Explore the capital of the Land of Ice and Fire with Viking museums, whale safaris and a bustling nightlife that balances the natural world with a cosmopolitan city. Read more...
Reykjavik provides a welcome change of pace to the other bustling European capitals with space to breathe and, even in the very city centre, the reminder that astounding nature is never too far away in Iceland. The most northerly capital in the world, Reykjavik is on the smaller side making it all the easier to wander through the city at your own steam.
Although there has been settlement in Reykjavik since 825 C.E., the town proper was founded in 1786 and it was not until Iceland's independence as a nation in 1944, that Reykjavik really started to develop into the a bustling metropolis. Reykjavik, which loosely translates to smoke cove, is the perfect starting point to explore wild Iceland, the land of glaciers, volcanoes and astonishing ice caves.
The last three decades have seen developments in Reykjavik that make it worth a visit in itself, with many interesting museums and a thriving nightlife. Split in half by the glassy Tjörnin lake, the small city centre may lack the soaring buildings and the classical monuments of its Nordic counterparts, but views across the seas to glaciers and the imposing mountains boast of nature's architecture.
In the city's green lined streets and parks, work by sculptors Ásmundur Sveinsson and Einar Jónsson are integrated into the cityscape. Both these sculptors are also exhibited in permanent indoor exhibits, as well as many other contemporary artists and artisans. A visit to Landnámssýningin museum, the Viking settlement museum created out of the extensive ruins of a Viking farmhouse, is a fascinating look at Iceland's Nordic culture. The Saga Museum is an engaging look at the country's past through the tradition of storytelling. The newly opened Whales of Iceland Museum is a great one for the whole family or soak in relaxation at the Nautholsvik Geothermal bath.
To experience something uniquely Icelandic, a visit to nearby Hafnarfjörður during the old Icelandic month of Þorri (from the Friday between January 19 & 25 until late February) is a must. Every evening there are buffet style Viking banquets, known as þorrablót at Fjörugarðurinn, where visitors can sample some of the weird and wacky local foods such as rotten shark, singed sheep’s head and even pickled rams’ testicles, squashed flat and eaten as a topping in an open sandwich. If these delicacies don't tickle your fancy, a generous helping of the Icelandic schnapps is a must to perhaps numb the tastebuds, aptly named Black Death.
Reykjavik is the perfect starting point for a tour of Iceland, whether that is an Iceland Complete Tour or a speciality Game of Thrones tour to 'Beyond the Wall'. Lake Myvatn is well worth a visit, with large craters and bubbling geothermal baths, while a whale watching safari into the Bay of Faxafoil brings you up close to these majestic beasts. The astonishing Blue Lagoon is by far the most visited site in Iceland; or try an Ice Cave Tour; descend inside a volcano on the Volcanoes and Glaciers Tour; or hike on the Scenic Trails of Iceland tour.
Bentours offers many more ready- and tailor-made tours out of Reykjavik, including a quick visit to the stunning Ilulissat glacier in Greenland. Contact our agents today for full listings - the land of Ice and Fire awaits!