Reykjavik: The World’s Most Northern Capital City

The simple utterance of the word “Iceland” has the ability to stimulate enchanting mystery and intrigue upon travelers. With the serene landscape, friendly people, and endless events, it is no wonder that tourism has jumped 20 percent in the last few years. While foreigners trek their way through the flamboyant capital city of Reykjavik, known for its modern energy and natural wonders, the world’s most northern capital city thrives in the summer months due to its clear skies, countless festivals, and 24-hour sunlit days.

 

DO:
Although petite in size, Reykjavik is massive in personality, boasting some of the grandest summer festivals, spectacular natural wonders, and brightly-lit city lights. The naturally beautiful city features outdoor activities for visitors eager to put their hiking boots to use. Mount Keiler provides climbers not only with a challenging two to three hour hike, but a spectacular 360-degree view upon arrival to the conical mountain as well.

Mosfellsbær Routes offers bikers, strollers, and hikers the perfect trail for their varying needs. Whether you are looking for an easy outing or a rigorous hike, the paths will be provided. Cyclists often opt to pedal their way through Varma or Kaldakvisl Rivers, where they are met with both a challenge and a view. For those looking to spike their cardiovascular system, hike to Mt. Esja where the 2,999 foot climb will leave you breathless in more ways than one. The view of the Reykjavik City Capital is worth every step of the way.

The setting of the midnight sun is an Icelandic experience that cannot be missed. During the summer months, the beautiful treasure of a midnight sun dips below the horizon while radiating colors so flavorful in its illumination that it will leave you wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Go with your sweetheart and enjoy a bottle of vino at the lighthouse at Grotta in Seltjarnarnes, where you will find the best views in all of Reykjavik.

If you are looking to combine your love for art with a cocktail or two, Reykjavík Art Museum can accommodate your wishes. Guided tours in English are provided on Thursdays during the summer months, displaying 120 years of Icelandic art and providing an always welcomed happy hour from 6pm-8pm.

The Reykjavik Jazz Festival is an international event that annually falls in late August or early September. This year the happenings will sprinkle the city with musicians performing at the Harpa Concert Hall August 14-20. The week will pull in a multitude of prestigious world-renowned jazz performers prepared to entertain the thousands of fanatics that will be marching through the city.

TIP: Reykjavik offers a Welcome Card to tourists looking to score great deals and special offers. Free admission to galleries, museums, swimming pools, and bus travel is offered to card holders.

 

EAT:
Viking Restaurant Fjorugardurinn takes you back to a past world complete with Icelandic folk songs, traditional Viking grub served on old-fashioned trays, and a good ole’ barbarian kidnapping (upon request). The emphasis on the ancient Scandinavian era is tangible when you walk into this age-old establishment. Between the singing Valkyries and Vikings and menu items such as “black death” and “mead,” you are sure to feel like you just stepped foot into a Viking war zone. The restaurant is open daily from 6pm-10pm.

Einar Ben is a unique restaurant whipping up French and British cuisine with a touch of Icelandic flare. The establishment is named after one of Iceland’s most famous poets, Einar Benediktsson, and exudes a 19th Century charm noticeable through the Icelandic décor.

 

DRINK:
Located in the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, the Slipp Bar is a trendy up-and-coming destination for those ready to sip the night away. The featured wine and cocktail list is impressive to drinkers and non-drinkers alike, giving the guest plenty of options for their nightly drink of choice. The Slipp Bar offers live entertainment in the form of musicians as well as the occasional stand-up comedian, and takes great pride in providing their guests with a good time while stimulating their taste buds.

Thriving coffee shop by day and lively bar by night, Kaffiabarrin is perhaps one of the most popular nightspot destinations in Reykjavik, but the nightly DJs and friendly staff are only part of the allure. Sample one of the local liquorice liqueurs, Topas or Ópal, or the Icelandic vodka called Reyka, since these are a few of the local favorites.

 

STAY:
Center Hotel Plaza offers guests the luxury of a contemporary and stylish boutique inn, providing customers with sophistication without compromising the Icelandic culture that swirls in the air. With 52 units of elegantly polished décor, this hotel guarantees a temporary home for visitors that is sure to impress everyone who steps through the door. They offer an accommodating price range for the varying visitors, starting at 250-700 Euros (approx. $335-$940 US dollars) depending on the suite. As an added perk, the hotel provides guests looking to delve into the indigenous culture of Iceland discounted prices for musical events at the Harpa Concert Hall.

Einholt Apartment rentals are a popular option among independent travelers looking for the accessibility of a hotel and the comfort of an apartment that feels like home. Starting at $200, the centrally-located apartments are equipped with a full kitchenette, flat-screen TV, and Wi-Fi connection.

Talk about a summer treat! The cozy and quaint Arni’s Place provides guesthouses to travelers only during the summer months. The five-bedroom establishment is as cute as it is affordable, offering discounted prices for groups and extended-stay residence. Only blocks from bustling downtown, the guesthouse gives visitors a feel for life as a Reykjavik local.