This small city of 120 000 inhabitants (Greater Reykjavik 200 000) is the world’s most northernmost capital located 64 north latitude.
Despite its northerly location, the climate is relatively mild with January low temperatures of – 3 C, but summers are cool with an average of 13 C in July and August.
Reykjavik is the economic centre and seat of the government.
Founded by Ingolfur Arnarson in 870 as a settlement, it was incorporated as a city in 178, after which it grew quickly and constantly.
During the Ice Age (up to 10 000 years ago) Reykjavik was covered with a glacier.
For a long time Iceland was a dependency of Denmark, but in 1918 gained independence.
lends itself beautifully for walking. The city consists mainly of low-lying houses and buildings, except for a few modern high rises that were erected relatively recently.
The parliament (Althingi), the National Heritage Museum, CIA (Centre for Icelandic Art), the Blue Lagoon (geothermal lagoon) are some of the sights.
Kriglan (the second largest mall in the country) and Langavegur (the main shopping street) are musts for those who like to shop. Prices are not negotiable as in markets in Spain or northern African countries.
Iceland is full of geysers (thermal springs) and Reykjavik’s homes and buildings are heated by thermal heat. There is eve a covered tropical garden where visitors can admire banana- and coffee trees. The building is heated with thermal energy, as is the Blue Lagoon where you can swim in the dead of winter.
Most Icelanders speak English and communicating should represent no problems for unilingual English or North American tourists.
Food is expensive, except for fish, because vegetables ad fruits must be imported from far away. Local lamb, is delicious happens to be inexpensive as there are several times more lamb than humans in Iceland. The cuisine is simple, down to earth, and nourishing.
While in Reykjavik,
you can visit nearby Keflavik that grew largely because of the American air base located there.
Iceland is a hiker’s paradise. The land is relatively flat and small allowing unimpeded progress.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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