At BeTheFirst, one of our aims is to let you be the first to visit a new hotel or location. This month we are looking at Iceland. It is known as the land of ice and fire, but there is a whole lot more in between too.
One of the great things about a visit to this small country, located in the middle of the north Atlantic, is that it’s so different and somewhere few of your friends might have been to before you.
Check out our website to see our latest brand new or recently refurbished hotels on the island, so you can enjoy a luxurious stay at a discounted price. For example, we have a wonderful opportunity for you to be one of the first to stay at the brand new Canopy Reykjavik by Hilton. Situated in the Reykjavík 101 district, Canopy Reykjavik City Centre boasts a restaurant, bar and free wi-fi throughout the property as well as breakfast in your room at no extra charge!
Don’t take the easy way out by eating breakfast in your hotel, but make the most of your time by heading off to Perlan (the Pearl). You’ll recognise the place from its stunning architecture and get a great orientation of the capital city of Reykjavik, laid out below you.
As cities go, Reykjavik is tiny, with a population of just 120,000 – though some 80% of the country’s entire population of 300,000 lives within about an hour’s travelling time of the capital.
Your first port of call after breakfast should be the tourist information centre where you can pick up a Reykjavik City Card. It costs just over £20 and gives you free entry to most museums, unlimited public transport, entry to most thermal baths and a number of other discounts.
After Perlan, you might want to head down to the harbour and board one of the many boat tours setting off on whale watching expeditions.
These operate from April until September and will take up most of your morning during a trip that lasts around three hours or so.
A quick lunch
Hot dogs are Icelanders’ favourite fast food and you can get one practically anywhere in Reykjavik.
If you are after something just a little more substantial, try a salmon bruschetta in the sunshine on the terrace of the restaurant Uno.
This is the name of the historic centre of Reykjavik, where you might want to spend the afternoon visiting the city’s art museum. Situated by the old harbour, you can stop for a rest and enjoy the fresh air and the peace and quiet.
For such a small and compact city, Reykjavik has a surprisingly varied and vibrant night life.
Take a stroll along Laugavegur and you can take your pick of the many bars, restaurants and parties – they’re likely to kick off from about one or two in the morning.
You might not be one for attending church services, but a visit to the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran church in the centre of the city is a certain must do.
It soars skywards and, from the top of its massive spire, offers probably the best view of the whole of the city.
Iceland is renowned for its thermal baths and you can find them dotted all around the country. Soak in one for an hour and become truly immersed in this culture of ice and fire.
Probably one of the best known of these thermal spas is the Blue Lagoon, situated in a lava field near the town of Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
There are a number of tours and excursions to help you see the whole of the country – including its volcanoes, glaciers and other natural landmarks in the wilderness of the interior.
Conducted tours such as this are also given in English.
Game of Thrones
Finally, it would be rude not mention the hugely popular TV series, Game of Thrones, which was filmed in Iceland. If you are a fan of the programme, then organised trips to some of the filming locations are available, so can be incorporated in to your 48 hour break if you wish.