Other Iceland Posts:
It was rough getting into Reykjavik. I hadn't slept in 30 hours, and I had to take a stick shift car, which I haven't driven in 5 years and drive it through the snow for 45 minutes to the town itself. I landed at 7 am and in December the sun doesn't rise until around 10 am. I needed to start the trip right so I headed straight to Hallgrímskirkja, the tallest building in Iceland, to catch the sunrise.
Hallgrímskirkja is a stunning church with clean, symmetrical lines; the simplicity is stunning. You can take the elevator to the top for the best views of Reykjavik possible.
A spa like no other in the world. It's fascinating that the water is from a run off hydrothermal energy plant that is right next door. You'll be able to feel when they release new water into the spa.
The water is, as the name states, a silverish blue that is shines in the light and the lagoon is a decent size. In 2015 it was under construction because they are expanding the spa portion and is estimated to be completed in 2017
One of the main highlights to do in the spa is to have a mask. They have little pots in different areas of the spa with a white mud that you can rub on your face. I saw some people putting it all over their body, but I am not sure you would want to after I learned what happens when you take the mask off.
I left it on for 10 minutes, washed it off, and dunked my face in the water. Then my face started to tingle and then it began to burn. I was not expecting to have my face feel like it was on fire after a “cleansing” mask but that was the case. Perform at your own risk.
You also have the opportunity to do a massage in the water. I participated for the experience but if you like deep tissue massages this relaxing massage is not for you.
Another main attraction in Reykjavik, though a little less known. The Grotta Lighthouse sits on the westernmost tip of Reykjavik. You can walk to from the middle of town, takes about 40-50 minutes but realistically if you're in Iceland I hope you have rented a car to go exploring the southern coast and more.
This lighthouse is great because you can catch the Northern Lights here-- not an easy feat inside of a town!
Head down when it is dark but make sure you are bringing proper gear. You also need to check the tide because if it is low, you can walk all the way out to the lighthouse.
If you do have a car I would suggest driving a bit out of town to try and catch the northernlights. One of the best viewing experiences I had was 30 minutes outside of Reykjavik.
If you are renting a car, they ask you the time as most car carriers do on when you will be arriving. Make sure this is 100% accurate. I had to wait an extra hour at the airport because they didn’t have the car ready.
If you are heading to the blue lagoon, make a reservation. It can get crowded quickly.
With limited daylight during the winter, every minute counts for photography. In December what I noticed is that you have an extended blue and golden hour and your peak overbearing sun only actually lasts a little more than a few hours.
Plan your trip around the moon cycle. You will never be able to see the northern lights with the moon out!
- Canon 5DSr
- Canon 6D
- Canon 24-70mm ƒ2.8 L II
- Canon 70-200mm ƒ2.8 IS II
- Canon 24mm ƒ1.8 I
- Mefoto Tripod
The Arctic Circle is designed to increase participation in Arctic dialogue and strengthen the international focus on the future of the Arctic. To this end, the Arctic Circle aims to create opportunities for everyone to attend different meetings, conduct their own networking and engage in one-on-one informal discussions.
The annual Arctic Circle Assembly has become the largest international gathering on the Arctic, attended by more than 2000 participants from 50 countries. The Assembly is held every October at the Harpa Conference Center and Conference Hall in Reykjavík, Iceland.