Reykjavik – Iceland’s stunning coastal capital and cultural centre – is the world’s most northerly capital. The city combines colourful buildings, impulsive, creative people, extraordinary design, and some of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders.
The cosmopolitan city with big heart is home to the Althing – the world’s oldest parliament, and the National and Saga Museums, which trace Iceland’s Viking history. The impressive Hallgrímskirkja Church bell tower and the rotating Perlan glass dome offer panoramic views off island. Reykjavik’s galleries and exhibitions, including the outstanding Reykjavík Art Museum and National Gallery, feature radical Icelandic design, and there are many public art installations.
The capital has benefited from a recent surge in high-quality restaurant openings, offering a broad mix of creative cuisine. Daytime cafés switch to restaurants and bars at night – tapas, concept-dining and burger joints all sit comfortably together. And then there’s the wonderful nightlife. [ReadMore]
Located in southwest Iceland – characterised by vast peninsulas, coves, straits and islands – Reykjavik is in easy reach of several must-see geological attractions. The iconic Golden Circle Trail includes the Blue Lagoon Spa, the Thingvellir National Park, the renowned Gullfoss Waterfall, and the incredible Geysir hot springs.
Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach – Reykjavik’s little bit of paradise – is also unmissable. The popular sandy beach and geothermal lagoon, where cold sea and hot geothermal waters meet to produce higher temperatures, offers hot-tubs, steam baths and various water sports to try.
The three Icelandic Wonders
Þingvellir (Thingvellir National Park), Geysir and Gullfoss (Golden waterfall) are the three must see wonders of Iceland. Þingvellir is a natural wonder on an international scale and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – this natural park is situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area give evidence to the rifting of the earth's crust. Next, to discover is the Geysir field, situated at the northern edge of the southern lowlands. This is where you can view the hot springs – in particular Strokkur which is currently the most energetic spouting spring in Iceland. It spouts every few minutes, sometimes to a height of 40 metres. Lastly, but by no means least, is Gullfoss – one of Iceland’s iconic gems. Enjoy the spectacular beauty of untouched nature as Gullfoss flows from Iceland’s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull, and cascades 32 metres down. On a sunny day a shimmering rainbow can be seen over the falls.
Set in the surreal surroundings of an ancient lava field, amidst the natural elements and pure Icelandic air, this geothermal wonder is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate the mind and body. Spoil yourself in the modern spa, with a unique experience of bathing in this world famous lagoon.
Hallgrímskirkja Church is Reykjavík’s main landmark and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. Its white concrete façade dominates the skyline and it is certainly a unique looking church. Inside, the Hallgrímskirkja features a gargantuan pipe organ, boasting 5,275 pipes – when played they produce powerful notes capable of filling the huge and holy space. Should you wish to climb to the top of the 74.5 metre high tower, you can enjoy an unmissable view of the city.
The Pearl, known as the Perlan, is a spectacular dome shaped glass landmark which overlooks Reykjavík. It is a modern building and was once a water storage facility – now it offers a 360 degree viewing platform, cafeteria and a revolving restaurant on top. From the viewing platform, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the surroundings. If you don’t take the opportunity to see the real Geysir, there is a man made one just outside the Pearl.