48 Hours In Reykjavik

Winter sunshine around Reykjavik city centre (Photo: Gail Johnson/Shutterstock)

Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland and the most northerly capital in the world is surprisingly not as well visited as is to be expected, however this uber-cool city has it all, culture, architecture, shopping and food for all appetites. In the warmer months the city is surprisingly warm and relaxed with the famous winter sun; and in the colder months temperatures may fall well below zero but the fun doesn’t stop with the aurora borealis.

What to see

Nature and culture combine in Reykjavik to make this one of the best and most unusual sightseeing cities in the world. Nature is ever present all around Reykjavik, with Mount Esja towering above even Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest building in the country. Mount Esja is relatively easy to climb in the warmer months, but there is always a thick layer of snow atop. Nature’s greatest miracle is visible in winter when the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) come out. The skies flash with streaks of green, red, orange, blue and purple, and a whirring sound often follows. In summer the summer sun is unavoidable, with 24 daylight lighting up the sights of the city. Just at the end of Reykjavik’s main shopping street is Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church. The heart of culture stands at 244 feet above the skyline and is indeed a sight to behold.

What to eat

Iceland is famous for its’ strange and unusual cuisine, ranging from yoghurt to award winning hotdogs. At Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hotdog stand just outside of the city centre, an award winning hotdog loved by all including US President Bill Clinton and Metallica vocalist James Hetfield can be found. Ask for “eina með öllu” and you will be given the whole works, onions, hotdog, mustard and tomato ketchup.

Iceland’s national yoghurt Skyr can be found in almost every shop in Reykjavik. The thick and creamy yoghurt is a taste that just has to be experienced. For other local delicacies try Hakarl (putrified shark), puffin, guillemot or minke whale if you think you can stomach it.

What to do

Whale watching at sea is a definite must do when in Reykjavik. Numerous tour operators will take guests miles out to sea even in the winter months to search for whales ranging from minke to blue whales. Even if you are not lucky enough to spot any whales, the experienced crew will point out numerous dolphins bow riding, rare sea birds and the legendary puffin.

Where to shop

Reykjavik offers tax free shopping to all non-resident shoppers. Laugevagur shopping street is the only shopping street in the city, and although it only spans for around half a mile, all manner of souvenirs and foods can be bought, including famous Viking treasures and Icelandic wool clothing.

For more Icelandic inspirations see www.visitreykjavik.is    

Tags: Travel Guide

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