Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is in south-western Iceland, on the southern shore of the Faxaflói Bay. Reykjavik is located exactly at 64°08' N latitude, making it the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is the centre of culture, economy, and government of Iceland, not to mention, a significant tourism hub as well. Despite of its small size, the city is teeming with colourful buildings, vibrant nightspots, and an overall interesting and eclectic character. It is also one of the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world.
Reykjavik’s compact size makes it easy for visitors to really absorb its beauty and charm, its long hours of daylight during the summer, and longer, darker, and colder nights during winter. But its people’s character, creativity, and spirit remain strong as ever. Stroll along some of its open areas like Tjörnin, or The Pond, a small lake at the heart of Reykjavik. Although a small park, Austurvöllur is particularly a great spot to lounge around in warmer days. Viðey, a large island in Kollafjörður, north of the city, is a great getaway spot – scenic, relaxing, and peaceful. It is home to the Imagine Peace Tower by Yoko Ono. Another island that you can visit is Grótta. Hólavallagarður cemetery, which is overlooking the Tjörnin pond, is one of the largest and oldest cemeteries in Iceland. Here you can wander around a maze of graves nestled in with moss, lichens, and hundreds of tree and plant species. Reykjavik’s buildings are fascinating and eclectic; many of the old houses build with wood and covered in brightly coloured corrugated iron. Buildings down the street are ultra-modernistic and early 20th century neoclassical concrete. Some of the historical and art museums that you can visit are the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús, Reykjavik Museum of Photography, National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavík City Museum, and The Culture House.
How to get around within Reykjavik
Exploring Reykjavik on foot is easy since many of the city’s attractions are within walking distance. Not to mention, the first-rate sidewalk and pathway system entices people to walk instead of taking public transport. Bicycling is also recommended, with any area touching the sea serving as a good starting point. Strætó, the city’s public bus system, is a clean and reliable form of transport. It is recommended to purchase a Reykjavík Welcome Card, which allows unlimited access to the buses, even free access to several museums, discounts, and free Internet at the hostel. Strætó buses reaches as far as east to Selfoss and north to Akranes. If you wish to take a taxi, the main taxi companies that serve the city are Hreyfill-Bæjarleiðir, BSR, and Borgarleiðir. All taxis are metered and most are clean and comfortable. Just take note that taxis in Reykjavík are expensive.
How to get there
There are two airports that serve Reykjavik: Keflavík International Airport, which operates international flights served by several airlines and Reykjavík Airport, which operates domestic flights via two air carriers, Air Iceland and Eagle Air. From Keflavík, you can take the Flybus, Gray Line Airport Express, or a taxi straight to the city centre. Other ways of getting in is by bus via Sterna and Reykjavík Excursions (if you’re coming in from West Iceland, South Iceland and Akureyri), by car (there are many rental car services all over Iceland and in the city itself), or by boat (there are plenty of cruise liners that stop at the city during summer).