It's begginning to look alot like Christmas in Reykjavík. Christmas is the time of year most people want to spend with their families, enjoy a good meal together, share gifts and hugs and a whole lot of happiness. That shouldn't stop anyone from taking a little Christmas trip abroad…especially not if the destination is the capital city closest to the North pole (Santa's home), Reykjavík.
I've made a list of my favorite things to do in Reykjavík around Christmas;
- Ice skating on the Reykjavík Pond. Strap on your skates if you have them, or take a walk on the pond, if you only have your shoes. It's magical. The Reykjavík pond is by my opinion the heart of the city. The City hall is actually built on the pond, so after you've explored the pond itself, you can go feed the birds who live together in a very tight spot where the pond doesn't freeze during the winter, and then head to the City hall Café and drink a cup of Swiss mocha, enjoying the lively view of people and birds, sliding back and forth on the ice.
- Walk along the coastline. There's only a few hours of sunlight, every day, during the winter, the 21st of December being the shortest day of the year. There's a path that goes along almost the whole coastline, If you're walking along the north coast of the city, you'll have a view over the mountains, covered in snow, sometimes they appear pink, as the low winter sun shines on them. If you walk along the south shore, You'll see the sun rising or setting, even both, if you're patient enough. In good weather a two or three hour walk will allow you to enjoy both sides. It's magnificent.
- A pub stroll. When in Iceland, you'll notice that on the weekends, nothing good really happens before midnight. But around and after midnight, EVERYTHING happens! It's cold in December, but a walk up and down the mainstreet, "Laugavegur," is a ticket to a great night. You'll find live music, people slipping on some icy spots in their high heels (beware) and poorly dressed Icelanders who don't seem to get the fact that it's -10 °C outside. Just remember to pop in at a pub once in a while and drink something that'll warm up your blood. Fx. a local Christmas beer, some hot Irish Coffee or, some "Brennivín" (which literally means burning wine - THAT'll warm you up for sure!)
If you want to experience Reykjavík in it's Christmas costume, the best time to travel is between 20th of November to the sixth of January. The weather keeps changing so maybe you'll get snow, maybe not. Look at the snow as an extra Christmas bonus, if you're lucky enough. (If you need snow, you can always take a guided day tour on a glacier).
I'm an Icelander, but I live my life as a tourist in my own country. Follow my blogs, and you'll learn how to get the most out of your trip to Iceland!