Volcanoes and lakes, coasts and geysers: Iceland is known as home to many natural wonders. In addition, the culture of this country has produced impressive things. Away from the "mainstream" of the surrounding continents, a music and literary scene has developed on the island in the North Atlantic, which is unparalleled.
Architecture and tradition are influenced by the wild nature below the Arctic Circle. It is well known that many Icelanders have several jobs, like to bath in naturally warm springs and enjoy the legendary nightlife in Reykjavik. During your holidays in Iceland, you can also get to know the locals at various events and tell the story when you visit exciting exhibitions.
Travel through Reykjavík
Exploring Iceland's capital
As the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavik has a lot to offer. Founded only at the end of the 19th century, it is one of the youngest capitals in the world - and you can feel it too.
Although the name of the city means "smoky bay", it refers much more to the steaming springs than to the smoking chimneys: Thanks to geothermal heating, smoking chimneys are virtually unknown. The hub of the city, which is the first port of call for all Icelandic travelers after landing at nearby Keflavik Airport, is the Old Town.
Sights in Reykjavík
From the Old Town to the New Town
A varied mix of greenery and lakes, markets and museums gives Reykjavik's Old Town its very own charm. The National Museum is particularly interesting for Norwegian and Icelandic culture. Just behind it the Árni Magnússon Institute is located which is a must for followers of Nordic legends. If you leave the old town to the east, you will reach the newer, more colourful buildings of modern Reykjavik.
Here you will find Hallgrímskirkja, the most conspicuous and impressive building in the city. Inspired by the forms of Icelandic nature, the opinions divide on this unique church.
There is more consensus on the "new landmark" of the capital: the concert hall "Harpa", whose glass façade changes its appearance during the day. There is a little refreshment in the "old harbour", where numerous small restaurants invite you to linger, watch and enjoy.
The „Volcano Show” offers a deeper insight into the geology of the island. Here, award-winning documentaries are shown and explained by models, as it looks at the volcanoes of the island.
Travel the cities of Iceland
Beyond the capital
Of course, after leaving the capital behind you it is time to explore the unique nature of Iceland closer. The Golden Circle or a ride on the legendary Icelandic horse offer a perfect opportunity for this.
However, beyond the borders of Reykjavik, even more cities with a diverse range of sights are worth a visit. For example, Akureyri is considered the capital of the North Country and is home to the country's largest shipyard. The collection of the local botanical garden may well be described as unique, since it contains almost all of the 600 native plant species.
Very close to the capital Reykjavik lies Hafnarfjördur - the capital of the elves: In the middle of the city many lava hills literally fill your eyes, which are still considered to be the home of the elves.
Events and festivals in Iceland
Iceland's event highlights
Iceland lives, is young and conspicuous - and knows how to show it. If you travel to Iceland at the right time, you have the opportunity to visit one of the island's famous festivals. For example the Menningarnótt (English: Culture night) in Reykjavik. Usually on the first Saturday after 18 August, concerts and celebrations take place throughout the city. Around 100,000 people attend this festival every year.
It is especially famous among music lovers especially for the Iceland Airwaves. Since 1999, the biggest Icelandic music festival takes place every year.
Over 200 officially participating bands will give around 250 concerts throughout the capital over the course of five days. Including renowned Icelandic artists such as Sigur Rós, Björk, FM Belfas, Gus, Monsters and Men, Hjaltalin and many more.