Icelands capital, Reykjavik is becoming a more and more popular as a travel destination.
Iceland has seen its share of differences in tourism. It used to be one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit and then with the global financial slump it looked like Iceland may have been on the brink of bankruptcy, people were not visiting, hotels and shops were shutting and the value of its currency, the Icelandic Krona was very unstable.
That is all now in its past, for tourists at least. With more flights heading to the small island in the Atlantic there is plenty of choice of flights from various UK airports and no shortage of places to stay and ways to travel around.
Reykjavik is a mystical, beautiful city unlike any other. It has a selection of cosy cafes, fantastic world class restaurants and a great selection of places to visit of music lovers and obviously an amazing base to head to the rest of the island (to be covered in a future blog post).
Getting to Reykjavik
Arriving in Reykjavik
When you fly to Iceland you will land at Keflavik International Airport. This is a 40 minute drive from the capital. Its easy to get transfers, if you haven’t pre-booked anything or on a tour then you can purchase tickets at the airport. Its probably best to pre-book to save any queuing and you can do this online with flybus, there are option to either go to the centre of the city or direct to your hotel. If you are staying in the centre on the city then it will probably be a short walk (although this could involve hills) but check out the map for your hotel beforehand to make the best choice.
Weather in Reykjavik
Iceland generally has a mild climate, but this can rapidly change. May, June and July are the driest months of the year. Mid-June to August is high season and the best weather, the rest of the year is more variable. Weather in the rest of the island varies drastically, always check before you book your trip what the weather averages are.
Where to stay
There is a massive selection of places to stay, from hostels and self-catering apartments to luxury hotels. The costs for these have dropped significantly in recent years and are comparable to hotels in the UK. Our main advice would be to make sure that if you are staying in the summer months that you choose a room with blackout blinds. The long light days can be a problem if you are trying to get to sleep at 11pm with it still being light outside.
Things to do
- Go on a free walking tour
City Walk Reykjavik is a FREE 2 hour long walking tour around the centre of the city of Reykjavik. The tour is free but has optional donations at the end and is run by local history graduate, Marteinn Briem. Its a fantastic way to see the city, you should do this as soon as you can in your trip and don’t just take our word for it, look at its tripadvisor reviews, its rated the number 1 thing to do in the city!
- Eat a hotdog in the city centre
The Baejarins bestu hotdog stand near to the citys harbour is a must visit. It always has a queue and has seen many celebrity visitors over the years.
- Visit Hallgrimskirkja churchTake the lift to the top of Hallgrimskirkja. This is a must and try and do this on a clear day, if possible. This will give you the best view of the area. It is the largest church in Iceland and offers views towards the city centre and harbour as well as Perlan on Öskjuhlid hill
- Whale and bird watching
There are a large selection of operators offering whale and bird watching tours from the harbour. The original whale watching tour operator is Elding. Its worth looking around at what offers you can get for the time of year you are heading there.
- Go swimming in Reykjavik
You have to visit a public pool. Whether you go for one of the traditional pools or one of the more popular geothermal spas this is a must. Check out this guide to every pool in Reykjavik or for a different experience check out the Blue Lagoon.