48 Hours in West Iceland Reykjavik to Sagaland

Reykjavík and West Iceland are Filled with Enchantment

Reykjavík is a mysterious city, surrounded by freezing waters, geysers and landscapes of unimaginable beauty, in the land of fire and ice. Its location serves as an ideal spot for exploring the stunning landscape and sagas of the region. If you only have 48 full hours to explore the city, then spend one day admiring what Reykjavík has to offer before heading off to explore the nearby region, known for its lore and green majestic mountains, shrouded in mystery. Many people don’t know this but pop culture blockbuster movies like Lord of the Rings and the Game of Thrones TV series are based on books that designed their story lines based on the landscape and sagas from Iceland. 

The Ring Road to Vik just a little bit south of Reykjavík.

The Ring Road to Vik just a little bit south of Reykjavík.

Fairytale Sleeps in a Historical Art Deco Building

This place is overflowing with glam. Princess ready.

This place is overflowing with glam. Princess ready.

For a more enjoyable experience, stay near the city center. If you are up for some pampering, book a room at the Borg Hotel, a historical art deco building conveniently located near the Austurvöllur square, filled with restaurants and shops. The hotel has 56 elegant rooms decorated with antique-style furniture. Each room has large king size bed and a black and white luxurious bathroom stocked with premium amenities. The restaurant has tall, narrow windows and white furniture. The hotel staff can even organize trips and guided tours around the region. This is a definite fairytale sleep.

Explore the City’s Foodie Revival

Reykjavík is a city known for its foodie scene. Check out the many bars and restaurants peppered around the city. At DILL restaurant you will taste authentic Nordic fare like nowhere else. The restaurant itself is located close to the city, in a wild bird reserve. The food is not only seasonal and absolutely delicious. The restaurant also promotes local food culture. Try their meatballs and the traditional plokkfiksur fish stew.

Another restaurant worth checking out is Grillmarkadium. More than a restaurant, this place is an old cinema that was transformed into a grill market. Prepare to be surprised by the variety of local meat and fish dishes, all of which can be accompanied by a cocktail. If you have wondered how puffin meat and whale steak taste, this is your chance to try them.

Take a Tour Around Reykjavík and Venture Out of the City

The National Museum of Iceland is a great place to see first hand the heritage of this stunning island. Much of the heritage of Iceland is the foundation of popular epic tales like Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and Game of Thrones.

The National Museum of Iceland is a great place to see first hand the heritage of this stunning island. Much of the heritage of Iceland is the foundation of popular epic tales like Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and Game of Thrones.

A natural spa, geothermal waters, great location? Sundlaugar, the city’s thermal baths, are the place for those who just want to disconnect from their busy everyday lives and spend a relaxing couple of hours floating in heated pools. After this deluxe detour, head to one of the many museums, and try to carve a couple of hours to stroll around the National Museum of Iceland and its galleries filled with historic artifacts. Walking through here you will feel like you just got off the set of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. If you are less of a city person, then just an hour away from the city you will find the commanding Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall that spills from one of the many glaciers the region is famous for.

Go early in the day or later in the afternoon to catch this jaw dropper with fewer people. It makes for a better picture and better lighting.

Go early in the day or later in the afternoon to catch this jaw dropper with fewer people. It makes for a better picture and better lighting.

Explore the Land of the Sagas

Do not miss the opportunity to explore the west of Iceland. This region, located one hour away from the city, is the ideal destination for those who want to explore the folkloric side of the island. It is here where many of the sagas were written, and that is the reason the region is sometimes called “Sagaland”.

If culture is what you are after, do not hesitate to visit Reykholt, in Borgarfjordur. Here you will find antiques, relics and even an ancient hot-spring bath. There are even farm ruins and several aqueducts designed to bring the vital hot water to the sites. If you want to deepen your knowledge of local medieval culture, visit the nearby Snorrastofa center, where many exhibitions and courses are organized for those interested in history.

(see the feature photo of the Norse Midgard Serpent from the Icelandic Settlement Center).

A natural hot bath in Reykholt. Known to have healing qualities.

A natural hot bath in Reykholt. Known to have healing qualities.

Those who enjoy the traditions and sagas can visit the Icelandic Settlement Center, in Borgarnes. Rent an audio guide that will guide you through the adventures and characters of some of the most popular sagas, the Egils Saga and the Settlement Saga. If you haven’t had enough stories, then the Storytelling Centre in Grundarfjordur is your next destination, where you can feel the region’s history and traditions envelop you as you listen to folk tales. Another museum worth visiting is Eiriksstadir. It is said that Eirik the Red used to live in the area, and you can now see reconstruction of ruins.


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day.

“It’s never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams.” -Christa Thompson

3 Comments on this post

  1. Every time I see a post on Iceland it makes me want to go even more. That hotel looks glamtastic!

  2. […] colossal sea cliffs are located at the westernmost point of Iceland, and although they are a feat for the eyes in their own right, you’ll be even more impressed by […]

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