What you need to know before visiting Reykjavik

Reykjavik’s most typical bird, the joke goes, is the developing crane. Building initiatives are just about everywhere, reworking Reykjavik from an oversized fishing village to an international town with all its problems.

To 1st-time guests, the cash tends to be warmer than predicted (winters are like New York) and spread above a broader location (twice the sizing of Paris). Right here are some important factors to know ahead of you go.

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Remember to drink the drinking water

Tap water is constantly safe to drink. There is absolutely no reason to get bottled h2o unless destroying the Earth with plastic waste is your enthusiasm. The federal government a short while ago launched an online marketing campaign, in English, urging site visitors to consume kranavatn – the Icelandic term for ‘tap water.’ Skál!

Playing cards are king

In Iceland, the 3 groups of culture nevertheless working with cash are criminals, 5-calendar year-olds and tourists. Credit card payments are the default solution in outlets and restaurants. In Reykjavík, a modest but developing number of businesses are card-only.

Money can still be beneficial, these types of as to fork out for a sizzling dog or a guided going for walks tour. ATMs are extensively identified. Cash-to-income forex exchange is probable at most banking institutions in the city heart. (Supplied international transaction charges, dollars can also be less costly for tiny buys.)

A group of people surrounded by steam in a geothermal pool in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Showering ahead of you get in the pool is a person sure way to make the locals like you in Reykjavik © Shutterstock / Check out_my_greatest

Etiquette at the public pools

Listed here are strategies to culturally offend an Icelander: Refer to the petit Icelandic horse as a “pony”. Go to a local church dressed in mountain equipment. Enter a non-public household without having taking away footwear. Haggle with a shopkeeper. Examine “Independent individuals” and publicly dislike it.

All these acts are delicate, and some may not even take into account them offensive. But the a person factor Icelanders universally concur to be grossly inappropriate actions, practiced by a surprising range of first-time readers, is bad cleanliness at the general public pool.

The out of doors geothermal pools, regarded as sundlaugar, can be discovered in every Reykjavík community. Adult males and gals, young and aged, tourists and locals, frequent the baths to soak in incredibly hot water and catch up with pals.

Before entering – I repeat, ahead of – site visitors should shower, head to toe. Many thanks to the abundance of scorching drinking water, the pools are small on chlorine and most men and women like to maintain it that way. An additional rookie slip-up is leaving the towel in the locker, and then damp the total room on the way out. So, use the towel racks by the shower and have a superior working day.

Global flights get there outside the house of Reykjavík

Keflavík International Airport is the issue of entry for all industrial arrivals to southern Iceland and at touchdown the pilots have a tendency to say: “Welcome to Reykjavík.” In actuality, the airport is 50-kilometers (31mi) absent. Nearly welcome but not very.

The length is good to preserve in intellect when leasing a car or truck. Look at if the enterprise is based at the airport or the city of Keflavík, to avoid a bus excursion into the city. Airport buses are high priced, but rather clean. The 3 main companies, functioning a 24-hour service, are Fly Bus, Airport Immediate and Grayline, with price ranges ranging from 3000 – 3500 Krona (US$23-27).

In the meantime, Reykjavík Metropolis Airport (RKV) is absurdly close to the town centre.

The ‘Capital Region’ is not the identical as Reykjavík

When hotels and Airbnb listings claim to be in “the Cash Region” it ordinarily indicates a area in 1 of five municipalities surrounding the Town of Reykjavík.

To outsiders, cruising the funds sprawl dwelling to some 65 per cent of Iceland’s population, the borders of these neighboring towns are tricky to see and meaningless. But be very careful not to notify residents in Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, Garðabær, Seltjarnarnes or Mosfellsbær that they live in Reykjavík!

Friends sitting at a bar as the barman pulls another pint in Reykjavik
The climate in Reykjavik is generally milder than tourists expect but you can generally shelter in a bar if the wind chill drops as well small © Getty Images / Cultura RF

Reykjavik is balmy, apart from when it is not

On a Celcius scale, regular monthly temperatures in Reykjavík are incredibly continuous during the 12 months – from 3° in January to 14° in July – thanks to the warm Gulf Stream. But appear nearer, at the wind energy, for the whole photograph. A powerful breeze can easily make the mid-temperature days experience freezing.

Another suggestion really worth contemplating when weighing the forecast forward of arrival, is that Reykjavík climate is a very poor illustration of Iceland in typical: this southern corner tends to be the warmest, but also the wettest (wind virtually constantly follows rain, so umbrellas are hardly ever usable).

How numerous days are great in Reykjavik?

Just one day in Reykjavik is adequate to trek the entire downtown – from the Aged Harbour to the Hlemmur food items hall – covering most stores and landmarks along the way. Two times can involve indoor visits like the Hallgrímskrikja tower and the Nationwide Gallery. Three times gives you time to venture beyond the middle, to any of the eighteen sundlaugar public swimming pools and the vista at Perlan. Working day amount 4 is all about recovering from a night out.

The average vacationer spends three evenings in Reykjavík, centered on industry information. However, the amount is inflated by the volume of people today using the town as a hub for working day-tours around southern Iceland, these kinds of as the popular Golden Circle. In comparison, the overall regular duration of keep for the duration of summer time is 10 nights.

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Well being and safety in Reykjavik

Reykjavík is amid the world’s most secure cash metropolitan areas when it arrives to crime and violence. Police patrols are unarmed and no community is considered unsafe, or significantly less safe for that issue. Pickpocketing is pretty unusual but petty theft is by some measures a increasing dilemma – it would be unwise to leave a bicycle or a car or truck unlocked.

As in other places in Iceland, character poses the major risk and the southwestern location covering Reykjavik is hit by an earthquake just about every couple several years. The very last a single was in 2021, when a magnitude-5.6 earthquake arrived at the town from nearby but remaining no destruction. Avalanches stay Iceland’s most lethal all-natural disasters and all those trekking Esjan, the “mountain of Reykjavík”, must follow neighborhood assistance in large snow.

The nearby crisis quantity is 112 (which is the Nordic edition of 911).