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My trip to Iceland was a highly anticipated one. I was excited to explore this wild, almost lunar-like landscape – a place that seems so out of this earth in its one unique way. I’ve heard and read a lot about Iceland over the years I was living in Scandinavia — let alone that I am huge fan of the culture, the linguistic heritage and the mentality of the Northern European countries. 

 

By the time I received the invitation to join the #KnowIceland campaign, I knew it was going to be a very exciting trip, different than anything I’ve experienced before. 

 

And it truly was different since I got to experience this magical country like a local – I visited places off the beaten path, explored gorges where no regural tourists ever sets foot at and met wonderful people, people who share a deep love and respect for their country. Iceland is an example of a country in so many different levels but what’s really worth mentioning over and over again is the locals’ immense love for their country and their respect towards the environment and nature overall. 

 

My base for the next few days would be Hotel Rangá, the only 4-star hotel in South Iceland and an ideal location to catch Aurora Borealis. Check out my trip to Iceland on my INSTAGRAM under the highlight ICELAND. 

 

MY TRIP TO ICELAND – DAY ONE 

 

We arrived in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, late at night. There was still plenty of daylight though thanks to the midnight sun. White nights are difficult to get used to and I was still surprised despite having experienced the phenomenon for almost two summers during my stay in Stockholm in the past. 

 

Reykjavik is a rather small city, easy to walk around in a matter of hours. Among its highlights is the Solfar – the Sun Voyager in English – a sculpture reminding of a Viking boat -, the Cathedral, the Harpa Concert Hall and all the main streets. Chatting with the locals, I learned that the quiet Reykjavik was transformed during the weekends with people on the streets and all kinds of festivities. 

 

I stayed in Reykjavik for less than 24 hours since I was heading to the southern part of the island where its magic really lies; out there in the wild nature, the volcanoes, the beaches, the gorges, the waterfalls, the icebergs and the Highlands!

 

 

First stop, one of my favorite cafes in the city: Kaffibrenslan with its amazing Match Latte and the GIGA Club Sandwich! 

Reykjavik has many amazing cafes with modern Scandinavian interior design and great menus. I walked around town a lot and found that exloring Reykjavik is like leafing through a color book; so many colors and graffiti in every corner that make the city full of life. Yet, I had to leave it all behind to experience the real Iceland — outside the city!  

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A car is essential when visiting Iceland. I had a Super Jeep waiting for me thanks to Midgard Adventures and it was exactly what I needed to travel to the most remote corners of this magical country. But let me tell you more about that in the upcoming posts. 

For now, let me introduce you to our first stop – the lovely fishing village of Eyrarbakki where I visited one of Iceland’s oldest houses which was transformed into a Museum. I travelled back in time and had a first taste of Iceland’s culture, traditions and lifestyle. 

 

Seaweed was once the basic ingredient of the Icelandic nutrition – it kept the Icelanders alive during hard times of famine years ago. Seaweed is still a main ingredient in many traditional plates served in restaurants across Iceland and there, in Eyrarbakki, I had the chance to experience its many useful uses and the incredible business talent of the Icelanders. 

I arrived at Hotel Rangálate in the afternoon. The view from my room was amazing — you can see what I mean on INSTAGRAM. That’s the only hotel with an Observatory for the Aurora Borealis and, of course, I had to visit even though I didn’t get the chance to watch the northern lights. 

 

I was finally in Iceland and I was ready to experience everything this magical country had to offer. Stay tuned for many exciting adventures the next days! 

 

 

READ MORE HERE: 

MY TRIP TO ICELAND, DAY 2 – THINGVELLIR, GULLFOSS, TOMATO FARM, VIKINGS DINNERMY TRIP TO ICELAND, DAY 3 – REYNIFJARA, SELJALANDSFOSS, GLUGAFOSS, HEKLA

 

travel-iceland

 

Maria Kalymnou

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