Visit Iceland and you'll enter a whole new realm of experience. You'll discover original nature as you've never seen it before, and the equally original people for whom timeless nature, ancient heritage and modern lifestyle coexist in harmony. The freedom to roam in the city or the wilds as you please is the key to the Iceland experience.
Reykiavík, the capital of Iceland, is just a part of the Icelandic experience with its midnight sun or the magical landscapes forged by ice and fire. Reykiavík has a population of around 170,000 and offers an interesting mix of cosmopolitan culture and local village roots.
Old accounts say the ancient gods themselves guided Iceland's first settler to make his home in Reykiavík. He named the place Reykjavík (steamy Bay) after the geothermal steam he saw, which today heats homes and outdoor swimming pools throughout the city, a pollution-free energy source that leaves the air outstandingly fresh, clean and clear.
A beautiful river runs through the city limits, and so do fine parks and even wild outdoor areas. In the outskirts are places for horse trekking and golf. But against this backdrop of nature, Reykiavík has a packed program of familiar city joys too: art museums, several theaters, an opera house, a symphony orchestra and concerts spanning the whole spectrum of age and taste.
One must for all visitors is dining out on Icelandic specialties, including delicious seafood, ocean-fresh from the morning's catch, highland lamb and unusual varieties of game. Its purely natural food imaginatively served to delight the most discerning of diners. Reykiavík is also renowned as one of Europe's hottest nightspots, where the action on the friendly pub and nightlife scene lasts right through the night. In the evening, the downtown area teems with activity, reaching its peak on Friday or Saturday. The number of pubs, cafe, discos, and other night-spots in the downtown area is astonishing. There is a rich variety of places to go: European-style cafes, nightclubs with live entertainment, dance halls for seniors, sports-theme pubs with big TV screens, cafes that offer over 100 types of beer, an Irish pub, a Spanish cafe, a French wine bar ……
Walking distances are short downtown, and everything worth seeing outside the city center can be quickly and conveniently reached by bus. With its long, easy-going main street and large shopping mall, Iceland's capital is a great place to shop too —— with a bonus of tax-free shopping for visitors! Be on the lookout not just for souvenirs (especially woolens and handicrafts) but also for stylish consumer goods and designer labels at competitive prices.
A full range of accommodations is available in Reykiavík, from international-standard hotels with good conference facilities, through smaller hotels and cozy guesthouses, to a campsite in the city's biggest park.