Reykjavik as a city is certainly different. It's small and somewhat old-fashioned, yet lacking in the period architecture most of our recent European adventures have been noteworthy for.
But when you look up at the mountains that surround the city, you kind of wonder why anyone built anything in Iceland. Why they disrupted the dominating nature of the place. The capital city was always going to be overshadowed by the breathtaking panorama.
And so we set off! We hired a left hand drive car (gasp gasp horror) and headed North, driving through weather that varied from snow storms to a sweaty summer's day. At this time of year, Iceland experiences about 20 hours of daylight. And even when the sun goes down, it's never pitch black outside. This makes sleeping difficult, but driving late at night very pleasant indeed.
We went whale watching in Eyjafjörður fjord and didn't see a single whale, which was rather disappointing. Our other tourist activities included visiting the geysers in the Golden Circle (I recommend doing this at night where there are only patient, passionate photographers and no tourists in sight) and the Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, and although expensive, it was SO lovely. You can stay for as many hours as you want, but we were melting and shrivelled up after an hour, but feeling refreshed. They have a really accessible website and it was well sign posted (located about 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik).
As someone who grew up in some of the most picturesque places my little island has to offer, scenery really has to go the extra mile to wow me. Iceland reminded me of a snow-covered Donegal, and if we had stopped to take a photo every time the sky looked incredible, we would never have made any progress with driving.
I definitely recommend a summer visit, though it means you definitely won't see any of the Northern Lights, it's blissful to have so many hours of light, and driving feels a lot safer with little snow on the ground.
Facts and Figures
Iceland's time zone is GMT -1 hour and the currency is Icelandic Krona. £1 = 205 ISK.
We flew into Keflavik International Airport, which is about 45 minutes from Reykjavik city centre.
Iceland's water smells really sulphuric. This may not be a useful fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.
Travel at 21 is a series on my blog where I talk about the places I visit in the hope it'll help and inspire people of my age/income. If you want to talk travel, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org