So much has changed since my last visit to Iceland in August 2020! My most recent trip was one of my favorites for endless reasons, one being the volcano eruption at Mount Fagradalsfjall. Being from the U.S. I thought I would have an unpleasant start to my trip but the COVID testing entering the country and the short quarantine made the start of my trip quick, painless, and simple.
Once I received my negative COVID test results, my adventure had started! My first day in Iceland I explored all the culinary dives that were all over the capital of Reykjavik. I started with a wonderful brunch and piping hot coffee at Café Babalu. This cozy, quirky café offers a wide variety of coffee, snacks, teas, and best of all hot grilled cheese sandwiches. After some time of much needed sunbathing on the Café Babalu roof top deck, I began re-exploring Reykjavik’s streets and shops since so much had changed since my last visit.
After exploring all of the street art, taking all types of pictures, and taking in all of Iceland’s sunlight it was time for a good hearty lunch. This led me to the most delicious shop located close to Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral called Reykjavik Chips. There I had the best Burgers I’ve ever tried.
With a full belly it was then time to take a short drive to the much anticipated new lagoon in the capitol called Sky Lagoon. Sky lagoon involved a seven step spa ritual which was absolutely relaxing as well as rejuvenating. With such a beautiful spa and the most breathtaking views I was able to melt away in the warm infinity pool and enjoy the endless amounts of ocean views. Luckily, it was a beautiful clear day so I was able to see in the distance the smoke from the eruption site of Mount Fagradalsfjall. New smoke would be seen in the distance about every 20 minutes which was amazing!
After much needed rest, the following day arrived with a beautiful clear sky, which led me to my biggest adventure of seeing the volcanic eruption of Fagradalsfjall mountain in the Reykjanes Peninsula. This is only a forty minute drive from the capital of Reykjavik and a fifteen minute ride from the airport. I do think it is important to mention that it is not appropriate to go straight to the eruption site once arriving until completing quarantine and receiving your negative COVID test results through the Ranking C-19 app.
Upon arrival to the area where the eruption site hike begins there is a choice of two parking lots to park and begin the hike. I chose the second parking lot which was smaller and was less crowded. There was a sign and QR code to pay for parking which also counts as your entrance to the site. I followed the clearly marked paths and began a two-hour trip upwards to see this phenomenal eruption site. Along the way I smelled what reminded me of a campfire. During the hike one can see the view of different angles of the volcano and flowing lava. I can’t forget to mention that the closer I got to the eruption site the more I saw endless amounts of breathtaking lava fields.
Once I finally arrived at the top, exhausted, I would see other people, like myself from all over the world, quiet yet very happy to be watching such a mind-blowing eruption right in front. A huge plus is that an eruption occurs every twenty minutes or so. It felt very safe being far enough from the actual volcano yet amazing to be right in front of the eruption where I could hear the splashes of lava, see the red magma, and feel the heat of the center of the earth coming out. The whole experience felt very unreal, almost like a dream. I was able to admire the eruption while hydrating and having a much-needed snack for the way back down. The descent back from the eruption site was a much easier downhill hike which only took about an hour or so. Once I got back to the car I was able to change into some clean clothes and head to a very well deserved meal at a local restaurant.
Since the days are longer in Iceland with twenty-four hour sunlight. I thought a good end to the day would be best by relaxing in a lagoon. This then led me to a ten minute drive down to the Blue Lagoon. I was able to have a wonderful evening in geothermal water, a nice face mask, and a drink in hand to end my day.
The following day I decided to do a self-drive tour of the Golden Circle which I had not yet experienced. I used a free downloadable guide from “Lost in Iceland”. I started with seeing beautiful sites at Thingvellir National Park. It is important to note that once you arrive you pay for parking at a station. That way you can park anywhere in the national park. Once I found the perfect parking spot I had a relaxing walk through the different sites of the park which were all wonderful!
My next stops led me to the Geysir Hot Springs which were very cool. There is also a café across the street where the parking is located which has great food and great staff. After the Geysir I headed to Kerid Crater which was this amazing crater featuring red soil on the ground and sky blue water in the crater. My final stop was one of my favorites and that was the Hrunalaug Hot spring. This small yet very lovely geothermal pool is almost hidden. When I arrived there was a little parking lot and a short trail that led to the hot pot. This was the perfect place to unwind and reflect the amazing trip I had so far. What made it that much more amazing was how long the sun stayed out, so I felt I was able to have long days to enjoy my day as long as I wanted. The sound of the hot water stream, being in a natural hot spring, and having the sun hit me was nothing short of perfect.
On my last day I drove back to my favorite city of Reykjavik, so I could enjoy all the culinary treasures before my adventure ended. I started with a warm breakfast and a wonderful cup of coffee at Emilie and the Cool Kids right downtown. The café was cute and a perfect way to start my last day. I was even able to have a cute Instagram moment with their perfect lattes and pastries.
After the great treats, I walked through the streets of Reykjavik, saw many shops and fashions that the city had to offer, and I ended up stumbling on an absolute culinary gem. I checked out a restaurant called Bastard Brew & Food. I ended up trying out their brunch special which left me feeling like a child who just discovered cake. I tried an endless amount of food on their brunch menu which were all decadent and savory. It’s fair to say that I left my pants much tighter than what I came in.
Overall, it all was the perfect way to end my stay and my fourth trip to Iceland. This fourth trip was the shortest yet the most satisfying because I not only explored but was able to unwind and really reflect on how grateful I am to experience such beauties in a land of fire and ice. Every time I find myself in Iceland, I fall more in love with it than the last time. The magic in everything I experience keeps me always wanting more.
Thanks for reading my blog!