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Reykjavik Roundup – FAQ, Travel Tips & Random Things

Monday, 15th September, 2014


So you’ve read about my days and nights in Reykjavik, but there is so much more I must of missed out! What about the general things in Reykjavik, Iceland, prices, living and so on. So here it goes!

Is it expensive?

The first thing people ask, and most of Scandinavian and Nordic countries are notoriously expensive in comparison to the UK. The answer is yes and no. It is, but you should remember that it’s a capital city, and compared to Barcelona/Amsterdam/Stockholm it’s quite similar, and not outrageous. We had this joke, “Everything’s a G” because almost everything we bought cost 1,000k or around that; e.g. A large beer (0.5L, pretty much a pint) in most places was 950kr, even B5 a trendy bar bottles were 1,000kr. 1,000kr is just over £5, so I guess that’s expensive for UK pint prices, but it’s not astronomical and you can expect to pay that in a lot of other capital cities. Large soft drinks were around 500kr (£2.50-ish) with fish and chips from a restaurant costing around 1,900kr (£10-ish).

What is the money like?

It’s strange! First of all it’s around 180kr to the pound, so as mentioned above 1,000kr is just over £5. But they also do coins! You can get a 100kr coin (about 50p), a 10kr coin which is about 5p, and even a 1kr coin which is about half a pence! That means most of the change you’ll get will be worthless, the 100kr coins are not so bad but you’ll need a few just to buy a drink. The notes are what you’ll be using most of the time, there are 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 notes, although I never actually saw a 2,000 or 10,000, and only ever had the 500, 1,000 and 5,000 ones. Apparently most Icelandic’s just use cards for everything.

Is Reykjavik a big city & how do you get around?

The main central part of the city is easily walkable, it’s quite small and has one main street in the centre called Laugavegur, and changes it’s name parts of the way down. Most of the shops, bars and restaurants on the street are small independent boutique-feel types of places, there’s no huge department stores or flagship worldwide known brands here. If you go on trips to attractions such as the Blue Lagoon, Waterfalls or National Parks then you’ll have to get an organised trip bus or hire a car, because those are obviously outside the city.

The Golden Circle Tour – Tips

The Golden Circle Tour is a must do but wrap up warm! It is cold, and when you’re at the waterfall there will be some spray. There’s not necessarily a need for waterproof clothing, just dress as you would for the weather which there is, you don’t really need anything special such as boots (unless you go in winter and it’s icy!). There are a couple of stop offs through the day where you can have a bite to eat and drink, but you can of course take your own on the bus. Make use of the toilet breaks, you could be on the bus for a while between seeing things. Wear comfortable shoes, because you will be walking, not a huge amount all at once, but most of the day in parts. I recommend getting some protection for you camera, at the Geysir there’s every chance you’ll get splashed if you go close up, and the Waterfall produces lots of spray.

The Northern Lights – Will I see the Aurora Borealis?

We went and it was cloudy every night, it was not terrible weather but I suppose not good enough. There was not any chance of us seeing it, obviously when we booked months in advance and even on the nights we were going to try we did not know this. When we were there I overheard someone saying there probably would not be a chance to see them for the rest of the next week, it’s obviously very much weather dependant. My advice would be to book it on your first night or ASAP, and if you don’t see it they may offer to take you on the next night (and next), giving yourself the best chance. Don’t hold your breath about seeing them and be prepared to not see them and have an alternative thing to do.

The Blue Lagoon Spa

I loved the Blue Lagoon Spa when I was there. It’s one of the attractions and I think it’s something you have to do when you go. If you’re not a spa kind of person don’t worry, neither am I. There are pampering spa type facilities inside and a section of the pool outside, but for the most part it’s about enjoying the geothermal pool, and of course the swim up bar 😉 We went on the Sunday, our last day, and it was the perfect thing to do to relax after the Saturday night out, it beats wondering around trying to kill time for a flight 😉

The smell of rotting eggs

If you run the hot water for a shower for example you’ll get a horrible smell of rotting eggs. This is because there’s sulphur in the hot water, which is what you smell. It’s very noticeable, if you have a hot shower you’ll smell it in the shower (you won’t smell of it) and don’t leave the bathroom door open or the smell will drift. If you’re washing up with the hot water from the tap you’ll smell it too.

