subhuman

things to do in Reykjavik

9 posts in this topic

I know I posted this topic before but it was more oriented to finding out what hotel to stay in. (Consensus - Hotel 101) What did other Supertalk-ers do IN NATURE? Are the fjords/ whale watching worth it or a tourist trap? Cool restos? Anyone know of any cool happenings (gallery/ gig) around end of August? Am a writer for Dazed and Confused and would love to cover it for the mag!

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i didnt check out the fjords but i imagine it would be worth it.

whale watching is only worth it in the right season, and even then theres no guarantee youll actually see one. if you do go on the trip and you want to take pictures, keep your camera at the ready bc once a whale does break the surface youll probably be too impressed to remember to photograph it.

as far as other nature stuff...if youre feeling adventurous you could rent a superjeep or something and go on a crazy drive around the ring road...

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go fly fishing, check out 66 degrees north (clothing, real technical icelandic weather gear), there are a ton of restaurants on lagavaguer (check spelling) check out vox, goto the various hot springs/outdoor baths, tour the glaciers, go out and get fucked up, tons of bars tons of hot ass...there are tons of things to do I was just there for two weeks not a dull moment.

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Posted (edited)

Bump. I will be heading there early October for two weeks, going to rent a 4x4 and do the whole ring road. Any tips/pointers/must sees/dos?

Appreciate that this thread is titled Reykjavik :)

Edited by rirawin
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Posted (edited)

@rirawin

Better late than never – here's a brief map for your ring road tour: https://goo.gl/sm1z97

My wife and I went last year for our honeymoon, easily one of the best trips I've taken.

(It's the kind where just the sheer scale of nature will move you to f-cking tears.)

I've been passing this around to friends but I might as well leave it here.

(Also, here's the guide we based our trip off of (http://www.alexcornell.com/iceland-travel-guide/)

SUFU EDITION: This is probably the best place to try out your techwear. We got caught off guard by how "action adventure" the entire trip was going to be and ended up trekking on glaciers in Superstars and Sacai Airmaxes. Ultra bad move, wypipol, I'd like to imagine they were mostly Canadians, were giving us strange looks.

It'd be ideal to have these layers: 1. Heat tech (tops and bottoms), 2. Warm base layers (wooly tees), 3. Insulators, 4. Windstoppers, 5. Rain gear. Proper hiking shoes would make sense. I kind of wish I manged to pick up some Hoka One Ones before we flew over from Copenhagen, alas hindsight is a bitch.

_ _ _

Gist: For the Ring Road drive, the main thing I suggest is to just plan carefully, otherwise it'll be FOMO. This applies to hotels and sights, we did everything via booking.com. There's just too many things to miss, but also prioritize what you want to see (stars on the map for us) bec. it's impossible to get it all. Also, WAZE. You can practically run the entire trip on it.

Data: Straight from the airport, just pop by there 7/11 equivalent. Me and the wife each got Siminn SIMs and it lasted us the whole week and me a little less because I was constantly on waze, etc. It's easy to top up online via card which'll get me to my next point.

Money: The whole place does run on card. Make sure you've got the one with the chip and pin because the normal swipe ones do not work everywhere, esp. gas stations. Like we got stuck in the only gas station in the middle of nowhere waiting for someone because both of ours were swipes.

Map: Our map is divided into 7 days with Reykjavik (Day 01 & 07) sharing one tab. Restaurants in red are mostly in Reykjavik. Hotels in orange, and specialty coffee is brown. Sights are colored per day so you can map it out easier.

Hotels: I actually really liked our hotel choices. In hindsight, I wouldn't change much except for Day 06. If you can change that to Hotel Flatey on Flatey Island, that'd be nuts. It's a bit tricky to schedule but I can imagine it being well worth (there's a good farm to table restaurant on the island also.)

Moving: We got ours from Blue Car Rental. They're a short walk from the airport terminal. They say 4x4 is necessary for the gravel roads, but we might've made a mistake with getting the Jimny. They've got really strong highway crosswinds (enough to have signs) and having such a block of a car didn't make it easier. I'd wager a Swift or a Yaris would be plenty unless you plan to do river crossings.

