The sprawling Icelandic capital at the country’s southernmost tip is a veritable traveller’s paradise. Bursting with attractive, spreading suburbs, and home to a vast ethnic diversity, Reykjavik is increasingly sought-after as one of the cleanest, safest and greenest tourist destinations in Europe. Unlike most other cities which are densely concentrated, Reykjavik straddles a vast area of its mother country, with a lot to explore in each of its ten districts. Car hire in Reykjavik is hence unsurprisingly popular, making it possible to go from the thriving city centre to breath-taking natural landscape in the same day.
Reykjavik’s somewhat singular climate makes the season of your visit a very important factor in planning your itinerary. The city is stunningly beautiful during summer or winter, presenting a markedly different aspect in each. Visit during summer to make the most of the city’s almost 24 hours of daylight. The long hours until the city’s half-hearted dusk means you can fit in plenty of Icelandic adventures. Marvel at the magnificent setting of the midnight sun, gape at majestic whales breaching the Atlantic waters, or try your hand at salmon fishing in Elidaardaloor Valley. Or invest some of that extra energy in a brisk hike up Mount Keillk, a small volcanic mountain situated just 25 minutes’ drive from the city centre. During winter, the city dons its enchanting garment of snow to transform itself into a winter wonderland. And although the days are dark and the temperatures chilly, the city produces a packed calendar of cultural events, spectacular yuletide festivities, skiing and the luminous beauty of the dancing Northern Lights. Don’t forget to try one of Reykjavik’s many geothermal pools and spas to experience going from cold to deliciously warm in an instant.
Transport in Reykjavik is not as efficient as one might think. The city’s population is low and spread out given its size, with car ownership leaning towards the high side – and with good reason. Trains and trams are noticeably absent, with buses only available in the city itself. A somewhat regular bus service operates to some of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Blue Lagoon (30 minutes away) and the Golden Circle, but this will not be enough to help you explore the whole of the city’s wondrous beauty, and is surprisingly expensive to boot. Car rental in Reykjavik is a flexible and economical way of travelling. There are several cheap options to choose from when hiring a car, ranging from compact family cars to heavy-duty 4x4s. But whatever vehicle you do end up renting, here are some things to keep in mind before putting the key in the ignition: