Slightly further away than some ports visited on a cruise from the UK, Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and consistently rated highly amongst tourist destinations. Stunning natural landscapes, geothermal springs, diverse cuisine and the jaw-dropping Northern lights are all to be expected when delving into the authentic side of the city.
Depending on the time of year you visit, you might have a different experience, as the Northern Lights season spans between September and March. So, here are a few of the reasons why you might want to add Reykjavik to your next cruising itinerary.
Small City, Big Attractions
Reykjavik is the northernmost capital in the world and has a small population of only around 130,000 residents. While this might not sound like a lot, this is over a third of Iceland’s population and gives the city a more relaxed vibe. The first standout, large attraction that you should see has to be Hallgrímskirkja. Standing at a colossal 74m in height, this new-style Lutheran church offers outstanding views across the city skyline, if you are willing to make the trek up the spire.
To follow the trend of new attractions, Harpa is a stunning concert hall that holds plenty of shows and recitals throughout the year. It has gained its fame from its distinct architectural features, including coloured glass facades and intricate patterns that are repeated across the building. Harpa is also home to the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera, hosting most of their shows during early March.
Finally, capping Öskjuhlíð hill, the Perlan building is one Reykjavik’s easiest to find landmarks. Renovated from six cylindrical hot water tanks, this awesome building has been topped off with a jaw-dropping reflective dome. Perlan hosts many different activities that guests can dive straight into, the most thrilling includes putting on your cold-weather gear and adventuring through 100-metres of ice cave, peering into crevasses and learning about the millennia of volcanic ash hidden in the walls. The floor above offers an interactive adventure with 360° imagery of the world-famous Vatnajökull glacier. Lastly, the top floor is a restaurant with a revolving dome, allowing you to enjoy some Icelandic cuisine and stunning cityscape views.
Iceland is brimming with wildlife and one of the best ways to see the island’s astonishing marine habitats is during a whale watching tour. Hidden corners and lesser-known spots that only the local’s would know are revealed as you explore further afield than the capital.
Plus, for any birdwatchers, many birds, such as gyrfalcon and Atlantic puffins, migrate in Iceland throughout the winter seasons. National parks are also dotted around the country, but the nearest to Reykjavik is Thingvellir National Park, a rugged volcanic area with plenty of lakes.
Northern Lights and Natural Spectacles
The Northern Lights are a spectacle to behold; these dancing colours take to the sky and captivate audiences from far and wide. Fortunately, we now have a better understanding of why these lights appear and when is the best time to see them, but this doesn’t make them any less spectacular. As mentioned before, Reykjavik can be home to the Aurora Borelais depending on which time in the year you cruise here. But even if you are planning to visit outside of the suggested months, don’t be disheartened as there is a good deal of other adventures to get stuck into.
One of the more popular routes includes the Golden Circle tour, covering 300 kilometres, starting in Reykjavik and heading to the southern uplands, before adventuring back. As part of the adventure, guests will be treated to three natural wonders: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the geothermal area in Haukadalur, famed for its exploding geysers, Geysir and Strokkur.
If you are tempted to visit Reykjavik on one of our cruises from the UK, call us today on 0808 163 7523 or click here to contact us through the website.