Rated the third happiest city in the world, Reykjavík (pronounced rake-ya-vik) is Iceland’s largest city and lies on the coast. With its distinctive seasons, the best time to travel to the capital city of Iceland is between June and August, when the sun shines almost twenty-four hours a day and the weather is mild and pleasant.
A modern cathedral with an ethnic Icelandic touch, the Hallgrimskirkja is the largest church in the city. The tower of this church can be seen from nearly anywhere in Reykjavík. It is said that the designer, the late Guðjón Samúelsson, drew his inspiration from the eccentric shapes lava would take as it cooled into basalt rock. German organ builder Johanne Klais of Bonn constructed a giant pipe organ that can powerfully produce sounds to echo through the church and fill it with a divine sonority.
There are records which suggest that LeifurEiríksson came to the shores of America 500 years before Christopher Columbus did (that’s 1000 AD). Poised in front of the Hallgrimskirkja – and fifteen years older to it – is a statue of the first European to discover America that is certainly worth looking at.
The National and Saga museums in Reykjavík bring alive the defining moments in Icelandic history that has shaped the life of the people there today. Through eruptions and avalanches, Icelanders have endured some very difficult times – including the Black Death, which was the ruination of a third of the population.
The many exhibitions at the National Museum have an array of artifacts that take you to medieval Iceland. There is also a permanent display which illustrates Iceland’s journey from the era of the Vikings to the modern-day contemporary world. The Saga Museum displays “the Icelandic Sagas” through a guided tour of the museum that is offered with an audio-guide available in English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish or Icelandic.
How can one expect to miss the most popular Northern Lights while visiting this Iceland? The Auroras dance in the night sky to appeal to the rhythm of your soul. Amidst the stars, they are like an ethereal fabric that dazzles and steals you away from the rough, mundane world. The Aurora Borealis is truly one of the most spectacular – and surely elusive – aspects of Icelandic nature.
The official season for the Northern Lights in Reykjavík is between Octobers to March. You can just drive far out of the city at night and watch the Aurora Borealis grace the winter sky, a memory to cherish for a lifetime.
Reykjavík really is the place to visit for a fairytale vacation where development and technology have not taken away from the medieval essence of the heritage and nature never forgets to stupefy, magic knows no bounds. Take the most unforgettable holiday ever in Iceland and leave with your soul renewed by the sheer beauty of the city.