Destination: Reykjavík

Andrew J. Wein - Nov 30, 2009
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Reykjavík Tourism Standing Strong

Reykjavík is heading for yet another successful year in tourism, contrary to developments in many other destinations due to the worldwide economic recession. The number of tourists visiting Iceland passed half a million for the first time last year and this year’s tourist numbers are staying the course so far.

Many tourism records have furthermore been broken this year in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. Foreign room nights at hotels in the capital area were up by 3% January- September 2009 compared to the same period last year. The city received a record 68,000 cruise ship passengers this year and visitor records have been set at many attractions such as the city’s thermal pools and museums.

Reykjavík Never Better Value for Money

There has never been a better time to visit Reykjavík. Lonely Planet, the world’s leading publisher of travel guides, recently picked Iceland as the best value destination in the world to visit in 2010. Lonely Planet is not alone in pointing this out – Iceland has never been as widely recognised as both a fantastic and great value destination to visit.

Following the crash of Iceland’s economy last year, the exchange rate of the Icelandic krona has become more favourable for foreigners. Travelling to Reykjavík and enjoying the city’s plethora of restaurants, shops and attractions, has simply never been more affordable.

Visitors to Reykjavik experience easily the pure energy at the heart of Iceland's capital city – whether from the boiling thermal energy underground, the natural green energy within the city and around it, or the lively culture and fun-filled nightlife. The following are Visit Reykjavík’s top recommendations when visiting the city:

  • Stroll around the city centre, admire the colourful old houses and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere by Tjornin Lake
  • Soak your stress away in one of the city’s relaxing thermal pools
  • Climb up Hallgrímskirkja Church tower for a panoramic view of the city
  • Indulge your interest in Iceland’s fascinating cultural heritage or cutting edge art at one of the city’s many museums and galleries
  • Shop for some quirky Icelandic designed art, clothing or jewellery
  • Take a day-tour and view the magnificent landscape surrounding the city
  • Test your stamina with a night in the town “Reykjavík style”
  • Visit The Pearl – an otherworldly creation with a viewing platform and a revolving restaurant on top of hot water storage tanks
  • Give your taste buds a real treat by dining at one of Reykjavík’s many excellent seafood restaurants
  • Be amazed at the sight of whales and dolphins on a whale-watching tour

Numerous festivals also draw increasing numbers of visitors, including Reykjavík Culture Night in August and Iceland Airwaves in October. With almost 24 hours of daylight, summer is a great time to visit, but winter gives visitors the opportunity to experience the northern lights and is the season when the city’s cultural scene is at its most vibrant.

Reykjavík is also a growing conference destination and the Icelandic National Concert and Conference Centre, opening in spring 2011 by Reykjavík harbour, is certainly something to look forward to. The Centre, whose design is influenced by the impressive Icelandic landscape, will become a new icon for the city and create the best conditions for Iceland’s expanding musical life as well as top-rate conference facilities.


New Flight Destinations for 2010

Visiting Reykjavík is not only better value than ever; the city has never been so accessible, either.

Airlines Icelandair and Iceland Express will add several new destinations to their networks next year. Icelandair will add two new destinations, Brussels and Trondheim. Iceland Express will add Milan, Luxembourg, Rotterdam, Birmingham and Oslo and commence its first transatlantic flights, to New York (Newark Liberty International Airport). The airline will furthermore add direct flights from London (Gatwick) to Iceland’s second city, Akureyri, in the north. The new Akureyri gateway opens up the possibility for visitors to start their holiday in Reykjavík and end it in Akureyri, or vice versa. The year 2010 will clearly be yet another exciting year for tourism in Reykjavík.

By Maria Reynisdottir

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