Food: A lot of people have said that the food sucks, but I don't know, we were pretty happy with ours. Maybe it's the combination of just snacking heavily in the car and being 2 hours away from real food but most of our picks were great. The ones outside Reykjavik aren't on the map but you can take a look at the Alex Cornell guide and our IG to see where we ate in each place. Special bits to note are the following.

1. https://www.instagram.com/p/BGYSy74jYZq/?tagged=mad%E2%9C%88%EF%B8%8Fkef (Lobster Pizza)

2. https://www.instagram.com/p/BGYO34TiyRR/?tagged=mad%E2%9C%88%EF%B8%8Fkef (Ambiance mostly)

3. https://www.instagram.com/p/BGTujiCjYd6/?tagged=mad%E2%9C%88%EF%B8%8Fkef (Ice Cream)

4. https://www.instagram.com/p/BGJSZgBiyaB/?tagged=mad%E2%9C%88%EF%B8%8Fkef (LANGOUSTINES)

5. https://www.instagram.com/p/BGdjlNuDYY-/?tagged=mad%E2%9C%88%EF%B8%8Fkef (Nothing compared to John's but it's sort of a pilgrimage that you have to do for Iceland)

Sights: For this section, I'll leave it up to you on what you want to see. Some advice is that you plan it on maps first so you get an idea of how to drive to where. Everything's pretty damn special. If I had to single one out, our time in the Myvatn Baths would be up there.

Edited by WillKhitie
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@WillKhitie Wow that really is great, thank you.

Both the Wife and I are investing in loads of outdoor gear (my Visvim wardrobe is way too fashion and not practical enough to go out hiking on glaciers with). Surprisingly the wife is already ahead of me in these stakes so far.

Thanks for the sim card tip. Fortunately though we've got a couple of sim cards that can be used in Iceland at no extra cost. We've also got a 4G unlimited data mobile WiFi router which was thrown in with rental.

We should be good for money too. All UK credit and debit cards are chip and pin. Nevertheless, did you bother taking any small amounts of cash at all, like to pay for the hot dogs? 

We've gone with Blue Car Rental as well and have opted for a 4x4 GLC. We thought we'd stick with a 4x4 as we plan to go up to West Fjords and didn't want to be restricted when driving about. I trust you had no issues with Blue Car Rental, especially when returning the car? 

Thanks for the Booking.com advice. We've had a look on Airbnb for accommodation and it looks quite sparse outside of Reykjavik. Either way, I feel that we need to start booking some places as the Wife has found that some places are already booked out for dates in October, despite being an off-peak season.

For getting around I'm taking a good old fashion foldout road map of Iceland. In addition to that I'll be prepping Google Maps (I like the star idea, so imma steal that) and I have Nokia HERE (offline country map packs). Would Waze be the preferable one to use? Did you bother with coordinates or did Waze handle Icelandic place names okay? Also what's the 3G/4G reception like out there when you're on the road, is it patchy?

Coincidentally I stumbled upon Alex's blog after posting on here and a blog entry from A Continuous Lean (http://www.acontinuouslean.com/2016/11/11/escape-iceland/). I decided to mush the two together, and sprinkle our own ideas into the mix. Between the Wife and I, we managed to plot around 70-80 spots (a lot were waterfalls haha) that we wanted to visit but felt this wasn't humanly possible to squeeze all of that in 13 days, so we reduced that number down to around 50.

What we discovered when plotting the sights on the map is that driving from the North, to the North West and the West Fjords area involves a lot of driving along routes where sights are few and far between. Looking at your map you might have experienced the same thing?

For food we're definitely doing Baejarins. We also have Pakkhus on our list as well as Cafe Sumarlína, Noa Seafood Restaurant and Fish Company. My Wife is pretty keen for us to take packets instant noodles and pasta, as she has heard from her friends who've been to Iceland that there isn't much else when you're out on the road - would you agree?

