Sunday, 1 October 2017

ICELAND: Reykjavik, Bars Start 1.AM,No Mosque,European Record For STD,Rapes 2X Compared To Nordic Countries,Weather Notoriously Unpredictable

Reykjavik International Airport
Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland and with an urban area population of around 200,000, it is the home of the vast majority of Iceland's inhabitants.

It is the centre of culture and life of the Icelandic people as well as being one of the focal points of tourism in Iceland. The city itself is spread out, with sprawling suburbs.

The city centre, however, is a very small area characterized by eclectic and colourful houses, with good shopping, dining, and drinking. There is no need to tip anyone, despite all too many restaurants and shops having tip jars besides their cash register.

Off-road driving in all of Iceland is illegal and huge fines are imposed when you are caught.

When it started to develop as a town in the 18th century, Reykjavik had already been inhabited for almost a thousand years. Legend has it that the first permanent settler in Iceland was a Norwegian named Ingolfur Arnarson.

He is said to have thrown his seat pillars into the sea en route to Iceland, and decided to settle wherever the pillars were found. The pillars washed up in Reykjavik, and so that was where he set up his farm.

Although the story of Ingolfur Arnarson is not widely believed to be true by modern historians, it's clear that Reykjavik was one of the very first settlements in Iceland.

Archaeological remains confirm that people were living there around the year 871, and for the first few centuries of Icelandic settlement Reykjavíik was a large manor farm. Its fortunes steadily waned as other centres of power increased in importance.

By the 18th century, the farm of Reykjavik was owned by the king of Denmark under whose domain Iceland fell at the time. In 1752, the estate was donated to a firm, Innrettingarnar, led by Icelandic politician Skuli Magnusson.

Innrettingarnar were meant to become an important industrial exporter and a source of development in Iceland, and their main base was in what is now the heart of Reykjavik. Although the company didn't achieve all its high ideals, it did lay the foundations of Reykjavik as it is today.

In 1786, Reykjavik got a trading charter and it soon started to grow in importance.

The year 1801 is when Reykjavík went from being the largest town in the country, to its capital. That year a new supreme court, Landsyfirréttur, was set up in the city after the abolition of Alþingi,which no longer had any legislative functions.

The same year the office of the Bishop of Iceland was founded in Reykjavík, merging the bishoprics of Holar and Skalholt. In 1845, Alþingi was re-founded as an advisory council to the king on the affairs of Iceland, located in Reykjavik and in 1874 it regained legislative powers.

As the sovereignty of the country grew, so too did Reykjavik, which by the beginning of the 20th century had been transformed from a small trading and fishing village to a fully fledged capital.

The Second World War was a boom era in Reykjavik. The city wasn't directly affected by the many horrors of the war, but the occupation of Iceland by first the UK and later the US provided increased employment opportunities and inflows of cash that enabled the rapid expansion and modernisation of the Icelandic fishing fleet.

Reykjavik was a leader in this development and it grew very rapidly in the years following the war. New suburbs were built and the city started to reach across municipal limits, subsuming various surrounding communities. The city continued expanding until the financial collapse of 2008.

Due to the its young age, and in particular its rapid expansion in the late 20th century, Reykjavik is very different from the other Nordic capitals. It lacks their grand buildings and the picturesque old quarters.

Instead it has come to resemble cities on Canada's east coast with their sprawling suburbs and big motorways, as was recommended by the urban planners of the post-World War 2 era.

Nevertheless Reykjavik has a charm of its own, quite unique, shaped by the dualistic nature of this place which still doesn't seem to have made up its mind on whether it's a small town or a big city.

Reykjavík is located in southwest Iceland. The Reykjavik area coastline is characterized by peninsulas, coves, straits, and islands.

During the Ice Age,up to 10,000 years ago a large glacier covered parts of the city area, reaching as far out as Alftanes. Other parts of the city area were covered by sea water. In the warm periods and at the end of the Ice Age, some hills like Oskjuhlio were islands.

The former sea level is indicated by sediments with clams reaching at Oskjuhlio , for example as far as 43 m (141 ft) above the current sea level. The hills of Oskjuhlio and Skolavorouholt appear to be the remains of former shield volcanoes which were active during the warm periods of the Ice Age.

After the Ice Age the land rose as the heavy load of the glaciers fell away, and began to look as it does today.

The capital city area continued to be shaped by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, like the one 4,500 years ago in the mountain range Blafjoll, when the lava coming down the Ellioaa valley reached the sea at the bay of Ellioavogur.

The largest river to run through Reykjavik is the Ellioaa River, which is non-navigable. It is one of the best salmon fishing rivers in the country. Mount Esja, at 914 m (2,999 ft), is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik.

The city of Reykjavik is mostly located on the Seltjarnarnes peninsula, but the suburbs reach far out to the south and east. Reykjavik is a spread-out city: most of its urban area consists of low-density suburbs, and houses are usually widely spaced.

The outer residential neighborhoods are also widely spaced from each other; in between them are the main traffic arteries and a lot of empty space.

The weather in Reykjavik is notoriously unpredictable. One minute the sun may be shining on a nice summers day, the next it may change into a windy, rainy autumn.

Temperatures in Reykjavík are quite bland, they don't go very high in the summer, nor do they go much below zero during winter. It follows that the differences between seasons are relatively small compared to what people experience on either side of the Atlantic.

January is the coldest month and usually has some snow, while there is frequently no snow on the ground during Christmas in December. Summer is without a doubt the favorite season of most Reykjavik inhabitants.

Many of them seem to imagine their city is slightly warmer than it really is and it takes little to get them to start wearing shorts and t-shirts, or to go sunbathing in parks. Don't think too much about how silly it may seem, just join them in enjoying the season!

Wind is the main problem with the Reykjavík weather. The city is quite open to the seas, and the winds can be strong and chilling to the bone. Windy spots generally feel significantly colder than those with more shelter.

Reykjavik is the largest and most populous settlement in Iceland. Present-day Reykjavik is a city with people from at least 100 countries. The most common ethnic minorities are Poles, Lithuanians, and Danes. In 2009, foreign-born individuals made up 8% of the total population.

Children of foreign origin, many of whom are adopted, form a more considerable minority in the city's schools: as many as a third in places. The city is also visited by thousands of tourists, students, and other temporary residents, at times outnumbering natives in the city centre.

Borgartun is the financial centre of Reykjavik, hosting a large number of companies and three investment banks.

Reykjavik has been at the centre of Iceland's economic growth and subsequent economic contraction over the last decade,a period referred to in foreign media as the Nordic Tiger years, or Iceland's Boom Years.

The economic boom led to a sharp increase in construction, with large redevelopment projects such as Harpa concert hall and conference centre and others. Many of these projects came to a screeching halt in the following economic crash of 2008.

In 2009, Reykjavik was listed as the richest city in the world in 2007 by The Economist Group.

Reykjavik is famous for its weekend nightlife. Icelanders tend to go out late, so bars that look rather quiet can fill up suddenly—usually after midnight on a weekend.

Alcohol is expensive at bars. People tend to drink at home before going out. Beer was banned in Iceland until 1 March 1989, but has since become popular among many Icelanders as their alcoholic drink of choice.

There are over 100 different bars and clubs in Reykjavík; most of them are located on Laugavegur and its side streets. It is very common for an establishment that is a cafe before dinner to turn into a bar in the evening.

Closing time is usually around 4:30 am at weekends and 1 am during the week at the most well known hospitality venues. The Iceland Airwaves music festival is annually staged in November.

The arrival of the new year is a particular cause for celebration to the people of Reykjavik. Icelandic law states that anyone may purchase and use fireworks during a certain period around New Year's Eve. As a result, every New Year's Eve the city is lit up with fireworks displays.

Attractive Sights In Reykjavik:

Alþingishusio — the Icelandic parliament building

Austurvollur — a park in central Reykjavík surrounded by restaurants and bars

Arbaejarsafn or Reykjavik Open Air Museum — Reykjavik's Municipal Museum

Blue Lagoon — geothermal spa located near Reykjavik

CIA.IS - Center for Icelandic Art — general information on Icelandic visual art

Hallgrimskirkja — the largest church in Iceland

Harpa Reykjavik - Reykjavik Concert & Conference Center

Heiomork — the largest forest and nature reserve in the area

Hofoi — the house in which Gorbachev and Reagan met in 1986 for the Iceland Summit

Kringlan — the second largest mall in Iceland

Laugardalslaug — swimming pool

Laugavegur — main shopping street

National and University Library of Iceland (Þjooarbokhlaoan)

National Museum of Iceland (Þjoominjasafnio)

Nautholsvik — a geothermally heated beach

Perlan — a glass dome resting on five water tanks

Raohus Reykjavikur — city hall

Rauoholar — a cluster of red volcanic craters

Reykjavik 871±2 — exhibition of an archaeological excavation of a Viking age longhouse, from about AD 930

Reykjavík Art Museum — the largest visual art institution in Iceland

Safnahusio, culture House, National Centre for Cultural Heritage (Þjoomenningarhusio)

Tjornin — the pond

University of Iceland

Vikin Maritime Museum - a maritime museum located by the old harbour

Reykjavik Golf Club was established in 1934. It is the oldest and largest golf club in Iceland. It consists of two 18-hole courses - one at Grafarholt and the other at Korpa.

