Reykjavik, Iceland, is the world’s northernmost capital and is home to more than half the country’s 320,000 inhabitants. Read more.
Reykjavik, Iceland, is the world’s northernmost capital and is home to more than half the country’s 320,000 inhabitants. For such a small nation it sure packs a lot into its colourful and eclectic streets, with quirky people, fine dining, great shopping and a host of bars and clubs. Its vibrant music scene has produced a long list of internationally famous bands and musicians including Björk,and GusGus. Whether your stay is short or long, Reykjavik will provide an adventure not soon forgotten.
Hot springs, volcanoes and pub crawls
Reykjavik is perfectly sized for a wander around on foot. Explore this fascinating city with a leisurely stroll and spend a day taking in the sights and beautiful surrounds. Old Reykjavik is a delicate jewel in the heart of the capital, focussed around lake Tjörnin and a delightful combination of cute Icelandic houses and heritage. Take in the modern Harpa concert hall then climb the tower at the striking Hallgrímskirkja church for stunning views over the city. Reykjavik Art Museum and the Perlan & the Saga Museum are an excellent way to familiarise yourself with Icelandic history and culture.
Get your shopping fix at Laugavegur which boasts a myriad of independent boutique and cafes then stay in the area for an evening pub crawl with the locals, known as ‘the Rúntur’. When ‘the Rúntur‘ ends around midnight head downtown to party on until dawn at bars such as Kaffibarinn or KEX.
Iceland is all about unbelievable natural wonders so be sure to take a day trip into the striking countryside. Hire a car or join an organised tour and check out Thingvellir National Park, home to the world’s first parliament and a stunning example of tectonic plate activity with fissures and cracks snaking across the landscape. Next up is Geysir, the original geyser and an area that boasts many other hot springs including the Strokkur geyser which blows water a hundred feet into the air every few minutes. Don’t forget Gullfoss falls, best seen on a sunny day. In the evening head for a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa cradled in a landscape of black lava and an amazing setting for a relaxing escape. The adventurous will adore Inside the Volcano, a mesmerising tour into the world’s only perfectly intact magma chambers.
Hotel options and where to stay
Many of the major attractions of Reykjavik are located within walking distance of the hotel area. If you choose to stay further out of the center, getting around is easy with a Reykjavik Welcome Card which provides unlimited bus travel with the bonus of free or discounted admission to a number of attractions. Iceland is notoriously expensive and accommodation is no different. Travellers on a strict budget might like to try the city campground or affordable hostels around the centre. Some independent guesthouses sit at a similar price point to hostels. Most hotels in Reykjavik are at the higher end of the scale with prices to match, however, with a bit of searching, booking a mid-range room is possible. Summer is the most popular time for visitors to Reykjavik so book ahead if you plan to enjoy the warmer season.
Getting to and around compact Reykjavik
Reykjavik has an international (Keflavik) and a domestic (Reykjavik) airport, located 50km apart. Keflavik is also around 50km from the city so plan for an hour or so to get to or from your hotel. A number of airlines provide flights direct from major cities in the UK and Europe, including Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, New York and London. The Flybus is the most convenient way to travel from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik city, offering an efficient service that takes about 45 minutes. The Gray line Airport Express will deliver travellers directly to their hotels for a slightly higher fee, or private taxis are also available. Although the weather is unpredictable, take any opportunity to view the city on foot or by bicycle. A number of bike rental companies are scattered throughout town. If the wind becomes too much, jump on the clean, reliable local buses, called Strætó.