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Friday, December 11, 2009

Reykjavik "experiencing how Icelanders live their lives"

Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland with a population of 117,706. The greater Reykjavik area has a population of 196 564 and the majority of Iceland's total population.
Reykjavík is the capital of Iceland. It is the center of culture and life of the Icelandic people. It is also the tourist capital of Iceland. Reykjavík is a city that wasn't built up for tourism, so tourists can get a nice view of tourist things at the same time experiencing how Icelanders live their lives.

Day tour to Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geyser.
(The golden circle)

Known as the Golden circle tour, is a day tour that departs from Reykjavik daily. The Golden circle refers to the route of the tour, and the great attractions that are along the way. During the tour you will explore Thingvellir national park, Gullfoss waterfall and the famous geyser, Geysir. If you only plan to take one tour during your trip – this is the one.

Blue Lagoon

Located between Keflavik International airport and Reykjavik is the Blue Lagoon. This wonderful natural spa is perfect way to relax and enjoy the breath taking scenery at the same time. There are trips available to and from The Blue Lagoon, from Reykjavik and Keflavik airport.


Hallgrimskirkja church is visible from almost anywhere in the city. The high tower is among the city’s highest building and offers a great view of the city. The tower is open to guest daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is 400 Isk for adults and 100 Isk for children 7-14 years old.

Reykjavik city

Reykjavik Weekend

Looking over Reykjavik city you see houses and trees just like many other cities. On this bright November day I want to invite you to a short mini weekend in Reykjavik. Think of it as a snapshot of interesting places or as if you were on a guided tour :)

The weather is nice today. In Iceland the weather is never to be trusted. Sometimes you are lucky and get a few good days in a row and sometimes the wind blows and the rain pours.

As the days are short I will have to hurry so there is enough daylight for all the places I want to show you.

East Reykjavik

Reykjavik Weekend - Elliðaárdalur

Reykjavik as you will notice is fairly clean for a city. It has many open areas where people can get closer to nature. In Elliðaárdalur there is even a salmon fishing river flowing right through it.

Reykjavik - Árbæjarsafn

On the other side of the river is the Árbæjarsafn museum. There you can see how Reykjavik houses looked like in the early 20th century. Ideal for a visit and there is even a tiny little church where people can get married.

Reykjavik - buildings

Over the past years there has been a lot of growth in building new houses and offices.

Reykjavik - Laugardalslaug

Swimming pools are a hugely popular pastime for Icelanders. The pools are heated with geothermal water, just like all the houses. It is not expensive and you could easily spend the day in the Laugardalslaug pool.

Reykjavik - Soccer field

The Laugardalur valley hosts a number of sporting facilities like this soccer field. Close by is the Laugardalshöll for handball as well as the tennis courts where I play regularly. In addition there is the family and animal garden where you can take the kids and have a barbeque.

Reykjavik - Höfði house

The Höfði house where Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1986 marking the beginning of the end of the cold war. The Höfði house stands close by the seaside and is a beautiful building even though it is said to be haunted.

Reykjavik - Kaupthing

Right next to it is the headquarters of Kaupthing the last bank to fall in big bank crisis in Iceland. In the last years banking has grown to become 10 or 12 times bigger than the Icelandic GNP. That is about to change.

Reykjavik Centre

Reykjavik - Laugavegur

Going downtown be sure to walk the Laugavegur shopping street. Loads of small and friendly little shops and a relaxed atmosphere. This is also where the famous Reykjavik nightlife is at its best.

Reykjavik - Althingi

The house of Althingi on the right where the Icelandic parliament resides with its 63 parliamentarians.

Reykjavik - Ráðhús - Town Hall

Not far is the Reykjavik pond full of ducks and swans as well as the recent Reykjavik town hall.

Reykjavik - Iðnó

The charming Iðnó where the Reykjavik theatre held its shows for great many years.

Menntaskólinn í Reykjavik

Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík, "Reykjavik education school" is the oldest school still in full use. Considered by many to be the best pre-university school in Iceland.

Reykjavik - Stjórnarráðið

Stjórnarráðið is the Icelandic Government house. Originally it was built as a prison.

Reykjavik - Bernhöftstorfan

Bernhöftstorfan is a group of very old houses right in the center. In the 70's there were plans to demolish all the houses and build huge concrete boxes. Lucky for us the houses got saved and now they are used for restaurants and a tourist information center.

Reykjavik - Aðalstræti

The oldest street in Reykjavik is Aðalstræti ("main street"). This is close to where the first Icelandic settler, Ingólfur Arnarson is thought to have had his farm...

Reykjavik - Early Settlement

...and a few years ago they even found building remains dated from around 870, just about when the sagas say Ingólfur settled in Reykjavik.

Reykjavik - Aðalstræti

A number of the old houses have recently been restored just the way they originally looked. The small black house on the right side is the oldest house in Reykjavik, still sitting on the same turf it has always been.

Reykjavik - Centre

Here is the very centre of Reykjavik.

