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Reykjavik: Culture and Festivities in Iceland's Capital

January 14, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
The city streets may be clogged with foreign revelers, but Reykjavík is not old news just yet. Due to the fall of the Icelandic krona, 2009 is an affordable time to visit Iceland’s pulsating capital city, which offers plenty of options beyond partying for travelers who know where to look.

Why 2009?

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Budget Travel explains why travel in Reykjavík is particularly affordable this year. Airfare on flights to Iceland is down by more than 20 percent, as well, making it much more feasible for Americans to partake in uniquely Icelandic activities, such as year-round soaking in outdoor hot springs and watching baby puffin penguins attempt flight in August. Budget Travel suggests shopping around for an Icelandic rental car by using travel search sites like Kayak and Travelocity.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed travel expert Pauline Frommer on travel bargains in 2009, including Iceland, which offers “a bonanza of natural wonders.” Frommer says Icelandair has “great deals” because most Icelanders “can’t afford to fly right now.”

What to See and Do in Reykjavík

Iceland’s capital city has “many cultural ties to the rest of Europe, including Scandinavia and the Celts of Ireland and England.” FindingDulcinea details Reykjavík’s culture, history and climate, and discusses some of the more inspiring attractions, such as Hallgrímskirkja, an avant-garde building named after the poet Hallgrímur Pétursson. The article also links to further information on the popular Blue Lagoon, a mineral-rich lake warmed by a nearby lava field, and the Winter Lights Festival.

Frank Bruni of The New York Times offers recommendations for how to spend 36 Hours in Reykjavík, including restaurants and bars, and Icelandic activities, such as horseback riding at the Eld Hestar stables. Bruni notes the alcohol-laden scene that is nighttime in Reykjavík, and advises travelers to pay attention to the many drunken faces “because the comforting smallness of Reykjavík means that you’ll come to recognize people teetering down the sidewalk at 2 a.m.”

The Reykjavík Grapevine is a guide to the city’s arts and entertainment happenings. Consult the daily calendar of Reykjavík events and peruse feature articles on Icelandic music, food and travel.

Knowing the sunrise and sunset times for Reykjavík will be helpful in planning your itinerary. A typical January day has only about six to seven hours of sunlight.

Run Reykjavík

Breathe in Reykjavík’s “famously fresh air” during the Reykjavík Marathon, held every August and drawing visitors and local residents, according to Frommer’s. There is also a half-marathon and shorter “fun runs,” but the highlight occurs at the end of the races when downtown Reykjavík lights up with “many artistic performances and events” that last “well into the night.”

Connect With Iceland Travelers

TravBuddy makes it easy to connect with others who have already traveled to Reykjavík, as well as with travelers heading to Iceland’s capital in the future. Read blogs, and view photos and videos about Reykjavík travel, and discover why so many of the contributors note Iceland’s dramatic scenery and the appeal of the blue lagoon.
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