Reykjavik Journals

Smoky Bay Town

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A June 2005 trip to Reykjavik by Koentje3000

Austurvollur Square Photo, Reykjavik, Iceland More Photos
Quote: A rocket church, attractive water tanks and a Viking boat skeleton are among Reykjavík's strange attractions. Some of Iceland's great natural attractions are nearby.

Smoky Bay Town

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Overview

Sólfar statue Photo, Reykjavik, Iceland
Quote:
The capital of Iceland is the world's most northern national capital, located only 2° below the polar circle. More than one third of Iceland's small population of 300.000 people live in Reykjavík proper, and almost an extra third in the city's metropolitan area, including Iceland's second and third cities, Kópavogur and Hafnarfjördur. The town is located in the southwest of the remote country, which is closer to Greenland (300km) than to any other country. Reykjavík was named by the first Norse settlers and means "Smoky Bay", a reference to its geothermal and volcanic activity.The centre of the city is Austurvöllur Square. It is surrounded by some of Reykjavík's oldest buildings, like the ...Read More

Austurvollur Square

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Attraction | "City Centre"

Austurvollur Square Photo, Reykjavik, Iceland
Quote:
Right in the heart of Reykjavík is the elegant Austurvöllur Square. It is one of the oldest squares in the country and is lined with historical buildings. The 18th century white Dómkirkjan church is the Lutheran cathedral of the town. Just next to it is the dark gray Parliament Building (Alþingishúsið in Icelandic) from the end of the 19th century. Other notable buildings are the Art Deco Hótel Borg and the Tollhúsið with its harbour scene mosaic. Just south of Austurvöllur Square is the controversial town hall (Ráðhúsið) of Reykjavík, a modern glass and concrete building from 1992. The mayor and the city councillors hold office here. Apart from its official function, it houses a cybercafé, th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Austurvollur Square

Reykjavik, Iceland

Perlan

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Attraction

Perlan Photo, Reykjavik, Iceland
Quote:
The Perlan (meaning "The Pearl" in Icelandic) is one of Reykjavík's main landmarks. This strange structure is located on the highest hill in the city, Öskjuhlíð, which is about 60m above sea level. Due to its elevated location, hot water tanks for supplying the city were constructed here already some 70 years ago (see this 1946 aerial picture). A pipe line from a geothermal field 70km away transports hot water and fills the tanks. This makes it possible to create a cheap heating system for the city. Nowadays the free flow of hot water is even used to keep the Reykjavík roads ice-free in winter.The water tanks were replaced by its cu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 22, 2007

Perlan
Öskjuhlíð hill
Reykjavik, Iceland

Thingvellir/Þingvellir National Park

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Attraction | "Thingvellir"

Thingvellir/Þingvellir National Park Photo, Selfoss, Iceland
Quote:
Thingvellir (or Þingvellir in Icelandic script) is a UNESCO listed World Heritage national park, located 50km east of Reykjavík. It is of great historical and natural significance. The name Þingvellir means "Assembly Planes" in Icelandic. In the year 930 AD the first Icelandic parliament (Alþing or General Assembly) was founded on this exact location, with the first gathering of the chieftains of the different Icelandic clans and other important persons. At their yearly assembly the people present would settle disp...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 28, 2007

Thingvellir/Þingvellir National Park
Route 36
Selfoss, South Iceland
+354 482 2660

Thingvellir/Þingvellir National Park

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Attraction | "Thingvellir Part II"

Thingvellir/Þingvellir National Park Photo, Selfoss, Iceland
Quote:
(continued from part I)The Þingvellir Information Centre lies on road 36 to Reykjavík. There is a car park, bus stop and camping ground nearby. Road 361 runs south from here and offers access to the main sights of the National Park for people on a tight schedule or visiting the area with a Golden Circle day tour, which also takes in other interesting sights like the Geysir area and the Gulfoss waterfall. If you have more time, you should take one of the hiking trails in the park from the Information Centre or ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 28, 2007

Thingvellir/Þingvellir National Park
Route 36
Selfoss, South Iceland
+354 482 2660

Golden Falls (Gullfoss)

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Attraction | "Gullfoss"

Golden Falls (Gullfoss) Photo, Iceland, Europe
Quote:
Gullfoss waterfall is not Iceland's tallest (Glymur in the west) nor its largest (Dettifoss in the north), but it is certainly its most famous due to its location only about 100km east of the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. The waterfall attracts many tourists because it lies on the most traveled tourist route of the country, the "Golden Circle", which also includes the National Park of Þingvellir and the geothermal Geysir area. The ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 5, 2007

Golden Falls (Gullfoss)
White River
Geysir

Geysir

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Attraction

Geysir Photo, Reykjavik, Iceland
Quote:
One of Iceland's most famous and most visited sights is situated in the geothermal Haukadalur valley. Boiling mud pots and ever-smoking fumaroles are witness of the area location right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the European and North-American tectonic plates are moving on each other, creating a geological hot spot. The most spectacular witness of the earth's power, however, has long been the Great Geysir, who gave its name to this phenomenon in many languages including English. Geysir comes from the Icelandic word Gjósa, which means to erupt, and it was probably the first geyser known to mankind, discovered in 1200AD. The Great Geysir has been an infrequent eruptor since these days,...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 6, 2007

Geysir
Geysir
Reykjavik, Iceland

Blue Lagoon (Geothermal Spa)

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Attraction | "Blue Lagoon"

Blue Lagoon (Geothermal Spa) Photo, Reykjavik, Iceland
Quote:
Probably the most visited tourist attraction in the country, mainly due to the proximity of the Kelfavík international airport, is the so-called blue lagoon, one of the largest and most well-known geothermal spas around the world. It is located only 15km from the airport and 50km from the capital. Þingvallaleið or Reykjavík Excursions organize bus transport from Reykjavík for around 3500Kr including entrance fee to the complex and with the possibility for a pick-up or drop-off at the airport, for people who need to catch a plane.Although the name of t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 9, 2007

Blue Lagoon (Geothermal Spa)
Grindavik lava field, Reykjanes Peninsula
Reykjavik, Iceland

Krysuvik

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Story/Tip

Reykjanes landscape Photo, Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland
Quote:
Krýsuvík is an abandoned farming village 50km south of Reykjavík. It was one of the earliest settlements in the country around 900AD. Due to the area's fertility during these days, it soon grew into a large estate and became a well-known agricultural and fishing centre. However a major volcanic eruption in the 12th century destroyed the hamlet in what is known as the "Krýsuvík fires". The village never recovered of this tragedy and the regional centre shifted 20km west to the village of Grindavík, now still an important fishing centre of Iceland.During the next centuries some dispersed farms were founded in the still fertile area, still locally known as Krýsuvík. One of the greatest volcan...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 15, 2007