Amazing Stopover in Reykjavik
I had a 7 hours layover in Reykjavik while waiting for my flight back to New York. I had about 5 hours to do something outside of the airport – It was too long for me to just sit and wait at the airport, and too short for me to hop on the airport shuttle and go explore Reykjavik or other tourist sights. Fortunately, Reykjavik Outventure provided me with a great solution – Layover Tour in Reykjanes Peninsula. Johann, who is the owner of Reykjavik Outventure picked me up at the airport, and introduced me to the sights in the Reykjanes Peninsula region as well as to unique Icelandic food & drinks.
During this tour, I was able to see the major sights in the Reykjanes Peninsula and sights beyond typical tourist spots, such as colorful geothermal fields, stunning cliffs, a bridge between two continents, old fishing villages, lava fields, white sand beach, lighthouses, and more. The scenery of Reykjanes Peninsula is very special. I could really see how the past volcanic eruption left the mark in the region, and how the geothermal activities shape the landscape of this area today.
One of the highlights from this tour was to swim in the beautiful natural pool. It looks like a cozy hot spring but it is a 46F (8C) degree ice cold sea water pool. Well, not everyone wants to jump into such cold water, but visiting this stunning sight totally worth your time. I enjoyed listening to Icelandic music such as “of monsters and men” and “Kaleo” in the car, as it made a great soundtrack to the the scenery from the car window.
Food, Beer, and Icelandic Liqueur Tasting
When I visit new places, I love trying food and drinks because it is an essential part of understanding the local culture and history. During this tour, I was able to try unique Icelandic snacks such as duck and horse meat, dried fish, local cheese, and most importantly fermented shark. Snacks were unique and tasty, but the fermented shark was… let’s say it was worth trying. I also got to try local beer and Icelandic liqueur, Brennivín, which is also known as “Black Death”. It has a clear color and taste a bit like Gin. It is also very strong but with a nice flavor. I tried it with a fermented shark, which was a good idea as the liquor musked the strong taste of the shark. I enjoyed the taste of this liqueur, and I ended up buying a bottle of it as a souvenir.
It was amazing how I was able to see all these sights and even do food tasting within my short layover in Reykjavik. Johann was not only knowledgeable, but also a fun person to hang out with. It is always nice to hear interesting stories from the local guide because these are real stories to understand the culture that are not available online. Many people like myself take the low cost flights to European cities that includes a stopover in Reykjavik – I would recommend utilizing this layover time and experiencing Iceland with a local.