If you’re looking for a winterbreak with a difference, I can wholeheartedly recommend Reykjavik (it’s meant to be wonderful in summer too, particularly the Pride events if you’re LGBT but that remains on my bucket list for now).
We visited the world’s Northernmost capital city between Christmas and New Year- if you get the opportunity to be around for the fireworks spectacular on New Years Eve you should go for it. Wrap up warm instead of donning your party gear and get ready for hours of some of the most impressive fireworks you’re ever likely to see. Word of advice to avoid your last supper of the year being in an expensive takeaway serving kebabs and pizzas though, many of the restaurants (and shops) close for the evening and the ones that are open are crammed so book early to avoid disappointment (and new year hunger). Don’t worry, if you are after a party, the bars and clubs open after midnight and stay open into the next day.
Food in Iceland can be expensive so if you’re on a budget, planning before you travel is a great idea as is staying away from the booze which, as an import, carries a heavy price tag. If I were you, I’d prefer something hot anyway, or the famous chocolate milk which is available all over and, quite simply, to die for.
We stayed at Apartment K which is central and have apartments dotted around the city, our apartment which was a good size with a beautiful bathroom and quirky scandinavian feel as well as being in an amazing location right opposite The Culture House.
You can’t go to Iceland without trying to see the Northern Lights, we went with Gray Line (which seems to have the monopoloy on a lot of excursions, no matter which agent you book with). There are 3 pick ups a night in winter (7, 8 and 9pm) and the company offers you a free repeat tour within 2 years if you aren’t fortunate enough to see the lights. We went twice during our stay and saw them the second time (unfortunately we didn’t get any great photos). You should make the trip to see one of the world’s most beautiful natural phenomenoms.
Another not-to-be-missed experience is the Blue Lagoon (one of Iceland’s many hot springs). Bathe in the natural heat while being snowed on and enjoy a natural face mask and a drink (anything from beer or wine to healthy smoothies). The high silica content in the ‘mud’ is great for your skin and protects you against the elements, although it dries out hair so make sure to lather up with conditioner before getting in!
As well as the many natural wonders to see, Reykjavik has a wealth of galleries and museums (my favourite two being The Culture House- I loved the concept- and the Reykjavik Art Museum which has an awesone collection of pop art). The galleries aren’t free to enter so it’s worth purchasing The City Card (for 24, 48 or 72 hours) if you’re going to a few which gives you free bus travel should you need it, free entry to plenty of the museums and galleries and various discounts. You can pick up the card at lots of places, including the easy to find tourist information.
There’s plenty to keep you busy in Reykjavik and it’d be impossible to see it all in a trip. That won’t be a problem though because the stunning backdrop and safe feel of the place will mean you never want to leave.