The Grafarholt golf course opened in 1963, which makes it the oldest 18-hole golf course in Iceland. The Korpa golf course opened in 1997.

In Iceland, Beer Day is celebrated every year on March 1, honoring the elimination of the 74-year prohibition of beer. Prohibition lasted from 1915 to March 1, 1989.

In a 1908 referendum, Icelanders voted in favor of a ban on all alcoholic drinks, going into effect Jan. 1, 1915. In 1921, the ban was partially lifted after Spain refused to buy Iceland's main export, fish, unless Iceland bought Spanish wines; then lifted further after a national referendum in 1935 came out in favor of legalizing spirits.

Strong beer with an alcohol content of 2.25% or more, however, was not included in the 1935 vote in order to please the temperance lobby—which argued that because beer is cheaper than spirits, it would lead to more depravity.

As international travel brought Icelanders back in touch with beer, bills to legalize it were regularly moved in parliament, but inevitably were shot down on technical grounds.

Prohibition lost more support in 1985, when the Minister of Justice himself a teetotaler, prohibited pubs from adding legal spirits to legal non-alcoholic beer called pilsner by Icelanders, to make a potent imitation of strong beer.

Soon after, beer approached legalization in parliament, a full turnout of the upper house of Iceland's Parliament voted 13 to 8 to permit the sales, ending prohibition on the island.

The first Beer Day, Olstofan bar owner Kormakur Geirharosson recalls:

I remember a lot of drinking and a lot of pissing all night long and the next days, and it was not stopping. This was the day Icelanders took the step to try to become civilized. Olstofan was not open then, but the idea of owning a bar started there.

Following the end of prohibition, Icelanders have celebrated every Beer Day by imbibing the drink in various bars, restaurants, and clubs. Those located in Reykjavik, the capital and largest city in Iceland, are especially wild on Beer Day.

A Runtur or pub crawl is a popular way of getting to know the various bars and beers in this city, many being open until 4:00 a.m. the next day.The legalization of beer remains a cultural milestone in Iceland, and a major seismic shift in the nation’s alcoholic beverage preference.

Beer has today become the most popular alcoholic beverage of choice.

The celebration of Beer Day in Iceland has inspired a similar event in the U.S., known as Iceland Beer Day, or IBD.

Two airports serve the Reykjavik area, one for international flights and another for domestic flights. They are 50 km away from each other.

Reykjavik Airport, the second largest airport in the country after Keflavik International Airport, is positioned inside the city, just south of the city centre. It is mainly used for domestic flights, as well as flights to Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

It was built there by the British occupation force during World War II, when it was on the outskirts of the then much smaller Reykjavik. Since 1962, there has been some controversy regarding the location of the airport, since it takes up a lot of valuable space in central Reykjavik.

Reykjavik has two seaports, the old harbour near the city centre which is mainly used by fishermen and cruise ships and Sundahofn in the east city which is the largest cargo port in the country.

Keflavík International Airport is Iceland's main international airport, and is located 50 km southwest of Reykjavik, in the town of Keflavik. Some of the international airlines flying to Keflavik include:

Icelandair - offers non-stop flights to/from New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. (Dulles), Tampa, Orlando (Sanford), Chicago (O' Hare), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Seattle, Portland, Edmonton, Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Helsinki, London, Oslo, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Bergen, and Gothenburg.

Please note that some destinations are seasonal. Icelandair offers free layovers for up to seven nights if flying between Europe and North America with Icelandair.

WOW air - operates flights to/from: Boston, Chicago (O' Hare), Detroit, Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York City (Newark), Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Washington D.C. (Baltimore), Toronto, Montreal, Berlin-Schonefeld, Copenhagen, London-Gatwick, Stockholm-Arlanda and Stockholm-Vasteras year round, as well as summer flights to: Alicante, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Lyon, Milan-Malpensa, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salzburg, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Vilnius, Warsaw-Chopin, Dublin and Zurich.

SAS - offers flights to/from Oslo.

EasyJet - offers flights to/from Basel, Belfast, Bristol, Geneva, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

German Wings and Air Berlin - operates flights from various German cities during the summer.

Delta Air Lines - operates flights to/from New York City and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Wizz Air - operates flights to/from Gdansk and Vilnius.

To travel between the airport and Reykjavik city center:

Flybus offers regular service to either the BSI bus terminal, just south of the city center,45 minutes, 2,500 ISK one-way or 4,000 ISK round trip or directly to Reykjavik hotels with advance notice to the driver 2,800 ISK one-way or 5,000 ISK round-trip.

Buses leave the airport as early as 3:30 AM. Tickets can be bought either at the airport or online.

Gray Line Airport Express offers regular service 45 minutes, 2,400 ISK one-way or 3,800 ISK round trip directly to Reykjavik hotels with advance notice to the driver at no cost.

Tickets can be bought either at the airport or online. Note that if you purchase return tickets, the Pick Up Time on your ticket is the departure time for the coach between the Gray Line Terminal and the Airport, not your accommodation or the City Centre Sales Office.

Bus nr. 55 is the public city bus that operates between the airport and the city,1 hour 15 minutes, 1,760 ISK one-way. Tickets can be bought on the bus. Check the time schedule as this bus line is mostly used by people who work at the airport and convenient for their working time.

Bus 55 operates on weekends, but does not go into Reykjavik. The bus runs every hour. Bus 55 is synchronized with Bus 1 timetable; the latter takes you to the city.

If you do not want / cannot exchange money on weekends banks are closed and hotels cannot exchange money; you can buy tickets with credit card when boarding bus 55 at the airport,bus stop is in the middle of a parking lot, close to rental car bus stop.

Buy 4 segments and you can use them on Bus 1 as well. On the way back, go to 10-11 store,there is one close to Hlemmur bus terminal and buy a segment for Bus 1 with a credit card and then you can buy the rest on bus 55 with a credit card again.

Taxis cost 15,000 ISK for 1-4 passengers and 19,000 ISK for 5-8 passengers.

Air Iceland - operates domestic flights to Akureyri, Egilstaoir and Isafjorour, international flights to the Faroe Islands and several airports in Greenland. Leaves from a terminal on the west side of the airport.

Eagle Air - operates domestic flights to Bildudalur, Gjogur, Sauoarkrokur, Hofn and Vestmannaeyjar. Leaves from a terminal on the east side of the airport.

Sterna and Reykjavik Excursions operate regular bus service from West Iceland, South Iceland and Akureyri.

If you find yourself in other parts of the country, it will be difficult to find a direct bus route to Reykjavik. The best option, if relying on buses, is to first get into the aforementioned regions and catch a bus to Reykjavik from there. This will probably require an overnight stay.

Three main roads serve as entry points into Reykjavík:

Reykjanesbraut (Road 40), enters the city from the west linking it to Southwest Iceland and Keflavik International Airport;
The Ring Road (Road 1), enters the city from both east and north.

If you're driving into town from South Iceland or West Iceland, beware of some quite heavy traffic jams on Sundays when people are going back home after a weekend away.

This mainly applies during the summer, and becomes even worse on Mondays after three-day weekends, not to mention if the weather has been good.

There are rental car services all over Iceland, and many in Reykjavik. 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 Reykjavik, renting a car is not necessary as the bus system is great and it is easy to walk around. If you plan to leave Reykjavik and go to the countryside, then renting a car is the best way to experience Iceland.

Several cruise liners stop in Reykjavik each summer, mostly arriving in Sundahofn which is 3 kilometers east from the city centre. Cruise Iceland is a website run by several companies that service cruise liners in the country and has a list of companies that sail to Iceland.

Reykjavík itself is not served by any ferries, but 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 Hirtshals or Esbjerg to Seyoisfjorour a small town on the east of Iceland, via Torshavn.

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.

If you take the ferry and drive from Seyoisfjorour to Reykjavik, you should plan to spend the night somewhere along the way.

Of course, if you have a boat capable of crossing the Atlantic it is possible to sail to Reykjavik. Check with the port authority, the United Ports of Faxafloi, to find out about harbour options.

Walking in Reykjavik is highly recommended, as many attractions are within walking distance from the hotel area. The city is very beautiful, and the sidewalk and pathway system is first-rate.

Reykjavik drivers are in general very friendly, and will sometimes stop for you even when there is no crossing facility.

Unknown to many tourists a very long and scenic pathway for walking and cycling circles almost the whole city. A good starting point is anywhere where the city touches the sea. The path leads by an outdoor swimming pool, a sandy beach, a golf course, and a salmon river.

Reykjavik has a public bus system that is clean and reliable, called Stræto. Single rides cost 440 kr. For some very odd reason, the driver cannot give any change.

If you need to switch buses to get to your final destination, ask the driver for a transfer ticket or skiptimioi, which is valid for the next 75 minutes on any bus.

If you're staying outside the city centre it may be best best to get a Reykjavik City Card, which allows unlimited access to the buses, along with free access to several museums, some discounts and free internet at the hostel.

The City cards are available at the Tourist Information Center inside City Hall, and also at some hotels. A one-day card costs 3500 kr., two days costs 4700 kr., and three days costs 5500 kr.

