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Europe » Iceland » Reykjavik

The world's most northerly capital, Reykjavík may be small, but it thinks big, with a vibrancy that belies winter's 20-hour gloom (save for the Northern Lights). In the Icelandic summer's almost 24-hour daylight, do as the locals do and soak up a bit of geothermal energy with daily dips in the city's numerous public swimming pools. Drive through otherworldly lava fields to bubbling mud pools, or stroll the Old Harbor to see local artist Jon Gunnar Arnason's stylized Viking ship sculpture

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Reykjavik is one of those places that millions have been to as a stop over on a flight, but few have taken the time to explore.


The next chance you get to visit - leave the airport.
Plan on spending at least a few days discovering the wonders of sightseeing in and around Reykjavik. This Fire and Ice northern capital is getting a worldwide reputation for the best nightlfe in the world. One visit and you will understand why!


You may be surprised that Reykjavik is a seaport, but the land is hilly. Snowcapped mountains form a backdrop panorama through most of the year. The mountains are close enough to enjoy a day tour to the waterfalls and other attractions. Most of the 'must see' sights in Iceland are either in Reykjavik or within range of a day trip.


The thermal springs filled the air with their steam giving it the name Steamy Bay -- in Icelandic that translates to Reykjavik. Over time the bustling seaport became the home of the Lutheran Cathedral and the capital city. In more recent years, the city has developed into one of the trendiest tourist stops with a thriving arts and cultural scene.
Reykjavik has earned a reputation for clean air, fine food, inspired art and a wild night life. In the city center the main shopping street is well marked. Fashions, crafts shops and artist's studios, restaurants and casinos line the street and make for an interesting walk, great shopping and easy access to restaurants and clubs!


Reykjavik is internationally famous for the nightlife. Don't plan on starting your party before 11 PM or midnight, but you'll still have plenty of time to enjoy yourself and get to meet friendly people.


Most of the clubs remain open until 4 or 5 AM. Many of the clubs on the main street are quiet restaurants until 9 or 10 PM then stop serving food and get busy near midnight with Icelanders and tourists partying until the early morning.
Most restaurants close before the partying begins and it's a good idea to make reservations at the best places. While prices are not inexpensive, eating at the top restaurants will probably be less than you expect.
The ultramodern City Hall sits at the end of an enormous pool, the Tjorn, that is home to an amazing variety of ducks, swans and sea birds. The scenic area is perfect for strolling, but bring along some treats for the birds who are very forward when it comes to asking for a meal.


This is the older part of the city and the harbor is not far off, but the bustle of commerce seems very far away as you rest on a bench surrounded by the graceful and colorful water fowl.
A walk around the pool will take you to the Lutheran Cathedral, the Dómkirkjan - not to be confused with Hallgrimskirkja.


The National Gallery of Iceland is nearby at 7 Frikirkjuvegur.
You'll want to visit the Einar Jonsson Museum. Exhibitions of the sculptor's works are housed in the gallery. There is a fee to get in, but the outdoor sculpture garden is free and open all year. Schedule a tour through the home to see the surroundings of one of the world's most renowned artists.

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