Sitting on the corner tip of Iceland on Faxafloi Bay with breathtaking views of Mount Esja, Reykjavik is one of the most unique destinations in the world. The beautiful, modern capital of Ireland derives its name, Reykjavik, from its natural conditions with boiling natural geysers following over the area, where the Viking Ingolfur Arnarson named it ‘Smokey Bay.” This dark city has plenty of nearly sunless days, but remains a cultural hot spot known for its bustling clubs and nightlife which draws a healthy amount of tourists in the summer time. The life in Reykjavik is easy paced. With all of the public geothermal baths, who can blame them? White, wooden buildings dominate the scene peppered with colorful houses and lots of open areas, making this a hot spot for the ages.
Sights You Can’t Miss:
- Einar Johnsson Museum: Iceland’s premier sculptor, Einar Johnsson designed this stunning establishment which holds all of his works. Serving as his former personal home, it was first laid out in 1916. Today, a perfectly manicured sculpture garden surrounds it – containing 26 magnificent bronze casts along with a museum shop selling souvenir casts of all of his works. The inside is whitewashed with blue walls, high windows that illuminate the insides beautifully, and long stretches of white colored statues. Admission is kr400 for adults, with free admission to children under 16. For more information, visit www.sculptur.is.
- Icelandic National Museum: The museum has recently undergone through some renovations that have made it even more of the artistic powerhouse it was before. With more than 3000 artifacts chronicling every from the history and folklore traditions of the country, it is a sight to behold. For Viking fans, you will be pleased to see its collection of Viking relics and ancient carvings. A tiny collection of medieval pieces can be found here as well.
- Hallgrimskirkja: The Hallgrimskirkja is the tallest building in the country, a massive church so large you could see it from 10 miles away on a clear day. Named after the Icelandic poet Hallrimur Petursson, the church has a tall steeple and beautiful basalt columns as foundations. It took close to 4 decades to build the entire structure, with its final completion in 1986. A pretty statue of Leif Eeiksson sits right in front, a gift from the United States. Admission is kr300.
- Botanical Gardens: One of the biggest collections of Icelandic indigenous plants can be found here, along with endless garden trails. There is also a greenhouse café along with a zoo and park. Be sure to see this picturesque valley of dreams on your next visit!
Things to Do:
- Rejkjavik Jazz Festival: All of the jazz aficionados come to this event, with plenty of local and international performances coming here during the five day span from September to October bringing their own styles of the genre from different areas. See http://www.myspace.com/reykjavikjazzfestival.
- Iceland Independence Day: This day never disappoints, with plenty of parades and musical celebrations throughout the country to celebrate its independence from nearby Denmark. Catch it on June 17.
Getting There / Reaching the City:
Reykjavik’s main international airport is Keflavík International Airport which is located around 50 km from the city center. It is very well connected to other European cities by the many low cost airlines that fly to Iceland such as Germanwings and the local carrier Iceland Express. Direct flights will often be available, and typical flight times are London – approximately 2hrs 45min, and 3hrs 45min from Frankfurt, Germany. Travellers can make their way from the airport using the ‘flybus‘ which leaves 35-40 minutes after arrival of each flight and has a journey time of around 45 minutes to Reykavik BSÍ Bus Terminal.