If you fly to and from Europe and the US via Iceland Air, you have the option of booking a stopover, which is exactly what I did on my way home to visit family for the holidays. To say it was cold would be an understatement.
Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland first settled by Norseman in the late 9th century AD. This view of Reykjavík has Esja mountain in the background
Hallgrímskirkja is the largest church in Iceland, and it took 41 years to build(1945-1986). A Leif Erikson statue that predates the church stands guard out front, donated to Iceland by the United States in 1930.
You can take a lift to an observation deck at the top of Hallgrímskirkja, and get great views of the surrounding city.
The Sun Voyager is a sculpture built to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of Reykjavík. Sadly, the artist responsible, Jón Gunnar, died the year before the monument was placed.
Perlan is a museum built on top of 4 water tanks. It’s imposing to look at. It also has an observation deck for superb views of the city.
Iceland as a lot of geothermal activity. Places like Strokkur Geysir and the surrounding hot hot springs are a great place to check it out. Geothermal energy accounts for around 25% of Iceland’s power production (link).
You can enjoy bathing in hot springs at one of the many thermal baths. This one is Laugarvatn Fontana, which sits right next to a lake. I took a dip in the frigid lake and it was like being stuck with a thousand pins and needles. I only lasted a few seconds before having to jump back into a thermal pool.
This man is digging up some Rúgbrauð, it’s a rye bread that is buried in the ground close to the hot springs to bake it. It is some of the densest and tastiest bread I’ve ever eaten.
Gulfoss is a two-level waterfall located in Southwest Iceland. The conditions were very windy in the area, but it was incredible to behold.
No trip to Iceland would be complete without a search for the northern lights. To see them, you must leave the city and all sources of artificial light. Unfortunately they weren’t prominent to the naked eye at the time, but my camera did a decent job of capturing them.