Reykjavik Mini Guide
What can you tell me about Reykjavik?
It’s the capital of Iceland and has been inhabited for over 1,300 years. The first to make their homes there were the Vikings and a mixture of myth and facts explain the first settlement in Reykjavik. The majority of Iceland’s inhabitants live in the city which is the focus for tourism, art and culture for the nation. It’s a pretty city with a compact centre and made up of multi-coloured houses that give the city the look of a Lego construction site. Aided by American money provided during wartime occupation, Reykjavik provided the bulk of the Icelandic fishing fleet that caused the ‘Cod Wars’ in the seventies.
How do I get to Reykjavik?
Interestingly, the main airport in Iceland is not Reykjavik’s but Keflavik’s, some thirty miles away. Reykjavik’s airport
has runways that are too small for most international flights so they have to land at Keflavik. Several operators fly from UK
airports so you’ll have a choice of flights and prices. Transport into the capital is comprehensive and cheap and you also have the option of car hire from Keflavik
What is there to see and do in Reykjavik?
Reykjavik is renowned for its thermal pools, heated by the seismic activity under the island. The pools are open year round enabling you to swim in winter whilst all around you is deep snow. In the waters around Iceland, pods of whales come to feed in the krill-rich sea. Former fishing vessels now take interested tourists out into the often choppy waters to see these magnificent mammals at play. Visitors to Iceland are often fascinated by the history of the place and how such an inhospitable land came to be populated. Reykjavik has several museums detailing the history of its people including one which is a working replica of an 18th century rural settlement.
What should I buy when I’m in Reykjavik?
If you don’t mind the ethical reasons against it, fur is a good value purchase in Iceland with the Eggert store at Skólavördustígur 38 having the best range. Another great gift is the Iopapeysa, the traditional Icelandic knitted jumpers. In men’s and women’s versions, the knitwear is fashionable and very snug!
What should I eat whilst in Reykjavik?
Wherever you go in Iceland, it’s expensive, so if you’re going to pay a lot for fast food, you might as well pay a little bit more for the best. Visit Perlan for 360 degree view out over the city whilst dining in the best restaurant in the country. After your meal you can enjoy a coffee or a brandy out on the revolving terrace watching the city drift by.
What do the locals do for entertainment?
Reykjavik has a young population that, despite the cost of alcohol, loves to head out and party. In Iceland they do it with a difference. Parties begin at people’s houses with alcohol bought more cheaply from the government outlets and only when the party begins to flag do they head out into the city to the eclectic range of clubs and bars. Because of this, clubs tend not to open before eleven and rarely get busy until after midnight.