Iceland Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

Reykjavík: Iceland’s… City

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Reykjavík is more than just Iceland’s biggest city. It’s Iceland’s only city. Really, even calling it a “city” feels like an affront to its spirit. Despite claiming two-thirds of the country’s total population, Reykjavík is closer to an overgrown village than a major European capital.

Reykjavik Belt

Found in the southwest corner of the island, Reykjavík became Iceland’s first permanent settlement in 874 when Viking chieftain Ingólfur Arnason landed on its shores. According to legend, he came upon the location using the conventional method of the Vikings: throwing the pillars of his high chair off the longboat and settling wherever they drifted ashore. After arriving at his new home and, probably with some trepidation, noticing the steam issuing from the ground, he named it “Smoky Bay”. Or Reykjavík.

Throughout most of its history, Reykjavík was a provincial village, dedicated to farming and fishing. It wasn’t until WWII and the arrival of British and American troops that the city truly entered the modern age. Eager to take advantage of the strategically-situated island, the Allies built airports, paved roads and helped Reykjavík expand. Soon, rural Icelanders began seeking out jobs in the only urban setting their country offered, and the capital’s population exploded.

Despite the rapid development, downtown Reykjavík has maintained its small-town charm. Colorful, small houses are the dominant construction in the city center, with business centers and apartment blocks kept to the outskirts. At the city’s heart is the Tjörnin, a naturally-occurring pond on whose shores sits the City Hall (Ráðshúsið). The harbor, which has always played a pivotal role in the city’s fortunes, is just a couple blocks away. Really, everything in tiny Reykjavík is just a couple blocks away from everything else.

The downtown area can comfortably be covered in a single day. But to really become acquainted with the city takes far longer — a good thing, since we would be based here for 91 days! Given its size, Reykjavík offers a lot to do: museums, boat tours, hikes in the surrounding hills, excellent restaurants and cafes, cultural exhibitions, and a famous nightlife which ranks among the best in Europe. With its easy-going pace, the almost nonexistent traffic and appealing quirkiness of its inhabitants, Reykjavík is an instantly lovable city.

Location on our Iceland Map

Book Your Reykjavik Hotel Here

Harbor Reykjavik
Car Rental Reykjavik
Red House Reykjavik
Vacation in Iceland
Iceland Chess
Main Square Reykjavik
Blood Fountain Reykjavik
Gay Bar Reykjavik
Tailor Reykjavik
Sunny Day In Reykjavik
Skaters In Iceland
Sun Bathing Reykjavik
Puffin Business Reykjavik
Bus Stop Reykjavik
Old Horbor Reykjavik
Classic House Reykjavik
Stoned Iceland
Bunny In The Window
City Hallo Reykjavik
Hispters Reykjavik
Architecture Reykjavik
Mail Box Iceland
Cafes Reykjavik
French Bulldog And Beer
Statures of Reykjavik
Cute Houses Iceland
In Love In with Reykjavik
Architecture Reykjavik
Kids In Rekjavik
Blue House Reykjavik
Reykjavik Lake
Reykjavik Travel Blog
Icelandic Summer
Neon House Rekjavik
Travel To Iceland
Biking In Rekjavik
Opening Hours Reykjavik
Dirt Bike Iceland
Polar Bear Iceland
Flea Market Reykjavik
Sneak Church Iceland
Reykjavik Portraits
Dancing In Reykjkavik
Cats In Iceland
Where Does Bambi Live
Cutest House In Reykjavik
Reykjavik Hipsters
Pink Iceland
Blue House Reykjavik
Charly Chapling In Reykjavik
Kopavogur Streets
Viking Boat Sculpture Reykjavik
, , , , ,
July 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm Comments (7)

Halló Iceland!

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Iceland, a small island stranded in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, was our home for 91 days. The country’s 300,000 citizens lay claim to some of Europe’s most remote and beautiful terrain. Massive glaciers, simmering volcanoes, geothermal pools, puffin colonies, Viking sagas, whales and nerve-wracking road trips conspired to provide us with an exhilarating summer.

Reykjavik Travel Blog

We had spent the previous three months in Istanbul, which although technically on the same continent as Iceland, couldn’t be further apart in spirit. Istanbul is one of the Earth’s biggest cities and, upon leaving, we felt the need to reconnect with nature. In Iceland, we would experience the outdoors at their most extreme. We’d do a lot of hiking, participate in adventure tours, and bathe in hot springs. We’d visit frontier fishing villages, scale glaciers, and get to know a sizable percentage of the country’s population on a first-name basis (the only such basis Icelanders know).

We rented an apartment in Kópavogur, just south of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital and by far its biggest city. Our apartment would serve as a base while we set off to explore the country, using buses, cars, hitchhiking, and even planes. About the size of Kentucky, Iceland isn’t big in terms of area, but the harshness of its terrain makes getting around a tricky proposition. Almost the entire interior is covered by glaciers and mountains, and is nearly impassable, let alone inhabitable. Icelanders live and work almost entirely around the coast.

After exploring Reykjavík and the surrounding southwest corner of the island, we would make our way up the west coast, to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords. We’d spend time in the north, visit Akureyri (Iceland’s second city) and lounge around picturesque Lake Mývatn. We’d see the stunning Eastfjords, the glaciers and waterfalls of the South, the vast and barren interior, and even ferry out to a couple outlying islands.

Amazingly, we were able survive all of this without going broke, finding ourselves stranded on a glacier, or falling into a raging river of lava. It was an incredible 91 days.

, , , ,
July 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm Comments (2)
Reykjavk: Iceland's... City Reykjavík is more than just Iceland's biggest city. It's Iceland's only city. Really, even calling it a "city" feels like an affront to its spirit. Despite claiming two-thirds of the country's total population, Reykjavík is closer to an overgrown village than a major European capital.
For 91 Days