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Reykjavik Travel Guide

The capital of Iceland and its largest city as well, Reykjavik and Reykjavik holidays charm their way into your life! It showcases best of both worlds- the spiriting modern life with wild nightlife and the pure village living.

The city houses many attractions for the visitors both natural and man-made, one thing common in both- They will leave you wanting more of Iceland! One can start the day by visiting many museums of Reykjavik some showcasing one of the earliest settlers, the open air folk museum that takes you back in time or the peculiar ones like the phallological museum displaying specimens of phallic parts. To get your shutterbugs clicking Reykjavik has some of the most picturesque locations – perfect for that postcard.

One can relax in one of the thermal pools and detox at the spa on a pleasant winter day or for a more adventurous being witness one of the most magical phenomenon- The northern lights. So during you will see yourself dangling your feet at the beach or basking at the beauty of Viking age and come night you will find yourself as a the part of a pub crawl or enjoying one of its wild Friday night music concerts.

Best Time To Visit Reykjavik

Reykjavik is known for its unpredictable weather; during winter the temperature doesn’t go much below zero degree it is great time to enjoy snow sports and the northern lights however a number of tourist designations are closed during winters making it ideal for a rather relaxing getaway! Spring and autumn in Iceland are a rare delight between summers and winter seasons. Summers on the other hand is hands down the best time to visit Reykjavik, the pleasant weather between June-August makes it easier for one to enjoy the outdoor activities as well as 24 hours of sunlight! No matter what season is it, be careful with the extreme winds of Iceland.

How To Reach Reykjavik

GET IN

By Plane:  Keflavík International Airport- Is the international airport, close to about 50 km southwest of Reykjavik. It operates flights like- Icelandair, WOW air, SAS, German Wings, Delta Air lines, Easy Jet. To reach the Reykjavik city centre from the airport one can take either of the following options:

By Taxi: Costs about ISK 14000 for 1-4 passengers

Gray line airport express- Costs ISK 2090 and takes about 45 minutes of travel time

By Flybus: Costs ISK 1950 and takes 45 minutes of travel time.

Reykjavik Airport- Is the domestic airport just about 2 km from the city centre. Flights operating from the airport: Eagle Air and Air Iceland

By Bus: Buses are available only from West Iceland, South Iceland and Akureyri for Reykjavik.

By Road: As any Reykjavik travel guide will tell you, there are only two main routes to enter Reykjavik, however be aware of the heavy traffic during weekends and holidays along the routes.

Reykjanesbraut (Road 40) enters the city from the west linking it to Southwest Iceland and Keflavík International Airport;

The Ring Road (Road 1) enters the city from both east and north.

By Sea: A number of cruise liners stop by at Sundahöfn which is 3 kilometers east from the city centre. However there are no defined cruises for Reykjavik exceptionally.

GET AROUND

On Foot: Reykjavik is a fairly large town yet most of the attractions are close by, making it easier for one to walk them up. Another reason to walk is the lovely sidewalks and pathways throughout the city – extremely scenic!

By Bus: Reykjavik is well connected with public bus systems called Strætó, cost for a single ride is ISK 350. Reykjavik tours are also made easy by the Reykjavik welcome card- allows unlimited access to the buses. You could also buy different passes for the bus:

  • 1 day: ISK 800
  • 3 day: ISK 2000
  • 1 month (green pass): ISK 9300
  • 3 months (red pass): ISK 21000

There are no night buses, with last one leaving at 11:00 pm.

By Taxi: Highly comfortable mode, but at the same time the most expensive too. The fee starts anywhere from ISK 700 followed by ISK 400\km. It is highly recommended if you wish to travel till late night as the public transport shuts at 11:00 pm.

By Bicycle: Reykjavik sightseeing might just be best experienced on a bicycle. Reykjavik has dedicated defined paths for cyclists and hence one of the most convenient and affordable way to travel.

Bicycles can be rented at the following locations:

  • Bikecompany
  • Borgarhjól
  • Puffin Scooters
  • Reykjavik Bike
  • SeasonTours

Tourist Attractions In Reykjavik

  • Gullfoss Waterfall
  • Hallgrimskirkja
  • The Pearl
  • Harpa Conference And Concert Center
  • National Museum Of Iceland
  • Solfar Or Sun Voyager Sculpture
  • Minjasafn Reykjavíkur
  • Volcano House
  • Laugardalslaug
  • Icelandic Phallological MuseumOpen Air Folk Museum Or Arbaejarsafn
  • Domkirkjan
  • Videy Island
  • Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach
  • The Culture House
  • Reykjavík Domestic Animal Zoo
  • National Gallery Of Iceland
  • Arbaejarlaug
  • Laugar Spa
  • Blue Lagoon

Hotels & Restaurants In Reykjavik

PLACES TO STAY

Budget:

  • Guesthouse Aurora
  • Reykjavík Backpackers
  • Víkingur Guesthouse
  • Reykjavík Downtown Hostel
  • KEX Hostel
  • Gistiheimili Hjálpræðishersins

Mid-Range:

  • Hótel Björk
  • Hotel Klöpp
  • Hotel Plaza
  • Best Western Hotel Reykjavík
  • Fosshotel Lind

 Expensive:

  • Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel
  • 101 Hotel
  • Hótel Holt
  • Radisson Blu Saga Hotel 
  • Hilton Nordica
  • Hótel Borg

PLACES TO EAT

Food cannot be left out of the Reykjavik things to do list. Reykjavik has a lot in store for your taste-buds right from the traditional Icelandic delicacies to various international cuisines. Most of the staff at these restaurants is award winning and highly skilled chefs, so do not be surprised if your plate comes with a dish that would otherwise be served in high-end restaurants only!

