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Alternative Reykjavik, Iceland

Already visited Gullfoss Falls, the hilltop church and Blue Lagoon? Our advisors befriended a local to find an alternative way to enjoy a short stopover in the capital …

Before you arrive

If you’ve visited Iceland before, chances are you’ve already ticked off all the usual sites in Reykjavik (the Hallgrimskirkja church, the Sun Voyager boat statue, the Viking Museum…) and perhaps whisked yourself off on a classic excursion of the Golden Circle, taking in the iconic Gullfoss waterfall and geysers in Haukadalur, and relaxed in the popular Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Once you’ve done that, the idea of another extended stopover en route to North America – for which the airport at Keflavik is increasingly used – may not hold much appeal. But tap into the knowledge and expertise of a willing local, like I did (thanks Heida), as part of a ‘Stopover Buddy’ service, and you’ll discover an alternative way to break your journey.

From the airport (or Reykjavik itself), instead of going south-east, as is common, pick up a car and head north, to the easily accessible West Iceland fora day trip with a difference. In no more than an hour’s drive from the city, you’ll reach Hraunfossar waterfall, take in the old church of Reykholt, see gurgling hot springs, enjoy a free geothermal pool to yourself and head underground to explore an old lava tube, making for the perfect 24-hour adventure.

Getting to the city

The cheapest way is to take the airport bus, Flybus, which always has seats available and is timed to connect with all arriving flights. It aIso has free wifi onboard and takes 45 minutes. Taxis are available but are expensive.

Meeting a local “buddy”

Until March 2017, Icelandair are offering passengers flying transatlantic the chance to buddy up with one of their local airline team members. The ‘Celebration Stopover Buddy’ service can be requested when booking your flight and can help you to celebrate your stopover or special occasion by basing it on your own personal hobbies (nature, walking, etc) or offering you a choice of one of many Icelandic festivals to take in. You will need to pay for your own entry to any attractions and your own food and drink, but your buddy’s costs are all covered.

Taking the road less travelled: heading north (instead of south-west) will open up a whole new side of Iceland
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