Before the explosion of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull in 2010--you know, the one that sent airplanes and airports in Western and Northern Europe into a frenzy--I had never really given much thought to Iceland. Up until that point, all I knew about it was the old "Iceland is green, and Greenland is ice" fun fact we all learned as children.
It wasn't until I visited for work that I realized how wonderful Iceland actually is. Home to geothermal energy, Norse legends, magic, and bread made underground, this place is certainly unique and has tons to offer. Reykjavik is Iceland's largest city. Boasting a population of nearly 123k people, and accounts for nearly half the population in Iceland!
Well, what you should you do if you find yourself in Reykjavik? Here are some suggestions!
1. Walk around! The city is gorgeous with cobblestone roads, colorful buildings and sweeping views of mountains on the coast line. You could spend the greater part of a day just wandering through the streets! We even found a furry friend guarding the entrance to a gift shop.
2. Visit Hallgrimskirkja Church. This massive structure is the largest church in all of Iceland. Inspired by the many volcanoes across Iceland, this building stands proud as the tallest building in all of Reyjkavik. You can even buy a ticket to the top and get unparalleled views of the downtown and surrounding area.
3. Visit your local gin bar. My favorite was Kaldi bar! In central Reykjavik, this very small bar contains any sort of gin you're looking for. Half are Icelandic, and half are imported. You can stop in a try a variety of flavors and debate (heatedly depending on how many G&T's you've had) which is the best.
4. Try some unusual foods. Reindeer, goat, lamb, fish stew, rye bread with smoked salmon, pastries, and Reykjavik's own hot dog!
Hot dogs: You've gotta go specifically to Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. (Pylsur in Icelandic is hot dog) Add some onions, mayo and mustard but don't you dare reach for the ketchup you American, or you might make a local or two scoff at your taste in food.
Lamb: Reykjavik is also the home to the best lamb I've ever eaten in my life! Don't get me wrong, I'm not a regular lamb eater but this was one of the most amazing dishes I've ever had. It was perfectly cooked, melt in your mouth, served with a parsnip puree, and MAN OH MAN was it to die for. I'd go back in a heart beat. Definitely add the Old Iceland Restaurant to your list.
Hopefully these tips will help you explore Reykjavik or inspire you to travel to Iceland! If you've visited before, what was your favorite part?