Is it always cold, snowy, and icy?

We went at the start of September, so it was a bit cold, but it was the wind chill factor which made it seem even colder. There was no snow or Ice, but obviously if you go in the middle of winter you might expect that.

Do people speak English?

Yes! From what I seen and heard, basically everyone can speak and understand English. Of course when Icelandic’s speak to each other they speak in Icelandic 😛

Reykjavik Nightlife

A lot of the bars are open until after 3am, some even after 4am but only on Friday and Saturdays. Monday – Wednesday some are open until midnight, Thursdays most seemed to close at 1AM at the latest and Sunday early closing for many; So if you wanna have a night out there, probably best not to go through the week. We went out Saturday night in Reykjavik as well as Thursday and Friday night.

Are the bars busy? What about happy hour?

It seems most bars had happy hour, and it was usually from 16:00 until 18:00, 19:00 or 20:00 depending on the place. It looked like a few people went to the happy hours, but would then go home after, as when we went out the bars were quite quiet even at 22:00, most go out late apparently as places are open late. Places at the weekend don’t seem to get busy until after 23:00, and if you go out at peak times to the trendy bars you could have a long wait…

Did you really queue to get in a bar for almost 2 hours?!

YES! We went to B5 on the Friday night, it was early-ish but it had a few people in, and we got in no problem. On the Saturday night we walked past twice, and the second time it was starting to get a good few people in but we decided to go back. When we did there was a queue, there was only around 8 or so people in front. The problem seemed to be that once the place has people in, they don’t leave! It’s not like in Newcastle or anywhere else I have been where people are coming and going all the time and the queues move fast. In fact we only moved up the queue because most the people in front got sick of waiting! :mrgreen: I got in with my friends only 1 place behind, and it took another 30 minutes for them to get in! 😀

One of the good things is that it is free entry everywhere, which is quite unusual these days.

Shopping for clothing and fashion in Reykjavik

There’s plenty of shops on the main street, but almost all are small or local types of shops, there’s no large international brands on the main street. The main brand over there seems to be 66 Degrees North, which as you can tell from the name is winter clothing shop a bit like North Face or similar. It’s not a city to go to if you want to shop till you drop on the main strip. There are a couple of shopping centres which we did not visit, we did see Debenhams from the bus which is in Smáralind, however these are outside the city so you’d need to get a bus. There is also Kringlan which has lots of shops from big brands.

Reykjavik: Day 3 – Blue Lagoon & Home Time

Sunday, 14th September, 2014


After Saturday night out in Reykjavik I needed to chill. We had already booked the Blue Lagoon which was a really good idea, however the bus picked us up at 9:30AM and I got in at 5AM….So I only had around 3 hours sleep! :mrgreen: The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, basically a large lagoon which is heated up by the earth. It’s probably the best way to unwind after our Saturday night in Reykjavik, and best way to waste a day when waiting for a flight; Far, far better than trying to kill time wondering around bored which I’ve had to do on other holidays! 😛 Unfortunately it was the only day it properly rained, but I guess that didn’t matter so much since we were in water anyway, and it was so warm! 😛

It’s a cool place, you go in and have a shower, then there is a small pool indoors, and the large lagoon outside. I got the €60 package which included priority entry to the lagoon, a drink, robe and towel and some skin products. The lagoon is all different depths throughout, it goes down to around 1.5m so you can easily stand, and in places it’s so shallow you can sit on the floor and not be under the water. It’s pretty big, and even though it was pretty busy there was plenty of space for you to relax or have a wonder. I got a waterproof pouch for my phone so I could talk pictures while I was in…Thank god it worked! 😛

From the Blue Lagoon we headed to Keflavik airport to catch our flight. The only bad thing was that the last bus from the Lagoon was at 3PM and we did not need to be at the airport until 6! But the Blue Lagoon is definitely worth going to if you ever visit Iceland 🙂

Check out the rest of the pics below…

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Reykjavik Night Three – Saturday Night – Let’s Go Out Out!

