Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland which has a cosy old centre. Surrounding the centre are modern neighborhoods with are designed very spaciously. This makes it an expansive city, but most people prefer to stay in the centre. Keep in mind that Iceland (including Reykjavik) is a very expensive country. Especially fresh vegetables and fruit, and alcoholic beverages are very expensive.
The city has about 170,000 inhabitants, about half of the country's total population. An interesting fact: Icelanders are never addressed as 'Sir' or 'Madam', but always by their first name.
Reykjavik is located in the south-west of Iceland on Faxaflói Bay. The coastline is curvy with deep inlets, and off the coast there are islands. Reykjavik is the most northerly capital in the world, not far from the Arctic circle. Mount Esja (914 m) is located close to the city.
Fishing and fish processing still plays an important role in the city's economy. Iceland has a reputation as manufacturer of advanced electronic equipment for the fish industry. The fishing boats depart from the old harbour in the centre, which also services cruise ships. To the east of the city lies the industrial port of Sundahöfn. Via this port, fish products as well as aluminium are exported.
In addition, Reykjavik is developing into a place where medicines and software are developed.
Keflavik International Airport is located 40 kilometres to the south-west of Reykjavik. There is a shuttle bus service (FlyBus) between the airport and the city's central bus station. Along the way, this bus stops at various hotels. Taxis from the airport to the city are very expensive! There are direct flights to and from the large American and European cities. The budget airline flies to Copenhagen and London-Stansted (in the summer also to Frankfurt, Berlin, Alicante, Gothenburg and Stockholm).
Near the city centre, there is the small Reykjavik Airport which is used for domestic flights and flights to Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
The central bus station is Hlemmur, not far from the old harbour, where most bus lines come together. Since most people own a car, the city bus network (Straeto) is not very popular, but it may be convenient to visitors. During the day, buses arrive every 20 minutes, at night every 30 minutes. If you need to change buses, make sure you ask for a changeover ticket (skiptimidi).
Traffic and Parking
Reykjavik is a very car-friendly city. Although the people of Iceland are among the world's biggest car owners, there is no traffic congestions, thanks to the broad roads and spacious design of the city. Car lights need to be switched on at all hours and everybody in the car has to wear a seatbelt. It is easy to park your car almost anywhere. In the centre of the city there are parking meters. It is cheaper to park your car in one of the car parks.
If you decide to explore the country's interior, keep in mind that many roads consist of gravel. If you drive too fast, it is easy to lose control of your car. So drive carefully! If a road changes from asphalt to gravel, that is indicated with the text 'malbik endar'. Approach such a point slowly! A sign with the text 'einbreið brú' means that you are nearing a one lane narrow bridge. Ask for the condition of the road before departing, especially outside the summer months.
Some other traffic terms in Icelandic: parking- bilastaedi, detour- krokaleid, petrol station- bensinstod, toll road - toll vegur, motorway- hradbraut.
What goes for food and drink, also applies to hotels: they are fairly expensive. Most hotels are located in the city centre, for cheaper alternatives you have to go tothe suburbs. Generally speaking, you can book a hotel on arrival. If you want to stay at a specific hotel or in a specific area, book your room in advance.
For more information about Reykjavik, we recommend Google, and the following sources: