Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, doesn't seem to get the attention that it deserves. Many people think of sunny beaches and exciting attractions when they think of ideal travel destinations. Well, guess what? This Nordic city has all that and more.
Check out the following five great reasons to visit Reykjavik, Iceland.
With its multi-colored buildings and rooftops, the historic city center of Reykjavik offers a picturesque setting to enjoy sightseeing. Here, you can leisurely walk around and check out the city's interesting landmarks, historic sites and museums as well as the various shops, cafes and restaurants. If you would prefer to explore the area by cycling, there is a scenic bike path that circles the city center.
Some of the main attractions in the city center include the Hallgrímskirkja, also known as the Church of Iceland. Significant for its towering height and striking architecture, this cathedral also features a statue of the famous Norse explorer, Leif Eriksson. You can ride a lift up to the cathedral's observation deck to admire sweeping views of the city and surrounding mountains.
One place you don't want to miss is the Perlan, translated in English as the Pearl. Perched on a high hill over several hot water tanks, this remarkable landmark offers a gift shop, a viewing deck and a revolving restaurant where you can dine while enjoying panoramic scenes of the city.
People don't normally imagine sunny beaches and outdoor swimming pools in the same picture with Iceland. However, not only does Reykjavik offer outdoor pools and beaches but also unique experiences that you won't find just anywhere else.
The outdoor swimming pools in Reykjavik are geothermal, meaning that they are heated from natural sources such as volcanic tunnels, geysers and hot springs. As popular hangouts in Reykjavik, many of these public pools include bars, hot tubs, water slides and children's swimming areas. Not only do the pools offer luxuriously warm swimming conditions but also the opportunity to socialize with the locals.
Believe it or not, Reykjavik offers a beautiful beach with warm waters and golden sand. Named Nautholsvik, this lovely beach off the Atlantic Ocean is a thermal beach, made suitable for swimming by the piping in of warm waters from the city. Surrounded by pubs and restaurants, the beach makes a great placed for fun, dining and socializing.
Reykjavik offers several intriguing museums such as the National Museum of Iceland where you can learn about Iceland's history through a series of engaging exhibits and artifacts. At the Reykjavik City Museum, you can check out an Icelandic house that dates back to 1,100 years. The Open-Air Folk Museum offers you the opportunity to step back into Iceland's past when you walk through its recreated 18th century village of workshops, houses and churches. At the Volcano House, you can learn about Iceland's numerous volcanoes as well as experience the local cuisine in the museum's cafe.
It may not be Paris or Venice, but Reykjavik does offer a lively arts scene. In addition to several fine art galleries, the city also presents live performances at venues like the National Theater of Iceland and the Nordic House. What's more, Reykjavik hosts annual festivals that feature music, film and traditional culture.
Many people only imagine a cold climate when they think of Iceland, but the beautiful landscapes surrounding Reykjavik offer plenty of fun, outdoor activities such as hiking, horse riding and whale watching. The Golden Circle Route is a popular driving route that you can explore by way of rental car, bus or jeep to see awe-inspiring attractions like stunning waterfalls, volcanic craters and the world's oldest geyser.
To save money when traveling to and staying in Iceland, be sure to check for the best flight and hotel rates. You should check for package rates as those generally offer savings if you are flexible on where you stay. Also consider flying out of peak season if you want to save money and not have it so busy.
Iceland is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Experience a memory that will last a lifetime.