The home of midnight sun, volcanic action and quirky inhabitants.
Reykjavik is home to over two-thirds of Iceland’s citizens and holds the title of most northerly capital city on Earth. The geographical positioning of Iceland brings its inhabitants 22 hours of daylight during summer and as little as 3 hours in winter. Despite the extreme seasonal changes, Reykjavik resonates with the help of its quirky and creative residents, making the city one of Scandinavia’s hippest hangouts for new fashion, music and art. Recent Icelandic artists include Björk and Sigur Ros.
Reykjavik sits on the south-west peninsula of the island and contrasts a collection of charming coloured buildings against its stark, ragged coastline. As Iceland is also one of the newest land masses to have developed on Earth, the volcanic soil means that very little grows naturally on the island. The lunar landscapes are interrupted by dramatic volcanic mounds and chasms, as Iceland continues to change shape and grow.
With a flight time of approximately 3 hours, Reykjavik is easily accessible for a short city break. Reykjavik tries to cater for any budget despite Iceland’s notoriously high cost of living, with a cosy collection of artistic hang-outs to relax in, an abundance of free art and points of interest dotted around the city. The more adventurous can try locally sourced dishes of puffin and whale, or even hakarl – a traditional delicacy of rotten shark’s fin.
When to Go?
Reykjavik is the ‘city of the midnight sun’ during June, when the sun rests on the horizon at its lowest point. This makes summer the best time to spend an evening chilling out in the open-air geothermal spas, or hitting Reykjavik for late-night clubbing. A cheaper alternative is to visit in the winter months. The minimal sunlight can be a shock to any visitor, but the conditions can still make it ideal for those wishing to seek out the legendary ‘northern lights’.
How to get there:
Reykjavik is served by Keflavik International Airport (KEF), approximately 40 minutes’ drive from the city centre. A coach transfer desk is located in the arrivals area, with regular transfers to and from all main hotels in the city centre and Reykjavik’s central bus terminus.
Icelandair, Iceland’s national carrier operates from London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow, as well as the newer budget carrier, Iceland Express operating from London Stansted. Most flights are direct, although some Manchester flights to Reykjavik operate via Glasgow. Flights are available on most days and run throughout the year.
The city’s bus terminus has tour desks, making it easy to explore Iceland’s breathtaking natural phenomena. Reykjavik’s Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the city. Other spots of interest include the famous volcanic Geysir area and Thingvellir National park, where Iceland’s tectonic join pulls apart at a rate of 2cm per year. The northern lights tour is also a highlight to any visit to Reykjavik, with tours running throughout the year (tours are dependant upon daily weather forecasts).