Iceland is unfairly neglected by the travelling world. With its dramatic landscapes, temperate weather conditions, massive glaciers and geothermal hot springs, this northernmost country can sound a little intimidating. However, as many travellers are discovering, Iceland and its capital of Reykjavik have hidden depths, charm and have recently become a foodie’s paradise. It is worth considering the fun facts from this infographic, which will surely pique your curiosity and entice you to venture to the land of the Vikings!
1. Reykjavik in Action
Stunning architecture, classical concerts, art museums and history can all be found in Reykjavik, which is the world’s northernmost capital city. An amazing 64% of Iceland’s population lives in the capital, making it a hub of activity both during the day and at night.
By day, the metropolitan city is dotted with numerous cafes, which provide excellent sustenance for those seeing all of the most popular sites, of which there are many. A trip to Reykjavik simply must include a stop at:
Harpa – Reykjavik’s magnificent concert hall is located in the old harbour. The building’s shimmering exterior was made to catch the ever-changing light both inside and out. Along with enjoying the beautiful harbour vistas, taking in one of the many shows or productions hosted at the concert hall will be an experience to remember.
Hallgrímskirkja (pronounced hatl-krims-kirkya) – Reykjavik’s towering monolithic concrete cathedral dominates the skyline and is the top feature of most of the city’s postcards. An elevator ride to the top of the 74.5m high tower affords visitors epic panoramic views of the city and beyond. Complete with its enormous 5275-pipe organ, Hallgrímskirkja will certainly make an impression on even the most sceptical of travellers.
National Museum – With pieces dating from the days of Reykjavik’s settlement to modern times, the capital’s National Museum is well worth a visit. The museum’s top exhibit is the one that explains the island’s Settlement Era with tales of chieftains and the all-powerful Thor, supplemented with amazing artefacts such as bronze figures, silver hoards, swords and drinking horns.
2. The Wilds of Iceland
No visit to Iceland would be complete without venturing off into its raw and rugged landscape. The island boasts 130 volcanoes and beautifully displays Mother Nature’s greatest works in lava fields, hot springs, geysers and massive glaciers.
The gulf stream of Mexico keeps Iceland’s temperatures fairly warm all year round, allowing for exciting outdoor expeditions of all types. The wildlife watching opportunities are simply endless. Humpback and Blue whales can easily be found just off the coast, sometimes travelling with schools of white-beaked dolphins, and Orca pods are frequently spotted during the winter months, feeding off the herrings that inhabit the waters.
A little further inland, the Atlantic Puffin will greet you in vast numbers as the island hosts the bird’s biggest love-fest. With over 75 different nesting bird species, Iceland is a bird-watchers’ paradise. Other exciting sightings can include the Arctic fox, reindeer, polar bears, walruses and the sturdy little Icelandic horse (not a pony. It’s a horse, according to the Icelandic people).
Iceland is an island full of mysteries and surprises. With the excitement and rich culture of Reykjavik, it is a sure-fire lure for the art and music-scene junkie, and this northern capital will not disappoint. For those seeking outdoor adventures filled with unspeakable beauty, Iceland should be the top of your list. Wherever your interests lie, Iceland will undoubtedly fit the bill in more ways than one!