaint building architecture
Strolling the main shopping street.
Loving the modern feel of the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center
Marveling at the view across the water
Knowing how much Resa would enjoy the many murals (more in a future dedicated post).
Standing in amazement at the 10:45 pm sky
Enjoying the fireworks thanking us for visiting before leaving the next day
Reykjavik is the largest city in Iceland, but not expect the grandness of New York, Chicago, London, or Paris. It’s not even close to Cincinnati. However, at 110,000 people, it’s large enough to offer a wide variety of activities, yet quaint enough to be manageable and make one feel comfortable. Bottom line: we enjoyed it – Thumbs up!
We continued with Extreme Iceland for Day 2, but this time for a trip along the south coast. It was simply another day of the beauty providing sensory overloaded.
Wondering about the numerous lava field I expected, but observing ecological succession with lava field covered with moss was a surprise
Seeing wonderful scenery
Walking behind the waterfall (Seljalandsfoss)
Strolling black beach (Reynisfjara)
Marveling at rock formations
Enjoying the view from Dyrholaey of the black beach we just visited
Reflecting about the setting of a farm with its fertile land and the glacier above
Hearing the roar of Skogafoss in its gorge
Standing on the glacier (Solheimajokull)
Never tiring of the landscape and the views
Continually admiring the landscape
…. after all, how could anyone get bored with seeing places like this.
Hope you enjoyed the brief highlights of Iceland’s south coast. Here’s a 2+-minute video showing the sights in motion.
On our first full day in Iceland, we chose to tour the Golden Circle, which is one of the most popular tours. Icelandic landscape is fascinating, so the senses are constantly entertained. We used Extreme Iceland for two days.
Admiring the landscape.
Walking along the fault line where tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia meet in Thingvellir National Park.
Standing in awe of the view.
Witnessing the fury of Gullfoss, a spectacular and very large waterfall.
Notice the people on the left side
Patiently waiting for Strokkur Geysir to do its thing.
Relaxing to Faxi’s roar.
Enjoying a dip in a thermal pool known as Fludir: the Secret Lagoon.
Find the lifeguard
Hiking up to and around Kerid’s rim, an extinct volcano.
Seeing more wonderful landscape.
All in one day … so our first full day in Iceland was wonderful. Here’s a 2-minute video featuring some of the Golden Circle sights.
For those wanting some background music for the post, here’s some music from the land.
On to the post.
The image shows are 12-days of cruising. Keep in mind that we had 4 days in London before cruising, plus 3 days in Reykjavik, Iceland after the cruise. Both of these stops were independent of the cruise and done on our own.
I was struck by the fact that each of the major cities in the British Isles were quite different from one another.
- The most grand: London, England
- The most captivating: Edinburgh, Scotland
- The most walkable: Dublin, Ireland
- The most unexpectedly different: Liverpool, England
- The most gut wrenching: Belfast, Northern Ireland
… and we didn’t just visit cities on the trip:
- The most scenic countryside: Northern Scotland
- The most solemn: American military cemetery at Normandy (Omaha Beach)
- The most quaint: St. Peter Port, Guernsey
- The most geologic diverse: Iceland
We walked a lot – averaging about 13,500 steps per day with over 25,000 being the most. When walking, my eyes are busy. For those who remember, when in Florence, Italy – I say “Look up!” Whether walking or passing by in a touring bus, these business signs on the trip caught my eye. Other than the obvious, any thoughts on what they sell?