10 Facts You Should Know About Reykjavik!

10 Facts You Should Know About Reykjavik!

Travel Writer, photographer and Guide!

From Puffin Capital to Northernmost Capital... What are the crazy and weird facts you should know about Reykjavik?

Reykjavik is amazing, that is a fact in itself!

But as you're coming to Reykjavik for a little bit of adventure and relaxation, I'm sure you're curious to know a few crazy, fun and interesting facts about Reykjavik!

I've gone around doing some research in order to put together a list of the 10 most interesting and crazy facts about Reykjavik!

I guarantee you do not know some of these!​

A quick fact about Wake Up Reykjavik first? 

Did you know that our Golden Circle adventure tour is the best-rated tour in the whole of Iceland according to customer feedback? Go check it out here!

Facts about Reykjavik

#1- The Northernmost Capital in the World

Yes, that right! Reykjavik is the northernmost capital of any sovereign country in the World! 

Located at a latitude of 64.1466° N, Reykjavik is only 2° below the Arctic Circle (66.54° N). It is also home to the Headquarters of the famous 66°North clothing brand that was established in 1926 in Reykjavik.

#2- Short Days in Winter - Long Days in Summer!

Linking this to our first fact on our list, Reykjavik is very unique due to its northern location on our planet.

As it is so close to the Arctic Circle ​and the North Pole, Reykjavik can get as little as 4 hours of sunlight in the heart of Winter whereas in the Summer it can get as much as 21 hours of daylight!

This means that:

#3- The Only Capital in Western Europe without a Mcdonalds or Starbucks!

Although Icelanders love burgers and coffee (Reykjavik has a great choice of coffee shops and burger joints), Mcdonalds and Starbucks do not operate in Reykjavik!

Mcdonalds once operated in Reykjavik, from 1993 to 2009 but stopped its operations due to the financial crash leading to higher costs of meat import and due to the fact that Mcdonalds was actually struggling in Iceland against the local competition!​

Funny enough, Hjörtur Smárason bought a cheeseburger and fries meal from Mcdonald before it closed. This Burger and fries have been kept to rot, live on a webcam at the Bus Hotel in Reykjavik!

#4- A name meaning 'Smoky Bay'

Icelandic is a difficult language granted, and not many people outside of Iceland speak Icelandic. However, did you know that 'Reykjavik' actually means 'Smoky Bay'?

Its name was given to it due to the numerous hot springs around Reykjavik which emit steam.​

If you fancy checking out one of these hot springs, why not come with us to the Secret Lagoon tour? ​

#5- Most inhabitants of Iceland live in the Reykjavik capital region!

Iceland is a small country and only 338,349 people live on our little island in the North Atlantic. But did you know that of those 338,349 people, the Reykjavik Capital region is home to more than 216,000 of the countries inhabitants! This represents about 67% of the total population!

Of course, this encompasses Reykjavik and its suburbs. Within the boundaries of the city of Reykjavik, there are 122,000 inhabitants. Still a huge portion!​

#6- The tallest building in Reykjavik is only 74.5m tall!​

The tallest building in the city of Reykjavik is its famous Hallgrimskirkja evangelical Church. Standing at 74.5m, it is the tallest building in the city of Reykjavik. The building opened in 1986 following a 41-year long construction period. Its unique design is inspired by basalt lava columns. Inside the building is an impressive 25-ton organ made of 5275 pipes!

The tallest building in Iceland was opened in 2008 standing at 77.6m. It is called the Smaratorg tower and is just outside of Reykjavik in Kopavogur.

#7- A UNESCO City of Literature

If you have already read the 15 best facts about Iceland, you will already know that writing and publishing books are very popular with Icelanders.

Following this passion and Iceland's contribution to literature both in term of historical literature and modern literature, UNESCO awarded Reykjavik the title of 'City of Literature' making it 1 of 5 in the world. 

15 Facts about Iceland

Photography by Guillaume Demerliac

#8- The Puffin Capital

Amongst all of its achievements, Reykjavik continues to surprise as it is the Puffin Capital of the World!

Indeed Reykjavik is the only Capital city in the world home to colonies of Puffins.

Iceland itself is home to 60% of the total puffin population in the world with some major nesting places such as the Westman Island. 

Reykjavik is also home to a large colony of puffins who are located on the little island of Akurey west of the old harbour. On this island are more than 30,000 pairs of Puffins making it, in a way, the most densely populated neighbourhood in Iceland too!

Because Reykjavik is the Puffin Capital,  you can book on to the best Puffin Tour in Iceland​ with us here! We'll take you up close to the puffins in one memorable wildlife adventure!

#9- ​Home to a John Lennon memorabilia - the Imagine Peace Tower

​On the 8th of October 2007, the date which would have been John Lennon's 67th birthday, Yoko Ono unveiled a heartfelt light beam to commemorate her late husband and his peaceful ideas. Located on Reykjavik's Viðey island, it is annually lit from October 9 to December 8, December 21 to December 31, February 18, and March 20 to 27.

Upon shining the beam for the first time, Yoko was quoted saying: “I hope the Imagine Peace Tower will give light to the strong wishes of World Peace from all corners of the planet. And give encouragement, inspiration and a sense of solidarity in a world now filled with fear and confusion. Let us come together to realise a peaceful world". 

​#10- Home to the Only Indoor Ice cave in the World

​Although there are plenty of natural ice and glaciers in Iceland, Reykjavik took it a step further by making the first artificial indoor ice cave in the world!

You can visit it any day by going to the fantastic Perlan Museum. It's a great place to learn all about glaciers and ice formations whilst in the proximity of the convenience of the city.

It is the first Ice cave of its kind in the world and has a total length of 100 meters. 

If you're feeling even more adventurous, why not come with us on a glacier hike and Ice climbing adventure? It's even better than the Ice cave!

Man made ice cave in Perlan

​Final words

And there we have it, 10 of the best and most interesting facts about Reykjavik!

What did you learn and which ones did you already know?

Also, if you know any fantastic facts about Reykjavik which aren't on this list, post them in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!

Do remember to check out some of our tours, we've got some of the best tours in Iceland! No joke!

As always, see you next time!

Your guide and friend,


From Puffin Capital to Northernmost Capital… What are the crazy and weird facts you should know about Reykjavik? These are the 10 best facts about Reykjavik!


Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest