Reykjavik, Iceland, – This country has recently became a very popular tourist destination. Lots of cheap flights are offered for passengers traveling from the US. There are also airlines such as WOW that will offer a long layover (over 19 hours) if you’re flying in London, England.
- When landing in Iceland you’re actually far away from the main city of Reykjavik. The airport is located in Keflavik, a small city with a few museums and restaurants/shops.
- There is a bus system that you can take if you’re heading into the capital or any of the local tourist destinations.
- It is recommended to rent a car. Note that if you’re planning to head to all the geysers, hikes, black sand beaches, or waterfalls, you will need to rent a truck. Normal vehicles will be damage on the roads and you’ll be responsible for those damages. Only rent a normal car if you’re heading into the city areas.
- Gas! A lot of gas stations in Iceland are unmanned. This means there is no one there to take your money so you’ll have to pay with a credit card. All of these pumps require a pin to buy gas. If your card doesn’t have a pin yet be sure to set one up prior to your trip! Also, not all cars take normal gasoline but some take diesel so be sure to check before filling up.
- The Blue Lagoon is a very popular destination with tourists. You will need to reserve a timeslot online in order to enter. After checking in during your time slot, you can stay as long as you want. Just be sure to show up within that hour you reserved.
- Every two years around August, Reykjavik hosts its largest and most popular cultural festival. Note that parking will be extremely difficult to find as a third of the country’s population travels to the capital. Lots of streets will be closed within the city. More details can be found here (https://visitreykjavik.is/reykjavik-culture-night).
Places to Visit as a Tourist
Below are a list of places to visit in Iceland. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to visit them all. I would recommend planning to spend anywhere from 4-6 days in Iceland to see it all.
- Blue Lagoon
- Reynisfjara (Black Sand Beach)
- Diamond Beach
- Sólheimasandur (Famous location of the abandoned plane wreck)
- Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
Being in Iceland, of course I had to visit the largest MMA academy in the world! I was able to drop by Mjölnir, a multi-room, two story facility that offers various classes from striking, fitness, grappling, and more. Lots of famous MMA fighters have trained at this facility and the hall ways are decorated with their pictures.
Upon entering there is a store to buy gear and clothing. After checking in at the front desk, you’ll be able to change in the huge locker room that includes showers and steam rooms. Be sure to bring a lock!
Multiple classes are held at a time since there are so many rooms in the building. During my time here, I was able to train in an open/competition training class where the team there was getting ready to compete. Classes are taught in Icelandic but everyone there knows English as well so it wasn’t an issue.
After traveling and visiting so many schools around the world, this one felt extremely unique. The people native to Iceland tend to be much larger and definitely stronger than your average American. Definitely something I was not expecting! But like every academy I’ve ever stepped foot in, I was always welcomed with open arms and had a great time. Wish I had more time here but since I only did a layover in Iceland only stayed for an hour and went off to explore the city and its culture…
The food in Iceland is fairly expensive for what it is. This is due to the fact that most products are imported. There are a few fast food chains you’ll find that are familiar but in terms of Icelandic cuisine I wasn’t able to find too much except the below:
- Skyr Icelandic Yogurt
- Hot Dogs
- Hákarl – Fermented Shark
- Lots of fish dishes
- Baked Goods
- Unique Candies found in grocery stores
One of the most beautiful countries in terms of nature. A lot of the island is untouched so it’s amazing to see something like this after coming from a large metro area such as Los Angeles. I’ll definitely be back to explore the rest of the island sometime in the future.
Reykjavik, Iceland – August 2018
Return to Homepage