Reykjavik, situated on the west coast of Iceland and the world's most northerly capital city is a really great place to visit. We based ourselves in the capital during our week in Iceland. We did venture beyond the city, but there is enough in the capital to merit a visit in its own right.
The location of Reykjavik is stunning. It is set beneath snow capped mountains and the waters of the Atlantic lap at its shores. We visited at the end of May, whilst not exactly 24 hours of daylight, it was still bright with blue skies until 11:30 at night - we loved that and found it such an exhilarating experience.
We stayed very close to the centre of the city. It was quiet during the week, but at the weekend the bars and restaurants became very lively. It seemed like the locals really do know how to party and the centre was buzzing.
At first glance, I was not overly impressed with the architecture, but I did grow to love it. They use a lot of corrugated iron which is painted in bright colours. There are odd wooden buildings here and there - lack of trees make wood a rare building material and apparently it rots easily here. There are also many concrete buildings and some modern glass constructions. Corrugated iron is commonly used in building out of necessity here - as well as not rotting, apparently it is more stable in earthquakes! The locals try and brighten it up by painting the sidings and trims in cheerful colours.
There are endless restaurants and a superb choice of different types of cuisine. The food is delicious here and there is definitely something for everyone.
There are 7 thermal pools in Reykjavik. The pool in Laugar is great for families - the entrance cost is about £2, it has a slide, lots of inflatable toys and a children's bathing pool. There is a geothermal beach about 20 minutes walk from the centre as well which is definitely worth a visit.
Reykjavik is a city where you should do a lot of walking. Most of the attractions are within walking distance. The pavements are excellent - especially the long and scenic pathway which circles almost the whole city. It goes along by the sea and is a beautiful place to walk. Along the northern waterfront is especially nice - you get a stunning view of Mount Esja. The massive steel sculpture in the shape of a Viking ship is also in this area and looks beautiful.
I loved Reykjavik - it is quite unlike any capital city I have ever visited. There are no skyscrapers or grand squares or monuments. The oldest house only dates from 1764 so no old historical buildings either. Instead though, there is lots of culture, the most beautiful landscape and really friendly people. It is a cross between a charming village with the energy of a big city. Just a great place to spend a week and a wonderful location for a family holiday.