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Is Sky Lagoon Reykjavik worth it? It’s a question that we asked ourselves for a longer period, and during our visit in September 2023 we decided to go and check it out for ourselves. The answer is shortly: Yes, absolutely! You can read all about the Sky Lagoon on this dedicated page about Sky Lagoon.
I was not sure what to expect from this one. Go in an attraction to explore the most beautiful part of Iceland? Why wouldn’t you just go out into nature and experience the beauty for yourselve? Now that we visited the attraction I can really recommend it. Ideally for a rainy day in Iceland. The feeling is really exceptional and the addition of wind and water makes it very realistic. When you fly close by a waterfall it feels so real! The video screen is above you, in front of you and below you which makes it incredible. The movements are quickly so people who get easily nauseous might refrain from eating just before the flight. We checked and most people have it, but it quickly goes away. Don’t let that hold you back from this experience.
The show itselfs take 8,5 minutes, but with 2 pre-movies about trolls and the origin of Iceland before in other rooms, the entire experience takes roughly 35 minutes.
It’s not that cheap as website lists in 2023 a ticket price of 5.800 ISK (onsite) or 5.490 ISK (online). So if you want to save some money make sure to buy your ticket upfront online. It also guarantees you a spot at your preferred timing, as we saw some dissappointed people when we visited FlyOver Iceland.
Ocean swimming at Nauthólsvík
Iceland is not know for it’s great weather with high temperatures and as a consequence you know what to think about the water in the ocean. Now, Icelandic people don’t let that hold them back and many of them go frequently swimming in the Ocean. They did find a great way to make it more enjoyable and installed hot tubs closeby. Like this you can first warm up in the hot tub before you go into the ocean. When you’re done enjoying the chilly water, you can then go back to the hot tub and your skin will feel like the put small needles in it. Feels great and makes you feel alive. When I swim in the ocean the water temperature it was 10° celcius but on an earlier trip Marie-Claire swim in the ocean when it had 6° celcius.
Most Icelandic people do have neoprene gloves and shoes to make the swimming more enjoyable as your hand and feet will suffer most from the cold water. There are also a lot of people wearing a wetsuit.
The so called “ice bear” people will probably recognise this, but for us the experience in the cold water was awesome. The cold water makes you don’t think about anything else than your body and arrange your breathing. You feel really away from the world and anything what keep you busy in your mind. Try it out when you have the chance!
Food hall Grandi Mathöll
In the fish district in the old harbour you can find Grandi Mathöll, which was opened in 2018. It’s a cosy area where you find roughly 10 food stalls offering all kinds of different things. We enjoyed a great fish burger as lunch right after visiting FlyOver Iceland and before heading for an afternoon hike. You can conveniently park in front of the building or at the other side of the street.
Hike to Steinn
One of the locals their favorite hike is the one to Steinn. Be aware; this is a heavy one! From the very first meters till you reach steinn the incline is steep. It gave us stiff muscles for days after and that is not something we easily get. You are warned to do some warm up and not start cold like we did. In the weekend there are also plenty of (trail) runners who go up and down the hill.
When you reach the big rock (Steinn) you can either continue your loop or continue to the top. You can guess what we have done. People who are afraid of heights might think twice as it includes some ladders and narrow parts. Luckily there are chains at the most tricky parts.
Make sure to only go up the hill when the weather is nice, because otherwise you won’t see a thing and that would be a real pity! Once you reach the top, the views are incredible. You can overlook even Reykjavik. As usually with these kind of endless views, the pictures don’t do the views justice.
Explore Reykjavik by bike
We again rented two city bikes at Rent A Bike Reykjavik to explore the city. We did a nice trip of 45 kilometer along the coastal line and passed several nice views. Near the end you can also find The Sun Voyager which is described as a dream boat, or an ode to the sun. Be aware that Iceland is an island and that there are strong winds, even if the weather is great. As we are experienced bikers and also have quite some wind in Flanders, we survived 🙂
Search for street art
When you stroll around the streets in Reykjavik you’ll find plenty of art. It’s on the walls, entire buildings and also the streets itself are painted (Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur or Rainbow Street). Here you can find a few examples.
Clubbing and partying
Although Reykjavik is a relatively small city it still has quite a clubbing and party scene. On Saturday evening there are rows to enter the biggest clubs. During the last days of our holiday two of our friends joined us and we had some drinks at The Drunken Rabbit.
According to Belgium standards beer and alcohol in general is very expensive. Think about 11 to 12 euro for a large beer (500 ml). Luckily there are several happy hours and most of them are from 16:00 till 20:00. Then you get about 50% reduction which makes that beer is not extremely expensive but just expensive. (2022). Make sure to download the app “appy hour” to find which happy hours are active and where to find them.
When we were there in June, it stays light all night long. It’s a crazy feeling when going out and you might loose track of time. When the sky is crystal blue and you have a drink at 23:30 in the sun, it might feel like 14:00 in the afternoon.
Relaxing in the city
When the weather is good, plenty of people are enjoying and relaxing in the city. Either on a terrace for a drink or even at the beach where you have a hot pot where people sit close to each other enjoing the warm water. However, when you want to have a drink on a terrace it might you cost quite a bit. When we decided to have a bottle of wine on a great location, the prices started as of 54 euro per bottle which is high to our standards. Don’t expect a high end wine, and I think you might easily pay 7 times the price you would pay in a Belgian shop (source: Vivino app).
Walk in the city park: Elliðaárdalur
In the middle of Reykjavik city there is a hidden nature gem called Ellidaardalur Valley. You can hike different distances and you will pass 2 waterfall of which certainly the biggest one you would not expect. It’s perfect to have an after work walk and enjoy the peace of nature within the city centre. Directly next to the park you will also find a sports centre and outdoor swimming pool with hot pots.
Hengill is a mountain range not that far from Reykjavik and Vörduskeggi is the highest peak in Hengill. Not far from the Hellisheidi powerplant you find the starting point of a nice loop. The loop is not possible in the winter without the right gear and even the winter detour is not always available for regular hikers.
We started clockwise from the parking lot in the direction of the peak. It’s a nice hike and the views are endless. You can see the sea, different colors on the mountains and at regular intervals you have 360 panoramas. When you get closer to the top the trails gets a little trickier, but we categorise the track as safe.
Near the top we started to cross some areas with snow but we could continue our trail and still counted to be able to make the loop. We knew the winter route was not accessible for us but did count on the detour. Just at the most far point of the loop we got stuck. On a steep mountainside that we had to cross there was snow over the track for about roughly 80 meters. Without adapted shoes it was not safe to pass. 1 single mistake would have made us slide down several hunderd of meters. We tried to find still another alternative, but none were possible, so we had to turn back.
When we were getting closer to the start we decided to make the loop in the other direction as well. We went till the hot springs and the cabin (you can’t miss this one) but decided to turn back. Our hike was close to 19 km in the end and that was more than enough. We also think that we have spotted the most highlights of the hike. At the bottom of the page you can find a video showing a 360 degree panorama.
During our Steinn hike (see above) we spotted twice a plane doing aerobatics. That was a nice extra for our hike. Next to it you find a 360 degree panorama from our Vörduskeggi hike.