The Perfect (Long) Weekend: Reykjavik, Iceland
It has been a lifelong dream to see Iceland: that mysterious island that hovers just below the Arctic Circle. Everyone knows someone who has been, and the typical answer to the inevitable question of HOW WAS IT? is usually the same.
INCREDIBLE, you just have to see it for yourself.
So I did, with only two weeks notice and five friends. We came, we saw and we conquered. We returned forever changed, without even breaking the bank. Our only goal: To see something different
How To Book It: Iceland isnt as far as one might think. About the same distance to LA, the flight is only five hours there and six hours back. Icelandair is offering a round trip fare of $389 from January 15th to March 31st from JFK, Seattle, Orlando, Washington, DC, Minneapolis and Boston. The new airline, Iceland Express (which we took) offers daily non-stops to Keflavik airport from Newark. In even more exciting news, Delta will provide the only US-based service from JFK starting June 1, 2011.
All of our excursions from ATVing up a mountain to a private snorkeling expedition between the tectonic plates were arranged through UK-based outfitter, Black Tomato.
When To Go: Are you a day or night person? Depending, in June, July and August the approximate temperature is 55 degrees and the island enjoys between 20-22 hours of sunlight. The winter, however, boasts the unique opportunity to see the Northern Lights during the day-long nights. October is another great month to go because of the world-renowned Iceland Airwaves festival that showcases countless international and local bands at a variety of venues across the city.
The Nightlife Scene: With over 100 bars and clubs within city limits, Reykjavik transforms from a sleepy, seaside town by day to a world-class nightlife destination in a matter of hours. Friday and Saturday here are THE nights to go out, and the main street, Laugavegur,is flooded with partiers of all stripes until well after the sun rises.
- Austur: As New York of a club as they come, Austur was constantly recommended by friends and locals alike as the place to be Friday and Saturday nights. The line starts to form around midnight and the place is filled wall-to-wall by 1 AM. The music ranges from club classics to whatever is topping the charts back home. Bottle service starts at $300 for a bottle of Reyka Icelandic vodka. Bankastrti 40
**A word to the wise: Since people carry their bottles outside, the street is often adorned with broken glass. However, cleanup crews are on hand to make everything spotless by the AM.
What To Bring: Once you’ve made your decision to visit Iceland, the goal is to arrive prepared with as many of the essentials as possible. That includes everything from a waterproof camera to a jacket that’s ready to take on the elements and any of the outdoor activities you’re planning to partake in, in style. Click through the slide show above for our picks on what to bring with you.
Quotes From The Edge of the World:
- Be fearless, say exactly what youre thinking.
- Get in a car and go.
- Trust the locals to find the best parties.
- Dont go to bed before sunrise; the 3-5 AM scene is critical.
- The best street cleaning in the world.
- You would think Red Bull was their only mixer.
- Get the latest dinner reservation you can; most dont book past 10 PM.
- No one tips.
- Eat Skyr, trust me.
- Be aware of early beer consumption. Local brews like Viking and Gull are high in alcohol content.
- The entire island is on Facebook.
For more info on where to stay, what to eat and all of the must-see spots in Reykjavik, check out Conquering Iceland: Everything You Need To Know