While famed for its lively nightlife, Reykjavik is also brimming with hot spots of natural beauty. The world-renowned natural hot spas and the incredible Northern Lights are just two of its distinct wonders. This northern European capital is the perfect place to explore the features of this stark and beautiful country.
An ideal pastime in Reykjavik is whale watching, as Iceland has 23 types of whale in its waters, making it the best places in Europe to spot a whale. The majestic mammals swim into the capital’s old harbour, so a short boat trip is a perfect way to capture some impressive holiday photos. You can see humpback whales, minke whales and even dolphins swimming on Iceland’s breathtaking coast. There are also colonies of puffins to be seen on small islands nearby, just don’t forget your camera. Some tours can organise a spot of deep sea fishing too, for the angling enthusiasts.
Geothermal hot springs
After a day of enjoying the city’s shops and cafes, why not take a relaxing soak in one of Iceland’s famous hot springs? The Blue Lagoon, a naturally occurring hot spring filled with warm seawater from deep below the earth, is just a short trip from Reykjavik. The pure warm seawater is rich with minerals and algae that are said to be good for your skin and soothe your body. You can have a massage while relaxing in the spa, or just lie back in the brilliant blue water and enjoy the fresh air and the rugged volcanic landscape.
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are without a doubt one of the most magnificent and beautiful of nature’s phenomena. Visible from land or sea, this naturally occurring shimmering light display can fill the northern sky with vivid hues of purple and green. Travelling to Iceland between the months of September and March offers the best possibility of experiencing the Aurora, and the 11 year sun spot cycle that makes them happen is nearing its peak, so now is the time to go.
The Icelandic pony is a beautiful and sure footed horse, ideal for the beginner or more experienced rider. You can explore Icelandic nature on the same horses used by the Vikings. There is no better way to enjoy the scenic lava fields, impressive volcanic mountains and steaming geysers than on horse back.
Reykjavik’s city centre is lined with beautifully colourful old houses, modern art galleries, cosy cafes and restaurants and bustling markets. There is something for everyone there, so a relaxing stroll around the friendly and safe city streets makes for a lovely day out. Fur clothes are an Icelandic speciality and these can be bought at the high-end Eggert at Skólavördustígur 38. The famous Icelandic jumper (think Christmas jumper) can be bought in many of the shops here too. For the bargain hunters there is a colourful flea market in the city centre each weekend, selling antiques, local art and collectibles. Located at Laugardalur, the market is open Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 5 pm.
Iceland is a welcoming country with friendly locals, and it is very safe for tourists. So whether you spend your time in Reykjavik relaxing in the warm spring waters and open air or enjoying the incredible volcanic scenery and the ethereal northern lights, you are sure to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.