Reykjavik The Capital Of Iceland
Reykjavik: A Capital City!
Reykjavik is situated in the south-west of Iceland. It is the capital of Iceland and, with a population of 120,000, it is the largest city in the country. The most northerly capital city in the world, Reykjavik is also believed to be where the first settlement in Iceland was located and its colorful and unique-looking buildings, combined with interesting choices of cuisine and a wild nightlife ensure that Reykjavik offers a unique experience that may very well prove to be addictive to some visitors, who may fall so in love with its Icelandic charms that they are compelled to return again and again.
Reykjavik is one of the best-organized, cleanest, and safest cities in the world, an interesting fact when you bear in mind that the original inhabitants of the island were Vikings, who were renowned for their blood-thirsty, warring ways. It is also interesting to note that it is believed that the entire native population of the country are descended from just one family, a fact that has recently inspired three Icelandic computer boffins to develop a new app that enables Icelanders to tell how closely related they are to one another just be banging their smart phones together.
Iceland has much to offer the tourist. It is one of the few places in the world where people can witness the aurora borealis flashing across the sky and the volcanic nature of the country means that there are many hot springs to bathe in and some spectacular geysers can be witnessed spurting water and steam from the ground.
Although Iceland is situated within the Arctic Circle the temperature is moderated by the close proximity of the Gulf Stream, so even in winter it is rare for temperatures to drop below -15 degrees Celsius. Icelandic summers are pretty cool though—the temperature tends to fluctuate between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.
In the summertime Iceland receives nearly 24 hours of sunlight a day. In fact, in June, the sun never really sets in the north of the country. There are not many places in the world that you can look up at a nice bright blue sky at 3 O’clock in the morning, but you can in Iceland.
In winter, however, all that changes and Icelanders have to rely on electric lighting for nearly 24 hours ofthe day. The shortest day is 21st December and the country only receives about one hour of sunlight a day.
It is not all doom and gloom in the wintertime though, because all that darkness ensures the perfect backdrop for the annual firework display at the Icelandic New Year’s Festival. Icelanders and visitors alike can enjoy the display for three to four nights. Many people even choose to enjoy the experience from atop the revolving Perlan Restaurant, which is located above geothermal hot water tanks and offers incredible views of Iceland’s capital city.
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland has over fifty bars in the main street alone, so it is pretty fair to say that the city offers a nightlife that is second to none and the bars change with the seasons, so Icelanders may find that they have an new favourite each and every year. Many bars also live a kind of double life—coffee shop or restraint by day, bar or club by night, some visitors may find this a little hard to get used to, but it all adds to the Reykjavik experience.
What to do in the Capital of Iceland
Visitors from some countries may also find the drinking habits of Icelanders a little strange because, by tradition, they often do not go out until midnight, preferring instead to have a few drinks at home instead, to prepare themselves for the night to come. The times they are a-changing though, so now due to increased options in events to go to Icelanders are beginning to venture out earlier than they used to do.
Most bars do not close until five o’clock in the morning though; so it can be a long night.
Iceland has many hot springs, but only one Blue Lagoon and it is only about forty minutes drive from Reykjavik; so many visitors to the capital choose to make the short trip and enjoy the warm and therapeutic waters of this large geothermal spa.
The waters of the Blue Lagoon are high in mineral content—most notably silica and sulfur and the waters are believed by many to have magical healing properties, but with temperatures of about 37 to 39 degrees, even visitors who are not there for a healing are guaranteed a very pleasant and relaxing soak.
Although the waters obtain their heat from natural volcanic sources, the Blue Lagoon is actually man-made. The water emerges from the ground near to a geothermal power plant, where it is used to turn the turbines and generate electricity. It then passes through a heat exchanger, where its heat is harnessed for municipal heating, and only then does it filter off into the blue lagoon for the benefit of the bathers.
Capital of Iceland has so much to offer
Reykjavik has so much more to offer though . . . art galleries . . . museum . . . and a considerable musical heritage.
Many people are aware that the Icelandic singer Bjork has a home in the city, but few of those people are aware how just how rich a musical heritage there is in Iceland. Icelanders are very proud of their folk song heritage and even though many of the modern Icelandic artists may have veered off into other areas of music the folk influence can still be heard in much of the music and more traditional folk songs are still performed at the many music festival that occur all around the country, all through the year. While productions like Elves and Knights, performed by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, offer a different kind of entertainment, that is sure to captivate and enthrall visitors to the country as much as it does the local population.
Reykjavik has much to offer the tourist, and travelling a little further inland offer options for white water rafting, fishing, hiking, cycling and a whole host of other ventures; so it is little wonder that the country is such a popular tourist attraction.
Those Vikings sure know how to have a good time!