Reykjavik - Overview
The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik is the most northerly capital city of a sovereign state in the world. With a population of 120,000 in the city itself and over 200,000 in the Greater Reykjavik Area around 60% of the country’s inhabitants reside in the capital. Located in the south-west of the country, Reykjavik is the most important Icelandic town, being the centre of business, culture and tourism.
Reykjavik and its surrounding areas have been shaped by the volcanic activity of the island. Lying on the border of two tectonic plates, Iceland has volcanoes that are still active today. The amazing scenery created by this natural event brings visitors from all over the world and there are a vast number of tour companies offering excursions out into the countryside. If you want to stretch your legs whilst experiencing the breathtaking views, hiking is a great way to explore. The national hobby of Iceland, there many opportunities available to take part in this pastime for those with little or no experience to seasoned hikers.
Within the city there is much to see and do and one of the best ways to experience Reykjavik is by foot or bike. Well maintained cycle paths within the city and along the beautiful coastline make exploring the area easy. Family friendly, the city zoo is a popular attraction for children with about 150 animals and an adjoining leisure park with a number of rides and other attractions. A number of museums and galleries in the city cater for those seeking a cultural experience, from displays of traditional Icelandic art to contemporary international exhibitions, performances of musical theatre and many more events, there is something for everyone.
Reykjavik is the shopping capital of Iceland and visitors to the city have the option of claiming tax back on their purchases. The main shopping street of Laugavegur is where small independent boutiques selling Icelandic labels can be found, and for gifts and souvenirs Skólavörðustígur is the place to go. Just outside the city there are two purpose built shopping malls where big international brands can be found. Both of these shopping centres are easily accessible by bus from the city centre.
Visiting Iceland and Reykjavik can be expensive with regard to food and drink but it is known as being one of the best party towns in Europe so a trip couldn’t go by without visiting some of the fantastic bars and nightclubs on offer; most of which can be found on Laugavegur and the surrounding area. It is at the weekend when the party really gets going with many venues putting on live music, and with the bars only getting busy after midnight Reykjavik is made for night owls. If dancing all night is not for you why not enjoy the bars in their daytime guise of café’s? The café scene is huge in the city and you’ll find somewhere to stop and have a coffee on nearly every street.