I would like your thoughts on a couple of sights. Firstly, Sólheimasandur plane, since the locals closed the road off to it is it worth the 8km round trip hike? Secondly, Blue Lagoon, which I've read is a tourist trap (note we will be going to Myvatn Baths). Despite the tourist trap comments we have this penned in on our last day as we will be dropping our rental off in the morning and will have around 4 hours to kill before we catch our flight, so we thought about taking a shuttle bus from the airport to the Blue Lagoon to kill some time there. If you recommend against it, do you have any suggestions on what to do instead that's easily accessible and not too far from Keflavik airport?

Out of interest were there any sights you went to that you felt wasn't really worth the drive/effort?

Lastly, what time of the year did you end up going? sounds like you went around winter time? Did you manage to catch the Northern Lights at all?

P.S. Congratulations on tying the knot and posting one of the best and most useful Superfuture posts in recent times ;)

 

Edited by rirawin
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@rirawin No worries. You can find my comments below. Thank you all the kind words as well. More than happy to share this with you (and Superfuture).

The guides/maps have become a sort of habit for me and the wife prior to travelling. She does the sights and instagrammable bits – I do most of the food and coffee.

We're working on one for a road trip around Italy this April which would make it Guide no. 09 to date (Iceland, Copenhagen, Malmo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Cebu, Korea, and Tokyo).

 

On 3/19/2017 at 6:55 AM, rirawin said:

@WillKhitie Wow that really is great, thank you.

We should be good for money too. All UK credit and debit cards are chip and pin. Nevertheless, did you bother taking any small amounts of cash at all, like to pay for the hot dogs? 

Yes. I had the old card issue and was forced to convert a good amount to cash prior to leaving Reykjavik. I assume it's safe to do around 100usd/day for two people if you're looking to card gas and most of the larger meals. 

– – –

We've gone with Blue Car Rental as well and have opted for a 4x4 GLC. We thought we'd stick with a 4x4 as we plan to go up to West Fjords and didn't want to be restricted when driving about. I trust you had no issues with Blue Car Rental, especially when returning the car? 

Very little issues with Blue Car. Just make sure that you return the card with a full tank of gas. We had to drive back out of the lot and top up the petrol we spent driving over from Reykjavik.

Also, I'm not sure if I mentioned it enough but crosswinds strong enough that you have to drive into them.

– – –

Thanks for the Booking.com advice. We've had a look on Airbnb for accommodation and it looks quite sparse outside of Reykjavik. Either way, I feel that we need to start booking some places as the Wife has found that some places are already booked out for dates in October, despite being an off-peak season.

Not sure where my wife picked it up but, Airbnb is supposedly terribly hard to coordinate outside of the big cities. Most of the "Guesthouses" you can find on booking.com operate in a similar manner.

As for bookings, it's always best to do it as early as possible. We missed out on a couple key places we wanted to stay in just from procrastinating. (Hvammstangi Cottages, Vogafjos Guesthouse, etc.) 

– – –

For getting around I'm taking a good old fashion foldout road map of Iceland. In addition to that I'll be prepping Google Maps (I like the star idea, so imma steal that) and I have Nokia HERE (offline country map packs). Would Waze be the preferable one to use? Did you bother with coordinates or did Waze handle Icelandic place names okay? Also what's the 3G/4G reception like out there when you're on the road, is it patchy?

I was very surprised at how well Waze handled everything (down to the Sólheimasandur plane site). The only thing I'd worry about, since you are going in the winter, would be its tendency to route based on what'd be the quickest journey. It took us through a couple ultra scenic (mildly nail biting) mountain passes which close depending on the weather.

For 3G/4G reception, as long as your carrier is partners with Siminn (most coverage outside Reykjavik) then you should be fine. Some of my favorite bits involve download 1080p episodes of GoT on a glacier.