Apart from the chic restaurants Reykjavik is very well known for its cafes, where professional baristas serve quality warm coffee- perfectly suited with cold Icelandic weather! One must tantalize their taste-buds by sampling local beer at the school for the beer.

Some of the good restaurants are:

  • Austur-Indíafjelagið
  • Restaurant Reykjavik
  • Icelandic Fish & Chips
  • Perlan
  • Cafe Loki
  • Argentína Steakhouse
  • Fish Company
  • Hotel Holt
  • Grillið
  • Þrír frakkar hjá Úlfari

 

Festivals & Events In Reykjavik

February: Food and Fun: February - March 2015 Blending local and international culinary talent with fresh natural ingredients, the Food and Fun festival is a recipe for fun! Collaborating with Reykjavik’s finest restaurants, world-acclaimed chefs prepare special menus consisting of only Icelandic ingredients, regarded as the best in the world by Icelanders. These menus are available to the public at the participating restaurants during the festival, and diners may get a chance to meet the chefs themselves. Finally, on the last day of the festival, the chefs compete to create the most innovative and delicious three-course meal using only Icelandic ingredients.

March: Reykjavik Fashion Festival- Inspired by elements of nature, Icelandic fashion has taken the world by storm with its unique blend of traditional craftsmanship and cutting edge design. You can see the masterpieces of Iceland’s top fashion talent and young breakout designers on display at the annual Reykjavik Fashion Festival

MAY: Reykjavik Art Festival - Established in 1970, Iceland's premier cultural festival showcases the best of local and international theatre, dance, visual art and music. Besides the emphasis on Icelandic culture, both past and present, the festival also hosts distinguished artists and performers from around the world. The festival spans several days at the end of May with programs to suit all ages and interests.

June: National Day: June 17th, 2015- Commemorating Iceland’s independence from Denmark on June 17, 1944, National Day is one of Iceland’s most popular events of the summer. In Reykjavik, the festivities include something for all ages and interests with a colourful parade, street performances, games for kids and free outdoor music concerts lasting late into the evening.

August: Innipúkinn Festival: August 1nd - 4th: Innipúkinn is a small annual music festival, held in downtown Reykjavík over Iceland’s bank holiday weekend. Past performers have included Cat Power, Blonde Redhead, Mugison, Raveonnettes, Hjálmar, Trabant, Seabear, Jonathan Ritchman, Mínus, Dikta, FM Belfast and many others. Along with the music program, this event also features a music market, pop quiz, BBQs and more.

Reykjavik Gay Pride: August 8th – 10th Of all the things to do in Reykjavik,Iceland, this might just be the most progressive.This colourful festival draws tens of thousands of people into Reykjavik every year to show solidarity with the GLBT community and celebrate Iceland’s progressive position on human rights. Along with the opening ceremony party, numerous concerts and dances and other small events throughout the program, the main attraction by far is the energetic, family-friendly parade through the city centre on Saturday afternoon.

Reykjavik Marathon: August 23rd Started in 1983, this annual event now attracts over 10,000 participants from Iceland and abroad, with 1k and 3k “fun runs” for children and adults, a 10k race, a half marathon, a 42.2k team relay and the granddaddy of the event—the full marathon. The program starts in the morning usually between 8:00 and 10:00, and races start and finish at Lækjargata in the centre of Reykjavik. Runners also gain free admittance to all of Reykjavik’s thermal baths and swimming pools after the races.

Reykjavik Culture Night: August 23 Every year, Reykjavik Culture Night draws thousands of people to the streets of Reykjavik to join in the celebration of Iceland’s diverse cultural scene. There are plenty of free events throughout the day, including outdoor concerts, film screenings, art and photography exhibitions, street performances and an impressive fireworks show by the harbour to end the night. The city’s museums also stay open late for this occasion. If you want to celebrate this day like a true Reykjavikite, look for the signs that say “vöfflur” for a free waffle and coffee at the home of local resident!

September: Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF)- Founded in 2004, RIFF has grown into one of the best-kept secrets of the international film festival circuit, drawing over 25,000 guests annually. Along with film workshops, director talks and discussion panels, this multi-day event offers a number of screening venues in downtown Reykjavik to showcase a variety of documentaries, full-length features, shorts, animations and other notable films from Iceland and abroad, including world premieres and award winners from other festivals. The winner of RIFF’s competition is awarded the Golden Puffin at the end of the festival.

November: Iceland Airwaves-  November 5th - 9th In 1999, the first Iceland Airwaves was held in an airplane hangar, as a showcase for local DJs. Since then, this annual festival has exploded onto the international music scene, attracting some of the hottest new bands from the USA, Europe and Iceland to play at various venues in Reykjavík. Called the “hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar” by Rolling Stone magazine, Iceland Airwaves draws thousands of international visitors to sample the sounds of the fresh musical talent, both foreign and domestic, while offering an opportunity for other adventures in Iceland.

 

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