Mini Guide to Iceland

Main Cities and Towns

Reykjavik

With an urban area population of just over 200,000, Reykjavik is the largest city in the country. It’s believed to be the first permanent settlement in Iceland, but it was only officially founded in 1786 as a trading town.

Nowadays, it’s the cultural center of the country, and during the long days of summer, the city is home to a selection of festivals and a lively music scene. Visitors can check the 19th century Alpingi parliament building, the 871±2 ancient ruins, or maybe the National Gallery of Iceland.

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Akureyri

With just roughly 18,000 people, Akureyri is the largest town outside the southwest, and considered the “capital of the north.” It’s located next to a beautiful fjord Eyjafjörður and boasts picturesque and diverse architecture.

The highlights are the Lystigarðurinn Botanical Garden, which displays most of Iceland’s plants, the impressive Church building, and Listagilið, where visitors can find shops and art galleries including the Akureyri Art Museum.

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Húsavík

Húsavík is considered the best whale-watching destination in Iceland. It’s located in the northeast of the country and has a population of around 2,500 people. Legend has it that it was the first ever Norseman settlement.

During the summer, an impressive 95 percent of boat trips spot whales, which boosts the town’s reputation. Another peculiar attraction is the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which features the largest display of penises in the world (from 93 species of animals).

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