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What to Eat in Iceland (If You’re a Picky Eater)

what to eat in iceland

 

What to Eat in Iceland if You’re a Picky Eater

I am going to be honest with you. I found that the food in Iceland is overall pretty bad. Well, that’s all relative, I suppose. I should say that as an American I found the traditional Icelandic food unappealing, although I didn’t go hungry.

Icelanders nosh on many dishes considered to be delicasies from smoked salmon, stewed fish, smoked lamb to sheep’s head, blood pudding and meat soup.

If you’re not an adventurous eater, keep your belly full with these options instead.

Skyr

Which is made from curdled milk and comes in a variety of flavors. I really enjoyed eating Skyr for my breakfast meals while exploring Reykjavik. A 10-11 convenience store (similar to 7/11) was across the street from me and I purchased fruit and granola to eat with the Skyr. My favorite flavors were Vanilla and Peach, although I wish I was in Iceland long enough to taste all the samples.

Bonus: Because going out to eat is notoriously pricey, especially in the capital city of Reykjavik, eating Skyr in the mornings will save you a lot of money than buying breakfast at restaurants.

skyr in iceland

 

Lamb Soup

If you go on the Golden Circle tour or visit Gullfoss waterfall, there is a cafeteria and gift shop onsite called Gullfoss Kaffi. It’s a no frills restaurant where hungry travelers can fill their bellies before the next tour stop. I visited Gullfoss in late April, but the mist from the waterfall combined with the low temperatures had me freezing and ready to warm up with a hearty meal.

Luckily, I got to warm up and try a traditional Icelandic dish all at once here. Definitely order the Lamb Soup – broth with chunks of lamb, potatoes and vegetables. Pssst, you get free rolls with the soup, too!

iceland lamb stew

Other popular snacks in Iceland include doughnuts, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal cakes and wonderful, delicious, crepes.

Crepes

These babies were found at Eldur and Is, a whimsical little cafe right in the heart of Downtown Reykjavik. I opted for the nutella and pear crepes with a big glass of milk. I was stuffed and so satisfied. Fun fact: The cashier was so confused that I ordered a whole glass of plain, dairy milk that it took me a solid three minutes so explain what I wanted. Ha!

reykjavik crepes

Reykjavik Chips

Seriously, if I could go back to Iceland JUST for Reykjavik Chips, I would. They are so crispy, flavorful, and have to many sauces to choose from. I tried the Chives sauce and my friends had the Samurai Chili Mayo sauce. Their motto is “Where the Fries are Twice as Nice” and oh man, I agree 100%. I’d say this wasn’t the most nutritious meals of my trip, but at least this was a delicious alternative to eating rotten shark meat.

reykjavik chips

 

Pylsa

Luckily for me, the traditional Icelandic dish is… hotdogs! The pylsa hotdog containts lamb and served with sweet mustard, dried onion and a remoulade sauce which makes for a unique flavor.

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-10-35-25-pm

Just be cautious, everything in Iceland is notoriously expensive, and restaurants are no exception. These inexpensive street foods are a great option for what to eat in Iceland. For both picky eaters, and budget travelers.

When you’re ready to burn off the calories from all these delicious dishes, participate in these Iceland activities.

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

A Beginner’s Guide to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

A beginner's guide blue lagoon

 

There are about a million and one blogs out there about the Blue Lagoon. I don’t pretend that I am an expert, but I recently visited this natural world wonder and I have a few tips to share with first-time visitors.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

If you’re headed to Iceland soon, the first thing you need to do is book your ticket to the Blue Lagoon. The second, is adding these other activities to your trip.

Let’s dive in, shall we? (Shameless Pun)

Bring Flip Flops to the Blue Lagoonblue lagoon iceland

Most items on this list are available for purchase at the Blue Lagoon, albiet at exorbitant prices. Want to save money? Pack your own flip flops. Most everyone walks around the property barefoot and if you’re any kind of germaphobe, you’re going to thank yourself for packing personal flip flips. Especially in the communal locker room and showers.

Rent a Robe or Bring Your Own

Again, same deal. Renting a robe at the Blue Lagoon will cost you an additional 10 Euro and a towel will run you 5 Euro. Instead, save that cash for a beer at the swim up bar 😉

blue lagoon rent towel cost

Paddle to the Swim Up Bar

swim-up-bar-blue-lagoon

There are several places to relax and refresh around the Blue Lagoon campus, such as the Lagoon Bar where you can imbibe in wine, beer, or a cold slushie or cocktail to cool you down in the warm water. The Lagoon bar is on the eastern side of the spa.

Wear Your Wristband With Pride

blue-lagoon-wrist-band

Thanks to the convenient wrist bands you receive upon arrival to the Blue Lagoon, you need not worry about carrying (or losing) soggy money throughout the spa. Simply have your wrist band scanned and the money will be automatically charged for you to pay at the end of the day. Nifty, huh?

Your wristband is also your key to get in and out of the changing rooms and unlock your individual locker. Be cautious to keep your band secure throughout the day and it’s probably a good idea to check your wrists a few times an hour to make sure it hasn’t fallen off. As you can see in my photo above, mine was not tight enough and I got lucky it didn’t fall off. If you lose the bracelet, a fee of ISK 5.000 will be charged, which is approximately $43 USD. Yeah, not fun.

Condition Your Hair

first time blue lagoon iceland

So this is a much-debated topic. There are 2 kinds of people in life: those who refuse to get their hair wet at the Blue Lagoon, and those who don’t G.A.F. and get up all in it, like me, as seen above. Some people say the lagoon water caused their hair to be damaged, dry, and crispy for days after. I didn’t have this problem, but I do highly encourage every Blue Lagoon-goer to heavily condition your hair and put it in a bun to protect your strands. I even went under a few times and had no issue with crunchy hair.

