The laidback, low-rise city is dotted with new high-rise developments dating from the heady days of wealth before the 2008 banking crash. The jewel in the crown is the recently completed architectural showpiece and concert hall, Harpa, located on the waterfront.
How to Get to Reykjavik
Smaller ships will dock at the Old Harbor but most will tie up at the Cruise Dock a couple of miles from the center of the city. There is little to see here, but shuttle buses take only about ten minutes into the heart of Reykjavik. Once in town, you can walk to all the major sights.
One Day in Reykjavik
Reykjavik is easy to explore on foot and full of great little cafes and bars to refuel your energy. Hard to miss on the top of the hill is the cathedral Hallgrimskirkja, which is definitely worth visiting. On the way you’ll pass through the major shopping area, defined by the main street Laugavegur, along which you’ll find shops full of local fashion and design, and souvenirs. Icelandic knitwear is particularly fine.
Reykjavik Art Museum is small but good and the National Museum is interesting, located in the lower town between the seafront and the lake where there are also good shops to explore in lovely traditional Icelandic buildings. But the real wonder of Iceland lies outside the city in its incredible landscapes and wide open spaces.
If you have time – and remember in mid-summer the sun actually never sets – take the Golden Circle tour into the interior of the island, or hop on a bus out to The Blue Lagoon, a wonderful thermal spa complex where you can soak in the geothermal waters for which Iceland is famous. On the way see the ‘evil lava’, that black moss-covered rock which makes Iceland so spectacular.
The local language is Icelandic but English is widely and excellently spoken. The currency is the Icelandic krona but don’t get too many as they are not useful in any other country. Credit cards are widely accepted. Don’t forget to ask for your Tax Refund documents if you purchase pricier items such as clothing.
Tours & Tickets
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 1 day