Sometimes I like to be different with my travels. My inquisitive nature probably? Most people I know like to do the sun holidays to Spain, Greece or Italy. I wanted to go somewhere “out of the norm”. Somewhere where you wouldn’t expect to find Irish people usually (although we did find an Irish bar!) so we decided that Iceland would be the destination.
I had managed to get a great deal on a hotel right bang in the middle of Reykjavik through the Travel Republic website. For a one euro deposit on most rooms, you can pay off your hotel in one lump sum, or in installments up until a certain date. Highly recommended if you can’t pay the full amount in one go!
To get to Reykjavik, we used the “cheap” airline WowAir to fly into Keflavik airport which is Iceland’s main airport. You can read about our flight back home here. Flying into Keflavik airport was a breeze without any issues. To get to the hotel we opted to try the FlyBus bus transfer service that was on offer. Since we’re both used to public transport this wasn’t an issue! The only problem is that you have to get two buses to your hotel, one bus takes you to the main Reykjavik bus terminal where you are given a ticket for another bus to get to your hotel. The same applies when you are going home so leave plenty of time for your journey to the airport.
Food and Culture
Hotel Leifur Erikkson is located pretty much in the centre of Reykjavik within a 10-20 minute walk to all major attractions. Nothing magical to say about the hotel but the staff were very friendly, the food was delicious and the room we stayed in was more the adequate. And who doesn’t like free hot chocolate all day? Straight in front of the hotel is the famous Hallgrimskirkja cathedral. Such a stunning view from right from your room!
Inside the cathedral, high ceilings and stunning decor make it a site to behold. The organ is played from the morning to the evening. For the equivalent of €6, you can take a lift to the top of the tower where you can take in some breathtaking views of Reykjavik.
On our first night we decided to try some local delicacies. A 20 second walk from the hotel is a restaurant named ROK. This place is a little different to normal “starter-main-dessert” style restaurants. You order 2-3 various small meals and they all come at once to give you some variety. For myself, I ordered some cured reindeer and a fish pie which came with some fresh rye bread. Amelia ordered some beef dish and some reindeer also. The reindeer had an “acquired” taste i.e a slimy texture that tasted horrible. With two local beers, the total came to €84 which is a little bit more than I expected! However the staff were very welcoming and friendly and I would happily try this place again, maybe without eating Rudolph’s friends though!
Continuing down the Frakkastígur boulevard for 10 minutes or so, you will end up at a dual carriageway style road with a view! Take a left and you will eventually come to the Reykjavik Opera House which hosts various shows throughout the week. It looks absolutely stunning from the outside. Unfortunately we did not attend any shows while we were here sorry! Right beside the Opera House is the Reykjavik harbour.
If you stay at Hotel Leifur Errikson and you take the immediate right, you will walk down Skólavörðustígur avenue (try saying that with 6 pints of beer in you) on to the main “strip” within Reykjavik. Laugavegur street hosts various different restaurants, bars and shops which are all easily accessible. These line the street on both sides and are all a great alternative if you do not wish to eat within the hotel you’re staying in. Souvenirs are easily bought as these shops are everywhere!
Food and alcohol are generally a little more expensive in Iceland than in Ireland. After exploring the city, we found the The Drunk Rabbit Irish Bar. A little home away from home. For two beers – a pint of Guinness and a pint of the local beer Gul – I was paying the equivalent of €16 every round. We didn’t buy too many rounds when we found out what we were paying!
Most tours can either be bought through the Icelandic Excursions website or through most hotel receptions depending on availability. On our first night in Reykjavik, we were meant to do the Northern Lights Tour however this was cancelled due to cloud cover. A bit of a damp start to the weekend however accepted it and decided that drinking more beer was the answer to the problem! On our second day we decided to do the Golden Circle tour – which will get it’s own review as it’s absolutely breathtaking.
Would I come back to Reykjavik? Absolutely 100% yes. Everybody you come into contact with are very welcoming. There is no language barrier as most Icelandic people speak English and are happy to help. The food and drink can be a little more expensive compared to most European countries but for the views, culture and atmosphere it’s definitely worth every penny. One little tip I’d add is to leave plenty of time for your arrivals and departures.
“I’ll be back.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
(Jesus I’m cheesy)
Thank you for reading! Any feedback is greatly appreciated 🙂