Our journey to Iceland began on December 17 when we started driving from South Carolina to Baltimore. We found reasonably priced airline tickets that were leaving out of the Baltimore International Airpot, so the 6 hour drive was worth it (and way cheaper). After a few pit stops, we made it to the airport around 4pm because our plane was scheduled to depart at 6.
The Baltimore airport was very calm, so we checked our bags and passed through security with ease. We purchased our tickets with WOW Air. This was our first time flying with this airline and our overall thoughts were average. Our plane tickets were reasonably priced (for a flight to Europe), but we didn’t recieve any amenities. There were no TVS on the plane and they didn’t serve any food or drinks without a charge. We also left about 30 minutes late for no apparent reason. However, it was clean and the staff was very friendly. We sat next to another screaming toddler who never stop crying for the entire 6 hour flight. This was a HUGE bummer because we never slept.
We arrived in Iceland at 6am local time and it was pouring rain. We de-boarded the plane on the runway and caught a shuttle to the luggage terminal. Before arriving, we assumed that we’d need to stand in a huge customs and border control line in order to enter the country. However, they simply checked our passports and let us walk right in!
As soon as we collected all of our bags, we picked up our rental car through ProCar. It was a dark, cold, and rainy morning with little to no sleep (thank’s to that screaming child). Once we packed everything into our tiny rental car, we drove 40 minutes to the town of Reykjavik. Not much was open, so we went to a local juice shop to refuel before starting our first day.
The town of Reykjavik was so cute and quaint! There were so many Christmas lights and decorations for the holidays.
We didn’t wear all of our layers during our day of travel, so as you can imagine, we were freezing while walking around outside. At 9am we went to a small cafe for breakfast. This place was known for their famous waffles, so of course that’s what we ordered! They did not disappoint!
I’m fighting to stay awake! At this point, it was 10 in the morning and it was still pitch dark outside. We asked a local what time the sun would rise, and they told us that it typically rises around 11am during the winter.
Our first stop in the city was the Hallgrimskirkja church. This church was built starting in 1945 and was finished in 1986. They still hold church services here today. In fact, we only had about 15 minutes to take our photos because they had a service scheduled.
Most buildings within Reykjavic are low to the ground, so you can notice this church almost anywhere.
This is a massive pipe organ that weighs 25 tons! This specific piece was finalized in 1992.
Out front, there is a statue of Leif Erickson. They believe that Erickson was the very first European to discover America. There are records that suggest he found America in 1,000 A.D., which is way before Christopher Columbus.
We stumbled upon an Islandic history museum and walked around.
Once we were finished, we found the best hotdog stand to eat at for lunch! As you can see by the line, everyone else seems to enjoy their hotdogs as well!
It’s located downtown across from the harbor and has been open for 80 years!
We LOVED our hotdogs! They were so yummy, and it was a simple and easy meal to eat while exploring on our very first day.
Throughout Iceland, you will notice churches scattered throughout. They all have white bodies with red roofs and are practically identical. The only thing that varies is the size of the building.
We couldn’t check into our airbnb until 5pm. We killed time by driving around the city and walking in and out of shops.
We ended our extremely long day by eating pizza in the city. Of course we had to fit pizza into our trip at least once! 🙂 None of us had slept for at least 30 hours, so we wanted something simple and comforting.
The pizza was great and exactly what we needed!
We rented an apartment that was located downtown and above some of the shops. While we were searching for a place to stay, airbnb offered the best deals and had exactly what we were looking for. We didn’t want to spend too much money on a hotel that we’d essentially only be sleeping in.
This apartment was recently renovated and very clean. It had everything that we needed! There were heated floors in the kitchen, amazing views, a heated towel rack in the bathroom, and super cozy beds.
We wouldn’t have gotten anything as nice as this if we’d opted to stay in a hotel. If you ever find yourself in Iceland, we’d highly recommend staying here. The only downfall, was that we couldn’t check in until 5pm and the owner was very strict about this. Also, there was no parking spot included, but we never had any problems finding a spot along the street right outside.
You can find the link to this apartment by clicking HERE.