Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, is the northern-most national capital in the world. Its name translates as 'smoky bay', referencing the geothermal nature of the surrounding area. The city benefits from astonishing landscapes shaped by glaciers, earthquakes, and volcanic activity throughout the centuries. An amphitheater of mountains encircles the greater Reykjavik area, a coastline indented with coves, peninsulas and islands. Most of city's growth came during the early 20th century, and the majority of its architecture is typical of that era. Colorful rooftops and the elegant spire of Hallgrímskirkja Church dominate Reykjaviks's skyline. Known for its arts, Reykjavik hosts a number of internationally recognized festivals, most notably the Iceland Air music festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival and the Reykjavik International Film Festival.

 

Historically, Reykjavik traces its history back over a thousand years to A.D. 870, being one of the very first permanent Norse settlements in Iceland. The impressive statue of Leif Erikson, in the center of town, reminds all of Iceland's Viking heritage.