Iceland Trip: Day 1 City Sightseeing & The Golden Circle

I must say I got given a tonne of girlfriend points when I told Chris I was taking him to Iceland for his 30th birthday. He’d mentioned about wanting to visit a few times in the five and a half years we’ve been together. You know the drill about flights and the whole shebang, so I won’t harp on about it too much. Just to say take a look at the package deals on IcelandAir’s website, they are great value for money.

I picked the Ultimate Iceland Package for 3 nights with all excursions included. We stayed at the 3* Hotel Klettur, which included breakfast and I added our transfers to and from the airport so we didn’t have to worry about getting there. The plane outward bound was slightly delayed, but the roomy seats  (in economy no less!) on the plane along with inflight entertainment made up for it. A simple hop, skip and a slightly sleepy jump onto the FlyBus to take us to our hotel and just under an hour later we were asleep in the Hotel Klettur ready for the next day ahead.

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I cannot recommend the hotel enough. A solid 3*, it was clean, comfortable and the staff were lovely. The hotel was built around rocks within the area, as Icelandic folktales tell of elves that live in rocks around the island. Lots of Icelanders believe in Elves and their mythology. So many of the floors in the hotel have rocks bursting out of them so as not to disturb these mystical creatures, which I thought was a lovely addition to tell friends and family when we returned home. With only a ten-minute walk to the top of Reykjavik high street too, the location was second to none.

Reykjavik High Street

Since you are in the fashion category I guess you want to hear about what I wore? A quick check of the weather report before we left informed me it would be a general 10-12°c, like the normal wet weather we usually get in England with a good dose of cold sea wind and chilly conditions. So it was boots, jeans and layers for me! Chris survived with a t-shirt under his hefty SuperDry coat, but I opted for long sleeved jumpers and t-shirts, with a coat over and the non-negotiable hat, scarf and gloves.

I’m glad I did too, because when we weren’t on the snuggly warm tour bus on the first day of City Sightseeing, we were outside in the cold drizzle and rain snapping away. Reykjavik is an odd sort of ‘city’, I use the term loosely as it is very small Viking inspired coastal town with corrugated iron covered old cute buildings juxtaposed with architecturally newly designed high rise flats and office blocks. Just over 300,000 people live in the entirety of Iceland, with the majority living in Reykjavik, which when you’ve lived in and around London all your life can seem pretty quite in comparison.

Sights to see include:


Hallgrímskirkja Church and the Leifur Eiríksson statue outside

Reykjavik High street

the main shopping street Laugavegur

the President of Iceland’s house


Jón Gunnar Árnason’s stainless steel Sólfar SunCraft sculpture at the Harbour


the latest landmark the Harpa Concert Hall


Höfði House Government building.


Perlan, a revolving restaurant that stores the geothermally heated water to the city has great views across the whole town.

After an ice cream in Iceland (haha!), it was time to get on the road again to do the Golden Circle Afternoon tour, which included seeing some of the key historical and geological sites. I’m SO glad I took an extra waterproof jacket as this part of the journey was very wet indeed.

Our initial stop was at Thingvellir National Park, the driest of the three stops and the site of the country’s first parliament established 1000 years ago situated on top of the line where the North American and Eurasian continental plates meet. So within minutes you can be in North America or Europe, a very odd thing when you think about it. In fact even odder when you take in the fact that they are drifting apart by 2cm every year.

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Next up was Gulfoss, the Golden waterfall, and boy is it! Wear a raincoat that’s waterproof and sturdy shoes with good grip, as the clouds of water spray are heavy and unrelenting. It’s worth it though as you can marvel at nature at its most forceful. Thumbs up from us!

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Our final stop, was Geysir, the original gushing blowhole that gave its name to geysers worldwide. The daddy geyser hasn’t performed for over 13 years, but thankfully his smaller but still forceful son ‘Strokkur’ spurts scalding hot water from deep under the ground to a height of around 20 metres every few minutes. Patience, the ability to hold your nose due to the ‘rotten egg’ sulphur smell and a good camera trigger finger are your friend here.

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Looking fashionable was not really a priority for me in Iceland, as I was more concerned with being warm. Plus when you are seeing things this beautiful and majestic, you kind of forget about being pretty. My advice: take layers, thick socks to keep your feet warm under good walking boots, a bathing costume/bikini and something dressy if you plan to go to one of the smarter restaurants in the evening.

What do you think of Day One so far? Is Iceland looking like a must see destination for you?