Updated: Jun 11
THEY SAY THAT HOME IS A FEELING RATHER THAN A PLACE…
and this place FELT like home more than any country i've wandered yet. a beautiful compilation of some of my favourite countries in the world, new zealand, ireland, scotland and northern british columbia, canada. they call iceland the land of fire + ice for good reason. there is seemingly no in-between to this magnificent country. from hiking glaciers, to traversing volcanic ash, to sweeping moss covered canyons beyond your wildest imagination, this country's got it all. locals spend their time in geo thermal springs + hot pools as bars + social gatherings, and nightlife turns up until the the tiny morning hours (the sun never goes down in the summer, so its easy to slip into hedonistic behaviours + the pursuit of pleasure in the cities!) these nordic folks know how to hunker down with good food, good drink + good conversations.
WHERE TO TRAVEL:
the ring road is a classic travel destination (i totally suggest doing it if you have 10 + days in iceland, if not, here are the highlights!)
reykjavik- for some city centre cafe vibes + to partaay. the perfect pairing of modern and timeless, this city has incredible food, amazing cafe culture, a church steeple to wow you, all placed magnificently along the ocean.
vik- black sand beach, need i say more? it's well known to be rainiest, windiest + wettest place in the country, but the sweeping black sand views + oceanic basalt stacks are well worth the dampness.
snaefelssnes peninsula- coastal views leave you breathless + asks you to consider the magnitude of this earth.
skogafoss- epic waterfall with the opportunity to climb some beautiful moss covered stairs to the top. (for a little hidden gem, take the trail behind the museum + find yourself in equally breathtaking waterfall views with a little less people + just as much wow)
the blue lagoon- this one seems obvious, but it's worth the hype (+ krona). we wouldn't suggest the free face mask, but hey, you do you.
cafe paris, reykjavik- the cutest little parisian cafe with endless filtered coffee (a rarity in iceland!) they take coffee seriously, yet their menu is fresh + innovative.
skaftfell bistro, seydisfjordur - we stopped here on our trek through the east fjords + welcomed a break from the rain + wind with the most incredible latte. a must stop over if you're on the move. the pizza here is well known around the area + definitely didn't disappoint (if you're brave + a meat eater you can order the reindeer pizza!) the ambience is beautiful + they have dozens of vintage books + games to leaf through while you sip + warm up. they also have a large variety of beers, especially Icelandic ones if you dig.
kaffi krus, selfoss- we were frequenters of this cafe. we couldn't get enough of this little home converted into a coffee house/pub in the otherwise sleepy town of selfoss.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK:
rok, reykjavik- ok talk about ambiance. this place is top notch visually aesthetic right from the hop. think fur lined seats, warm candles + wood accents, meets cool metal, a bustling bar + robust cocktails...+ don't even get me started on the grass thatched roof. this place + menu are lust worthy.
jamie's italian, reykjavik- located right at the heart of downtown reykjavik, everything is incredibly fresh + made with best seasonal ingredients. with two areas to eat + drink, one in the front with white washed walls and pooling light + one in the back that's moody + romantic, there's a vibe for everyone. beautiful art on each wall, gilded gold accents everywhere + a wood fire pizza oven, this one's a hit.
bullan, reykjavik- there's only seating for six guests + hidden way in the back of what one could only assume is a closed club, but thats all part of the charm. this burger joint is in-cred-ible. tasty, messy + definitely not healthy. no gimmicks here, they take the business of burgers v. seriously. they've coined the 'perfect' bun, researched the best cheese to melt, perfected the thickness of your tomato to lettuce ratio + overall serve the best burg in town.
WHERE TO SHOP:
spúútnik, reykjavik- if you're into vintage, reykjavik's got it going on. stores upon stores of vintage furs, scarves, wool jackets + denim, it's a thrifters paradise. spúútnik is every fashion lover’s dream come true. it has the widest selection of vintage clothing that we spotted in the city + is organized, clean + has the most phenomenal selection of vintage furs and faux furs.
húrra, reykjavík- this store is about as aesthetically pleasing as they come. modern design, clean lines + simple design...it's a beauty from start to finish. shoes, sunglasses, beautiful hats + toques, this store had me frothing to spend all my krona in one place. warning: this shop WILL make you want to empty your wallet, but you'll for sure look cool as hell doing so.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH:
seljarvallarlaug geothermal pool- one of the highlights of our trip, seljavellir pool is located in a quiet valley surrounded by hypnotizing mountains. for many years seljavallalaug was a secret spot known only by the locals. the information about the pool located in such an intriguing location, luckily, hasn't spread that far + is still one of iceland's best kept secrets.
fjadrargljufur- the most scenic, ireland-esque, game-of-thrones-vibe views you can imagine. we hiked in a few km's for the canyon views that provided plenty of opportunity to gaze in awe and stop for photo ops. not too popular yet amongst the tourists, this place wined + dined us + we were thrilled to spend a few hours trekking this incredible beauty before we continued on our journey.
may you travel with love,