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Weekend in Iceland

Getting Steamy in the Blue Lagoon.

By Everett Potter

There’s nothing quite like an active volcano to alert people of your existence. The eruptions of the  Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland last spring severely disrupted air traffic in Europe and put this North Atlantic island at the center of the news. Indeed, on a flight from Geneva on Swiss last May, I peered out the window at the smoldering giant. It was a reminder that volcanoes are at the heart of this remarkable country, which lies only about five hours away from New York’s JFK.

With its hot springs, snow-covered mountains and lunar-looking rocks, Iceland offers one of the most dramatic natural landscapes on earth. Its capital city of Reykjavik appears to have been assembled from colored Lego blocks, seafood is the star of most menus, and the city offers up legendary weekend nightlife that goes way past dawn.  Iceland’s much-discussed financial and government crisis and consequent currency devaluation has lowered its hefty prices, but it remains a place where you have to be wallet-wary. Still, for an exotic long weekend escape from the East Coast or the Midwest, it’s an exciting option.

Exotic Essential: A soak in the Blue Lagoon, located about 40 minutes southwest of the city. Iceland is known for geothermal springs and this is the most famous, a sulfurous lake covered with a thick mist.


Inspired by Iceland Video from Inspired By Iceland on Vimeo.


Where to Stay: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, built in 2005 in restored historic buildings, is in the heart of the city, next to Parliament and close to many restaurants and bars. Doubles are available from $207, including breakfast.




Where to Eat: Fishmarket is the classic splurge, with trout, salmon and shrimp, as well as reindeer and puffin for the intrepid eater. About $65 per person before drinks. 3 Frakkar is also a place to try these Icelandic specialites, but dinner will run less, about $45 per person.

Getting There: Icelandair flies nonstop from New York, Boston, Orlando, Minneapolis and Seattle to Reykjavik.

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  1. ladyoflarkspur@gmail.com
    June 26, 2010 at 11:25 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the article, it sounds beautiful there. I had no idea is was so accessibly from NY. 🙂

  2. April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm — Reply

    How lovely! It would be a great place to go for a visit.

  3. Lauren
    April 22, 2011 at 11:12 am — Reply

    Perfect timing, I’m planning a weekend jaunt there myself from NYC. How many days do we need to see the main sites? Is 3 enough? Thanks!

    • April 22, 2011 at 11:33 am — Reply

      Three days in and around Reykjavik is perfect to get a taste of Iceland, visit the Blue Lagoon, etc. You’d need a week or 10 days to really see a lot more of the countryside. Have a great time! Everett

  4. December 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm — Reply

    […] The main reason we were in town was to attend the grand opening of the Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Center (website). The stunning building that took five years to build and almost didn’t happen thanks to the country’s economic collapse four years ago was only saved because it was going to cost more money to tear down what they started than to finish. Thank God they kept going, because Harpa is an incredible building with a shimmering glass facade. Harpa was designed by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and is the new home of the Icelandic Opera and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, but they will also show films and hosts bands. There are several halls, but the main concert hall (Eldborg) can seat up to 1,800 people. The interior is painted red to make guests feel like they are in a volcano. In addition to the halls there’s also a boutique shop, a bistro, bar, and a restaurant, all with harbor views. For more info on Harpa, see these posts written by the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, and Everett Potter. […]

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