Iceland Road Trip – Odds and Ends

… Reykjavik, Weather, Useful Websites & Apps

Trip Details:  Annotated Map    Photo Gallery   Itinerary

Insights: Accommodations   Driving  

Reykjavik – Iceland’s Big City

Like any major European cities, Reykjavik has plenty of restaurants, pubs, shopping, museums, performing arts, etc. Eating and drinking is expense, but, prices are reasonable during happy hour at many places.  We didn’t spend much time exploring the city but did walk through the major tourist sites making a few stops along the way.  Here are some of our insights.

Icelanders love wafflesSandholt Bakery – We arrived Sunday morning around 8a looking for a place to eat breakfast.  Sandholt was the only place we found on the main drag and the breakfast was so good we returned the next day before starting our road trip.  Highly recommend if not eating the hotel breakfast buffet. Though stay away from ordering the Skyr yoghurt as its just the packaged variety sold in grocery stores.

Reykjavik Rost – Wandering the old harbor we came across the cafe during happy hour.  Nice, warm environment overlooking the harbor.  Good happy hour prices and well made coffee drinks

Icelandic Fish and Chips – Most tour guides will highly recommend this simple restaurant with a view of the old harbor.  It lives up to it’s billing.  A good stop for lunch or a light dinner.

Eldsmijdan Pizza – OK, why have pizza in Iceland? There’s no good reason but if you do want a wood burning fire pizza, this is a great place, especially if you want to take it out.

Valdis Ice Cream – My buddy loves ice cream and this institution gets his blessing.  We went on a cold, wet evening.  The place was packed with locals.  That says it all.

Baejarins Beztu Pylsur – Ths hot dog institution is a must try just to say you did.  Hot dog is not bad.

Icelandic Weather – Vedurstodin Smartphone App

Weather in Iceland is extremely changeable as you might expect, so be prepared with proper rain gear (tops and bottoms), water proof shoes/boots, and layers.  This will also come in handy as you get close to the waterfalls. Our experience in April ranged from 60°F and sunny in Hellnar to a 20°F wind chill at the Geysir area.

In fact, the week before our trip I completely reversed the directly of our route to avoid a major storm with 60+ mph gusts on the south coast.  Even though it rained and was very windy for the middle part of our trip, the rerouting definitely reduced our time in uncomfortable weather.

The Icelandic Met Office Site is in English, but, it’s easier to use the Vedurstodin Smartphone App.  It’s only in °C and m/s wind speed (2.2m/s=1mph), but, forecast are detailed and multiple days.

Useful websites and Smartphone Apps

Iheartreykjavik.net – Great information about Reykjavik and Iceland provided by Audur.  I used her Self Driving maps to plan our trip through the West and North.  Also some great insights in her blog posts.  She also recommended the Secret Lagoon as an alternative to the Blue Lagoon. Though we didn’t have the time, I would have liked to take one of her guided tours of Reykjavik

Guidetoiceland.is – general site listing all tours that are locally available in Iceland. Everything from single day escapes from Reykjavik, to multi-day excursions, even self driving tours of the island.

theoutbound.com – the Outbound Collective provides detailed insight of various hiking destinations throughout Iceland with wonderful photographs.  I used to it to discover some off-the-beaten path hikes

skaftafell national park – this site layout some details hiking information for the entire national park

Maps.me – great app to use a google my maps without having a connection to the internet.  Was very accurate and easy to use.  Preferred it to the GPS provided in the rental car

Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) – real time road conditions, weather, traffic and live webcams.  They also have a smartphone app – Vegagerdin

Vedurstodin – Great weather map based on information from the Icelandic Met Office

Aurora forecast – this page on the Icelandic Met Office site will give you all you need to determine if conditions are right to see the northern lights.  There’s generally a 3 day forecast.  It also has a link to information available from NOAA.

Secret lagoon – Alternative to the Blue Lagoon more frequented by locals in the town of Fludir near the Golden Circle.  Wish we were able to experience it.

 

 

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