Everyone’s talking about Iceland these days, so now’s the time to book.
But where should you stay?
What should you see?
And most importantly, where are you going to eat?
Here’s a possible itinerary to get you started:
After arriving at Keflavík airport, head straight to the Blue Lagoon. It’s a 20 minute drive or there are hourly transfers which can be booked as part of your package on the Blue Lagoon website.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch at Lava: a spacious restaurant built into an 800 year old lava cliff on the west bank of the Blue Lagoon. It comes with a stunning view of the fabled geothermal waters and allows guests to wear their towelling robes.
Spend the afternoon relaxing in the rejuvenating hot springs – sauna, mud masks and massages optional!
As day turns to evening, take a seat in one of the sumptuous booths at Moss restaurant, located in the exclusive Retreat Hotel (you’ll need to book if you’re not staying). 5 and 7 course tasting menus offer modern and well-balanced Icelandic dishes, and the floor-to-ceiling windows afford fabulous views of the volcanic landscape. Ask for a tour of the wine cave afterwards!
If money’s no object, stay the night at this luxury hotel. Otherwise, head into Reykjavík.
Centrally-located city hotels include the stylish boutique 101 Hotel, and the relaxed and understated Canopy by Hilton.
Explore the city on foot, with a mid-morning pit stop for coffee and kleinur (doughnuts) at the 4th generation family-run Sandholt Bakery.
Must-sees include the Harpa Concert Hall, with its facade of 714 LED-lit glass panels; the Hallgrímskirkja Church, whose soaring tower keeps watch over Reykjavík; and the striking Sun-Voyager sculpture, which was built to commemorate the city’s 200th anniversary.
Take a break from sight-seeing with lunch at Skál! : a fun counter restaurant situated in Iceland’s first food market. Modern interpretations of traditional Icelandic dishes come in the form of generously sized sharing plates – it’s no wonder Skál! was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2019 for its good quality, good value cooking.
In the afternoon, take a wander around the Grandi (the old harbour area), with a visit to its flea market, Kolaportið (open at weekends), before exploring the historic city centre; a bustling, bohemian place filled with independent boutiques and fashionable bars.
Dine in style on your last evening of your trip; either at lively Sümac or counter restaurant ÓX.
Sümac is a trendy Beirut-inspired brasserie serving plenty of cocktails alongside rustic dishes which give Icelandic ingredients a Middle Eastern twist.
ÓX is strictly bookings only and is hidden through a door at the back of Sümac. Here, you join just ten other diners for an exciting culinary experience, where you watch the chefs preparing their innovative, insta-worthy dishes right before your eyes.
Next morning on your flight home you can start planning your return trip to this wonderful country – perhaps a tour along the Golden Circle in order to really experience its austere beauty.
Who knows, you may even be rewarded with an appearance of the Northern Lights…