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, we bring forth an epic itinerary for visiting the Land of Fire and Ice.
After arriving at Keflavík International Airport, head straight to the Blue Lagoon—it’s a 20 minute drive, or there are hourly transfers that 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 all while allowing guests to dine in the comfort of their 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, in which you’ll need to book if you’re not staying on the property. Here, a five- and seven-course tasting menu is offered, boasting modern and well-balanced Icelandic dishes, and the floor-to-ceiling windows afford fabulous views of the volcanic landscape. (Pro tip: 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 fourth 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 and good value cooking.
In the afternoon, take a wander around the Grandi (the old harbor area), with a visit to its flea market, Kolaportið (open on weekends), before exploring the historic city center; 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 reservation-only and is hidden through a door at the back of Sümac. Here, you join 10 other diners for an exciting culinary experience, where you watch the chefs preparing their innovative, Instagram-worthy dishes right before your eyes.
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.