Our decision to take the red eye flight from Toronto to Reykjavik resulted in us visiting the Blue Lagoon in Iceland around 7am! Our flight left at 9pm and landed in Iceland at 6am local time, and since the Blue Lagoon is actually much closer to the airport than it is to Reykjavik, I thought the perfect way to relax after our long flight would be to stop there before heading to our Airbnb. After the Blue Lagoon, we went to our Airbnb (took a nap) and then explored Reykjavik for the rest of the day!
The Blue Lagoon
Honestly when we first landed in Iceland, the area around the airport looked a little industrial and the weather was pretty crappy, so I had overwhelming feelings of ‘why did we do this’. I have never been out of the country before–much less by myself!–so once it was really happening I kind of freaked out a little bit. All of my worries faded as soon as we arrived at the Blue Lagoon. I thought this might end up being a disappointing attraction because I’ve read that it can be touristy/overrated, but that could not be further from the truth! Once we checked in, we were able to store our luggage and go to the locker rooms. The locker rooms were absolutely huge and nice, and since it was just about 8am hardly anybody else was there. I didn’t really get my first view of the actual lagoon until I finally stepped out of the locker room to meet up with Austin. The water was like a milky blue color that I’ve never really seen before. At first it smelled like rotten eggs, but we got used to that pretty quickly. It was about 40 degrees outside, so it was freezing between the building and the lagoon but once we were in it felt amazing! The water was so warm and felt perfect after we had been on such a long flight and long drive to Toronto before finally arriving.
We knew we had to spend about 3 or 4 hours in the lagoon because our Airbnb check-in time wasn’t until 2pm. This seemed like a long time at first, but it went by pretty quickly because there is kind of a lot to do at the lagoon. There are two mini swim-up bars in it – one that serves drinks and one that has face masks. With normal admission, you get unlimited amounts of the ‘basic’ face mask, but you got the ‘nicer’ face masks with the more expensive admission. Since we just did normal admission, we did the normal face masks which had silica in them. It was really weird feeling until it dried, but it did end up making my face feel cleaner. We bought slushies at the other bar and explored the entire lagoon. You can’t see the whole thing from one spot, so as we waded around we discovered a cave area with a recording that explains how the Blue Lagoon was formed. There was also a sauna room that we didn’t end up using, and a little lazy river area. The entire area is super aesthetically pleasing because the bright blue water looks unreal next to the black mountains in the background. One of my favorite things about Iceland is the way that all of the mountains are black and green as opposed to the ones in the United States that are usually brown or gray!
Eventually we had spent enough time at the lagoon and went out to catch the bus we were taking to Reykjavik. The nice thing about the tour we booked was that not only did it give us transportation from the airport to the lagoon and then to Reykjavik, but we could leave the airport and then the lagoon at whatever time we wanted because buses left once every hour. We finally made it to our Airbnb in Reykjavik and then the time zones caught up with us and we fell asleep for like an hour before we began exploring the city!
Even at first glance, Reykjavik was one of the coolest cities I’ve seen. The buildings don’t have shutters or siding (I’m guessing this is because it’s soo windy there), so they look kind of uniform but still each one stands out because they are all different colors! The mountains and water in the background of practically every view of the city made it so picturesque.
I purposefully booked our Airbnb to be very close to Laugevegur – the main shopping street in Reykjavik. This area seems kind of hipster, but at the same time it feels so genuine because you can just tell that’s how Iceland is. We were literally just around the corner from that street, so once we regained some energy we decided to just walk down and see what there was to see. This road had a bunch of little shops with everything from souvenirs to restaurants to handmade wool. One place was called ‘Woolcano’ – specializing in wool and volcanoes? I will never know.
Eventually we made our way down to what seemed like the main area or the center of Reykjavik near the Harpa Concert Hall and an amazing view of the ocean. The weather this day was so perfect, so as we walked around the town we were pretty warm even though it was super windy. The overall vibe of Reykjavik is so calm, but there are still people everywhere you look. As am writing this post, I definitely wish I could go back already because I just loved the feeling that Iceland had.
When we got dinner at a burger place, we learned – for the second time – that they looove mayonnaise in Iceland and practically drown everything in it. We each got a burger and fries and spent over $50 – gotta love Iceland prices :)))) How expensive everything is is really the only downside of going there! After dinner, we went to the grocery store which was a truly wild experience. There was no time during our entire trip that I felt like I was at a disadvantage because of the language barrier EXCEPT when we were in this grocery store. Literally everything in Iceland has English on it except for the foods in this store. All we were trying to do was buy sliced ham, sliced cheese, and bread for sandwiches to eat on our road trips the next two days. We ended up buying a huge chunk of cheese that we had to cut with a knife because it was the only one where we recognized the kind (cheddar lol) and some weird bread. Honestly not sure but I think that those three things cost upward of $20 and were still the cheapest things we bought there. After that we were pretty close to home and we were completely exhausted by like 6:30pm, so we went back to the Airbnb and almost immediately fell asleep 🙂
I reeealllllyyy loved being in Reykjavik, and even though we were able to do a little more exploring the next couple days when we went out to eat dinner, I still wish we had more time! My next post will be all about day 2 of our trip – road tripping the Golden Circle!