Reykjavik was the starting point of a long journey through Iceland for me, but one major mistake I feel I made was spending entirely too much time here. My family and I spent the better part of about 3 days here since it was our “homebase”. Having a definitive place to go home to and sleep in sounds like a great idea, but it doesn’t work so well in the gorgeous countryside of Iceland. You’ll find yourself wishing that you could venture out and see the wonders instead of staying in one spot for too long.
In addition, the remainder of Iceland stands in stark contrast to Reykjavik, the only real city in Iceland (other than maybe Akureyri). The remainder of Iceland is this vast wonderland of natural beauty, a place that looks as though God kissed the Earth and from that area sprang an abundance of visual masterpieces in the form of landscapes, mountains, waterfalls. The rest of Iceland is so entirely epic that even if you’re an atheist, you may yet feel a spiritual connection in its ineffable nature.
But Reykjavik is nothing like the rest of Iceland. As I said, it’s a city, and as such is a completely different experience from the lush visages of Iceland. While Reykjavik is a decently nice city, it, unfortunately, lives inside of a beautifully undisturbed apex of natural beauty called the country of Iceland that makes it look more like a blemish than anything positive. It’s like if Jessica Alba’s face had a pimple, her face would be Iceland, while the pimple would be sad sad Reykjavik.
If Reykjavik existed anywhere else in the world, perhaps it’d be a nice city, but alas, it is right next to some of the greatest pieces of scenery that this planet has to offer, and it pales in comparison to that scenery. Regardless, here’s Reykjavik in pieces:
By the way, you can scroll to the bottom if you don’t wanna read the whole spiel and you’ll get the cliffnotes version in a picture!
Price: The price rating comes from how expensive or inexpensive things were in general here. 1 Star would indicate that everything is severely overpriced. 5 stars would indicate that everything is rather cheap.
Reykjavik gets 3 stars because nothing seemed out of the ordinary in terms of pricing. It was similar to any big city in America, so it wasn’t much of a shock to be there. It is also definitely much cheaper than some of its brother and sister cities in mainland Europe.
People: The people rating will determine how nice or terrible the people in the city were. 1 star means that the people all but spat in my face. 5 stars means that they are among the world’s friendliest people.
Reykjavik gets a solid 4 stars here. We had no problems whatsoever, and people seemed rather eager and willing to help us when we needed it. Nobody seemed to judge us at all, and nobody gave us much in the way of attitude.
Food: The food rating comes from, based on my experience, how good the meals were. 1 star means that I would rather eat old stinky cheese than eat in this place again. 5 stars means the food was delivered from the gates of heaven to the Earth.
The food receives 3 stars because, coming from America, I am used to more options and much better food, but overall the places we went to weren’t bad. As a matter of fact we had some rather good meals, but I’m a harsh food critic, and it will take a lot for me to find something to truly give 4 stars to, let alone 5 stars.
Fun: The fun measurement tells you how much stuff there is to do in a particular location. 1 star means that you would be better off staying in your hotel room, staring at the walls. 5 stars means that there is simply too much fun to be had in this location.
Reykjavik receives 2 stars here because the only worthwhile things to do within the city that are unique and captivating are possibly the church and the concert hall. You can see both within the span of 3 or 4 hours and then you’ve seen much of what Reykjavik is all about. In addition, it doesn’t help that when I think of things to recommend doing in Iceland, seeing Reykjavik is probably #25 or #26 on the list.
Value: The value judgement tells you whether you get a good bang for your buck. Sure maybe the thing you’re doing costs a lot of money, but maybe the experience is priceless which makes it extremely valuable. 1 star means that you pay a lot of money and get relatively little in return. 5 stars means that you either pay a little bit of money and get a lot back, or even though you pay a lot of money, the experiences are well worth it.
Reykjavik gets a 3 star in this department. This is because you don’t necessarily pay an arm and a leg, but you don’t really get an outstanding experience either.
Hotel: Finally we get to hotels. Hotels is a measurement of the availability of hotels, with their price and quality both taken into consideration. 1 star means there aren’t many hotels and they mostly suck. 5 stars means there’s lots of hotels to choose from and many of them are good.
Reykjavik doesn’t exactly have an outstanding variety of hotels. My family and I actually stayed in an Airbnb and that was extremely nice. Even so, I give hotels in Reykjavik a 3 star because I do know that there were some hotels, they seemed decent, and because there are so few people, I’m sure they were available.
Additional Points: Right so, I don’t want to discourage you from visiting Iceland. Reykjavik probably sounds just average, but that’s because it is just average. But Iceland itself is not. What I want to get across is that Reykjavik isn’t worth staying in for long, but you will fall in love with Iceland itself.
Oh and one more thing. Prepare yourself for a weird sleep cycle if you go during the summer. We went in July, and it never truly became night time the entire time I was there. More on that in a later post though.
I’ll see you guys in the next location
– The Wandering Toucan