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Top 10 Things to do in Keflavik


Our Top Ten things to do in Keflavik - Don't leave until you've experienced the best Keflavik has to offer

Keflavik is now part of the bigger community now called Reykanesbaer. Located on the Reykjanes it is recognized as a unique vacation and budding business destination. The beautiful seaside community has the charm and spirit of a small town and many recreational and cultural activities for the visitor. There are a number of shops and galleries displaying and selling locally produced goods and work by Icelandic artists. Reykjanes City which forms the biggest part of the community still only has 14,000 inhabitants and is only 10 minutes away from the international airport.
1 Duushús Museum and the Reykjanes Heritage Museum.
Duushús Museum  and the Reykjanes Heritage Museum.
In the Duushús museum there are several exhibition halls, one of them being the Reykjanes Heritage Museum. There is an interesting exhibition on the influence of the NATO base had on the inhabitants of Keflavík. For 55 years a NATO base protected the island from potential Russian invasion but at the end of the cold war the American led contingent left in 2006. The exhibition has many things on display which the Americans left at the base including some uniforms which were left in the laundry! There’s a section on American military base food and a mock up of an officer’s quarters. The exhibition is regularly visited by Icelanders who come to see how America influenced its culture. For them the special part of the exhibition is the Icelandic home of the 50s, showing all the American aspects of their life.

2 The Evacuated NATO Base.
The Evacuated NATO Base.
The NATO base closed only 5 years ago and is still in very good condition. Rather than let it become derelict, the Icelandic government have encouraged its use and many businesses have opened up in the buildings. There are plans to use the NATO hospital as a private hospital and a detox clinic has opened too. There is everything a city could want and typical of the American’s there’s also a mini film studio too. The only problem the new residents face is that the power supply is based on the American system. It’s a good visit for all those interested in cold war politics.

3 The Viking Ship Icelander
The Viking Ship Icelander
The Vikings were renowned sailors and Leif Eriksson is credited with discovering America. To celebrate and prove the feat, Gunnar Marel Eggertsson built a replica Viking longboat in 1996 using traditional methods and tools. He then selected a crew and sailed it west to Greenland and then on to America. The boat, called the Icelander, is 23 metres long and 5,25 metres wide and used 18 tons of wood in its construction. After their 110 day voyage the ship returned to Iceland and is now on display here in Keflavik.

4 Visit the Giantess in the Cave.
Visit the Giantess in the Cave.
The Black Cave of the Giantess was opened in Keflavík in 2008 during the festival Night of Lights. It is the home of the fictional character from the Icelandic author Herdís Egilsdóttir. His book, ‘Sigga and the Giantess’ was the first of a series of sixteen children’s stories written from 1959 onwards. The idea of building the cave in Keflavík was Herdís's idea. The last book on the giantess describes her journey to Keflavík. The giantess, who is 400 years' old and over 5 metres high with eyes the size of footballs , sits in a rocking-chair in the cave and you can see her breathe and burps and does other stuff children find very funny. There is also a giant bed in the cave and kids can crawl into the lap of the giantess. Children need not fear for she is friendly and there is a light in the cave.

5 Bláa Lónið – The Blue Lagoon
Bláa Lónið – The Blue Lagoon
The most famous attraction near Keflavík is the Blue Lagoon. Many people think it’s a natural feature but it’s the run off water warmed and used in the nearby geothermal energy plant. The water is at body temperature and the minerals in the mud are thought to be good for skin complaints. Don’t scrape the mud from the bottom of the lagoon as it probably isn’t that wholesome. Dispensers dotted around the lagoon give out sterilised mud.  The lagoon also offers massages and other beauty treatments are available for extra cost. It’s not cheap to use the lagoon but the experience is very relaxing and fun if you’re in a group. The water is nice and warm, and the experience is relaxing.

6 Pingvellir
Þingvellir is a place of great cultural significance to Icelanders. Here, the first parliament was set up in 930 where it remained until 1789. The decree making the area a national park went into detail about the parliament site saying that it is ‘a protected national shrine for all Icelanders, the perpetual property of the Icelandic nation under the preservation of parliament, never to be sold or mortgaged.’ Seventy years after the first parliament it was the site where the Norse gods were sent away to their homes so that the island could fully adopt Christianity. In 1262, the islanders met here to swear allegiance to the Norwegian crown too.

7 Pingvellir Geological Park
Pingvellir Geological Park
As well as having great cultural and political significance, the area around Pingvellir has great geological significance. It is the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and has Pingvallavatna, the largest lake in Iceland.  The geography here is spectacular and you can easily see how the earth has been twisted and torn by the seismic forces that act here. Not far away are volcanic fields marking another aspect of the geology of the area.

8 The Reykjanes Festival of Culture and Family - The Night of Lights
The Reykjanes Festival of Culture and Family - The Night of Lights
In September as the long days of summer fade away, the first Saturday sees the staging of the highly popular Night of Lights, the Reykjanes Festival of Culture and Family. It’s an annual event which takes place over four days celebrates the island’s cultural heritage with food, crafts and displays and ends with a spectacular fireworks display. In recent years the event has had over 100 displays and was visited by 30,000 each time attracted by the theatre, music and art.

9 Stekkjarkot
Stekkjarkot is an intriguing place, a traditional Icelandic village built the way it would have been in centuries past using natural materials to insulate the homes. Here you’ll see turf roofs – do they need to mow the roof?? The gradients are certainly too steep for animals to do it!! Inside you’ll see the traditional tools used by villagers to make a living out of the often harsh environment.

10 Watching the Boats Come In
Watching the Boats Come In
The seas around Iceland are rich in fish stocks making it one of the countries top industries. Along with the rewards though come the risks and the waters around the island are notorious for storms and icy temperatures. Although the island itself is warmed by the Gulf Stream, there’s little it can do to offset Arctic weather that sweeps down from the north. It’s a sobering time watching the little (and not so little!) fishing boats make their way back into the shelter of the harbour, ready to land their catch and thankful for their safe return.

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