It seems like everyone is going to Iceland at the moment. I swear I can’t move for blog posts about everyone’s visits to Reykjavik, or friends tales about their time in Iceland, or their school trip a few years ago. When I told my parents I’d been, my Stepmum told me how much she wanted to go and my Aunt told me she’d booked a trip in February.
I’d booked my trip quite a long time ago, and then almost – as bad as it sounds – forgotten about it. It just seemed to slip my mind, and then crept up on me. It meant I then I found myself ringing round currency exchanges in London trying to find somewhere which stocked Icelandic króna.
I’d barely done any of the research I’d meant to do. For someone whose job title is “researcher”, when it comes to my own holidays or trips I seem to end up winging it. My first issue being that I thought that the flight was about two hours long. It was actually three hours. Iceland was quite some way to go for a two day trip!
I’ll be honest, I felt a bit let down by Reykjavik.
I’ve been to quite a few Nordic countries in my time, and found them all to be really pretty. I don’t think I could say the same about Reykjavik. The vast majority reminded me of the council estate my great Aunt lives in in Stoke on Trent. The rest looked a little bit like an industrial estate. There were small pockets of colour, most of it was because of the incredible street art which was dotted around the place. But really, I think that when it comes to Nordic countries, Reykjavik doesn’t compare to places like Oslo or Copenhagen.
It probably wasn’t helped by the fact that it rained the entire time I was there. Serious torrential pouring down non-stop rain. I suppose that’s what you get for visiting Iceland in October. If you’re planning on going to Iceland in October, consider not just taking hand luggage. You’re going to need a stock of dry warm clothes.
Another element which didn’t help my little trip to Reykjavik was the cost! Everything was a lot more expensive than I thought it would be. I knew Iceland would be costly. However, I visited just after the “flash crash” (thanks Brexit), which added more onto the price. Even taking that into account, the food and beer and other things were more expensive than I thought they were going to be. It was vaguely impossible to do anything without shuddering at the cost of it. The only way to do Reykjavik is to go there and just not care about the ridiculous amount of money leaving your account at every moment.
There were some good points though. We visited the Blue Lagoon, which was definitely an experience. We missed out on the Northern Lights, but having seen some blog posts about it (notably Erica’s), then if you were in Iceland for those it would be perfect. It would probably be worth the trip alone. Also, lots of people in my hotel were going on the golden circle tour, which I just didn’t get time for, but would have taken in a large part of what Iceland is actually famous for – natural beauty.
Would I go back?
I think in hindsight, visiting Iceland should be for its natural beauty, rather than its architecture. Am I glad I went? Definitely. Would I go back anytime soon? Probably not. But hey, I still want to see the Northern Lights. So a trip will probably have to go on the cards one day.