If there is a place covered in Pixie Dust it’s Iceleand.
I took my solo trip to Iceland in the frigid cold of late January. Iceland had always been so high on my list of destinations. I don’t know what exactly drew me to the country to begin with, but I knew I wanted to go. That was enough for me.
My trip was short – only 4 days – so I certainly didn’t get to know the country as I want to, but it sparked a love affair that I think will last all my life.
What to Pack
Not to fear though – as long as you’re properly insulated it is more than manageable.
When packing, don’t underestimate the value of layers. Really warm snow boots are not always enough – be armed with extra pairs of socks.
The standard winter gear also applies; warm coat, waterproof gloves, scarf and something to keep your ears and head warm.
Not surprised by anything I had to say? That’s because it’s really simple. Keep warm!
My flight from London to Reykjavik landed in the wee hours of the morning and I sleepily boarded a bus from the airport to the bus terminal. Buses are easily accessible and tickets can be purchased in advance. The ticket includes hotel/hostel drop-off, but depending on the location you may need to swap vehicles in between.
The service takes approximately 45 minutes and is stress-free, which I always appreciate when I’m in a new country without a data plan!
When travelling alone, I always stay in hostels. It is the easiest way to meet like-minded travellers and, let’s be honest, is cheap.
Loft Hostel is really well located, incredibly clean, and very social without a party focus.
The roof-top bar is popular with tourists and locals alike. Offering live music (that stops early enough to not be a nuisance), it is the perfect place to make new friends and tour companions for the next day. Breakfast is chargeable and had a decent variety of continental options. It is not overly abundant, but provides the energy needed to get through an activity-filled day.
Excursions and Activities
This is the budget-killer in Iceland. Driving is very dangerous – especially in the winter – so it is worthwhile to do organized tours.
All of my activities were arranged through Arctic Adventures. From caving to snorkelling, horseback riding to glacier trekking, this company offered it all.
The activities themselves deserve blogs of their own, which I will be sure to provide soon enough.
Food and Drink
There is a notable lack of fast food, which I found incredible. I truly thought there wasn’t a country on earth that didn’t have a McDonalds until I went to Iceland.
Bullan is a must-try. It’s super tiny structure made getting a table tricky, but the long line was worth every bite of that burger!
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur – probably the most famous hot dog stand ever – is located on the outskirts of central Reykjavik. To say I’m dying to go back would be false, but I am always game to enjoy the local highlights.
Unlike fast food, bars in Reykjavik are easy to come by. Given the nature of hostel life, plenty of time was spent at Loft’s bar. Outside of the Hostel, we hopped around to a number of smaller places. The bigger ones to note;
- Kaffibarinn was an easy place to go for a night out and is open until 4:30am on the weekends.
- The English Pub offered decent oub food and (more importantly) cold beer for a more low key experience.
I still get goosebumps thinking of my time in Reykjavik. My urge to immediately jump on a flight back is at an all-time high while I type out my story. If there is any place in the world I need to return to, it’s Iceland.