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The world’s most northern capital: Reykjavik
Campers are very welcome
Camping in Iceland is very safe, and there's certainly no shortage of campsites for you to park up your Iceland campervan hire for the night. Most campsites are nice with hot showers and most have internet access.
Reykjavík Campsite is an environmentally friendly campsite and the only camping option in the city. Very close to the city centre and in a green area, it is a nice location with more than 650 sites. In summer the camping ground can get busy, but you’re always likely to find a place. It is also outrageously cheap at less than $10 a night.
Oddities in Reykjavik
Iceland’s Penis Museum started as a joke and is now one of the most visited museums in the city. It has specimen jars with the penises of animals ranging from sperm whales to hamsters. The Icelandic Horse Festival celebrates the country’s sturdy little breed and culminates in a huge parade through the city.
Where to eat in Reykjavik
Icelandic Fish & Chips is where the locals dine on fresh, locally caught fish and well-cooked chips. It will not disappoint and the prices are low. Kalabrautin is on the top floor of the Harpa Concert Hall and serves modern dishes of Icelandic favourites such as the local seafood soup. There are stunning views over the harbour and a wide range of beers.
Dill is a new restaurant focused on locally produced and foraged ingredients. Chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason creates dishes such as smoked Arctic char with pickled vegetables and baked beetroot with the restaurant’s own mustard. He also harvests his own sea salt and gets his bread from a waitress’s grandmother, who bakes it at home.
The largest immigrant community in Reykjavík other than the Poles are Thai. As a result, there are a lot of good and cheap Thai restaurants. Try Krua Thai or Thai Grill for meals under 1000kr.
For a non-touristy experience, dip in to the working class Fljótt og Gott in the bus depot near the downtown airport. The prices are reasonable and it’s a fun place to hang out. Try the Svið – a traditional Icelandic dish of sheep'’ head cut in half, singed and boiled with the brain removed.
A land of fire and ice
For a small capital of only 120,000, the amount of attractions and things to do is impressive. The city is surrounded by natural wonders, while creativity and history is abundant in the urban areas.
Take a tour of the Golden Circle, the area that loops around Reykjavik. See active geysers, extinct volcanoes and breathtaking glaciers that have carved the land into what it is. Visit the Reykjavik Art Museum, a renovated 1930s fish warehouse which is now home to modern and contemporary Icelandic works, including a permanent exhibition of the pop artist Erró.
A trip to the Víkin Maritime Museum is essential. It’s located by the old harbour and has seven exhibitions displaying Icelandic maritime history, from the early settlements to the late 20th century. Reykjavik’s most recognisable building is the Hallgrimskirkja church. Taking nearly four decades to build, the church’s steeple is a towering 224 feet high. You do not need to be religious to marvel at the divine views from the top.
The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most visited tourist attraction. It is an oasis of relaxing thermal pools and spas. The Harpa concert hall is worth a peek, if only for the architecture. If you’re fascinated though, you can catch a recital or simply people watch from the cafe.
Drive 45-minutes from Reykjavík on a winter’s night to view the aurora borealis. It’s a natural phenomenon, so nothing is guaranteed, but you can increase your chances by choosing a cold, clear night, away from artificial-light sources. Whales frequently come into Faxaflói, Reykjavík’s large bay. Take a boat cruise out and you’ll be guaranteed to see at least some minke whales and possibly a humpback.
Hiking is a favourite pastime in Reykjavik. Esjan, the mountain to the north, is a relatively easy hike. It will take around four to five hours to get to the top and back again, and you’ll have unparalleled views of the city. Reykjavik has a huge nightlife culture and bars and clubs open and close without warning. If you’re not a party animal, try to avoid the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights.
Scorching summer for holiday fun
The best time to visit Reykjavik is from June to August, when you can enjoy the warmer weather and long days. In late June to early July, Reykjavik experiences 24 hours of sunlight a day. The climate in Iceland is very unpredictable, so travelling in a campervan is ideal. When it takes a sudden turn for the worse, you can simply travel with your “hotel room” to wherever the conditions are better.
Reykjavik Motorhome Facts
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Top locations in Iceland
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