Other possibilities include buying 11 tickets for 3,000 kr., a 1-day pass at 800 kr. or a 3-day pass at 2,000 kr. If you're staying for longer you can buy a long-term pass: A green pass lasts a month and costs 9,300 kr., a red pass is for three months and costs 21,000 and a blue pass lasts 9 months and costs 49,900.

Hlemmur and Laekjartorg are the main bus interchanges in central Reykjavik, with buses that can take you to any part of the city. The Straeto system has buses going all the way east to Selfoss and north to Akranes, the former leaving from Mjodd and the latter from Haholt. Both of these stations can be reached from Hlemmur.

Note that while most areas of Reykjavik and the neighboring towns are accessible by bus, the last buses leave around 11pm and the city has no night buses.

Driving in Reykjavik is the preferred method for most residents there. As a tourist though, you should be able to manage without a car if you're only staying in the city.

Driving is recommended though for travel outside of Reykjavik and its suburbs. Note that many streets in central Reykjavik are one-way only and some of them are closed to cars in good weather.

Compared to most other modern European cities, Reykjavik actually manages to have a reasonable number of parking spaces, especially for a city that boasts the most cars per capita in the world.

If you're in the centre and can't find a place to park, there are big parking lots by the harbour and in front of Kolaportio the flea market.

Parking spaces in the city centre generally have parking meters charging between 80 and 150 kr. per hour. The city recently introduced a new type of meters and you can now pay by card if you don't have coins on you. The fine for not paying is 2,400 kr.

The main taxi companies in Reykjavik are City Taxi, Hreyfill-Baejarleioir. All taxis are metered and most are very clean and comfortable, but be warned that travelling by taxi is one of the most expensive ways of getting around Reykjavik.

There is a start fee of 600-700 kr. and a fee of 200-400 kr. per kilometer. Taking a taxi is, however, the best way to get home after a night on the town. Paying by card is not a problem, nor is splitting the bill.

You can either order a taxi by phone or find one at a taxi rank, of which there are several in the city. In central Reykjavik there is one rank by Laekjargata and another by Hallgrimskirkja.

It is easy to get around Reykjavik by bicycle, if you can deal with sometimes strong headwinds and a few hills. There are not many dedicated bicycle paths and so most cycling is done on the street or on the sidewalk,both are legal.

When cycling on the street you must obey the same traffic rules as cars. When cycling on the sidewalk it's important to be considerate of people who are walking there, they have the right of way.

Where there are specially marked paths for cyclists these are frequently shared with pedestrians, with a painted white line indicating the division between the two forms of transport. In these cases the narrower section is the bicycle path.

Dedicated bicycle paths are a new phenomenon in Reykjavik but their number is increasing every year. These mostly link the city centre with the suburbs.

Bicycles can be rented at the following locations:

Bikecompany (Hjolafelagio), Bankastræti 2 downtown. Bikecompany offers guided bike tours around Reykjavik in varied degree of difficulty.They also operate one of the largest bike rentals in Reykjavik at various locations. Flexible opening hours and they even have tandem bikes for rentals.

Borgarhjol, Hverfisgata 50 the same street as the national theater and other important buildings. Weekdays: 8am - 6pm, Saturday: 10am - 2pm. Half a day: 3600 ISK, 24 hours: 4200 ISK, Week or longer: 3600 ISK pr. day.

Puffin Scooters, Kleppsvegur 152, 104 Reykjavik. Scooters allow you to explore Reykjavik on your own terms or just roll around downtown.

Reykjavik Bike Tours (Iceland Bike), Aegisgarour 7 next to the Life of Whales Whale Watching ticket booth at Reykjavik's Old Harbor. Open every day in summer, flexible opening hours by appointment in winter.

Bicycle rental - electric bikes, city bikes, mountain bikes, children's bikes, trailers, connecting bikes, tandems. Scheduled and private bike tours available all year. Open around Christmas and New Year. Day tours, i.e. Golden circle and more. Private tours of all sorts available. Bicycle delivery to hotels and guesthouses available upon request - fee may apply.

SeasonTours (Árstíðaferðir), Vaettarborgir 104, 112 Reykavik. Guided Electric Bike tours around the must see places in Reykjavik City.

Reykjavík's old town is small and easy to walk around. The houses have some very distinct features, most notably their brightly colored corrugated metal siding. Plan to spend at least a couple hours just wandering around, taking in the city.

And for further feasts of the eyes, there are several museums and art galleries in the city, most of them within easy reach of the downtown area.

Tjornin or The Pond. A small lake in the centre of the city where young and old often gather to feed the ducks. The Icelandic name, Tjornin, literally means The Pond.

Tjornin is mostly surrounded by a park called Hljomskalagarourinn or Music Pavillion Park which gets very popular in good weather. The southern end of Tjornin links it to the Vatnsmyri swamp, a small bird reserve with paths open to the public except during egg hatching season. Built into Tjornin on the northern side is Reykjavik City Hall.

Einar Jonsson Museum, Eiriksgata. The sculpture garden behind the Einar Jonsson Art Museum was opened in 1984. It offers the visitor to admire 26 bronze casts of the Icelandic sculptor Einar Jonssons work.

Austurvollur. A small park or square, depending on definitions in the heart of Reykjavik. It's many locals favorite place to spend sunny days, either at one of the cafes lining the north of the square or simply having a picnic on the grass. The parliament and the national cathedral both stand by Austurvollur.

Klambratun. Klambratun is a park just east of the city centre on an area which remained farmland while the city was built up around it. The area was later converted into one of the largest public parks in the city and often hosts various events.

One of the houses of the Reykjavik Art Museum, Kjarvalsstaoir, is inside the park.

Reykjavik Botanical Gardens or Grasagarour Reykjavikur, In Laugardalur. The Reykjavik Botanical Gardens are not large, but they're nice for a short stroll and a good place to see some of the plants that grow in Iceland. Free.

Vioey. Vioey is a large island in Kollafjorour, the fjord to the north of Reykjavik. It used to be inhabited, and in the early 20th century it had a small fishing village. Nobody lives there anymore apart from the birds, but it's a popular way to get away from the city without actually leaving it.

During the summer, a cafe is operated in one of the houses on the island. The building was built for Skuli Magnusson, an 18th century politician often called the founder of Reykjavik and designed by the same man as the royal palace in Copenhagen, although it is not quite of the same scale.

Among its more modern architecture, Vioey is home to the Imagine Peace Tower by Yoko Ono. To get to Vioey you can take a ferry hourly from Sundahofn, some distance from central Reykjavik on bus route 5, or from the old harbour in the summer once daily.

Grotta. At the far western end of the peninsula on which Reykjavik sits there is a small island. This island, called Grotta, is connected to the mainland on low tides and open to the public most of the year. Just make sure you don't get stuck on the island when the tide comes in!

The island is actually located in the municipality of Seltjarnarnes.

Holavallagarour cemetery, on the western edge of Tjornin pond. The name means garden on a hill. Overlooking Tjornin pond, it is one of the largest and oldest cemeteries in Iceland. It offers a rare opportunity to experience an old birch and rowan forest in Iceland.

The maze of graves nestles in with moss, lichens, and more than 100 other species of trees and plants. Art historian Bjorn Th. Bjornsson has described it as the largest and oldest museum in Reykjavik, a place where a living exhibition and history opens itself to anyone who can read the hand of the sculptor and discern from symbols and types of font the thoughts and deeds of the dead.

Many renowned 19th and 20th century Icelanders are buried here. The grave of Jon Sigurosson, the most important leader of Iceland's independence movement, is found here. Its lack of ostentation speaks volumes about Iceland's egalitarian ideals.


A forested hill that is situated east of Reykjavík airport. It contains the building Perlan, where there are panoramic views over the city. There are many paths in the forest some of which lead to nearby Fossvogur cemetary.

During the Second World War the United States Army occupation force built various bunkers on the hill. Remnants of them can be found close to the Bowling alley Keiluhollin.

Aegissioa and southern coast.

Along the southwestern coast of Reykjavík there is a path along the sea that leads from the neighbourhood of Vesturbær and further along the southern coast to the Nautholsvik beach and Oskjuhlio. The path continues to Fossvogur Valley.

Fossvogur valley.

Along the boundaries of Reykjavik and Kopavogur there is a long, narrow, green area and a path for pedestrians and cyclists; Fossvogsdalur or Fossvogur valley

Ellioaardalur is a valley where the adjacent rivers Ellioaar run through. As with Oskjuhlio a forest has been grown there and hiking paths created.

There is an old hydroelectric powerstation there and a museum that focuses on the history of electrification and heating in Reykjavik. The folk museum of Arbaejarsafn is on an edge of the valley. The suburbs of Arbaer and Breioholt encircle the valley.

Reykjavik has a very eclectic building style, which is mainly the result of bad or no planning. Many of the oldest houses still standing are wooden buildings covered in brightly coloured corrugated iron.

Don't be surprised to see that the next buildings down the street are an ultra-modernistic functionalist cube followed by early 20th century neoclassical concrete. Some of the most interesting buildings you'll see in Reykjavik are those you find wandering about. Some deserve a special mention, however.

Alþingi, Kirkjustraeti by Austurvollur. On the southern edge of Austurvollur is a small building of hewn stone, but don't let its size fool you.

This is the building of the Icelandic parliament, known as Alþingi. The institution has in fact long since outgrown the building which was built in 1881 for a nation of a little over 60,000.

Today the upper floors of most houses on the north and west sides of the park also house parliamentary offices. The Alþingi building today houses only the debating chamber of the unicameral institution and the party meeting rooms.
When Alþingi is in session it is possible to go up to the viewing platforms and follow the debates, otherwise it is necessary to be part of a group to see the building from the inside.

City Hall or Raohusio, Tjarnargata 11,on the northern edge of Tjornin. One of the best examples of late 20th century architecture in Iceland, built into Tjornin or The Pond.

On the ground floor, which is open to the public, there is a large relief map of the whole country as well as a cafe and an exhibition hall.

Reykjavik Cathedral or Domkirkjan í Reykjavik, by Austurvollur. The church beside the parliament is Reykjavik cathedral, the head Lutheran church of the country. Similarly deceptive in size, it has been beautifully renovated both inside and out to reflect its original 18th century architecture.

Hallgrimskirkja, Skolavorouholti. Mass: Sunday 11am; Church tower open daily 9am - 5pm on winter time (October - May) and on summer time 9am - 9pm (June - September). Admission to the tower: 900 kr., children (7 - 14) 100 kr..

This can't miss attraction towers over the city on top of a hill. In front is a statue of Leif Ericsson or Leifur Eiríksson in Icelandic, the Norse explorer who sailed to North America in the 10th century. The United States gave this statue to Iceland in 1930, in honor of the 1,000th anniversary of the Althingi, the Iceland parliament.

Seltjarnarneskirkja, Seltjarnarnes. 10km far from the center of the city (northwest), you can find a church with a very interesting architecture (Horour Bjornsson & Horour Haroarson; 1989. If you like architecture and or churches, it worth the visit.

Imagine Peace Tower, Vioey Island. Yoko Ono's memorial to John Lennon, projecting a tower of light into the air that can be seen from around Reykjavik. The tower is turned on October 9th-December 8th, December 21st-28th, December 31st and March 21st-28th.

Perlan or The Pearl, on the top of Oskjuhlio. 10am - 9pm. An iconic building on top of a wooded hill called Oskjuhlio, to the southeast of the city centre.

Perlan is built on top of five hot water storage tanks and offers fantastic views of the entire city both from a viewing platform open to the public and a rotating restaurant at the top.

If the restaurant is too expensive for you as it is for most, there is also a small cafeteria on the same floor as the viewing platform.

There are several museums of art and of history found around the city.

National Gallery of Iceland or Listasafn Islands, Frikirkjuvegi 7 by the eastern bank of Tjornin. 11am-5pm daily, closed Mondays. the national art gallery with a large collection of works by Icelandic 19th and 20th century artists, as well as some works by foreign artists including Picasso, Munch and others. 800 kr., free for children under 18.

Reykjavik Art Museum - Hafnarhus, Tryggvagata 17. 10am-8pm Thursdays, 10am-5pm all other days. By the old harbour in Reykjavík, Hafnarhusio hosts a rotating exhibitions of the work of Icelandic artist Erro and temporary exhibitions often showcase other local artists. Adults: 1300 kr., students under 25: 650 kr., children under 18: free.

Reykjavik Art Museum - Kjarvalsstaoir, Flókagata in Klambratun park. It is safe to say that Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972) is the single biggest name in Icelandic painting. Kjarvalsstaðir hosts a collection of his work, as well as hosting other temporary exhibitions. Adults: 1300 kr., students under 25: 650 kr., children under 18: free.

Reykjavík Art Museum - Asmundarsafn, Sigtun near laugardalur. The Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum is dedicated to the works of sculptor Asmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982). Opened in 1983, the collection is housed in a unique building designed and constructed mostly by the artist himself from 1942-1959. Adults: 1300 kr., students under 25: 650 kr., children under 18: free.

Reykjavik Museum of Photography (Ljosmyndasafn Reykjavikur), Grofarhús, Tyggvagata 15, 6th floor. 10-16 (Mo-Fr) and 13-17 (weekends). A very small museum with a nice library and reading room where you can find some older but good books about photography and current and past issues of photography magazines. It also has a huge collection of Icelandic photographs.

National Museum of Iceland (Þjoominjasafnio), Suourgata 41 Bus no. 1,3,4,5,6,12 and 14 stop in front of or near the museum. This museum, located right by the University of Iceland campus, takes the visitor through the history of a nation from settlement to today. Includes a cafe and a museum shop. General admission: 1200 kr., senior citizens and students: 600 kr., children under 18: free.

Reykjavík City Museum (Arbaejarsafn), Kistuhyl,Bus nr. 19 from Hlemmur. 10am-5pm daily between 1 June and 31 August. During winter there are guided tours at 1pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

In the suburb of Árbaer, and frequently called Arbaejarsafn (Arbaer museum), this open air museum contains both the old farm of Arbaer and many buildings from central Reykjavik that were moved there to make way for construction.

The result is a village of old buildings where the staff take you through the story of a city. The staff are dressed in old Icelandic clothing styles and trained in various traditional techniques, for example in making dairy products or preparing wool. 1000 kr., free for children under 18.

871±2 (The Settlement Exhibition), Corner of Aoalstraeti and Suourgata. 10am-5pm daily. Run by the Reykjavik City Museum, this exhibition in central Reykjavik was built around the oldest archaeological ruins in Iceland.

As the name indicates, these ruins date to around the year 870. This interactive exhibitions brings you the early history of the area that today forms central Reykjavik. 1000 kr., free for children under 18.

The Culture House (Þjoomenningarhusio), Hverfisgata 15. 11am-5pm daily. This grand building, previously housing the national library, is today home two world class exhibitions.

On the ground floor is one of the most important collections of medieval manuscripts in the world, including many of the oldest copies of the Icelandic Sagas.

The top floor has an impressive exhibition on the Volcanic island of Surtsey, backing the Iceland's campaign to get it recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is fully interactive and a great introduction to the geological hot spot that is Iceland.

Adults: 700 kr.; senior citizens, disabled and handicapped: 350 kr.; school-age children accompanied by adults: free. Free on Wednesdays except for groups.

Volcano House, Tryggvagata 11. 8am-midnight daily. Volcano House offers a free museum with library, rock and photos exhibitions, Wi-Fi, a cafe and gift shop, tourist information, and a booking service.

It shows two documentary movies every hour that cover two of the most powerful eruptions to rock Iceland in the last 40 years: the 1973 eruption on the Westman Islands, and the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in South Iceland. Museum/cafe is free, movies are ISK2,000.

Aurora Reykjavik: Northern Lights Center, Grandagarour 2, 101. 9am to 9pm daily. This small museum will explain the cultural significance of the Aurora Borealis in different cultures, detail the scientific mechanism for the Aurora, and allow you to see various simulations, videos, and slideshows of the Aurora borealis. Adults: 1600 kr; senior citizens and students: 1400kr; children ages 6 to 18: 1000kr.

There is a lot to do in Reykjavík, despite being a small city. There is a vibrant music scene with concerts most evenings in the centre of the city.

For theatre enthusiasts the city boasts two main theatres staging around 10 plays a year each, both domestic and foreign, as well as a number of smaller theatre groups specialising in different kinds of modern theatre.

There are a number of opportunities to experience at least a bit of Icelandic nature without leaving the city itself, and outdoors activities in the immediate vicinity of the city are easy to find. And no visit to Reykjavík would be complete without going to at least one of the geothermal pools.

For more information about tours and attractions, it may be a good idea to pay a visit to the Tourist Information Centre located inside Reykjavík City Hall

Reykjavík has a remarkably active cultural scene for a city of its size. There are a number of art galleries, theaters and concert venues. There are no dedicated literary locations listed here, but for book readings it may be best to visit book stores and libraries and ask the staff what's coming up.

Nordic House or Norraena husio, Sturlugata 5 in Vatnsmyri, south of Tjornin. exhibition space open Tue-Sun 12-17, irregular opening hours for other events but the building is generally open during office hours. A cultural centre located in Vatnsmyri, just south of the city centre. Art exhibitions, concerts, poetry readings and other cultural events frequently take place here.

Harpa, Austurbakki 2,just east of the old harbour.

The new home of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and regularly host to other acts as well. Delayed by the economic collapse, this building was under construction for several years before finally opening in May 2011.

This marked the end of a long wait for the symphony orchestra, who had been using a cinema as their main venue the last 50 years. Today the symphony plays a concert every Thursday evening from September through June,although often at other times as well, but the building is rarely empty at other times with Iceland's lively music scene having embraced this new location.

National Theatre of Iceland (Þjooleikhusio), Hverfisgata 19,for tickets. A theatre in the centre of Reykjavik, in many ways the focal point of Icelandic theatre. The repertoire is a mix of Icelandic and international plays, both new and old.

Reykjavik City Theatre (Borgarleikhusio), Listabraut 3 adjecent to Kringlan shopping mall,for tickets. Like the national theatre, the city theatre puts on a mix of new Icelandic plays and highlights of international theatre.

Vesturport, Tjarnarbio, Tjarnargata 12 on the west bank of Tjornin. This experimental theatre group has toured the world and won many prizes for its daring productions which include Romeo and Juliet, Woyczek and others. They have also made films including the acclaimed Children and Parents, in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

At least three times a year, Reykjavík comes out to celebrate.

Culture Night or Menningarnott. Third saturday of August. This is the biggest date in the cultural calendar of Reykjavík. What started out in 1996 as only an evening celebration today starts already in the morning with the Reykjavik Marathon.

The day progresses with ever more cultural activities, most of them free, in central Reykjavik and culminates in several huge concerts and a fireworks show by the harbour. Attendance is usually around 100,000 or half of the population of the city.

Gay Pride or Hinsegin dagar. Early August. Icelanders are proud of their LGBT community, and every August they show it with one of the biggest annual festivals in Reykjavik. Typically a parade will wind its way through the city with floats of varying degrees of outrageousness.

It then ends at Arnarholl with a large outdoors concert. Gay bars and bars that normally don't self-identify as gay alike tend to be very full this evening. In the preceding days there are various events celebrating LGBT culture.

National Day (17. júní). It may come as a surprise, but the National Day celebrations on June 17th every year are probably the smallest of the three festivals mentioned here.

Nonetheless, it is a public holiday day of festivities in the city where people especially families with children celebrate the date Iceland was declared a republic in 1944. The date itself was selected because it is the birthday of the Icelandic independence hero Jon Sigurosson.

The city also annually hosts a music festival and an international film festival, both take place over several days in the city centre.

Iceland Airwaves. Last weekend in October. A music festival held in pubs, bars and clubs in downtown Reykjavík. It literally takes over the city for a few days in October.

Airwaves prides itself of frequently having artists on the line-up that are just about to make it and become world famous, before you've ever heard of them. They usually have a wide selection of both Icelandic and international acts, but keep the big names to a minimum.

Book early, in 2011 the tickets sold up 5 weeks in advance.

Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF). Late September. Several days of excellent cinema. Screenings of most Icelandic productions of the last year, short and feature length as well as documentaries, and the best of what's happening around the world.

The main prize, the Golden Puffin, is awarded in a category called New Visions which is limited to directors' first or second films.

The city also annually hosts an arts festival that takes place over several days in the city centre.

Reykjavík Arts Festival or Listahatio i Reykjavik. This festival is said to be one of Northern Europe’s oldest and most esteemed arts festivals. Celebrated each year in May.

If you want to experience some of Iceland's nature but don't have time to leave the capital for too long, don't worry, you have several options to get a good feel for nature and the countryside without actually leaving the city.

Whale watching, most ships sail from Aegisgarour in the old harbour. With the exception of Husavík in the north, Reykjavik is actually one of the very best places to go whale watching in Iceland.

Whales frequently come into Faxafloi, the large bay which Reykjavik sits by and on a typical trip of around 3 hours you can almost be guaranteed to see at least some minke whales and possibly even a humpback.

The companies offering whale watching mostly occupy a small area in the old harbour called Aegisgarour, close to the whaling ships. All sail out to the same bay but since conditions there change make sure you are on a good ship. Around 7000-8000 kr., often half price for children.

Horse riding. One of the most popular tourist activities in Iceland due to the special nature of the Icelandic Horse. Although by definition more of a rural activity, there are several companies offering riding tours on the outskirts of Reykjavik, this can be a good option for those not planning on travelling far from the city.

Hiking. The immediate vicinity of Reykjavík offers some good hiking opportunities. By far the most popular among these is Esjan, the mountain that dominates the view to the north from much of the capital and is accessible by bus nr. 57,routes change, so ask beforehand.

It's a relatively easy hike although there is a steep patch early on and at the tops there are some cliffs to climb. You can estimate 4-5 hours to get to the top and back again, although experienced walkers will be quicker. To get there, you need to take bus 57.

Sometimes it leaves from the long-distance bus station in Reykjavik (BSÍ), other times from a station called Mjodd which is accessible by bus 3, 11, 12, etc from downtown or you can take it from Mosfellsbaer the station is called Haholt - you get to Mosfellsbaer on bus 15 from Reykjavik.

Ask the driver where to get off for climbing Esja. To get back from Esja to Reykjavik, try asking for a ride at the parking lot, or take the bus back. 57 does not pass very often so make sure you take note of the timetable.

Another popular place to experience nature is Heiomork, a green belt to the southeast of the capital. Heiomork mostly flat and there are many paths criss-crossing the area, but getting there may be difficult without a car.

Reykjavík Domestic Animal Zoo. This small zoo, in the middle of Reykjavík, is a place where city children can come and get in touch with some of the farming heritage of the country, with most species of domestic animals found in Iceland represented.

They also have some non-domestic animals including reindeer and seals. Admission: Adults (12 years +): 450 ISK, Children (Under 4 years): Free, Children (4 - 12): 350 ISK.

See the northern lights. Reykjavik and surrounding area is great for seeing the northern lights. The lights show up in the winter time and are most likely to be seen in Sept-Oct and Feb-March.

After 8pm to maybe 2-3am in the morning is the time period they most likely show up but it all depends on things like clouds, how dark, if there is solar storm hitting earth etc.

Outdoor geothermal swimming pools are an important part of Icelandic culture and a visit to them is a great way to relax with Icelanders. In fact it is not stretching the truth too far to suggest that because drinking is so expensive the hot-pots at these pools serve the same role that pubs and bars do in the rest of Europe.

Laugardalslaug, Sundlaugarveg,In the same complex as the National Stadium. Near campsite and youth hostel. Weekdays: 6:30am - 10:30pm, Weekends: 8am - 10pm. The city's largest pool with extensive facilities, situated in Laugardalur Valley east of the city centre. It has two large pools for swimming, several hot-pots, a seawater bath, a steam bath, and water slide.

It is a well-used large complex that is starting to show its age a little but it is still the best option in the city. Currently undergoing quite a lot of renovation work, but the pool remains open. 600 ISK.

Arbaejarlaug, Fylkisvegur, 110 Reykjavík. Weekdays: 6:30am - 10:30pm, Weekends summer: 8am - 10pm, winter: 8am - 8:30pm. A brand new complex on the outskirts of the city, it has nice views over the city centre and is a nice place to watch the sunset.

There is an indoor and outdoor pool, a waterslide, several hot-pots and a steam bath. This is a favourite with families and is perhaps the nicest of the city's pools. Buses run here from central Reykjavik. 350 ISK.

Sundhöllin, Baronsstígur, 101 Reykjavik,Located a few minutes from Hallgrimskirkja. Weekdays: 6:30am - 9pm, Weekends: 8am - 7pm. The city's oldest and only indoor pool (with outdoor hot-pots), located in the city centre. Has a more municipal feel than the other pools, but has a very central location.

Vesturbaejarlaug, Hofsvallagata, 107 Reykjavik,Located a few minutes from Hotel Saga and the University of Iceland. Weekdays: 6:30am - 10pm, Weekends: 8am - 8pm. The city's oldest outdoor pool. Located in a residential area but within a walking distance of the city center.

Nautholsvik Thermal Beach,To the south of the domestic airport. 10:00 to 20:00 from 15th May until 15th September. Here you can swim in the Atlantic, because they pipe hot water into the ocean.

A beach of golden sand has been created and a pool has been enclosed nearby, where the water temperature is about 20ºC. There are several hot-pots.

Refreshments and various services are available at the beach. Swimming in the Atlantic ocean is also possible during winter, and some would say more fun. The ocean is -2 up to 3 ºC, which makes for an interesting experience. The hot tub, steam bath and other facilities are operated during winter.

It is possible to rent swimsuits and towels at all the pools. As Icelandic pools have very minimal amounts of chemicals in them it is very important to shower thoroughly naked beforehand, and pay attention to the notices and posters that highlight hygiene issues.

Being the main population centre of the country, Reykjavík is also the location of most of Iceland's education institutions. Close to the city centre is the University of Iceland, which offers courses in Icelandic as a second language.

Most degree programmes are in Icelandic, but there are some specialised postgraduate degrees available relating to sustainable development and to medieval manuscripts taught in English.

Reykjavík University, originally founded as a business school under the auspices of the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce, has evolved into an institution offering a wide range of degrees in the fields of business, law, computer science and engineering, with a higher number of English-language programmes than the University of Iceland.

At pre-higher education levels, Menntaskolinn vio Hamrahlío (Hamrahlío College) offers an IB programme in English. Several smaller schools offer Icelandic language courses for foreigners, including Mímir and IceSchool.

There's not much in way of employment opportunities in Reykjavík at the moment. Since the economic collapse of 2008, unemployment has risen to around 8% and unless you have special skills you're likely to be at a disadvantage as a foreigner in a job hunt.

Additionally, it's extremely difficult for non-EEA citizens to get a visa unless they already have a job. If you are an EEA citizen, however, you can head over to Eures, a database of jobs advertised in the entire EEA.

In Iceland it's run by the Directorate of Labour or Vinnumalastofnun who may also be able to offer you further advice. If you're from one of the other Nordic countries and are aged between 18 and 28, you may be able to take use of the Nordjobb summer job program, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Laugavegur is the main shopping street of Reykjavík and has many funky boutiques, with both Icelandic and international designs.

Skolavoroustigur, running from Laugavegur up to Hallgrimskirkja, has a range of souvenir and craft shops where you can find a perfect gift for the family.

Record shops and bookstores are also located on these streets, where you can find Icelandic music and literature as well as a wide range of foreign music and books in English.

Reykjavik has one flea market, Kolaportio, located in a warehouse by the harbour and open 11am-5pm Saturdays and Sundays.

In addition to stalls selling clothes, antique furniture, old books, and other typical fleamarket wares, there is a food section where you can buy many Icelandic specialities as well as cheap and fresh fish and potatoes.

If you yearn for international chains such as Zara and Debenhams, then head to one of 2 malls in the capital area; Kringlan in Reykjavík and the newer Smaralind in neighboring Kopavogur.

But keep in mind that everything in Iceland probably costs more than it does back home. Items can be as much as 3-4 times the price in neighboring countries, mainly because of taxes (24.5% sales tax on products, 7% on books), import duties and so on, though there are exceptions to this rule.

Sales tax is always included in the sticker price. All foreign visitors are entitled to claim back the tax if they spend 4,000 krona or more in one shop in one day.

Iceland is not a member of the European Union, so visitors from all European countries are entitled to sales tax refunding. Icelanders living abroad are also entitled to sales tax refunding.

ATMs are found throughout the city, and they should accept any foreign cards. Currency exchange is mainly done at banks, there are very few special currency exchange shops. Icelanders themselves make very little use of cash, paying for even the smallest of things with their cards.

Foreign cards will generally be accepted in stores and restaurants, although there may be problems with American Express in some places. A chip-and-PIN system is being introduced, so make sure you remember your PIN.

Please note that tipping isn't required in Iceland; it's not expected for any service, not for restaurants or for hotels, or any other place. Some cafes and restaurants have tipping jars, but paying extra remains entirely optional.

Sticking to your travel budget while in Reykjavík requires planning.

Food in Iceland can be expensive. In order not to break the bank, you'll need to be smart when eating. On the budget side, you're mostly looking at international-type fast food options common to what you'd find in Europe and America.

10-11 is a chain of convenience stores (open 24/7) with plenty of ready-to-eat items such as sandwiches, wraps, and surprisingly enough, tacos. 10-11 is always open but also more expensive than supermarkets, that's why you see most Icelanders shop for food at Bónus (open 10-18), a low-cost supermarket chain.

Even better, you can find a fish shop which will sell you some ridiculously fresh and absolutely delicious fish, at a very reasonable price, and cook it yourself with some potatoes and vegetables.

It'll be really nice. The fish shop could be in Kolaportio, a downtown market which only opens on weekends, or alternatively you could look up one of the many fish shops or fiskbuo all around town.

Try one of the Hot-Dog places that are found everywhere. This German import has become thoroughly Iceland-ized. A dog should set you back 380 kr. Ask for Eina meo ollu, a hot dog with everything on it.

Fast food – Apart from the usual suspects such as KFC and Subway (McDonald's was recently rebranded Metro by the local franchise holder, but the menu remains the same and the hot dog stands mentioned above, Reykjavík has a number of home grown fast food restaurants.

In the city centre many are open 24/7 in weekends, serving the partying crowd. Names include Nonnabiti and Hlollabatar subs and sandwiches, Kebabhusio and Ali Baba (kebabs), Serrano (burritos) and The Deli, Bankastraeti 14. 10-20/night time on weekends.

The Deli is a gourmet trattoria, featuring regional Mediterranean cuisine as well as peciality pizzas and daily hot specials. You should be able to fill your stomach at each of these for 1000 kr. or less.

Thai restaurants – Thais form, along with Poles, the largest immigrant community in Reykjavík and as a result there are a lot of good and cheap Thai restaurants around the capital, often run by Thai families.

You will usually get large portions without paying much more than 1000-1500 kr.. Options in central Reykjavík include Krua Thai, Nuoluhusio (Laugavegur 59, 2nd floor), Thai Grill (Hagamelur 67) and Thai matstofan, (Suourlandsbraut 52)

There are tons of cafes everywhere in the city that are relatively inexpensive and a great place to sit, relax, and warm up. You can also check your e-mails if you bring your computer, as there is free Wi-Fi in most of them.

Kaffitar and Te & Kaffi are comparatively large chains and serve great barrista style coffee, that might however be on the expensive side.

Baejarins beztu, Hafnarstraeti 17 by the harbor. 24/7. The name of this popular hot dog stand literally means "Town's Best" and, based on the queues, it seems to deserve the name. Get one or more with everything: fresh onions, fried onions, ketchup, remoulade and mustard. Hot dogs and drinks are all they do 380 ISK.

Fljott og Gott (BSI Bus Depot), Vatnsmyravegi 10. Large restaurant in the bus depot near the downtown airport. Large selection of prepared foods to grab for your bus ride and a large menu of hot food selections to eat in the restaurant.

Reasonable prices and a fun place to hang out with working class Icelanders for those wanting a non-tourist experience. For the more daring, Svio is on the menu daily.

Mulakaffi, Hallarmuli 8. A bit away from the city centre, this place is very like an office cafeteria. It prides itself on selling authentic Icelandic home cooking. The sparse menu varies between days.

Due to its location surrounded by offices, it caters more to a lunch than dinner and closes at 8pm weekdays, 2pm Saturdays and is not open Sundays. It also seems to stop serving main meals some hours before closing.

Perlan. In addition to its famous restaurant, Perlan also has a café offering food. You can eat with (almost) the same view and a much cheaper price.

Saegreifinn (Seabaron), Verbuo 6, At the harbour, near the whale watching kiosk. 10:00-18:00. An extremely authentic seafood place, serves a wonderful lobster soup and offers grilled cod, whale, shrimps, salmon, etc. ISK 1200-2500.

Tian, Grensasvegur 12. to 22:00. This little chinese restaurant near Laugardalslaug parc and the Artic Comfort Hotel is a sweet quiet little spot with great food and friendly service. The prices are quite low so it fits in well with your budget needs.

Cafe Loki, Lokastíg 28 Across street from entrance to Hallgrímskirkja. Icelandic foods served in a nice large room with a view of the church. Noted for rye bread and their one of a kind rye bread ice cream. ISK1200-2000.

There are many fantastic fish restaurants in Reykjavik. The more expensive ones are down by the harbour or in the centre, if you're not so rich try heading towards the old town.

Though generally not listed here, most bars serve some food, often better than what you would expect from the look of the place but generally with relatively uninspired menus: Expect to see a few burgers, a pasta dish or two, some salads and maybe a burrito.

Plan on at least 2,000 ISK for any meal not in a budget/fast-food restaurant. Seriously.

Austur-Indiafjelagio an East India Company, Hverfisgata 56. One of few Indian restaurants in Reykjavik. It serves very good food though and can be compared to the top tier Indian restaurants in London. 4,000-5,000 kr.

A Naestu Grosum (The First Vegetarian), Laugavegur 20b. A friendly vegetarian restaurant in the city centre, has a vegan option and attempts to use as much organic produce as possible. 2,000-3,000 kr.

Caruso, Þingholtsstraeti 1,corner of Laugavegur and Þingholtsstraeti. 11:30AM-10PM M-Th, 11:30AM-11:30PM F-Sa, 5:30PM-10PM Su. A cozy Italian restaurant with good food. They sometimes have live guitar music, which together with the dimmed lighting makes for a very romantic setting. 3,000-5,000 kr.

Icelandic Fish & Chips, Tryggvagata 11,down by the harbour. An organic bistro with a friendly atmosphere that makes a slightly healthier version of this famous fast food, so don´t expect to find any mayonnaise or Coca-Cola there.

Their dishes are all home made from the freshest ingredients, by some said to be the best fish and chips in the world. The restaurant is semi self-service and child friendly, but can become very busy during summer. 2,000 kr.

Restaurant Reykjavik, Vesturgata 2. A good central restaurant, aimed a little more toward the tourist crowd it does however deliver decent food. The lamb is good. 3,000-5,000 kr.

Shalimar, Austurstraeti. A small family-owned Pakistani restaurant packed into a tiny building in the oldest part of town. Delicious food, and a very friendly wait staff. 3,000-4,000 kr

Vegamot, Vegamotastig 4. A decent fast food restaurant during the day and a happening nightclub after hours. The age limit of 22 on Friday and Saturday nights is somewhat of a buzzkill even for those of legal drinking age here. The Lobster pasta is the restaurant's signature dish and well worth tasting.

Þrir frakkar hja Ulfari, Baldursgata 14. A nice seafood restaurant. Serves big meals for a moderate price. Their lunch plokkfiskur special is legendary. They serve whalemeat, both raw (as sashimi) and cooked, to those willing to try.

This is a convenient price; whale is less expensive in other port towns. They serve a strange (and delicious) traditional cake, skyrterta, made from the Icelandic skyr, this cake alone is worth the visit. 3,000-5,000 kr.

