We landed in Iceland at 6 AM and less than three hours later we were soaking in the Blue Lagoon. Let me tell you, it is the way to go.
Transportation & Packages: We used Reykjavik Excursion to get a bus straight from the airport to the lagoon. You have to pre-purchase tickets for the lagoon but then you can go straight from the airport to the lagoon and after a quick shower and change you’re in the lagoon. We did the luxury package which included a bathrobe, drink and extra masks, but I think you’d be just fine with the regular package. Starting vacation with prosecco in a hot springs at 9 AM is not a bad way to live.
The Blue Lagoon: Everything I read about visiting the Blue Lagoon said to be careful with your hair and apply lots of conditioner because the lagoon can be very drying. After my shower, I put conditioner in my hair and then threw it up into a bun and had no problems. I had also read to explore the lagoon and I totally agree with that; there are hotter spots in different parts of the lagoon, there’s the swim-up bar and a cold water tap under some of the bridges if you get thirsty. You don’t have a time limit but we spent about an hour and a half in the water and that was plenty for us. Don’t forget to use the masks they come around with for your face!
Most people visit the lagoon on the way to or from the airport; if you have the option definitely go on the way from the airport into Reykjavik, even after the shower I still felt a little sticky after and you’ll want to rinse out your bathing suit after the lagoon.
Last but not least, if you want great pictures, hope for really amazing weather or bring a waterproof camera or life proof case for your phone. I brought my regular camera outside and it was windy, rainy and there was fog everywhere making it impossible to get a clear shot. I only kept my camera outside for a couple of minutes before running it inside before it got totally soaked, and I got yelled at for walking into the locker room wet... Stick to a waterproof case or camera and don't try going in and out of the locker room.
Reykjavik: We got to Reykjavik the same way we got to the lagoon. The bus runs every hour so we left the lagoon when we were done and hopped on the bus, which took us about 2 blocks from our hotel. We stayed at Rey Apartments which ended up working out great for us. It’s right in the heart of the city with lots of restaurants and shopping nearby and it’s two blocks from where we needed to get the buses and tours. Our apartment had a nice living room, a full kitchen and three bedrooms which gave the five of us ample room to spread out. The only downfall was the singular bathroom but we split up showering in the morning and at night which helped. We didn’t have proper blackout shades so if you’re going during the summer definitely bring an eye mask; it won’t get dark until after midnight.
The food was definitely the highlight of Reykjavik, but before we get there I had to share a few snaps of the street art in Iceland. Despite the constant rain, it was a really cool city.
The Food: Our first day here was cold and rainy so we all agreed soup would be an ideal first meal. We went to Svarta Kaffid, a small café that only serves soup in bread bowls. The day we went they had two kinds available: a meat soup that tasted almost exactly like chili and a creamy Italian vegetable soup. Both were great and a perfect meal for the day.
For our first dinner, I insisted we try the famous Icelandic hotdogs. We didn’t go to the original Bæjarins Betzu Pylsur because it was 2 miles from our hotel, but we found one nearby. If you go, you have to get the hotdog with everything (raw and cooked onions, ketchup, mustard, and a special sauce. Max was already asking to go back for more hotdogs 12 hours later.
A lot of places in Reykjavik weren’t open at 8 AM when we had to eat breakfast, but we found a great little bakery/café called Sandholt. My dad got a smoked salmon sandwich which was basically lox and cream cheese on a pretzel and my brother and I had eggs, amazing bacon, a small salad and sourdough. It was one of the bigger portioned meals we had here and everything was great.
We ate lunch on the road day two but we made up for it with an amazing dinner. I had been dying to try some Icelandic delicacies and insisted we go to Grill Market though I knew it was ridiculously overpriced. Max and I shared the mini burgers (whale, puffin and langoustine) and a meat plate that came with ribeye, duck and lamb. The rest of the family had chicken skewers, pork ribs and horse. I can’t say a single bad thing about anything I ate and I ate a LOT of foods way outside my comfort zone. I don’t know that I would have wanted to eat some of them in a larger portion size but they were all delicious and I’m glad I got to try them. Since everything in Iceland is expensive, I definitely recommend splurging on Grill Market. They have an eight-course tasting menu that didn’t work for us because the whole table had to do it, but doing that or sharing appetizers and getting main courses are both great options (and only way to fill up) despite the price tags.
Our last meal of the trip was definitely the best value. After getting drinks at a local bar we found Icelandic Street Food (that’s the actual name of the restaurant). I wasn’t super hungry but Max got the seafood soup. After you finish your main course, you get a free refill of any of the three main dishes, so after that we tried the lamb soup. They also have free macaroons, and occasionally free waffles so we ended up getting a lot of food for the typical $16 soup.