Reykjavik - Range Rover

One of the many Range Rovers you can see in Reykjavik. The jokers now call them "Hang Over" or "Game Over" in light of the recent economic collapse. The cars are still here although a number of them are being sold to other countries.

Reykjavik - Catholic Church

The catholic church.

Reykjavik Harbor

Reykjavik - Whalers

Boating and fishing has always been a big part of the Icelandic economy. Although these whalers have been tied to the piers for decades, still waiting.

Reykjavik - Whale Watching

On the other side of the pier you can go whale watching.

Reykjavik - Harbor and Light House

The entrance to the harbor is protected by this wall with a small lighthouse. The unruly winter waves are constantly beating against it.

West Reykjavik

Reykjavik - Fishermen huts

When I was a little boy there were old fishermen on tiny boats fishing right off the coast. The fishermen are long since gone but a couple of their huts are still standing as a souvenir of an era long past.

Reykjavik - Nordic House

The Nordic house was architected by a famous Finish architect, Alvar Aalto. He is known in the Nordic countries as the father of modern architecture. The Nordic house in Reykjavik was built in 1965-68 and is therefore much older than it looks and is in my opinion one of the most beautiful houses in the city.

Reykjavik - University of Iceland

The University of Iceland main building is close by.

Reykjavik - At The End Of The Day

Reykjavik - Perlan

Perlan or the Pearl sits on a small hill overlooking most of Reykjavik. It is an excellent idea to stop by and enjoy the view from the balcony. Perlan is a group of six hot water tanks that are used as part of the geothermal water distribution system in Reykjavik. Under the big glass dome is a revolving restaurant.

Reykjavik - Kringlan

When shopping in Reykjavik you can also go to one of the two big malls. The Kringlan is the older and in my opinion a little friendlier place to shop.

Places to see in Reykjavik

At the end of the day the color of the sky and the lights of the city.


By plane

  • Keflavík International Airport (Icelandic: Keflavíkurflugvöllur, IATA: KEF, ICAO: BIKF), +354 425 0600 (fax: +354 425 0610). Keflavík International Airport is Iceland's main international airport, and is located 30 miles (50 KM) from Reykjavík in the town of Keflavík.
  • Reykjavík Airport (Icelandic: Reykjavíkurflugvöllur, IATA: RKV, ICAO: BIRK). Located in the center of Reykjavik and mainly used for domestic air traffic

Icelandair is the main international airline of Iceland. Nonstop flights on Icelandair are available from the U.S. and Canada, with gateways in New York City, Boston, Halifax, Toronto, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando (Sanford), and, beginning July 22nd, 2009, Seattle. Destinations beyond Iceland include most major European cities (i.e. Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London, Oslo, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Bergen and Gothenburg), with Icelandair's hub-and-spoke network connecting via Keflavik in Iceland. (Please note that some destinations are seasonal.) You can also stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights at no additional airfare on your way to or from Europe.

Iceland Express is another international airliner which serves many European cities.

The main domestic airline, Flugfélag Íslands (Air Iceland) has daily domestic flights to Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, Ísafjörður and Vestmannaeyjar, including international destinations to Faroe Islands, Kulusuk, Narsarsuaq, and Constable Point.

SAS also has flights to Iceland from Scandinavia

German Wings flights to Keflavik from Cologne during the summer.

By car

There are rental car services all over Iceland, and many in Reykjavík such as Hertz, Avis, and National Rent-a-car. The cheapest car at the cheapest dealer you may find would average out to about 5500 ISK each day. If you intend to just stay in Reykjavík, renting a car is not necessary as the bus system is great and it is easy to walk around. But if you plan to leave Reykjavík to the countryside, then renting a car is the best way to experience Iceland.

By bus

Once you have landed at Keflavík, the most common way to get to Reykjavík is by the FlyBus (Coach). Its first stop in Reykjavík is the main bus terminal, called BSÍ (45 minute ride), which is within walking distance of the city centre. The coach then takes you into the city and drops people off at the major hotels. It is neccesary to tell the driver that you are intending to go to a specific hotel before the bus leaves from Keflavík. If, for some reason, the FlyBus does not stop at your hotel, you can take local buses nr. 1, 3, 6, 14 and 15 from just across the street from the BSÍ bus terminal (which is only a terminal for the nationwide bus system, not the capital area bus system, called Strætó).

By boat

If you have an abundance of time, it is possible to take the Smyril Line (a cruise company based out of the Faroe Islands) from Bergen to Seyðisfjörður (a small town on the east of Iceland), via Tórshavn. This service is on the expensive side, and puts you on the other side of the country. However, it offers the possibility of bringing a car, which can be one of the best ways to travel around Iceland, and Reykjavík.


  1. BREATHTAKING...I don't know anymore which pics I love the most in this post he he he...too many wonderful ones!!!

    I also can't imagine how one can walk in high heels when the surface is that slippery. Oh dear...

    golden circle tours

  2. No wonder, this place is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The pictures looks like amazing and interesting spot.

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