Natural History Muesum
Well it is what it is. For a tourist it is a trap because all the exhibits were in Icelandic. To make matters worse, the whole museum is two medium sized rooms and several flights of stairs with displays. It's quite small and really not worth visiting.
Unique Suggestions: Look at all the stuffed wildlife and collected species. You might not be able to read the animals name (unless you can name every Icelandic species of animal, plant, and fungi by scientific name).
You do get to see a stuffed Great Auk (extinct since the 19th century) which made the visit worthwhile
Fun Alternatives: Almost anything else in Reykjavik would be a better alternative. Try other museums in town. I was disenchanted by this one and avoided the rest. Time was limited too.
Northern Lights trip
While the Northern Lights trips don't run when it's cloudy, they do run when it's full moon and there's equally little chance of seeing the Northern Lights (see picture). It's not a particularly pleasant drive out for a mug of hot choc and a local doughnut - not much for around £28. If you're unlucky the coach driver will get lost in the middle of a residential building site!
Unique Suggestions: Check in your diary to see if it's full moon (or nearly). If it is, just don't bother going on an organised trip.
DON'T book this trip in advance. Better still, don't bother.
Fun Alternatives: Look out for the Northern Lights from your hotel room. You are just as likely to get lucky!
This restaurant on Austurvollur is a tourist trap. Do not be lured in because they have seating outside and a good location. The price is way too high compared to the quality of service and food.
The following applies to the place downtown on Austurvollur not the one in Kringlan which somewhat more enjoyable.
Service is virtually non-existent, over 150 seats and only 5 or 6 waiters and most of them very inexperienced, this place is doing a lot of business and should be able to pay their staff enough to attract people with experience.
Food is average at best, burgers are thin and overcooked. I had a steak sandwich there and I got 5 thin strips of beef and the bernaise sauce is something they shouldn't serve. The only thing that could have been good about the meal was the fries but there was no salt within sight and I got my condiments I asked for about 15 min after I finished my meal. By that time my wife had not even gotten her food yet which she returned because it was made wrong.
Unique Suggestions: You do not have to go there, you can find a better place at an arms length.
Fun Alternatives: Any restaurant in the downtown area will at least be a little bit better and many are very good!!!
Seafood Cellar - people with more money than sense
I have been to many fusion restaurants in London and around the world, and the Seafood Cellar was simply a traumatising evening out, and indeed the worst dining experience in my life. Judging by the looks of the resturant, the food on the menu and the previous dining experiences in Reykjavik (unvariably excellent), my partner and I expected to have an amazing evening at this restaurant, and we were utterly disappointed.
The pepper soup with king crab tasted of Campbell's soup and the crab did not blend in, the ***ake risotto had the texture tasted of potato puree and was served almost cold. The size of the four courses was ridiculous and we were still hungry when we left the restaurant. The desert was a mousse more or less the size of a marshmallow and had no flavour. Even worse, we ordered the special "fun and food menu" - created specially for that weekend by an American chef called Jimmy Sneed - and they changed the desert without letting us know. We complained to the manager, who said they had run out of the mango and tapioca which was originally on the menu. I said that they should have let us know in advance. He replied that "the desert menu had changed three times in the past couple of days and that he didn't have the time to explain this to people". He was unapologetic and careless. The drink prices were exorbitant (the cheapest glass of wine was about £10, and that's after the kroner crashed). The atmosphere was dull and pretentious. The only positive side was the modern decoration and stone walls, which were quite beautiful.
I can hardly believe some people liked this restaurant. They must have more money than sense.
Unique Suggestions: Get out of there as quickly as you can
Fun Alternatives: There are plenty of restaurants in Reykjavik. We loved the Saegreifinn, a little shack on the harbour serving seafood, and the Steikhus Hereford, where we had the best lobster soup ever and excellent whale steak.
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Luxury Travel
5000 Isk for bathrobe and towels
The Blue Lagoon trip is a MUST but do tell yourself it is also a MUST to bring your own towels/bath robes. We were being charged closed to 5000 Isk for RENTING 2x towels and 2x bathrobe, like every other tourists we THOUGHT it was provided free of charge as there is already entrance fee.
- Family Travel
- Spa and Resort
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
The Blue Lagoon
Even though this is an obvious tourist trap (you can tell by the lack of locals), that doesn't mean that you should not do this, it is a beautiful setting. Do not book this in the middle of your stay, it is way out by the airport and you will waste your time riding the bus to and from when there is so much else to experience. Even Beyoncé and Jay Z spent time here. Who knows, you may spot a celebrity, or go to Vesturbæjarlaug, located in Björk's neighborhood, who knows?
Unique Suggestions: There are 2 times that I recommend this trap:
Immediately upon arrival: If your flight is in early in the morning, stop here on your way into town to get over your jet lag and arrive at your hotel in the afternoon, or
On your way to the airport to fly out: Flights to many destinations, including the US, are at 1700 or 5 in the afternoon. Check out of your hotel and relax at the Lagoon before you leave.
Fun Alternatives: Icelanders love to take advantage of the hot waters and there are many public pools where you can mingle with the locals and save quite a bit of money and time. Whereas the bus ride and entry from Reykjavik Excursions is 8.900 ISK a local pool is 650 ISK. The guides will tell you to try the local pools and they are right. See my reviews of a couple of pools elsewhere in my pages.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Spa and Resort
Smartest Guy in Iceland
If you book the day long Golden Circle Excursion (recommended), your first stop will be at a tomato hot house to see how Iceland can produce foods under glass. Then you can have some tomato soup for 1000 ISK! I do not know how this guy got the contract for the tour busses to stop here, but he is making a killing on tomato soup at $9 USD for a cup. Granted, it is excellent soup, and I get it myself, but really, 1000 ISK? He has a gift shop as well. This guy is one smart dude.
I must say that this soup is the best tomato soup I have ever had, made with freshly picked tomatoes, but the price leaves me crying in my soup.
Unique Suggestions: It is a long drive from the BSI to the first stop and the farmer does provide many WC (toilets) for his guests. It is a good idea to take advantage of the facilities.
- Family Travel
Bus from the Airport
K*Express bus advertises on EasyJet the self checkin printout K*Express bus for € 8 (about 1250 Island Kronen)return to Reykjavik center. which would be a excellent price but their 4 buses per day don't connect with the plane, the office is in quite a distance together with a rental car company you might end up after dragging all your luggage there renting a car.
Flybus charges 1950 Island Kronen one way and 3500 return to the tour bus terminal in Reykjavik, Gray Line at the moment 1900 Norway and 3400 return to their office at Lækjartorg in the center.
Fun Alternatives: Check first their webpage if their times fit with you arrival and departure times
- Budget Travel
- National/State Park
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