Back in October of 2014, I planned a trip to Iceland in hopes of seeing the northern lights. I did some research online and read in many blogs that the best time to see the northern lights were in the dead of winter when it was the darkest with only 6 hours of daylight there. With that information in mind, I booked my trip for January of 2015. The date was getting nearer and it felt as if the winter was JUST beginning in NYC. Temperature started to drop dramatically and I was seriously craving some sun and heat. I mean, was I really leaving the snowy city to go to ANOTHER snowy city but with waaaaaay less sunlight? I was starting to regret my decision to go to Iceland instead of going to Hawaii or even the Caribbeans.
The BF and I arrived in Iceland around 6:30 AM and the sky was pitch black. Not even the moon was to be seen due to the extremely overcast sky. Once we arrived at our hotel (Alda Hotel Reykjavik), all of my doubts about coming to Iceland just melted away. Like, literally melted away because I was greeted with a fireplace, comfy couches, chill lounge music and super cute & rustic decor. Our check in time wasn’t until noon, but they had a room available for us and we were able to go up, drop off our luggage and get ready to start our first day in Reykjavik!
(These pictures were taken in the hotel lounge later in the evening. I was NOT drinking bourbon in the morning, Mom and Dad!)
Our days were packed with plans of horseback riding,
northern light tours (the tour got canceled due to snow and cloudy skies… oh well… the northern light chase will continue!), dog sledding, a full day at the Blue Lagoon and dinner reservations for tasting menus at Fiskmarkadurinn (Fish Market) and Grillmarkaðurinn (Grill Market).
This left us with no time to explore the city while the sun was up (10:00 AM-4:00 PM), but the city was very well lit and the street lambs had magical green glow (only in pictures though).
I was told before I arrived that Icelander loved their winters, the city was welcoming, bars were plentiful and cafes were cozy. Walking down the main commercial street in downtown Reykjavik (Laugavegur Road), I found all of the above statements to not only be true, but surpassing my expectations. There were tons of street art to be found, the store front displays were like pages right out of a West Elm catalog (but much much nicer and authentic), local beers were delicious (and cold!) and their espressos were rich and nutty, just as I like ’em.
I had booked this trip with plans of spending three full days in Reykjavik, but as the third evening came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps I didn’t plan for a long enough holiday. I was left hungry for more of this town and I still had so many places I wanted to eat at! Lucky for me, there was a blizzard warning in NYC so my trip back home got delayed. This meant I had time to explore the city with sunlight and having an unexpected Part II of Iceland!