Saturday, 13th September, 2014

Me In B5 In Reykjavik

So it was Saturday night, we had just been on the Golden Circle Tour which takes it out of you, being out all day, but we’re in Reykjavik, and were only there for 3 nights, so we can sleep when we’re dead and let’s go out-out! :mrgreen: We saw the weather was no better so resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d not see the Northern Lights and this being our last night we’d not get another chance. We did contact the company who organised it just for the formalities of them telling us, and they did 🙁 It was such a shame we did not see them, which was the biggest reason to go on the trip.

Saturday night was supposed to be the big one, we were going out-out :mrgreen: Another friend and I booked to go to the Blue Lagoon the next day, and had to leave at 9:30AM so it was another early start, but that did not really stop us doing it up as big as we could 😀

The Wheel Of No Fortune – In a lot of bars there’s this wheel behind the bar (you can see it in the pics below). You can pay 2,000kr (about £10) to spin it, and you can win whatever it lands on. Of course there are a lot of chances to lose, the options are; 8 beers, 1 metre beer, 2 beers, spin again and sorry. There are 5 chances of sorry, and since 2 beers would cost around 2,000kr you’ll only really win if you get the 8 beers or 1 metre beer. It did not stop lots of people having a go, in fact we saw 7 people try, and 5 got sorry! So the odds are heavily stacked against you, as you can see in the pic there’s only 2 of the sections in red, those are the big wins. Still, it’s good fun to watch…Probably not so good when you don’t win :mrgreen:

We went to a few bars such as Shooters, The English Pub, KaffiBarrin, Hressó Hressingarskálinn and B5 which we’d previously been too. The problem with Reykjavik is almost all the bars are quiet even at 10PM, so if you’re like us and like to go to a lot of bars and start quite early it’s pretty quiet especially at the start of the night. The previous night we had gone to B5 and it was quite early, maybe 23:30 or something like that. The Saturday night we did not go until later, which proved to be a mistake. Despite there being only 7 or 8 people ahead of us in the queue, it took 2 hours to get in! I got in before my friends, and was in around 30 minutes before they got in, even though they were only 1 place behind me! I was kept entertained by an Icelandic girl who was cute and had some good banter in the queue 😉

B5 on a Saturday night is a crazy place. Other than the fact you have to stand in a queue which does not move, when you’re in it’s pretty packed. The people dance and jump around like crazy, it’s like being in a mosh pit, I’ve never been in a club like it. People barge past, jump around and are pretty crazy, but everyone is the same and it sort of seems fine. There’s no fighting or people saying sorry when people are jumping around into each other, it just seems like half the fun. It was strange at first, but I did get amongst it after a little while :mrgreen: The place played pop, RnB and Hip Hop bangers, I loved it! :mrgreen:

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Reykjavik: Day Two – The Golden Circle Tour

Friday, 12th September, 2014


So on the second full day in Reykjavik it was Saturday and we had planned on doing the Golden Circle Tour out in the Icelandic country. It was a long day, getting up at around 8AM and the tour lasts around 8 hours, so it is a full day, but worth doing. This included going around the countryside of Iceland, and seeing Gullfoss aka The Golden Waterfall, Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir hot spring area, a church and the geothermal power station. The waterfall was really good, you get sprayed so much when going past, luckily I bought a cover which was just like a plastic bag to go over my camera, but it still got a bit wet.

