Iceland has always seemed like some sort of fairytale to me: a tiny, windswept outcrop in the middle of the Atlantic; at the mercy of the storms of the Arctic; wilder than wild and fierce in its beauty.
Reykjavic resembles a toy town with its rows upon rows of brightly coloured painted houses surrounding a perfect horseshoe-shaped bay.
My dream winter’s day in Reykjavic would start early. I’d rise before the sun – though that’s not hard when the wintertime sun doesn’t rise until gone 10am – and head out to a coffeeshop. I’d defrost over a giant mug of black coffee and a warming bowl of porridge or stack of waffles. Setting out to explore the city, i’d wander through the paint-by-numbers streets to the awe-inspiring Hallgrímskirkja cathedral.
Urban exploration completed, i’d strike out into the wild.
The most appealing thing to me about Iceland is its remoteness – it still has this aura of being pioneer country: wild, windswept, untameable. I’d explore the wilderness – from crashing waves in ocean coves to snowy mountain vistas. Also: ponies. I would stroke all of the ponies.
I’d visit the awe-inspiring vastness of Skógafoss, an enormous waterfall in the south of the country. Though incomparable in size to beasts like Niagara Falls, Skógafoss is beautiful in its isolation.
The blue lagoon is up there on every Iceland travellers bucket list: a wide expanse of steaming geothermal pools, filled with milky blue water and purifying volcanic mud. I’d spend a morning floating in the waters, blissfully unaware of the frostbitten temperatures outside my toasty little pool.
The Aurora Borealis is a definite ‘me too!’ phenomenon – have you ever met anyone who doesn’t want to see it!?
You’ve got to be pretty lucky with both your timings and the weather, but watching those emerald lights dancing above the stark, snow-dusted landscape would be heartstoppingly beautiful.
If when I make it to Iceland, I’m definitely booking a room at the Ion Hotel to wait for the lights to start glowing.
This modern expanse of sheet glass, concrete and black metal juts out of the landscape like a modernist sculpture; every window and every angle designed to drink in the endless views. Described as the ‘luxury adventure’ hotel – this place is designed for frostbitten thrill seekers looking for a hot bath and marshmallow-soft beds. The rooms and suites are the perfect blend of cosy luxury, albeit not one of the cheaper options around. Still, if you’re going to go all the way to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, I reckon it’s worth splashing out a bit on a beautiful place to wait them out. Rooms from £238 per night.
My final hours in Reykjavic would be spent in one of the hundreds of dark little bars that fill the city after hours, listening to some beautiful local music (like my current fave….) and sipping something delicious.
So how about you?
Have you visited Reykjavic? Am I missing your favourite spot?
Let me know in the comments! x