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The burgeoning capital city of Reykjavik has seen a spike in international tourist attention over the past few years, and you’d be hard-pressed to ignore this effortlessly cool port of call on an Iceland cruise. The city is truly magical in the summertime, when the sun is out for longer than you’d ever imagine, and residents stay out late drinking and enjoying food, picnicking, and spending time in nature.
Because you’ll set sail on your Reykjavik cruise during the summer months, you’ll see the plunging Gullfoss waterfall and the Blue Lagoon thermal hot springs at their most alluring. Reykjavik has a bustling foodie scene, and fresh, locally sourced fish make delicious options for visitors. Because Reykjavik is Iceland’s most famous city, you’re better off booking tours and guides early during the travel planning process.
When you think of the dramatic landscape of Iceland, a massive, flowing waterfall might come to mind. That’d be Gullfoss, or Golden Falls. Feel the misty breeze from the falls as you stare out into the naturally beautiful scene the falls create. Many come to Gullfoss to catch sight of the Northern Lights.
Don’t miss the iconic Blue Lagoon during your cruise to Reykjavik, Iceland, which is one of the area’s biggest attractions for visitors. The lagoon is powered by lava-heated seawater and is rumored to have a variety of healing properties. Book your trip early if you’re visiting during peak season so you can enjoy a dip in the mineral-rich waters.
Ice cave diving and glacier hiking are the perfect bucket list item for adrenaline seekers visiting on a Reykjavik cruise. Don’t miss the chance to scale Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in all of Europe. It’s something you’ll never forget.
If you’re not familiar with Iceland’s rich history, a visit to the National Museum of Iceland will help you understand the importance of respecting the natural landscape, preserving the glaciers, and the mythology of how the city came to be. An audio tour is particularly insightful.
Construction on the mountainesque Hallgrimskirkja began way back in 1945 and took nearly 50 years to complete. This local monument is a testament to how the people of Iceland build their landmarks in honor and respect of their natural surroundings. Take a guided tour to find out how this Lutheran church came into existence.
You’ve probably never seen anything quite like the Sun Voyager, a futuristic and modernist sculpture inspired by the Vikings located in the heart of Reykjavik. With the city on one side and the sea and mountains on the other, snapping a panoramic photo here is a must.
Grab a seat in the outdoor garden at Cafe Flora, a quaint cafe in Reykjavik that offers classic coffees, cheese plates, sandwiches, and soups at a modest price.
Matur og Drykkur
Matur og Drykkur translates to “food and drink” in Icelandic, and here you’ll find traditional Icelandic dishes in abundance. The restaurant is housed in a restored salt fishery and is open Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are recommended.
Don’t let the unassuming name of Fish Company fool you—Reykavik knows how to do upscale dining. If you’ve got an adventurous palate, try the three-course menu, or stick with the a-la-carte options of local fried cod dishes, stews, and more.
This Reykjavik farmer’s market is an area institution where many residents purchase their local yogurts, fish, meats, and vegetables for the week. There’s even an olive oil bar and a kombucha bar at this trendy market.
Though people have lived in Iceland since at least 874 AD, the city wasn’t officially created until the late 18th century. After World War II, Iceland’s population and trading importance boomed. Today, Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and the largest city in the country. In recent years, Reykjavik has become a symbol of Icelandic tourism thanks to its beautiful systems of fjords, stunning auroras, and cosmopolitan energy.
There’s not a lot to do around the Reykjavik cruise port, but there are information desks, rental services, and some duty-free souvenir shopping available to you when you arrive. Most people will either walk to the city center or take a complimentary cruise line shuttle bus.
When you arrive on your cruise to Reykjavik, Iceland, you’ll be just a 15-minute walk from major city sights. Hop-on, hop-off bus services are plentiful, as are taxi services. If you decide to use the local bus system, exact change is required, so carrying a few extra kronur is recommended.
Get your duty-free shopping fix at the cruise terminal, then head into town for authentic Icelandic artisan goods like locally made wool sweaters and knit hats that are typical of the region. Dressing warmly is an art in Iceland, and you can learn how when you chat with the local salespeople.
When traveling in Iceland on a Reykjavik cruise, you’ll use the króna, which is the official currency of Iceland. Many establishments accept euros too, and most places accept credit and debit cards. Cash isn’t king in Iceland, and leaving a tip isn’t required at most restaurants, either.