With its small, multicoloured houses made of sheet metal, and its view of the surrounding mountains, Reykjavik looks more like a cute little town than a capital. However, the city plays this role wonderfully and accommodates two thirds of the Icelandic population, or in other words, a little less than 118,000 people. Everybody here benefits from this friendly-sized capital, the northernmost one in the world, where culture and nature live together side by side. Artists, musicians, writers and designers rub shoulders with each other in the streets, cafés, and bookshops of this city that was crowned the Capital of Culture in 2000. The rest of the time, the locals and tourists make the most of the "hot pots", natural hot springs, numerous well-being centres, shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. This is a good city to stay in when between excursions to other parts of the country. A big breath of fresh air just 3 hours from London?
Walk around the old city, Lake Tjörnin and the port.
Stroll through the semi-pedestrianised district boasting shops, art galleries and restaurants.
Climb to the top of the Hallgrimskirkja Church to admire the beautiful panorama of the city and its surroundings.
Splash about in the milky turquoise water of the Blue Lagoon, which consists of 6 million litres of geothermal sea water at a temperature of 37-39°C which completely refills itself every 40 hours. Its minerals bring balance and relaxation, its algae nourishes and softens, its white silica mud revitalises the skin?
Party in the bars and pubs in the city centre.
Give the various festivals and events held in the city throughout the year a try: jazz, blues, the Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður, etc.
Go whale-watching or fishing.
The National Museum of Iceland: the history of the capital told for all ages.
The Maritime Museum just steps from the port.
Perlan, the top of the city's geothermic tank: a futuristic creation consisting of a glass dome where you can admire a 360° view over the city.
Hofoi House: the house where former American President Ronald Regan and former Secretary General of the USSR Mikail Gorbachev met to put an end to the Cold War.
The Imagine Peace Tower: a memorial in honour of John Lennon.
Gljúfrasteinn: the former home of Halldór Laxness, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955, transformed into a museum.
Take sweaters, a windcheater and hiking shoes with you. Indeed, most of the activities worth participating in are outdoors so you can benefit from the healthy environment and the superb landscapes located just outside the city: horse-riding, hiking, skiing, etc. Although the temperatures are not icy (5°C on average in the capital), the weather changes quickly and wind is often part of the package.
Don't forget your bathing suit! There are plenty of well-being centres equipped with a swimming pool, not to mention the very famous Blue Lagoon in Keflavik.
Collecting pieces of lava: this brings bad luck according to the Icelanders!
Going off on a hike without a professional guide: the nature here, as beautiful as it is, can be very harsh on both tourists and foolhardy locals. The last eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano demonstrated this to the whole planet?
Being impatient: the weather changes so quickly that it isn't rare that scheduled excursions are delayed or even cancelled.
There is a whole range of delicacies in this country, from the most refined dishes to rustic Viking specialities.
Cuisine which most often features lamb, seabirds and fish: wild salmon (lax), fish eggs (kaviar, not caviar!), fresh trout (silungur), dried fish (hardfiskur), marinated herring (sild), dried fish like haddock, cod and catfish (Harðfiskur), small buttered blintzes and brown bread served with halibut, salmon, herring or cod (flatkökkur).
The Icelandic people can also pride themselves on their desserts: crêpes (pönnukökur), very thick low-fat quark (skyr), cheese spreads (smjörosturs), pastries with a berry cream or chocolate base, flat cakes, fruit-flavoured ice cream, etc.
Jewellery made with volcanic stone and silver.
Fish-scale objects (bags, wallets).
Sweaters and warm clothing from the 66° North brand.
Dried fish (cod, salmon, etc.) or any other food product you may have really enjoyed during your stay!
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