In January this year we went for a long weekend in Reykjavik, Iceland. We found a perfect little self contained place on Air BnB just outside of central Reykjavik in the peaceful Seltjarnarnes. We loved it. What a place.
We mainly cooked in on this trip, as we were saving the pennies (it’s expensive to eat out here, even for Londoners!) but we did discover a few helpful things on our visit.
First of all, there is a very handy app called “Vegan Iceland” which will give you a list of places nearest to you to find vegan options. I was pleasantly surprised with how many options there actually were.
A tip I was given before hand was to find “Bonus” stores to do your food shop as they are the budget store in Iceland. We found a Bonus store and were happy to find all the plant based milks, so we bought a lovely Oat Milk from here as well as bread, pasta and veggies to make our dinners in.
We found a great place called “Glo Vegan” on our last full day in Reykjavik where we decided to treat ourselves to a lunch. I had a very tasty Mexican salad bowl, which I really enjoyed and Danny had their vegan pizza, which was tasty but healthy (don’t order it if you’re expecting an indulgent pizza) Danny was a little disappointed with the size of it but enjoyed the flavours! The soup looked great too and they had lots of options, it was great to see a vegan place in the centre of town and it was pretty busy at lunchtime. Lovely vibe in there too.
On the Vegan Iceland App I came across a place called “Bernhöftsbakarí”, which is actually Iceland’s oldest bakery! They label all the vegan items including the bread and we had a vegan snúður, a sticky bun with a caramel filled centre and chocolate on top! It was absolutely delicious, everything you could want from a bakery treat.
My highlight of the trip has got to be the Secret Lagoon, I’ve never experienced anything like it. It is a natural hot spring in a geothermal area in the small village of Fludir. With the temperatures outside below freezing, you tip toe across the path from the changing rooms as quickly and gracefully (!) as you can, to submerge yourself in a hot, steamy pool, that is warmed by the earth beneath it. Wow. It was simply magical. I felt immediately relaxed and meditative, it was amazing to experience something that people have been doing for centuries to cleanse and unwind. Side note: the rule is you have to shower naked before getting in your swim gear, this is the tradition so I followed suit and felt like a free woman for it! When in Iceland…
The Secret Lagoon
Another highlight of the Golden Circle tour is Gulfoss Waterfall. I have a thing for waterfalls, I could stare at them for hours… Gulfoss Waterfall did not disappoint, it is huge and absolutely mesmerising. If it wasn’t for all the tourists, you could definitely imagine yourself in an episode of Game of Thrones! It’s stunning. It looked magical covered in snow and I’m told it looks equally beautiful in the summer months, I mean, how could it not.
There are lots of things to do in Reykjavik, you could visit the National Museum of Iceland, the Saga Museum, the Reykjavik Art Museum or even just wander around the town, taking in the sights. There are lots of great places for coffee and some wicked bars and pubs for a drink or two at “Happy Hour”!
Iceland is beautiful, wild, peaceful and very friendly. A long weekend is a lovely amount of time to get a good feel for Reykjavik, but we could definitely have stayed longer and I’d like to come back one day and explore the north and further south of the Island. It was a great place to come in the winter, I almost always go for a holiday in the sun, but as there are few places you can go for winter sun that aren’t a long plane ride away it seemed fitting to embrace the cold, wrap up and go and play in the snow! Surprisingly it’s not a given that it snows in Reykjavik in January, (so our tour guide said), but trudging around in the snow was certainly a novelty for us and we loved it.
We recommend visiting:
- The Secret Lagoon
- The golden circle tour (we used “Get your guide full day golden circle tour”) which includes visiting Þingvellir national park, Gulfoss waterfall, and the Geysir area, all of which are incredible.
- The sea! We walked to the lighthouse and were mesmerised by the beautiful wild sea.
- Obviously catch the northern lights if you can! We were hoping to and then it snowed (a lot!) the snow was fun too though and we didn’t come away disappointed, just eager to catch the lights another time or some place else.
Our Top Tips:
- Pack your warm clothes if you’re visiting in the winter and always take your hat out with you!
- Go to the bars with HAPPY HOUR for a cheaper drink.
- Shop in the Bonus stores and if you’re on a budget, cook some meals in your accommodation.
- If you’re short of time, book a day trip tour of the golden circle as it’s easily doable in one day.
- Download the “Vegan Iceland” App.
Thanks for reading! xx