Tourist Information

Flights

The international airport for Reykjavík is Keflavík International Aiport. Several international airlines fly to Keflavík, but the main airline for Iceland is Icelandair, flying direct from a range of destinations in Europe and the U.S.

Getting to Reykjavík

From Keflavík International Airport, the easiest way to get to Reykjavík is using the Fly Bus service which provides bus links to central Reykjavík for every flight that arrives at Keflavík. The Flybus+ service will take you from Keflavík International Airport to selected hotels and guesthouses in Reykjavík. Here is more information on the Fly Bus. Other transport options can be found here. If you have a mid afternoon arrival and are feeling adventurous, you can even take a coach link which stops for a couple of hours at the Blue Lagoon on the way for some volcanic bathing! Click here for more info.

Maps

Map of Reykjavík.

Map of the University of Iceland campus (click on School of Humanities).

Reykjavík 

Reykjavík is the world‘s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay. With a population of around 120,000 (and over 200,000 in the Greater Reykjavík Area), it is the heart of Iceland’s economic and administrative activities. Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which Ingólfur Arnarson is said to have established around 870 AD. Until the 18th century, there was no urban development in the city location. The city was founded in 1786 as an official trading town and grew steadily over the next decades, as it transformed into a regional and later national centre of commerce, cultural and governmental activities.

Main sights

  • The Culture House offers a wide range of exhibitions, some permanent and others temporary, with the aim to provide insight into the history and culture of Iceland and its inhabitants.
  • The National Museum displays objects that provide insight into Icelandic cultural history – displays that encourage visitors to dwell on the past, present and future. The museum aims to nurture knowledge and innovation while maintaining a wide perspective and sense of community.
  • In the Saga Museum, history is brought to life in a unique and exciting way. The Saga Museum intimately recreates key moments in Icelandic history, moments that have determined the fate of our people and which give a compelling view into how Icelanders have lived for more than a millennium.
  • The National Gallery is a national museum and the main emphasis of the collection is on 19th and 20thcentury Icelandic art, but international art is featured as well. The museum owns the most valuable collection of works by Icelandic artists in the country.
  • The Reykjavik Art Museum is the largest visual art institution in Iceland. It occupies three locations in Reykjavík; in Harbour House by the old harbour, at Kjarvalsstaðir by Klambratún and in Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum in Laugardalur.
  • The Reykjavík Swimming Hall, Sundhöllin, is one of Reykjavík’s oldest swimming pools, built 75 years ago, and it has acquired sort of a ‘cult’ status. The swimming hall is located in downtown Reykjavík, and opens at 6.30 every morning.
  • Laugardalur Swimming Pool, Laugardalslaug, is the largest outdoor thermal pool in Reykjavík. This facility is situated in Laugardalur valley, the center for athletics and recreation in Reykjavík. A short distance from the pool is the Botanical Garden where one can see numerous plants and flowers while enjoying an especially peaceful atmosphere.

Business, shopping and banking hours

Office hours are generally 09:00–16.00 or 17:00. Shopping hours vary, but most stores are open Mon–Fri 09:00/11:00–18:00, Sat from 10:00 to 16:00. Some supermarkets are open to 23:00 or even 24/7. Banking hours are Mon–Fri 09:15–16:00.

Credit Cards

Credit Cards are widely accepted in Iceland. The major cards in Iceland are EUROPAY/ MASTERCARD and VISA. Diners and American Express are also accepted. Cash can be obtained at every bank branch as well as in all ATMs throughout the country. There is an ATM at the airport as well as in Háskólatorg (HT) on campus. Please note that there might be a difference between the official currency exchange rate in Iceland and the exchange rate that the credit card companies charge.

Currency exchange

The Icelandic monetary unit is the “króna”. Currency rates tend to fluctuate. For current exchange rates see: http://www.cb.is/exchange-rate/. All Icelandic banks provide foreign exchange.

Shopping and Tax Free

The shops in Iceland carry a wide variety of merchandise. Local specialities include woollen knitwear (sweaters and cardigans), handmade ceramics, glassware and jewellery. Also available is a great variety of high-quality seafood. There is an excellent Duty Free store at the airport where you can buy bottles of wine at a very reasonable price! Do note that alcoholic beverages are otherwise only sold in licensed liquor stores (Vínbúð).

A refund of local Value-Added Tax (VAT) is available to all visitors in Iceland. The refund will result in a reduction of up to 15% of the retail price.

Pharmacies, emergency and medical help

The emergency phone number in Iceland is 112. The location of the nearest ER (Landspítali Fossvogi) can be found here. For non-emergency medical assistance contact Laeknavaktin (location can be found here), tel: 1770. Walk-in hours are 17:00-23:30 during the week and 9:00-23:30 on weekends. The European Health Insurance Card is valid in Iceland.  Water is safe to drink throughout Iceland. Pharmacies are open during normal business hours. Some are open in the evening.

Telephones and Mobile phones

The code for Iceland from overseas is +354.

GSM: There are four GSM operators in Iceland: Siminn, Nova, Tal and Vodafone. These companies sell pre-paid GSM phone cards and offer GSM/GPRS services. Pre-paid cards are available at petrol stations around the country.

Tipping

Service and VAT are invariably included in prices in Iceland.

Transportation

Public transportation consists of buses (strætó), many of whom stop by campus. Schedules can be found here. There are several 24 hour taxi companies in Reykjavik; Hreyfill, tel: +354 588 5522, BSR, tel: +354 561 0000.

Tourist Information

Various tourist information sites:

The official travel guide to Iceland: www.visiticeland.com

The official tourism website of the Reykjavík capital area: www.visitreykjavik.is

Check the weather in Iceland: www.vedur.is

Iceland Review: What’s on in Iceland: www.whatson.is

Keflavik International Airport in Iceland: www.airport.is/english

Excursions

Various organised excursions are available to visitors. For scheduled tours from Reykjavik you can check the following websites.

Reykjavík Excursions: www.re.is

Iceland Excursions: www.icelandexcursions.is

Icelandic Mountain Guides: http://www.mountainguides.is/