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The Cold Allure of Iceland’s Humble Keflavik

Marina bay in Keflavik. Photo: The World Daily


The Cold Allure of Iceland’s Humble Keflavik


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | OCTOBER 18th 2020


Not everybody craves breezy beaches and evenings of tanning out in the sun. Not everybody is accustomed to the harsh heats of tropical countries where fruity juices are served in coconuts, and rainforests are ripe for exploration. Some seek a different kind of beauty for their exploration – a colder one, that takes a most unique shape. Such is the allure of Iceland.

For the average traveller, it’s likely that you’ll first set foot in the South-West of Iceland, in the little town of Keflavik – the meaning of which translates to ‘Driftwood Bay.’ With all the charm and atmosphere of a seaside town, and all of its scenic attractions too, it’s a town that goes under many a traveller’s radar.

Easily underrated for its `size and seeming lack of entertainment, it has much to explore and see. It’s practically made for visitors, by this point in time, with travel being among its main sources of income – and thus, lots of entertainment targeting us travellers. Of all the towns in Iceland, it’s among the richest in history and culture. Especially musical culture.

The town of Keflavik was founded by Scottish entrepreneurs in the 16th century, and gained fame throughout the 70s as a rock’n’roll centric town, primarily for its opening of the Museum of Rock’n’Roll. It was introduced to the genre by United States army personnel – with the US having an army base on the Icelandic island. Since then, it’d garnered many nicknames around the genre, but is primarily known as the Icelandic capital of Rock’n’Roll.

The whole country’s musical culture is nothing to scoff at, with musicians such as Björk to thank for its outstanding history. There is much more to a town like Keflavik than music, however, extending to its history as a Viking culture and its ancient beliefs in Nordic Gods – all of which can too be understood in yet another of its fascinating museums: the Viking World museum.

The Viking World museum tells the rich history if Vikings on the Icelandic island, its connection with the culture, the intricacies and stories of the ancient religions with their moral guidelines, as well as real Viking weaponry and armour on display. The grandest piece of history on display, however, has to be the Viking ship within the museum. All assuring an experience unlike any other, for the curious traveller with a love for the North.

The town, though small, blooms with culture and entertainment. There’s no lack of good food, with selections of delicious pizza places, as well as an American-style diner. With some luck, you may even witness the Northern lights in the night sky – a rare occurrence, but by no means an impossible one to witness in Keflavik! Come for the culture, stay for the food and beauty.

For the more open traveller, Keflavik on its own may not be enough. An issue that’s easily amended, as the town offers a wide range of travel options to help explore to the heart’s content. Visit the town’s nearby countryside attractions, old lighthouses and historical sites. If a bigger city is what you want, consider taking a round trip to the nearby Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. If the history and culture of Keflavik don’t satisfy you, then the sheer size and wonder of Reykjavik surely will! All can be accomplished in a day’s travel, when staying in the smaller town.

Go in the Winter, and fascinate yourself with ice caves, geysers, and the true experience of the North during its coldest season. Go during the Summer and pay witness to whales, dolphins and orcas on seafaring trips. No matter what time of year you choose, there will always be something different to see!

If the museums are what mainly interests you, you’re in luck. Keflavik is full of them, as you could probably tell by now. Another worth seeing is the Duushus museum, which focuses on the country’s NATO base and the effects that it’s had on the local civilization over the years. A testament to both European developments, and the cultural heritage of Iceland.

For 55 years, the NATO base was situated in order to help protect Iceland from a potential invasion force from the Russians. To this day, the museum still holds uniforms, as well as leftover technology and relics from the time. The NATO bases may well have shut down, but they too have their place in the country’s past. An attraction worth seeing, for the eager historian, or even the curious vacationer!

The most popular attraction near Keflavik is by far its best, to those who seek relaxation on their travels. The Blue Lagoon, with an entrance fee of $16 – and from then on, unlimited stay. A price some may deem too high, until they hear the details! At the Blue Lagoon you’ll find a series of pools, with varying temperatures, and mesmerising colours. From blue, to green, to quartz – it all depends on the compositions of the waters! All of which are available for bathing, alongside a service of indoor baths and saunas. It’s a trip that requires short travel, but is wholly worth it for those seeking the most unique kind of relaxation.

Iceland’s attractions are broad, with a means to appease every kind of traveller. Whatever you’re looking for during your stay at Iceland, you’re sure to find it here. Friendly people and friendly hotels all around, you’re bound to have a good time. A much bolder journey than anything tropical, but a rewarding experience for those willing to throw themselves into the isolated depths of Iceland’s Keflavik.


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2020