Anonymous asked: I'm an American trying to visit Reykjavik in December for a few days, a week before Christmas. Can you recommend things to do and day trips for 18 yr olds? Also, my parents sometimes worry about me traveling without them due to my wearing the hijab. Could you tell me about general attitudes toward Muslims? I'm an extremely accepting and liberal person contrary to people's assumptions based on my appearance, but will I be well-received by the atheist population? Thanks, your blog's great!
Reykjavík will be quite buzzing in the week before Christmas. Downtown shops will be extra busy which, if you are there to enjoy yourself and not stressed with holiday shopping, can be quite positive.
Most day trips from Reykjavík run year round. Things you should definitely aim to do is walk on a glacier, bathe in a hot spring and visit a local swimming pool. I used to guide the trip Ice and Fire which includes a hike to a remote hot spring and a walk on the Sólheimajökull glacier in a single day. I definitely recommend that. If you can afford it you should also try a super jeep tour like Essential Iceland and drive on top of a glacier.
In general keep two things in mind when choosing day tours. Route and group size. A lot of tours, probably a majority, goes to destinations along the South Coast. So it is a good idea to mix things up a bit and avoid driving the same routes day after day with slightly different stops. Also there are three general group sizes. There are the big bus tours where you travel with 20-60 people, van sized tours with 8-15 people and super jeep tours with 4-8 people. This is generally reflected in price, but apart from the super jeep tours, the price difference might be small compared to the quality.
For the swimming pools, just find the one closest to your hotel. They are all over the city. If you like it (I’m sure you will), then trey some other ones. There’s usually one in each neighborhood and each has their own style.
Truth be told, you’ll definitely stick out a bit wearing a hijab in Iceland and you will attract some curious eyes. But I don’t think it will really affect the way people interact with you. Iceland is very liberal, but sometimes too much liberalism makes you narrow minded. Many Icelanders will therefore associate the hijab with some sort of suppression. Something you might not agree with. Definitely a good conversation starter if you’re up for it.
Don’t forget to bring warm clothes and good boots. Wandering around Iceland in soggy sneakers in Iceland’s winter weather can really ruin a trip.
Enjoy Iceland and let me know how your trip goes!