Reykjavik: The Capital City of Iceland | Everything You Need to Know

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Add to Bucket List
  • Capital city of Iceland.
  • Two-third of the overall population lives in Reykjavik – around 120.000 people.
  • Most travelers like to spend 1-3 days in the capital city. 
  • Reykjavik is the perfect destination if you would like to go on guided day tours. Most tours only departure from Reykjavik. 
  • Most of the main attraction in Reykjavik are located in walking distance from the city center.
  • The international airport is located around 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik. 

Iceland, a volcanically as well as geologically active place, seems like a magical place that attracts the globetrotters, environmentalists and adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. Iceland is also well-known as one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.  There are innumerable places in Iceland to visit that are sure to leave you awestruck with its beauty and power. But when in Iceland, start your journey with the main capital and the largest city of Iceland – Reykjavik, which is a home to the two-third of the overall population. So, let’s just explore a bit more about this place.

Winter in Reykjavik seen over Hallgrimskirkja church

Know More About World’s Northernmost Capital: Reykjavik

Reykjavik, northernmost capital of world’s any sovereign state, is a city with a very small population, approximately 120,000, but despite being less populated, this place has been a popular destination amidst the travelers and globetrotters. There are two sides of this city – one with the beautiful and breathtakingly natural wonders of the worlds and the other with the vibrant, modern cultural, vivid nightlife, bars, clubs, museums, galleries and world-class restaurants. And Reykjavik offers you best of the both.

Iceland’s capital city – Reykjavik is exactly located in southwest Iceland by the Faxaflói Bay. The name Reykjavik translates to “smoky bay”. Over the years, earthquakes, glaciers, and volcanic eruptions have played a vital role in forming the geology of Iceland that includes what we see today. The present area of Iceland was subglacial in the Ice Age. But as the Ice Age ended and glaciers drifted away, the land rose above and took its present shape.

view over Reykjavik and Esjan

Surrounding Areas of Reykjavík:

The views from Reykjavik are outstanding. Though there are innumerable places located around Reykjavík, there are some of the prominent places including the Mount Esjan, which is also the highest mountain, located in the vicinity and is extremely popular amidst the climbers and hikers. Akrafjall and Skarðsheiði are also clearly visible from the seaside and, on clear sunny days, one can even see the Snæfellsjökull glacier, which is at the end of Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Festivals and Events That Takes Place in the City:

Reykjavík’s annual events and the festivals are a must watch. Many of the artists have emerged out and hit the International stage, so there is an immense respect for the local art and artists. Some of the major events and festivals in Reykjavík includes the Reykjavík Pride, The Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF), Reykjavík Arts Festival, Reykjavík Literature Festival, Fashion Festival, Food & Fun, Secret Solstice and of course, Sónar music festival.

Tjornin pond in downtown Reykjavik

Major Attractions in Reykjavík:

There are numerous things that one can enjoy while in Reykjavík. If you are someone who wish to explore the history and the local culture, then visit the museums, galleries and varied exhibitions that make you learn about how the history unfolded and how things have taken its present shape over the years. Immerse yourself in the local culture and visit the concert venues, or experience the live music at cafés that is sure to make you witness the vibrant city life of Iceland. You can simply visit Harpa music hall and check out ongoing programs too. Harpa is Reykjavik’s concert hall and conference centre, which is one of the most prominent and popular landmarks too. The hall is inspired by the Iceland’s basalt landscape, while the distinctive vivid colored glass façade looks magnificently beautiful. Being in the heart of the city you can definitely plan going here.

Apart from this, you can visit public square of Austurvöllur, which is a popular gathering place and you can also see the Alþingi – National Parliament (which is the oldest parliament too). Here you can watch out for the state church, statue of Jón Sigurðsson, and in the vicinity, you will find cafés, and restaurant too. When in Reykjavík, visit Tjörnin and give yourself the time to walk by the pond and greet the birds over there. You can walk by the pond, or can visit the nearby park too. Don’t forget to visit Hallgrimskirkja church, the most famous landmark in Iceland. The church stands tall on top of a hill so you can see it from almost every point in Reykjavik. 

If you wish to explore the city, then you can easily rent jeeps, cars or even bicycles, anything is available as per your requirements. While there are many organized tours as well to let you travel as per the fixed schedule.

Reykjavík Airport:

The domestic airport of Reykjavík is located near the city at Vatnsmýrin and it is also near by the hill Öskjuhlíð and exhibition centre Perlan. While the international Keflavík Airport, which is at Miðnesheiði heath, is approximately 50 kilometers from city.

northern lights above Reykjavik and Hallgrimskirkja church

Map of Reykjavik

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