However, I did step inside the locker room a couple times to reapply conditioner as the day went on, I think that is a huge reason why my hair was so protected.

blue lagoon iceland

Bring a Waterproof Phone Case

These guys will save your life. Waterproof phone cases are available for purchase at the Blue Lagoon so if you forget yours, don’t fret. You can still take Pinterest-worthy photos in the water using the phone cases provided. Although, they look more like ziplock bags than anything. And you’ll see tourists carrying them around their neck around the spa.

 

Other Icelandic Geothermal Pools

Reykjavik geothermal spa
Laugardalur

If you fall in love with Iceland’s outdoor pool tradition, don’t stop at the Blue Lagoon, take a look at Reykjavik’s other spas. You’re likely to meet more locals, and they’re a fraction of the cost of the Blue Lagoon.

Árbæjarlaug –  Features an outdoor pool, indoor children’s pool, outdoor paddling pool, water slide and fountains for children, 3 hot tubs, a steam bath and sauna.

Laugardalur – AKA “Hot Spring Valley.” Want the hot water, without the steep price tag in conveniently located Reykjavik? This is the place for you.

Vesturbaejarlaug – Relax with the locals in the hot tubs, lap pool, and multiple heated pools.

Lagafellslaug in Mosfellsbaer – no tourists, just locals here. Indulge in a relaxation room, geothermal pool or steambath. Priced very cheap, about 500kr, approximately $4 USD.

 

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!

3 Days in Iceland – A Sample Itinerary

3 days in iceland sample itinerary

I just got back from a 3 days in Iceland, and I am confident that I was able to see and do everything I wanted to and experience every minute in the Land of Fire and Ice – even though I was there for a short amount of time! Of course, I could have stayed longer and visited many more sites, but if you’re on a time crunch, these are the things and places you must put on your itinerary.

Day 1. Hallgrimskirkja Church and exploring Reykjavik

If you’re staying in the capital city of Reykjavik, this step is especially easy. Drop your bags off at your hotel or hostel, lace up your sneakers, and hit the town! Walk to the Hallgrimskirkja Modern Church and walk around the grounds and chapel. It cost approximately $7 USD to take the “lyfta” aka elevator to the top, but the 360 degree scenic views are 100% worth it. It’s the best view of the city you will find.

Here’s a photo I snapped from the top.

reykjavik iceland itinerary

At the base of the hill from the church, make time to find Reykjavik Chips where the “fries are twice as nice.” Icelandic food isn’t for everyone, or for picky-eaters, so a quick snack/small meal at Reykjavik Chips is sure to make you happy, happy, happy.

 

Whether you call them “fries” or “chips” – your belly will thank you for this treat. They have 10+ sauces to dip or smother your chips in. I tried the Bernaise, Chives Sauce, and the Samurai Chili Mayo.

All were exceptional, but my favorite was definitely the Samurai. If the staff isn’t busy, ask them to try a few of the sauces at once. They were super friendly and understanding that I was a tourist and dipping-sauce connosiour who needed to try as many flavors as possible.

Day 2: Golden Circle Tour

Finding a tour that will take you around the famed Golden Circle is an effortless task in Iceland. There are several reputable companies who are excellent. I used Extreme Iceland and Grayline for all of my tours and transportation and they were fantastic.

The 3 main stops on the Golden Circle are usually:

Lake Thingvallavatn:

a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location where the North American and Eurasian tectnonic plates meet. Seen below.

golden circle iceland

Gullfoss Waterfall: 

One of the greatest waterfalls in Iceland. It’s breathtaking to view, and you can even feel the mist on your face. Keep your eyes peeled to spot a rainbow near the viewing area. I was lucky enough to take a few photos with a rainbow making a cameo.

And BRING YOUR WATERPROOF JACKET!!! I was some 500 yards away at least and I felt the mist pierce my skin. This is in late April, if you visit in the winter months, I highly recommend also brining an extra sweater to put on if your clothes get wet. It’s cold, cold. cold, near the viewpoint of the waterfall.

waterfall golden circle iceland

 

The Geysir:

The Geysir to name all other geysers. No really, the term for “geyser” was named after the great Icelandic Geysir. Keep your camera on and set at all times because you never know when the Geysir will erupt!

And listen to your tour guide and the signs surrounding the Geysir, the water is HOT. Like, you will burn yourself hot if you touch it. The stray run offs are a little cooler and feel like bath water, but it’s best not to touch the water entirely.

golden circle tour

Day 3: The Blue Lagoon, Experience the Nightlife

blue lagoon iceland

The Blue Lagoon

I personally loved my decision to book my Blue Lagoon tickets for my last day for 3 main reasons:

  1. It released the aches and pains of traveling. After a few days of constant moving with a backpack on my shoulders, my feet and back were yearning for a rest. What better way to treat yourself than by spending a few hours in a geothermal pool?
  2. Relaxed for the airport. Sort of the reverse reason of #1. When you visit the Lagoon for your last day, your mind and body are calm and prepared for the day of traveling before you in busy airports and cramped airplane seats.
  3. Last days for any trip can be sad – save the best for last so you have something to look forward to!

Nightlife.

Many bars and hotspots stay open WELL into the night (err… morning?) If you’re like me and had a super early wake up call to head to the airport, perhaps think about checking out the famous nightlife scene on your last day and just stay awake ’til you catch your flight. Then sleep during the entire flight. It’s a win/win!

But be prepared to pay steep prices when you go out. A beer was about $9 a bottle, glass of wine about $12 and $15 for a cocktail. Yikes!

 

Did I miss anything that I should add to this 3 days in Iceland Itinerary? Let me know in the comments!

Hi, I’m Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I’ve always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 7 countries in 7 months. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to just buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!