Reykjavík in detail

Activities

Locally you can tour the city, rent bikes to zoom along lake or seaside trails, or pop into hot-pots all over town. Reykjavík is also the main hub for every kind of activity tour to all manner of destinations beyond the city limits. Most operators provide pick-up either from your accommodation or, if in the central zone, from a designated bus stop very nearby.

Pools

Reykjavík’s naturally hot water is the heart of the city’s social life (as in many Icelandic towns); children play, teenagers flirt, business deals are made and everyone catches up on the latest gossip at the baths. Volcanic heat keeps the temperature at a mellow 29°C, and most baths have heitir pottar (hot-pots): Jacuzzi-like pools kept a toasty 37°C to 42°C. Bring towels and bathing suits or rent them on-site. For further information and more locations, see www.spacity.is.

Reykjavikers get very upset by dirty tourists in their clean, chemical-free pools. To avoid causing huge offence, you must wash thoroughly with soap and without a swimsuit (yes, that means getting naked) before hopping in.

Reykjavík in Winter

It’s bitterly cold and the sun barely rises, but there are advantages to wintery Iceland. The major joy is watching the glory of the Northern Lights. Many bus tours continue to operate in winter, taking you to frozen white Gullfoss, caves full of icicles and snow-covered mountains. There are also snowmobiling, back-country skiing and heli-skiing tours.

The Reykjavík Skating Hall in Laugardalur throws open its doors September to mid-May. Some locals also skate on the city's central Tjörnin lake when it freezes.

Skiing

The downhill ski season runs from around November to April, depending on snowfall. Skíðasvæði manages the Bláfjöll and Skálafell ski areas, both of which are about a 30-minute drive from the city.

Bláfjöll is one of Iceland's premier ski areas, with 16 lifts and downhill, cross-country and snowboarding facilities. You can hire gear at reasonable rates. Bláfjöll is about 25km southeast of Reykjavík on Rte 417, just off Rte 1. A shuttle bus (2000kr return) leaves from the Mjódd bus terminal once daily in season – check with Skíðasvæði for departure times.