Are you heading to Reykjavik this November to take part in the annual take over of the city by the Iceland Airwaves festival? We’ve got you covered with 5 of the best day trips to take during your stay.
An obvious choice for those attending the musical feast that is Iceland Airwaves in November. Hidden away in the town of Keflavik, this museum is worth the drive out to learn all about the history of pop and rock and roll in Iceland, and how a country with such a small population is constantly producing a large amount of amazing musical talent. And who knows, you might even see the next local prodigies playing in the venues across the city before they are inducted into the museum in the future.
It’s easy to combine a visit to the museum with a short tour of the volcanic and drama-filled Reykjanes Peninsula. This peninsula is where the Mid-Atlantic ridge that makes Iceland so volcanically active comes to shore. The geothermal area of Krýsuvík is a bubbling mess of boiling mud and sulfurous steam lying right next to Kleifarvatn, one of the most serene lakes in the country. The entire area has been classified as a UNESCO Geopark, recognized for its outstanding rock formations and geothermal energy.
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Icelandic music draws so much inspirations from the landscapes in the country; and one of the most dominating features are the glaciers. Close to Reykjavik lies the second largest ice-cap in the country, Langjökull, where you can find many different adventurous activities to cap off a week of live music and escape the crowded city.
For an adrenaline-filled experience, opt for a snowmobiling tour. For an hour or so you’ll by flying at high speeds across the glacier, stopping for epic panoramic views and to catch your breath. If you’re after a glacial experience without the roaring engines, look into a glacier hike. Langjökull is also the location of the ‘Into the Glacier’ tour, where you delve inside a man-made ice cave to learn all about glaciers in Iceland.
Photo by James Taylor/Travelade.
In case you’re in need of a day off from the hectic schedule and non-stop action of Airwaves, what better way to relax than to soak in some natural hot springs? Skip the crowds at the Blue Lagoon and head to these quieter, more secluded spots close to Reykjavik.
One of the most popular spots is the Reykjadalur thermal river, about an hours’ hike out the back of the town Hveragerði. However the trail can get quite snowy in November, so always check the weather and conditions beforehand.
A day trip around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is one of the most popular trips you can do from Reykjavik. Often referred to as ‘Iceland in a nutshell’, around this peninsula you’ll be able to see much of the sights that can be found around the country. Think black sand beaches, snow-capped mountain ranges, mossy lava fields and gorgeous waterfalls.
For a bit more of an alternative vibe, make your way to the small fishing hamlet of Hellissandur. The streets of this old town have been transformed by street art murals, inspired by and depicting the local culture and history. The murals are mainly concentrated around the old fish factory, but there’s something hiding around every corner in the town. It’s also in Hellissandur where you’ll find the Freezer Hostel, which regularly puts on concerts, theatre productions, comedy nights, quizzes, and the like. The cozy common room is a wonderful place to meet some new friends and enjoy some beers.
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By November, the northern lights have well and truly made their spectacular return to the skies over Iceland. Switch out a night at the bar with If you don’t want to leave a sighting up to chance, instead, leave it up to the professionals and book yourself on a tour. Experts at reading the weather forecasts, the tour guides will always take you out of the city and away from the light pollution to areas that have the best chance of revealing the dancing green lights.
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The best travel recommendations come from locals. Check out these Wanderguides from Iceland by locals sharing their travel tips and hidden gems.