Reykjavík

Everyone knows Rekjavik for the blue lagoon but there is so much more to the city than just that. It's a beautiful city the lovely and colorful corrugated iron houses and tons of delicious and fresh seafood.

In the second week of August, Reykjavik lights up in rainbow colors for Gay Pride. This small city has one of the largest celebrations in the world that lasts multiple days, attracting tourists from every continent. Iceland has one of the most progressive and open cultures, and the celebration only gets bigger and more colorful every year. Festivities line the streets in the land of fire and ice for a truly memorable experience that *needs* to be on your Pride bucket list.

Iceland tops bucket lists worldwide for a good reason. This incredibly safe country is perfect for first-time solo travelers, with a small but friendly population, countless tourism activities, and a vast surrounding landscape ripe for exploration, the capital city of Reykjavik is the best touch-down spot for an Iceland adventure. We recommend spending some time exploring the thriving art and fashion scene of the city, enjoying cozy cafes and Icelandic comfort food, and also signing up for some nationwide tours. The golden ring of Iceland is our favorite tour offered daily from Reykjavik, the tour takes you on a comfy bus ride to some of Iceland's top tourist attractions. Enjoy a live geyser and a towering waterfall along the rocky lava landscape of the country, and return to the city in time to enjoy fancy cocktails and Spanish-influenced Japanese cuisine at the trendiest spot in town, Sushi Social.

Reykjavik is the center of civilization in Iceland with a bustling nightlife culture, elegant shopping, adorable cafes, and world-class restaurants. Beneath the famous symmetrical architecture of the Hallgrimskirkja church lies brightly colored buildings, adorable local shops, modern nordic architecture, and the tastiest ice cream in the world. No trip to Iceland is complete without at least one day trip to this vibrant and fashionable city.

Bonfires line the streets in Reykjavik on New Years Eve! Although there are no official fireworks displays here, you'll find locals shooting off their own around the city and if you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

Despite a humble population of around 200,000, it turns out that Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world, actually boasts an exhilarating nightlife. Tourists and locals alike jostle for space in the downtown area’s bars, lounges, cafes and clubs, with loads of varied options jammed into one pleasantly walkable area. It’s loud, fun, and totally crazy; there must be something in the air up here.

The easiest and cheapest way to explore Reykjavik is by car, but it’s also fairly straightforward to rely on public transport. Instead of going to the famous Blue Lagoon, take a trip to its lesser-spotted cousin, Mývatn Nature Bath. With an entrance fee less than half of the one at the Blue Lagoon, you’ll still get the same Insta shots without paying the high prices. If you do have access to a car, spend some time driving across the Golden Circle to spot waterfalls, hot springs, and world-renowned nature. If you’re an animal lover, make sure to go whale watching and, when you get hungry, go to Prikið — the oldest coffee shop in Reykjavík with a delicious brunch menu. It might go without saying that December is the best time of year to visit Reykjavik. Not only does the capital city come alive with festive celebrations, it’s also the time of year you’re most likely to spot the elusive Northern Lights. Side note: December is the darkest month in Iceland, but rest assured the Christmas spirit will keep you toasty and bright.  

Even for friends you’ve dragged along who would much prefer to be on a nice warm beach, Reykjavik will be on of the best winter vacations they’ve ever taken. The Northern lights alone are a bucket list opportunity for anyone, and Iceland gets them on most clear nights. But if you somehow miss them, or the clouds are blocking your view, the February winter lights festival will pull you out of your slump. The entire country only gets a few hours of daylight in the winter, so they make up for it with stunning lighting displays.
To warm up your chilly body, check out the thermal pools just 45 minutes outside of the city. Volcanic activity in the area makes these pools naturally warm year round. Boasting health benefits, volcanic hot springs are relaxing and comfortable. Bathing in these pools with the natural Icelandic landscape around you is absolutely phenomenal — though make sure your towel is handy because the transition between warm water to cold air can be shocking! Reykjavik will teach you that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Sometimes, the best winter vacations include a little sun. Check out our fave tropical destinations to escape the winter cold.

Even for friends you’ve dragged along who would much prefer to be on a nice warm beach, Reykjavik will be on of the best winter vacations they’ve ever taken. The Northern lights alone are a bucket list opportunity for anyone, and Iceland gets them on most clear nights. But if you somehow miss them, or the clouds are blocking your view, the February winter lights festival will pull you out of your slump. The entire country only gets a few hours of daylight in the winter, so they make up for it with stunning lighting displays.
To warm up your chilly body, check out the thermal pools just 45 minutes outside of the city. Volcanic activity in the area makes these pools naturally warm year round. Boasting health benefits, volcanic hot springs are relaxing and comfortable. Bathing in these pools with the natural Icelandic landscape around you is absolutely phenomenal — though make sure your towel is handy because the transition between warm water to cold air can be shocking! Reykjavik will teach you that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Sometimes, the best winter vacations include a little sun. Check out our fave tropical destinations to escape the winter cold.

After a breakfast of incredible coffee and skyr, Icelandic yogurt, venture out into the neighborhoods that surround the northernmost capital in the world. The sky will look like midnight when it’s really 10a.m., but this means you get to witness the beautiful light displays on almost every house. It’s like Christmas but all winter long with strands of glowing light illuminating the city. Follow the displays down to the harbor and stop by Harpa, Reykjavik’s award-winning concert hall. The darkness of Iceland in winter does nothing but intensify the magnificence of this building’s design and lighting. Check the event schedule and, if you’re lucky, you can see the symphony for $15. Enter at 9:30 a.m. in the dark for the open rehearsal and emerge in daylight – the reverse of entering in the early evening and emerging after dark. No guarantee the symphony will perform the show in its entirety, but the warmth inside, impressive design, architecture, and music are surely worth the small ticket price. When you leave, the sun will have woken up to cast the most beautiful golden-hour light across the entire city.

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