_ _ _

Coincidentally I stumbled upon Alex's blog after posting on here and a blog entry from A Continuous Lean (http://www.acontinuouslean.com/2016/11/11/escape-iceland/). I decided to mush the two together, and sprinkle our own ideas into the mix. Between the Wife and I, we managed to plot around 70-80 spots (a lot were waterfalls haha) that we wanted to visit but felt this wasn't humanly possible to squeeze all of that in 13 days, so we reduced that number down to around 50.

I can imagine you doing about half the number before getting "fossed out". They're all very beautiful, specially the iconic must sees, but it only takes a couple dozen before they all start looking the same.

A lot of places we picked had a bit of story to them (wrecks, movie sites, elf rocks, etc.) and that always made things fun.

I can't remember where we got our fold out map as well, but some of them go as far as to mark which areas of the island are "haunted/magical". We found it especially funny and odd that it had a lot of their folk culture had a lot in common with ours.

(I can't remember the phrase to save my life, but there's one you have to utter before stepping off trails, etc., lest the elves get you)

_ _ _

What we discovered when plotting the sights on the map is that driving from the North, to the North West and the West Fjords area involves a lot of driving along routes where sights are few and far between. Looking at your map you might have experienced the same thing?

We basically avoided the whole West/North West Fjord precisely for that reason. Given the longer stay though, you should be fine.

_ _ _

For food we're definitely doing Baejarins. We also have Pakkhus on our list as well as Cafe Sumarlína, Noa Seafood Restaurant and Fish Company. My Wife is pretty keen for us to take packets instant noodles and pasta, as she has heard from her friends who've been to Iceland that there isn't much else when you're out on the road - would you agree?

I'm not sure if I'm a terrible human being but the hotdogs/diner food you find at each gas station/town was passable if not strangely comforting. They do this coffee/hot chocolate mix that's strangely fortifying. 

Just make sure to stock up on at least a bag or two of snacks/chips/etc. at every big town. My wife also bought a couple instant noodle packs that we never ended up quite eating til the asian cravings set in at around Day 6.

Also: Hraun Veitingahús (Lobster Pizza)

(Also, plenty of baby wipes. Thank me later.)

_ _ _

I would like your thoughts on a couple of sights. Firstly, Sólheimasandur plane, since the locals closed the road off to it is it worth the 8km round trip hike? Secondly, Blue Lagoon, which I've read is a tourist trap (note we will be going to Myvatn Baths). Despite the tourist trap comments we have this penned in on our last day as we will be dropping our rental off in the morning and will have around 4 hours to kill before we catch our flight, so we thought about taking a shuttle bus from the airport to the Blue Lagoon to kill some time there. If you recommend against it, do you have any suggestions on what to do instead that's easily accessible and not too far from Keflavik airport?

First, Solheimasandur, I didn't have a choice. My wife was super adamant about it. She wanted that IG photo and the 8km trek seemed like an amiable price to pay. Just check the weather as it's quite a trek going to and back.

Second, Blue Lagoon, I can't give my two cents as we never went but I've heard mixed things. Keflavik is quite a ways off from anything. I can't remember if we opted to rent an additional day or a late return but we decided to kill time around Reykjavik before going.

(More hotdogs, more pho, more eating, more coffee.)

_ _ _

Out of interest were there any sights you went to that you felt wasn't really worth the drive/effort?

I can't outright say that about any of the sights we visited. If anything, just be practical in weighing in what you want to do with the weather at that moment. On top of being cold and wet, it sucks to feel stupid after hiking for 30 minutes in sideways rain just to see a very beautiful arch. 

On the flipside though, our trek along Snæfellsjökull was a bit of magic. There's a haunted beach there with an old shipwreck that had this eerily comforting howl. The drive around Lake Myvatn also has it's own bit of magic. (https://www.instagram.com/p/BGM2qTQjYZr)

_ _ _

Lastly, what time of the year did you end up going? sounds like you went around winter time? Did you manage to catch the Northern Lights at all?

We went around April which was summertime. Given that it wasn't peak season also, I wouldn't want to know what peak season looks like.

P.S. In case I missed anything, you can track our whole trip here: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/mad✈️kef/

_ _ _

 

Edited by WillKhitie
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