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We had the best weather, we were very lucky to be able to see the Nothern lights in weeks before and days after. Nothing was cancelled for us due to bad weather, and our guide made sure this happened as he pushed us all to see everything on time and some things ahead of schedule. The hotels we stayed on, where nice, no issues and the tours and buses where always on time. The people are always helpful eventhough not all very friendly, but you get used to their moods as they are not rude. I recommend this tour 100%, is full of amazing natural sites and the guides make it full with very interesting notes.
Convenient service. Trying to find the right bus was a bit confusing at the bus stop as there are so many different ones all with transfers to the airport. However, once we found our ride we were dropped at the bus terminal where we switched into a bigger bus and were taken to the airport.
Overall, a great experience. But with Iceland you are relying on the gods a little. Presumably old Scandinavian gods. They decide whether the whales will come out to see you, how many hotels the bus needs to stop out before dropping you off, and they also decide whether the clouds will part in the evening to allow you to see the great Northern Lights. Because if the tour gets cancelled a few times, it doesn't feel so great (even though I was refunded before I could say 'takk'). So make sure you have back-up plans on those things. The consistently spectacular Blue lagoon is one of the best things I've ever done. The Golden Circle tours are fun. The restaurants are top notch. Do it.
I loved this tour! The day is quite long, but there is so much to see and the diamond beak and lagoon itself are well worth the travel. We had a great guide as well - Matt - who was very knowledgeable and his sense of humour made the distances to travel way shorter than they were. I would do this tour again in a heartbeat.
According to the ancient Landnámabók, otherwise known as the Book of Settlements, the first permanent settlement in Iceland was established in Reykjavík (“Smoky Bay”), located on the island’s south-western corner.
Legend has it that Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian fleeing the tyranny of King Harald, chose his landing spot by flinging his two high seat pillars from his boat, then following them to shore—with the pillars finally taking their rightful place on each side of the chieftain’s high-seat, where he would sit within the household.
Today, there is some scepticism as to whether or not Ingólfur actually landed at the exact spot specified in the Book of Settlements. This is because of the low probability of the pillars landing where they did—given ocean currents and land’s distance from the boat—and the likelihood of Ingólfur having logically chosen to settle in close proximity to natural hot springs, knowing the importance of keeping his people warm during the harsh Icelandic winters.
Regardless, the settlement would begin to grow, with the early Norsemen quickly stripping the area for timber and pastures.
“Smoky Bay” implies an early confusion, at least linguistically, between the rising water vapour that emits from the geothermal hot springs so prevalent in Iceland, and smoke. Regardless, these billowing white clouds were enough to inspire the settlement’s name, with the original spelling using an extra ‘r’ (Reykjarvík) until it was abandoned in 1800.
Until the 18th Century, the area we know today as Reykjavík was little more than farmland, reflective of the rest of Iceland at that time. When the Danish monarchy took an interest in stimulating the region’s wool industry, however, a number of mills were built and Danes became the settlement’s primary employer for a number of decades. During this time, other industries such as fisheries and shipbuilding also began to make more of an economic impact.
Due to this development, the town was granted an official charter in 1786 after the Danish abolished their trade monopoly. This date is thus considered to be the city’s founding.
In the following years, Iceland’s capital would see a wave of independence movements, an invasion force, three ‘Cod Wars’, the 1972 World Chess Championships, and even the Reykjavík Summit in 1986, taking place between the U.S. and Soviet Cold War powers. Aside from all of that, the city has birthed some incredible artists over recent years, namely the experimental songstress, Björk, as well as bands such as Sigur Rós, Kaleo and Of Monsters and Men.
Those who visit Reykjavík today will discover a modern European capital that balances contemporary Nordic architecture with historic and traditional buildings.
Homing approximately two-thirds of Iceland’s entire population, guests unravel a city rich in artistic culture, community spirit, music, poetry and love, all the while surrounded by the glittering beauty of Faxaflói Bay and the towering mountain, Esja, that has always overlooked the capital. Many travellers choose Reykjavík as a base from which to explore South and West Iceland, for example by going on a day tour of the Golden Circle or Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Since 2010, urban development has been accelerating in line with the ever-growing influx of foreign visitors, meaning new hotels and accommodation, new planning projects, new tour operators. In short, Reykjavík is the beating heart of Icelandic culture.