There's a penis museum!
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Reykjavik, the vibrant capital of Iceland, is a city that tends to surprise first-time visitors. Its population only just exceeds 120,000 - however this is almost a third of the population of the entire country! Despite being one of the worlds smallest capital cities - Reykjavik has a lot more to offer to tourists than you might think. Every street has a range of cosy cafes, independent shops and cultural attractions, and there is certainly no lack of atmosphere. Not only is Reykjavik full of heritage and culture, it’s also a gateway to Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes and once in a lifetime experiences, situated perfectly on the South-West coast.
Visit at Christmastime to experience the Icelandic Yule traditions such as the 13 Yule lads and the Christmas Cat, as well as colourful lights and Christmas markets filling the streets of the city centre!
Getting around - For such an icy cold destination, Reykjavik really seems to melt the hearts of anyone who visits. Whether you’re passing through for a day on a road trip or using Reykjavik as a base to explore Iceland, and really settling into the city, you’ll immediately feel at home. Despite the generally chilly weather, Reykjavik has a cosy feel and locals that instantly make you feel welcome with their open, high-spirited personalities. Take a stroll down Laugavegur - the main shopping street of Reykjavik, filled with traditional shops and restaurants for when the cold gets a little much and you need to defrost with hot chocolate! From there, you can wander up the famous Rainbow Street, “Skólavörðustígur”, for a pop of colour, all the way to the striking Lutheran church.
Hallgrímskirkja, at a wonderful 73m tall, is the tallest building in Reykjavik and the most visited tourist attraction in all of Iceland! Not that we’re surprised, as entry to the chapel is completely free, and for a fee of only 1300 ISK (around 7.70 GBP) you can climb the bell tower and view Reykjavik from above. You’ll see mountains, ocean, modern architecture and traditional housing, all whilst potentially hearing the church bells ring if you time your visit correctly!
Feels like home - If your stomach flips at the thought of travelling to an overcrowded capital city, or you feel stressed at the thought of even leaving your home country, Reykjavik might be the destination for you. Iceland is consistently rated as one of the safest countries in the world to visit, and Reykjavik one of the safest cities! The streets aren’t constantly packed with people unless there’s a special event, locals are friendly and inviting and over 98% of the Icelandic population speak English - so less stress about the language barrier!
On top of being a modern city, a cultural hub and a historical centre, Reykjavik opens doors to all of the incredible experiences that Iceland has to offer. Whether you want a relaxing spa day at the blue lagoon or a 3-day south coast tour, there’s something for everybody, and it’s incredibly easy to find experiences that depart from the capital city. You could try the popular Golden Circle route, visit a lesser-known hot spring such as the Secret Lagoon or hire a car and set off on your very own adventure! Day trips from Reykjavik are varied and not in short supply - so as a base to explore all day and return to a hotel surrounded by gorgeous bars and restaurants, Reykjavik is a brilliant choice. Just be prepared to pay some pretty steep prices for things like coffees, souvenirs and meals out, as it's the capital city of a very expensive country.
Oh and we forgot to say... There's a museum completely dedicated to penises
If you're looking for an entertaining way to learn more about Reykjavik, check out our amazing friend Daniel's YouTube video about our stay in Iceland here
Getting there: Reykjavik is easily accessible by air, with direct flights from many major cities around the UK. There are lots of companies offering transfers from the major airport, Reykjavik Keflavik, into the city centre.
Visas: Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Iceland for a stay of up to 90 days.
Currency: The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Krona. You'll feel rich when you convert your currency, as it costs under £6 for 1000 Icelandic Krona. Don't be fooled though, it certainly doesn't mean it's cheap in this country...
Language: The official language of Iceland is Icelandic, but English is very widely spoken.
Time zone: Iceland uses Greenwich Mean Time all year round, so in Winter it's the same time as the UK, but in Summer they're an hour behind.
Ready to go?
- Search for somewhere to stay in Reykjavik on Expedia here
- Look for things to do in Reykjavik with GetYourGuide here
- Check out our post about The Golden Circle route in Iceland here