Why holiday in Reykjavik?
This is the most northerly capital city
in the world and one of Europe's geologically weirdest countries.
Reykjavik knows how to party when the sun sets, and even better when
Pollution, crime and crowds are near zero,
summers days are endless and the thermal pools are divinely curative. And winters? Well, they're an experience.
is a long road from Iceland to Heaven' David Stefansson
Best: May-August for least rain, most sun, warmth and long daylight hours. Midsummer average highs reach around 13C (55F) and lows of 8C (46F) with an all-time maximum of 26C (79F).
Avoid: December - March when temperatures average -3C (27F) to 3C (37F) but can drop to - 15C (5F). Then there are gale force winds, high precipitation (much of it snow of course) and short daylight hours.
Current Reykjavik temperature and time.
Reykjavik architecture has its interesting moments, ranging from
renovated old to funky modern Scandinavian.
The Harbour is a very popular area.
Hallgrim's Church - this mountain of a church dominates the skyline
in its own uniquely volcanic way. Climb the tower for panoramic
views but the interior is sadly dull.
Domkirkja Lutheran Cathedral - built originally in 1796 by Danish
craftsmen who were too hammered for the job, it later had to be
rebuilt several times.
Hofdi House - a painted wooden house that moved all the way
from Norway and has played host to Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev
and Winston Churchill.
and 'The Pearl' - large water tanks provide a base for a large domed
structure which has a restaurant inside. Not quite St. Pauls (London)
but it's fun.
Radhus City Hall - a white post-modern building containing amongst
other things a large relief map of the country.
Blue Lagoon 'Blaa Lonid' - journey two hours to bath beside a power plant?
This would normally seem like insanity, but not in Iceland. These
pools are curative and a social event for most Icelanders.
Different pools have different curative powers - including arthritis,
asthma and eczema.
The outdoor Blue Lagoon is the most famous in Iceland and rich in skin-healing properties
such as salts, algae and silica. And the power plant is geothermal, not nuclear!
Reykjanesfolkvangur - a few miles south of the city is a natural
reserve protecting the most interesting laval formations of the
There are lots of walking trails, a large blue lake at Kleifarvtin,
and steaming holes at Austurenjiar.
Videy Island - a small island, but with some important historic
The oldest building in Iceland is there, built in 1755, along with
a memorial, a cave, sea birds nesting and interesting coastline
with basalt columns.
Museums: National Museum (Icelandic and Norse Culture), Arni Magnusson
Institute (Icelandic Sagas), Culture House (Historical Exhibitions)
and many more.
Galleries: Hafnarhusid, National Gallery
Theatre: performances at the National Theatre and the Reykjavik
The Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra and Ballet Company are well
Live Music: Gaukeur a Stong is very well known for its live bands
and even livelier guests.
Other music and food filled 'let's get wrecked' pubs abound, but
beers are costly and the price of spirits will break yours.
Nightlife: wild nights are almost guaranteed, especially at the weekends
as local youths go on outrageous pub and club crawls or 'runtur'.
Generally expensive and traditionally repulsive - fancy 6 month
rotted shark meat, pickled ram's testicles or roast puffin?
To be fair, there are plenty of fish dishes available and the smoked
lamb is excellent.
Reykjavik also has ethnic restaurants, fast food joints and buffets/salad
bars that are less extortionately priced.
For cheaper eats, you could try the 'Baejarins bestu' hot dog stands
on Tryggvagata Street and Posthusstraeti Street.
There's a 15% tax reduction for tourists spending over 4000
Classy/Arty: Skolavordustigur Street.
General: Laugavegur Street, Kringlan (a shopping mall)
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