If you're willing to spend the money, you'll have no problem finding world class dining in Reykjavík. In addition to some great fish restaurants, most of the world's popular cuisine is represented in Reykjavík's up-scale dining in one form or another.

Argentína Steakhouse, Barónsstígur 11. It's not exactly an Icelandic tradition, but Argentína is a great place to go for quality beef steaks. 6,000-8,000 kr.

Dill, Nordic house, Sturlugata 5. Part of a growing trend called “new Nordic food” most famously promoted by Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, this small restaurant prides itself in using local ingredients, many of them sourced from a vegetable garden next to the building.

Fish Company (Fiskifélagið), Vesturgata 2a,across the street from the tourist information centre. One of the most recent additions to the flora of fish restaurants, in the basement of a recently renovated old timber house literally standing in the original harbour of Reykjavík. 5,000-6,000 kr..

Grillio, Hagatorg in Radison Blu Saga Hotel. A classic French restaurant that has been open for service for over forty years.

Hotel Holt, Bergstaoastraeti 37. A staple of the city's up-scale dining landscape. Thick carpets, art over dark wood panels, french cuisine, an extensive wine cellar, the country's most expansive collection of single malts. 5,000-6,000 kr.

Humarhusio, Amtmannsstig 1. Specialising in lobster,the name means Lobster House and on the expensive end, but has exquisite food that the prices reflect. 5,000-6,000 kr.

Perlan, Oskjuhlio. On the top of Öskjuhlíð, overlooking the city, sits Perlan with its rotating restaurant. It's an expensive place to dine but of course it's pretty unique and gives you a second-to-none view over Reykjavik so it's understandable how they can push the prices up. If you dine at the Perlan be sure to have the lamb, absolutely fantastic.

Drinking is very expensive - expect to pay between 600 and 1200 ISK for a draft pint at a bar. Bottled beers and mixed drinks are more expensive, sometimes outlandishly so.

Despite the cost, going out in Reykjavik is a fun experience.

Since alcohol is expensive at Reykjavik bars and clubs, Icelanders usually buy their alcohol at the government owned liquor stores Vinbuoin, called Rikio by locals and stay at home drinking until about midnight or later, then they will wander to the bars.

Do not expect bars and clubs to become crowded during weekends until about 01:00 at least. Cover charges are very rare in Reykjavík, unless there is live music or some other sort of event going on.

Note that although the legal age for entering clubs is 18, the legal drinking age is 20 and many places set higher entry age limits themselves.

Bars are open to 01:00 some to 02:00 on weeknights, but most will stay open until 05:00 on Friday and Saturday. The clubs and bars themselves are mostly found in a very small area around Laugarvegur in the city centre, it's easy to just walk around and follow the crowds.

You're sure to find somewhere to go, but if you're not sure, groups of drunken Icelanders will usually be eager to help a tourist out! During weekends, live music is easy to find in some of Reykjavik's bars.

During the day, be sure to pick up a the free English-language magazine The Reykjavik Grapevine for information on live music events for that evening. It is easy to find in shops, restaurants and bars around the city.
The distinction between bars and clubs is not very clear in Iceland, with most clubs being more like bars until a little before midnight. However, the following venues can be said to be purely bars - places to go and drink with your friends, rather than to dance or listen to music.

Bjarni Fel, Austurstræti 20. A sports bar, named for a famous Icelandic footballer and later sports commentator.

The Celtic Cross, Hverfisgata 26. An Irish pub, with several dark ales and booths where groups can sit and talk in relative privacy.

Den Danske Kro - Danska krain, the Danish Pub, Ingolfsstraeti 3. This place tries to imitate a Danish bodega, although it really feels much more Icelandic than Danish.

The English Pub, Austurstræti 12. Very popular English-style pub in the heart of the city, with a wide range of beers and a wheel of fortune. Beware troubadours in the weekends, though they're very bad.

Ölstofa Kormáks og Skjaldar - Olstofan, Vegamotastigur 4. A small, cozy and extremely popular bar. The decorations seem to be taken from the living rooms of Icelandic grandmothers and include a number of cross stitched pictures.

Uniquely for Reykjavík bars they have their own beer called Broó, brewed for them by a microbrewery within the larger Egils brewery.

Vedur Cafe and Bar, Klapparstígur 33. A chic bar with a good atmosphere and caters to smaller groups.

Reykjavík has a large number of clubs and when one closes, another is usually very quick to take its place. There would be no point in trying to list them all, the following are only a small taste.

Most of them are quite small - don't expect the big dance halls of many European capitals - but that's part of the fun, the intimate spirit of the Reykjavk nightlife.

Bar 11, Hverfisgata 18. A rock bar, often featuring live music during weekdays, and good DJs in the weekends.

b5, Bankastræti 5. Caters mainly to a slightly up-market crowd.

Dillon Rock Bar, Laugavegur 30. 16pm-1am M-Th, 14pm-3am F-Sa. Dillon has become quite the attraction for the Icelandic music industry, rockers, students, family folk and famed Hollywood actors over the past decade. During the summertime you can enjoy a cold one in the sun in Dillon´s Beergarden and catch outdoor festivals over the summer.

Catch a live band, have a chat with the friendly staff or join the mixed up group on Saturday nights when the 60 year old DJ Andrea rocks the joint and join the family of friends at this century old house of fun.

Harlem, Tryggvagata 22. This small watering hole pumps up the volume during the weekends and turns into a very nice (if slightly shabby-looking) place to drink and dance.

Hressingarskálinn, Austurstræti 20.

Kaffibarinn, Bergstaoarstaeti 1. An old favorite, this club in a red two-story timber house has been around since the 1980s and remains hip as ever. It was for a period owned partly by Damon Albarn of Blur. Heavy drinking and heavy dancing.

Kiki, Laugavegur 22. A friendly gay bar/club on the second and third stories of an old wooden house.

Kofi Tomasar fraenda, Laugavegi 2. In a basement on Laugavegur. DJs here play the most popular pop of all eras from the 1960s onwards, songs people can sing along with while they dance.

Be warned that there is very little in the way of affordable lodging in Iceland, particularly if you are travelling with a family. The cheapest option in Reykjavik, by far, is to stay at the city's only campsite.

If that's not for you, there are several hostels with affordable dorms located in and around the city centre. Fortunately for the traveller on a budget, this seems to be the fastest growing type of accommodation in Reykjavik.

Most of these hostels also offer single or double bedrooms, and a few small guesthouses have rooms at similar prices.

The Capital Inn, Sudurhlid 35-D. 10 min walk south from Kringlan shopping center. checkin: from 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Price 2,700 dorm-bed in summer, bed-linen and blanket included.

The Capital Inn is near the Fossvog churchyard about 35 minutes walk from the center of Reykjavik. It is close to Nautholsvik geo-thermal beach and the Perlan park area. 24-Hour front desk. Bike rental available. All rooms have free wifi internet. Parking is free outside the inn

Gistiheimili Hjalpraeoishersins or Salvation Army Guesthouse, Kirkjustraeti 2. Literally in the heart of Reykjavik, a few meters from Austurvollur and the parliament building. Dorm: 2,200 kr. winter, 11,500 kr. summer; double room: 7,500 kr. winter, 11,500 kr. summer.

Guesthouse Aurora, Freyjugata 24. A friendly little guesthouse in a residential part of the city centre. 15,000 kr.

Guesthouse Sunna, Þórsgata. Great guesthouse located in one of the most iconic places in Reykjavik, right across the square from Hallgrimskirkja. Very clean, very comfortable, with friendly service, and internet.

They also include breakfast in the morning, with fresh bread baked on the premises. A little on the expensive side--11600 kr for a single room. Another great feature is their airport/tour bus service. Summer: 15,600 kr. double room; winter: 8,900 kr. double room.

KEX Hostel, Skulagata 28. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. A hostel that was recently opened in a former biscuit factory down by the sea. Very cozy and looks distinctly unlike a hostel, which is not surprising given that a set designer created the appearance.

Has a bar and restaurant which serve non-residents as well. Staff are very helpful. Dorm: 3,000 kr. winter, 5,100 kr. summer; double room: 8,000 kr. winter, 14,400 kr. summer.

Laugardalur Campsite, Sundlaugavegur 34. Open 15 May - 15 September. The cheapest place to stay in, and an approximately 30 min walk from the city centre, or a short bus journey.

The campsite is big and offers decent washing and cooking facilities and people often leave their leftover camping stove fuel for others after leaving Iceland. Fuel is really expensive in Iceland.On cold and rainy days, Iceland's biggest pool is situated right next door.

Clothes can also be washed at the neighbouring youth hostel. 1,100 per person, per night.

Reykjavík Downtown Hostel, Vesturgata 17. A hostel in an old apartment building right next to the city centre, by the harbour. 3,500 kr. dorm.

Viíkingur Guesthouse, Þverholt. Just outside the city centre. In addition to accommodations, they also offer car rental services. 13,990 kr. double room.

