Reykjanes: Some of Everything and Some Unique
The Blue Lagoon is famous worldwide for its warm, healing waters. It’s one of the ‘must visits’ on most tourists’ lists. A brilliant blue amidst the grey lava, with steam rising from its waters, it is an astonishing sight. However, it is only just one facet of this amazing area of the country.
Reykjanes represents a microcosm of all Iceland offers. It would be a mistake to overlook it in your visit to the country as it has so many unique and fascinating features. If you are staying in Reykjavik, there are scheduled buses and tours that can open up its treasures to you. Did you want to see bird life, or whales or historical sites, or maybe cross the bridge between two continents? How about golf, hiking, horse, bike or ATV quad bike riding? Would you like to try shark meat, washed down with the local brew, Brennivín? Did you hear about the giantess in the cave near Gróf Marina or Gunna, the ghost at the boiling mud springs?
Some of these experiences are unique to Reykjanes. You won’t find them anywhere else in the world. These are the experiences that make Iceland so highly recommended and that make your holiday so incomparable.
Keflavik Airport is the main hub for air traffic in and out of Iceland. Situated on the Reykjanes peninsula, it is surrounded by natural and geological phenomena, art and culture, entertainment and sport, myth and history. The Reykjanes coastline is notorious for its fierce weather and powerful seas, calm as a millpond one minute, churned into a deadly raging fury the next. It is an area that has tested the mettle of generations of brave Vikings who have wrestled a hard-won living from it.
From the airport, it is but a few minutes to the town of Keflavik, which is the hub for all connections around the peninsula. Alternatively, Sandgerði, with its Nature Centre or Garður, with its beautiful old church and Garðskagi’s museum and lighthouses overlooking sea bird colonies, seals and whales are only minutes away. Behind the lava fields which hide it from the main road, just over 3 km down the road from the Blue Lagoon, lies the fishing town of Grindavik, famous for its salt fish and the bacalao that is a national delicacy amongst Mediterranean countries. A museum has just opened there showing the history behind the fish and upstairs is a dramatic presentation of the geology of the peninsula at the Magma museum.
For those used to big city life, the tours of the peninsula reveal another world entirely. It’s a land steeped in history as dramatic as ‘Lord of the Rings’ – but totally factual. It’s a young land, geologically – and much of it is still hot. Whether hot mud springs or lava fields, volcanos or the fault lines of grinding tectonic plates – they are all here, showing off the powerful forces that created them.
At Vikingaheimar, you can see the replica Viking longship that sailed to the USA in 2000 to celebrate the millennial anniversary of Leif (The Lucky) Eríksson’s trip to discover ‘Vinland’, as he called the New World – almost half a millennium before Columbus.
Practically every kind of accommodation from camping and hostels to guesthouses and hotels is available in Reykjanes – usually located close to key sites of interest. The former NATO base is now a centre for constructive innovation, with a university, many start-up companies covering an array of fields, a health spa and large guesthouse. Maps and information can be found in the Tourist Information Centre, located in Krossmói 4, as well as in the hotels and guesthouses and at the airport.
Iceland has been called, ‘Europe’s Best Kept Secret’ and she doesn’t give up those secrets easily. It takes time to experience all the hidden things Reykjanes holds – but it offers memories that you will treasure and an adventure that is rare in today’s world.