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With a population of just 193,000, the Icelandic capital feels more like a small town than a teeming metropolis, but culturally, this is one of the liveliest cities in Scandinavia. The music and entertainment scene is fast and furious, best experienced on the runtur, the famous Icelandic pub crawl. On warm summer nights, people spill out into the streets and a carnival atmosphere pervades the city. Reykjavik sprawls over a hilly peninsula, rising to Hallgrimskirkja, the city's most famous landmark. On the surrounding streets, modernist civic buildings compete for space with colorful wooden fishermen's houses. The old part of town is close to ...

With a population of just 193,000, the Icelandic capital feels more like a small town than a teeming metropolis, but culturally, this is one of the liveliest cities in Scandinavia. The music and entertainment scene is fast and furious, best experienced on the runtur, the famous Icelandic pub crawl. On warm summer nights, people spill out into the streets and a carnival atmosphere pervades the city. Reykjavik sprawls over a hilly peninsula, rising to Hallgrimskirkja, the city's most famous landmark. On the surrounding streets, modernist civic buildings compete for space with colorful wooden fishermen's houses. The old part of town is close to the harbor — winding Austurstraeti (which turns into Bankastraeti and Laugavegur) is the main shopping street, with numerous bars, restaurants and boutiques. Iceland's tumultuous geology is evident even in the heart of the city; take a dip in one of the geothermal pools or stroll through Laugadalur park to see boiling water bubbling up naturally from the ground.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Now Happening in Reykjavik

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the UK
  • Language: Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
  • Currency: Iceland Krona
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June to August, May and September, and Christmas for winter festivities