Reykjavik, Iceland

Why Now?

With long summer days, and midnight sun, July is the perfect time to visit Reykjavik. Take advantage of cultural tours and excursions as they are more frequent during the summer period, and slowly close off by September as temperatures begin to plummet.

Where to Stay?

The Kvosin Downtown Hotel is a modern aparthotel in the heart of Reykjavik, complete with a vibrant wine bar, cosy coffee shop, and complimentary breakfast.

Neighbouring the Icelandic Parliament since 1900, the Kvosin Downtown Hotel is a contemporary 4-star aparthotel located in the center of Reykjavik. Only a stone’s throw away from the National Museum of Iceland, and Hallgrimskirja (Iceland’s tallest church), the Kvosin Downtown Hotel sits in a prime location. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Reykjavik Cathedral, the hotel’s top-floor terrace allows uninterrupted views of the charming façade, and offers a tranquil window across Lake Tjörnin.

Every apartment-style room features its own kitchenette including stove tops and refrigerators, an inclusive seating area, flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with shower. The spacious and inviting rooms all come equipped with Nespresso coffee machines, and free Wi-Fi access, making it easy to feel at home. Rooms are priced in accordance to size, and are uniquely characterised by options including ‘big’, ‘bigger’, and ‘biggest’, culminating with the ‘mountain suite’.

An excellent base for exploration, the Kvosin Downtown Hotel is also a simple 5 minute walk from Laugavegur shopping street, famous for its superb range of bars and restaurants. Alternatively, you can stay in and enjoy the hotel’s trendy Klauster bar.

Weather

If you’re seeking a cool retreat from the current British heatwave, you may prefer the milder temperatures of Reykjavik. July sees highs of 18°C—the perfect temperature to enjoy Iceland’s lush green landscape!

Literary Significance

In August 2011, Reykjavik became the first non-native English-speaking country to be appointed the UNESCO City of Literature. Iceland’s literary heritage is deeply rooted in medieval literature, including the Sagas of the Icelanders and the Poetic Edda.

A saga is typically a narrative that recounts the adventures of a heroic protagonist, or a family. The Sagas of the Icelanders are a vast body of medieval prose histories set roughly in the 10th and 11th centuries AD, and they describe the events that took place among Norse and Celtic inhabitants.

The Poetic Edda on the other hand, are minstrel poems passed on by poets and singers over centuries via the oral tradition. It is for this reason that the authorship of these poems still largely remains unknown.

With the Icelandic language remaining virtually unchanged since settlement in the 9th century, most native Icelanders can read the originals with ease. If you’re interested in reading some Icelandic literature in English, I recommend the following:

• Halldór Kiljan Laxness won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955, and has published over 60 novels. Some of his notable English titles include ‘The Atom Station’, ‘Iceland’s Bell’ (published in 3 parts), and ‘Independent People’.
• If you’re interested in the medieval origins of Icelandic literature, Lee M Hollander produced an excellent English translation of ‘The Poetic Edda’.

Want To Find Out More?

Reykjavik City Library offers a number of interesting literary walking tours of downtown Reykjavik. Booking is not required, and all tours are led by expert guides, that help unravel the city’s literary past in unique and exciting ways.

Alternatively, you can download the free Reykjavik Walking Tours app to your mobile device, and chose from a selection of four guided walking tours that take you down literary pathways both old and new. Tours are now available in both English and German.

Getting There

A mere 3 hours away from London, Reykjavik is only a short flight away. A direct flight one-way from London Luton via EasyJet is set at about £100, including taxes.

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9 thoughts on “Reykjavik, Iceland

  1. This is so informative! Amazing tips and very interesting links to Icelandic literature. I am going to buy some of these books straight away!

    Like

  2. Lovely piece. Very descriptive. Stumbled across it whilst searching for a city break holiday. Definitely sold Reykjavik ! Better than descriptions I’ve read on travel websites.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was incredibly insightful. I’m heading to Reykjavic very soon, and will definitely be looking into these literary walks. Thanks for all the tips!

    Like

  4. I love the way have you used literature as a focus for tourism, but managed to give other valuable tips as well. A very interesting and useful read!

    Like

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