While heading to a big city for vacation can be appealing, sometimes you just want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in the natural world. If that sounds like a great trip, consider flying to Reykjavik, Iceland. It is the largest city in the country with a population of about 120,000, but it is a great jumping-off point for tours of the country’s Nordic beauty.
What to do
If you’re headed to Iceland from early September to late April, you should make room in your schedule to see the northern lights. The aurora borealis is a beautiful natural light show in the sky caused by solar particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere. You can seek the phenomena out in many other northern areas, like Alaska, Finland and Norway, but Iceland has a unique advantage in that it doesn’t have many issues with cloud cover. While the lights are not always visible due to weather, it is generally easy to see some sort of aurora activity during its season in Iceland. To make it even simpler, the Icelandic Met Office monitors weather conditions year round to show spotters the best places in the country to see the lights each night and increase the probability of catching a glimpse.
You can pick almost anywhere on the map of Iceland to go for some truly breathtaking scenery, but if you’re sticking closer to Reykjavik, take a jaunt to Thingvellir National Park west of the city. Fans of “Game of Thrones” might see some things that look familiar to them because the production team used the park as a shooting location for the land north of the Wall on the border of the Seven Kingdoms. The park is on the U.N.’s World Heritage List and features the former site of Iceland’s open-air parliamentary assembly that ran from 930 A.D. to 1798. A major rift valley, marking the divide between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, takes up a lot of space in the park alongside cliffs, mountains and lava fields.
Where to stay
There are many accommodation options in Reykjavik ranging from standard hotels to facilities with rooms more like apartments. One example of the latter is the Reykjavik4you Apartment Hotel. Rooms range in size from a studio to a deluxe two-bedroom, and even the smallest apartment has a kitchen area for cooking your own meals and lots of room to move around in and relax after a long day outdoors. Another option to make you feel at home is the Reykjavik Residence Hotel. It’s situated near several shops and restaurants as well as fairly close to the water. Reviewers on Google praise the hotel for its cleanliness, customer service and daily breakfast basket with ingredients to use in your room’s kitchen.
If you prefer to stay in the lap of luxury when you’re in Reykjavik, consider the Hotel Borg. According to The Telegraph, it was one of the first luxury hotels built in Iceland and its location on the edge of one of the city’s landscaped squares makes it a peaceful retreat. The hotel’s 99 rooms are all outfitted with custom furniture and art, and the facility has traditional services like a spa, laundry, top-notch restaurant and bar. Before you check out, don’t forget to use the sauna, a key experience in this part of the world.
Reykjavik, Iceland, is a perfect vacation destination if you want a charming city experience with quick access to the natural world. Consider booking your next getaway to this island nation, and don’t forget to pack your hiking boots.
This article is presented by BMW of Cincinnati North in Cincinnati, Ohio.