Star Guesthouse, Miotun 46. 10 min walk east from Hlemmur. checkin: 14; checkout: 10. Star Guesthouse is a friendly guesthouse located in a central part of Reykjavik. It is close to Hlemmur, the main transport station and Laugavegur, the main shopping street.

All rooms have free wifi internet. Parking is free outside the guesthouse 14600.

Alfred's Apartments, Vitastígur 11. In the heart of Reykjavik, just 20 m from Laugavegur shopping street. Each apartment has a full kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Bonus groceries and a tourist office just around the corner. Several shops, restaurants and cafes are available in the surrounding area. 10,000-30,000 kr.

Alfred's Studio Apartments, Frakkastígur 6A. Self-catering accommodation just 100 m from Reykjavik's main shopping street, Laugavegur. WiFi access is free. The property is 400 m from Hallgrimskirkja Church.

Soundproofed apartments provide satellite TV and a kitchenette with a ceramic stovetop, microwave and refrigerator. Featuring a shower, the private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer. 10,000-30,000 kr.

Fosshotel Lind, Raudarastígur 18. Located one minute walk of the city centre close to the main shopping street Laugavegur. Rooms on the upper floors have great view of the Hallgrimskirkja. There is a restaurant at the hotel called Confusion. It offers aperitivos for reasonable price. Tours are bookable at the reception. 10,000-30,000 kr.

Best Western Hotel Reykjavik, Rauoarárstíg 37. Just outside the city centre, 10-15 minutes walking, but well located with regards to the bus system. 17,000-30,000 kr.

Fosshotel Baron, Barónsstígur 2-4. Located on the eastern edge of the city centre close to the main shopping street Laugavegur. Rooms on the upper floors on the northern side have great views across the sea.

There is a 24/7 supermarket right behind the hotel. There is a restaurant, bar and tour desk. There are many types of rooms and price ranges. 10,000-30,000 kr.

Hotel Bjork, Brautarholt 22-24. A 15 minute walk away from the city centre in a office neighbourhood. 15,000-30,000 kr.

Hotel Fron, Laugavegur 22a. By Laugavegur, the main shopping street. 20,000 kr..

Hotel Klopp, Klapparstigur 26. In a side street close to Laugavegur. Very close to a number of bars and clubs, but surprisingly quiet apart from one bar across the street which often has live jazz or folk music on weekends. Part of the CenterHotels chain like Hotel Plaza below. 15,000-25,000.

Hotel Leifur Eiríksson, Skolavoroustigur 45,facing Hallgrimskirkja. A rather basic hotel, but at a good price given its location just across the street from Hallgrimskirkja. Rooms have satellite TV which includes one English-language channel. The hotel also has a bike rental. 21,000 kr.

Hotel Ooinsve, Þorsgata 1 by Ooinstorg. In a side street a few meters off Skolavoroustigur. Comfortable rooms which include free wi-fi and satellite TV, but breakfast is not included in the price. 17,000-27,000 kr..

Hotel Plaza, Aoalstraeti 4,By Ingolfstorg square in the city centre. Literally in the centre of Reykjavik, by the oldest street in the city Aoalstraeti and the Ingolfstorg square.

Close to the heart of the nightlife, and so noise is to be expected, at least in rooms facing the square. Free wi-fi. Part of the CenterHotels chain like Hotel Klöpp above. 15,000-25,000 kr..

Just as there are surprisingly few cheap accommodation options in Reykjavik, there are surprisingly many expensive ones.

101 Hotel, Hverfisgata 10. Named after the postcode for central Reykjavík. 40,000 kr. and upwards.

Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Posthusstraeti 2. New hotel in an old iconic building built in 1919 which previously housed the head offices of the shipping company, Eimskip. Eimskip's pre-World War 2 logo was a blue swastika, and this used to adorn the front of the building.

When it was converted into a hotel a sign was put over the swastika, but as it's a listed building the swastika could not be removed and is still there, behind the sign.

Hotel Borg, Posthusstraeti 11 by Austurvollur square. By the same square as the parliament and the cathedral. Built in the 1930s but newly renovated, Hotel Borg is a Reykjavik landmark in its own right famed amongst other things for its World War II history. 40,000 kr. and upwards.

Hótel Holt, Bergstaoastraeti 37. By a quiet street in the centre of town. When it opened in 1965 the hotel restaurant was one of the first fine dining locations in Reykjavík. 30,000 kr. and upwards.

Hilton Nordica, Suourlandsbraut 2. Premises include a spa (NordicaSpa) and a restaurant called VOX. The hotel is located outside the city centre, but the area is well served by busses. 30,000 kr. and upwards.

Radisson Blu Saga Hotel or Hotel Saga, by Hagatorg. A large hotel just outside the old town (a 10 minute walk from the city hall), by the University of Iceland campus.

The building rather than the hotel occupying most of it is called the Farmer's Palace or Baendahollin, referring to the fact that it was originally erected by the powerful farmer's association and still houses their offices.

Black Pearl, Tryggvagata 18. Modern luxury apartments in the downtown area. Excellent service and very friendly staff. Offer better rates on their website.

Reykjavík has good mobile phone coverage including 3G and various providers, the largest being Siminn and Vodafone. Most foreign SIM cards should work without problems, but it may be best to check with your mobile phone provider at home before leaving. Payphones are almost nonexistant in Reykjavik.

Wi-fi is free at most cafés in Reykjavík and even at many bars. If there's a password required just ask the staff. Partly because of this, internet cafés have almost ceased to exist, but one such still in operation is GroundZero, Frakkastígur 8.

Be aware that the clientele is mostly gamers. 1 hour costs 600 kr.

Though Icelandic is the official language, English is spoken quite fluently by almost everyone you will meet and you should have no problems when it comes to communication.

Iceland holds the European record for number of people with chlamydia (STD), use a condom.

Iceland is considered one of the safest countries in the world. Just be sure to avoid the fights that break out amongst the most intoxicated partiers in bars and most often on the street on weekends.

However most people are incredibly friendly and police are also friendly and very helpful.

Recently, however, petty thefts in Reykjavik have occasionally occurred. Rape occurs twice as often as in other Nordic countries, Still, even with these issues, Reykjavik is much safer than most other western cities, and certainly safer than the larger capitals of other countries.

Homeless people generally hang in the area around the Hlemmur bus station or on Austurvöllur park. They used to not bother anyone but have started doing so because people started giving them money; violence has occurred.

Even though Reykjavik doesn´t have a large population, traffic during rush hour (16:00-18:30) can be a nightmare. This is due to the exploding car population, along with a narrow street system.

If you are planning on going somewhere by car or bus, try to do it after around 16:00-18:30 as this is when most of motorists arrive home from work. The same goes for the mornings (07:45-09:00).

Keep in mind that during the summer, the sun does not fully set, resulting in dusk between the hours of roughly Midnight and 3:00 AM. While a novelty at first, the lack of night can quickly disrupt your sleeping habits and result in general fatigue.

If visiting in the summer, be sure to bring a sleeping mask, even if the window shades largely keep the light out.

If you can bear to be asked by almost every Icelander you meet How do you like Iceland? you're all set for the trip.

Reykjavík has one English language magazine, The Reykjavík Grapevine, published bi-weekly in the summer and monthly in the winter. Although it started out as a publication mainly aimed at tourists with events listings etc. it has become respected in Iceland for at times very good research journalism and coverage of current events. Available for free at various locations around the city.

Some foreign newspapers are available at newsagents, but for same-day papers you can go to the Eymundsson bookstore at Austurstraeti 18 and have them printed.

Lutheran churches are easily found throughout Reykjavik and most of them hold mass at 11am every Sunday. There is a Catholic cathedral in central Reykjavik by Tungata, usually called Landakot church but formally known as the Cathedral of Christ the King.

A Catholic mass is held there every day in Icelandic, as well as a mass in English 6pm on Sundays and in Polish 1:15pm the second and fourth Sunday of each month. The Russian Orthodox congregation has a house at Solvallagata 10, holding mass 6pm on Saturdays and 10:30am Sundays.

There is no mosque in Reykjavik, but the Association of Muslims in Iceland holds Friday prayers at Armúli 3, 3rd floor.

Þingvellir National Park is located about an hour and a quarter's drive to the east of Reykjavik, here you can see the canyon caused by the Eurasian and north American plates moving apart. It is also home to the original Alþingi (Parliament) and several other cultural treasures.

These factors have seen it added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Gullfoss A spectacular waterfall which translates as Golden Falls and one of the nearest big waterfalls to Reykjavik
Geysir Geothermal hot spot

The first three are normally all included on the Golden Circle tour, a one-day circuit which can be done by coach trip or hire car.

Hafnarfjorour is a town just outside Reykjavik

Blue Lagoon or Blaa Lonio in Icelandic is a famous geothermal spa south-west of Reykjavik, not far from the main airport at Keflavik.

By booking a trans-Atlantic ticket on Icelandair with a free stop-over of up to a week in Reykjavik, you can follow a visit to Iceland with a visit to London, Paris, Glasgow, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, or another city in Europe, or to Washington, D.C., Boston, Denver, Orlando, New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, or another U.S. city.

Icelandair also offers direct flights from KEF (Reykjavik) to Toronto, Edmonton and Halifax, Canada.

Tourism Observer

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