I tried my best to get the Geysir when it went up, and took some pics. It goes up between 1 and 8 minutes, and you don’t really know until it starts to bubble. The second attempt was decent, however I was far too close and got absolutely drenched! :mrgreen:

I have to mention our tour guide who was also the bus driver, he was so knowledgeable and amazing, driving the bus all day and talking more of less all the time for the whole trip! He was really good! 🙂

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Reykjavik: Night 2 – The Nothern Lights Did Not Happen

Thursday, 11th September, 2014


Our first night was the Thursday, but we arrived late in Reykjavik so the plan was to go out for a couple on that night which we did, and the Friday night we planned on doing the Northern Lights. Unfortunately the weather was not good, it was cloudy so they told us there was no chance of seeing them and cancelled the tour 🙁 They said we could try again on the next night, the Saturday, which we had planned on having a proper night out but obviously the Northern Lights were a priority so we’d rather of done that.

Since we could not go on the tour of the Northern Lights we had planned, we decided to go out, but not stay out for too long as we had to be up early the next morning for The Golden Circle Tour. We went to a couple of places which were much more lively than the first night, and went in to B5, one of the more trendy bars which stayed open until 4:30AM. When we went in it was a little quiet, but then got busier, we stayed for a couple of drinks, of course I had to stay a bit longer and did not want to leave 😉

I have no idea why the pic is so bad, that’s what happens when you’re drinking in a dark bar and taking pics lol :mrgreen:


Reykjavik: First Day – Look Around The City

Wednesday, 10th September, 2014


After the first night in Reykjavik we had no trips or anything planned and it was the day we picked to chill out and just have a look around the city of Reykjavik. It’s a small city with the main street (called Laugavegur) hosting most of the bars, shops, clubs and everything in between. There were plenty of smaller streets off this main street, which does changes it’s name a couple of times as you make your way down it, but it’s all mainly one long street and easy to get around.

We had a good look around, and checked out the old harbour, got some food in a place called Icelandic Fish And Chips and went to the Saga Museum which is a museum detailing the history of Iceland and Reykjavik.

We went to Hallgrímskirkja Church which is so cool, and done a few happy hours. A lot of the bars in Reykjavik have happy hour, usually between 16:00 – 20:00 and it seems to get quite busy (busier than 20:00 – 22:00), we went to Kaldi, Bravo and The English Pub for some drinks.

Check out the rest of the pictures below…

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Reykjavik: First Night & Travelling

Tuesday, 9th September, 2014


I am back from Reykjavik! 😀 If you did not know last weekend I was in Reykjavik in Iceland. It was a cool trip which we planned a while back, and finally last week we went to check out the cool city, go and explore a bit of culture, and the main event was to see the Aurora Borealis aka the Northern Lights…Sadly this did not happen 🙁 It was still a good trip, here’s how it went…

We flew from Edinburgh because there’s no flights from Newcastle to Reykjavik. Edinburgh has a decent airport, and even has a Wetherspoon Bar, however it’s not Wetherspoons regular prices! :mrgreen: I was at the back on the plane, I hate flying and I think the back is the worst, but the flight was OK.

We got to Reykjavik in the evening and the apartment was pretty spacious and cool. It had everything you’d need, WIFI, Satellite TV, Kitchen and the essentials, a proper home away from home 😛 We had a first night out on the Thursday night when we got there. We checked out a couple of bars, and went to Obla Di Obla Da, The Lebowski Bar and Boston. We soon found out that the bars close at 1AM on Thursdays, but the weekend they’re open a hell of a lot later which I’ll write about 😉

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Reykjavik Here I Come!

Thursday, 4th September, 2014

My Icelandic Money

Today I am off on my travels to somewhere cool (I hope!)….Reykjavik!

We are off to get some culture and see some sights, hopefully including the Northern Lights aka Aurora Borealis, as well as seeing everything else Iceland has to offer. I am all set, and have my money and everything else, I got a good new lens for my camera, some Air Max all black trainers, and everything else I need for my travels 🙂

I imagine I will be updating my Instagram and Twitter, you can follow me on those, and I will update my blog properly when I get back (I may do little updates). 🙂

See you soon! xoxo 😛


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