top of page
  • Writer's pictureGrant

Things To Do In Iceland – Called the Land of Fire and Ice

What an incredible land! Often called the land of fire and ice. So many things to do in Iceland! So many things to see! You experience all of nature in as a pristine environment as possible with people around.


For the three days in May I spent in Reykjavik (Reykjavík - Wikipedia) the weather (remember the month of May is only early spring there) went from sunny to rainy to blustery to chilly and back to sunny – a real experience of Fire and Ice. As I wrote this blog, sitting in the Hotel Holt lobby on or around May 16th, it was sunny, a bit breezy and 45 degrees (Climates to travel - World climate guide). Excellent weather for exploring!


Holt Hotel - the Art Hotel in Reykjavik Iceland
Holt Hotel - the Art Hotel in Reykjavik Iceland

After an uneventful flight from Denver to Chicago to Reykjavik, I arrived at my hotel a few blocks away from the Reykjavik downtown area, so easy walking distance. I stayed at the “Hotel Holt – the Art Hotel” (Welcome | Hotel Holt, an artful hotel in the center of Reykjavik Iceland). By the way, I also saw it written as Holt Hotel and The Holt Hotel. I booked my stay through Booking.com (Booking.com | Official site | The best hotels, flights, car rentals & accommodations). The Booking.com website is easy to use, and they usually provide the opportunity to handle incidentals such as travel insurance. Don’t forget your travel insurance. Just saying.


Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrims Church) and statue of Lief Ericsson Reykjavik Iceland
Hallgrimskirkja and statue of Lief Ericsson Reykjavik Iceland

Since I had three days in Reykjavik, I planned my things to do in Iceland by dividing my three days into an introductory day, one day exploring and learning about Reykjavik, and another day exploring Iceland outside of Reykjavik. So, I booked 3 tours through Viator (Things to Do, Tickets, Tours & Attractions | 2024 | Viator). I highly recommend Viator for tours, activities, and even airport transfers.


With Viator’s extensive selection of tours, I was able to easily book a Reykjavik tour and an outside of Reykjavik tour. Then I also threw in a “Hop on/Hop off Bus Tour” around Reykjavik (City Sightseeing Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour 2024 (viator.com)) for my time on the first day. I highly recommend the Hop on/Hop off bus tours for determining the sights you want to see, as well as those you might want to explore in more detail. They are typically a colorful double decker bus; you can’t miss them, and they are easy to find and book through Viator.


Einar Jonson sculpture garden Reykjavik Iceland
Einar Jonson sculpture garden Reykjavik Iceland

I did the Hop on/Hop off tour around Reykjavik on the day I arrived, as I said, to get the lay of the land and decide what I really wanted to see, like the National Museum of Iceland (National Museum of Iceland (thjodminjasafn.is)) and the Reykjavik Maritime Museum (Reykjavík City Museum (borgarsogusafn.is)). Two other places caught my eye, the live Lava Show (Lava Show in Iceland - Feel the Heat of Red-Hot Lava) and the Whales of Iceland (Whales of Iceland - The Largest Whale Museum in Europe | Life-Sized Models | Audio Guide | Private Events | Guided Group Tours), neither of which I had time to see. I’ll have to see those on my next visit. In most places the Hop on/Hop off bus tours last from 1-2 hours, again depending on the location (London, for example is more expensive and last about 2 hours). In Reykjavik, the tour is roughly $35 and lasts a little more than 1 hour.


Haukadalur Geyser eruption on the Golden Circle in Iceland
Haukadalur Geyser eruption on the Golden Circle in Iceland

The tour outside of Reykjavik was the “Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Full Day Tour from Reykjavik by Minibus” (Golden Circle (Gullni Hringurinn) - What To Know BEFORE You Go | Viator). I know a long title for an all-day minibus tour (a small group tour), including a soak in the hot springs. Since the Secret Lagoon was closed, we went to the Fontana Spa (Iceland Spa, Geothermal Baths & Steam Saunas | Laugarvatn Fontana). Same thing at both places - geothermal heated water in multiple pools, saunas, and steam baths. And after an all-day bus ride, relaxing at the Fontana spa was just the ticket.


One of the stops on the tour was to see the “Geysir” (although the original Geysir is not active, there are several smaller ones). It was interesting and I did get to see a small eruption (The spectacular Geysir Geothermal Area - Strokkur and all the other Hot Springs | Guide to Iceland).


Walk into the Rift Valley on the Golden Circle tour Iceland
Walk into the Rift Valley on the Golden Circle tour Iceland

A stop that I liked the most was the Rift Valley. Iceland is the only dry land location where you can see the separation of these two tectonic plates, the North American plate and the Eurasian plate. The plates continue to separate at the rate of 1 cm. per year. Currently, the valley in Iceland is about 4 miles wide and continuing to separate (Þingvellir - Wikipedia).



Beautiful streams flowing into the Rift Valley Iceland
Beautiful streams flowing into the Rift Valley Iceland

On the final day, even though the weather was very cold and very, very windy, I did a walking tour of Reykjavik called, the “Funky History Walking Tour in Reykjavik – With local Storyteller”. Our guide and storyteller was Lalli (an abbreviated nickname) and even with the cold wind, he kept our small group active and moving. He had fantastic stories and showed us his lineage back to Ragnar Lodbrok (World History Encyclopedia – Ragnar Lothbrok), the Scandinavian warrior and king whose life is depicted in The Vikings series (first aired from 2013-2020, on the History channel, you can see it now on Netflix). Lalli had many more great stories about Iceland’s past and present.


Myrkholt Farms and Icelandic Horses a stop on the Golden Circle tour Iceland
Myrkholt Farms and Icelandic Horses a stop on the Golden Circle tour Iceland

If you go to Reykjavik, I highly recommend that you take Lalli’s tour. He has a website at: www.funkyiceland.is.


After 3 days of exploring Iceland and Reykjavik, I took off for warmer weather. For a relatively small airline travel market, the main airport about 40 miles outside of Reykjavik, called Keflavík International Airport is the main hub for Icelandair, which has flights to most major cities worldwide.


I was able to book a reasonable, direct flight to Milan on Icelandair. A connection through Easy Jet took me the rest of the way to my destination, Naples.


I booked the flights through Kiwi.com (the first time I used them). And everything went smoothly. Oh, and one more thing, I booked my airport transfers through Viator (Tours, sightseeing tours, activities & things to do | Viator.com). Again, very easy, reasonable pricing, and trouble free. Don’t forget to book airport transfers on your arrival to your destinations. It saves issues and hassle with finding transportation to your hotel or AirBnB, without knowing the area.


Next post from the warm weather of Naples, Italy.

3 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page