Welcome to Reykjavik, Iceland!
The city of Reykjavik has had a huge boom in tourism in the past decade, and there’s a good reason for it. The people of Reykjavik are friendly, smart, and always willing to help foreign guests and visitors.
As soon as you arrive at Reykjavik Airport, you’ll be able to sense that the city has an interesting history. It started as a small village in the 18th century, though there have been people living there since at least 871 BCE. During WWII, the city experienced an economic boom, with U.K. and U.S. soldiers being stationed there. So the city grew, expanded, and modernized. Since Reykjavik is a newer city, it lacks the grand old buildings and town squares that cities in mainland Europe have, but it’s full of natural beauty surrounding it that is unmatched anywhere else on earth.
A worldwide local knows that sometimes the smaller cities are just as important and fun as the old massive ones, and Reykjavik is a place unlike any other.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Reykjavik weather is notoriously unpredictable. At one moment it might be sunny and warm, and then in the next, it might feel like autumn with rain and cold, then back to sunshine again. Make sure to pack warm and waterproof clothes before you go, even if you’re visiting in the middle of summer.
Experience One of the Best Things to Do in Reykjavik
Iceland was essentially built on a huge landmass that was once an active volcano. Because of the geothermal power plants that dot the countryside, give power to the country. But also due to Iceland’s geothermal energy, there are a ton of amazing hot springs located around the country. One of the most popular is the Blue Lagoon. What was once a barren land of nothingness, has become one of Reykjavik’s hottest (pun intended) natural spring bathing pools. Geothermal bathing has become a really important aspect of Icelandic culture, and it is said that the hot springs have curing elements in them that can help fix whatever ails you.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Blue Lagoon is one of Reykjavik’s most popular geothermal bathing spots, but it can be pricey (70 USD) for visit. Head to the small town of Fludir and check out the Secret Lagoon instead. There will be fewer tourists, it is open until 10 pm, it's cheaper (30 USD), and best of all you can bring your own alcohol so you can soak up the experience while enjoying a drink.
Discover Thingvellir National Park
Iceland is a small country that is simply otherworldly. The landscapes range from beach to volcanic rock to green valleys and forests to flat grasslands, all in such a small area. Reykjavik is a worldwide local’s dream destination for those interested in exploring Mother Nature. Thingvellir National Park is one of Reykjavik’s most cherished natural landmasses and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thingvellir is the point in which the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, and because it’s so close to Reykjavik it’s become an important part of the country and a cool natural phenomenon, where you can literally drive between two continents.
Worldwide Local Tip: While Thingvellir is a cool spot, if you’re looking to head off the beaten path a little bit, then check out the Asbyrgi Canyon. If you have some extra time to head outside the city, then this unique horseshoe-shaped canyon has some beautiful views and is significantly less windy than Thingvellir. There’s even a local legend that says the horseshoe shape came from the hoofprint of Thor’s thunder god horse.
Dive into the Country’s History
Naturally, as a worldwide local, you’ll want to experience the culture and the people, and learn about what makes Iceland, Iceland. The small island is rich with history, as well as fables and myths all merging together. The National Museum of Iceland is a place to get a glimpse into Iceland’s 1200 years of existence. The people have been collecting things for the museum since 1863, so you can learn all about Icelandic life both historical and mythological.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you want to do something very local and cultural, then look no further than heading out to a viewing party of the Aurora Borealis. Although a popular activity with tourists and locals, heading to the Grotta lighthouse is a popular spot for locals to come hang out and watch the lights. Views typically range from November to February.
Have an Amazing Time in Reykjavik!
Reykjavik is a small city in a small country, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in a natural landscape that is not seen anywhere else in the world. The history and culture of such a small little country only add to its charm, and as a worldwide local these are all things that you know make a place exceptional.