The magnificent Reykjanes peninsula encompasses the very best Iceland has to offer – dramatic natural beauty and leading visitor attractions. Its lively towns and villages extend a warm welcome to visitors, with good transport links and first-class accommodation and restaurants, plus a wealth of history, tradition and folklore to explore. Though right on the doorstep of Reykjavik’s glamorous bustle, it’s a nature-lover’s paradise of imposing cliffs, lava fields, volcanic craters and glacial lagoons. The magical lake Kleifarvatn lies in a volcanic fissure, with hissing hot springs and bubbling mud pools skirting its deep, deep waters. Nearby is the Álfagjá rift valley, and a unique geological phenomenon – the meeting of the tectonic plates of Eurasia and America. At the point where these landmasses collide is a bridge, where you can straddle the Old World and the New.A sea-faring saga
It is appropriate, then, that a museum has just opened to celebrate the thousand-year
connection between the old and new worlds. Vikingaheimar (Home of the Vikings) is a state-of-the-art facility in Reykjanesbær that tells of the first Europeans to discover America. The star exhibit is the elegant ship Íslendingur, a replica of the nautical wonder that allowed Viking mariners to make such an impact on world history a millennium ago. The fascinating culture of these dynamic explorers comes to life through various Viking-era
artifacts. The country’s sea-going heritage is also the focus of the maritime museum in the historic Duus complex, with its great collection of model fishing boats. Check out the salt-fish museum at Grindavík, which gives a brilliant overview of this essential trade on which the country was founded. There is further insight into the region’s past at Garður’s folk museum, which demonstrates everyday life on land and at sea, and recaptures vanishing traditions.Nature at its best
When you’ve had your fill of culture, it’s time to reconnect with mother nature at the inspirational Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s greatest attractions. Drink in the scenic beauty as your skin is revived by therapeutic minerals and life’s concerns soak away. The steaming waters will leave you feeling in complete harmony with the natural world, while the interactive Gjáin (Rift) exhibition nearby explains the marriage of nature and science here, and how the geothermal heat deep within the earth is harnessed as energy for the community’s benefit. The powerful natural beauty of Reykjanes cries out to be explored, with endless outdoor activities to pursue. There are beautiful hiking trails, some of Iceland’s finest golf courses, and awe-inspiring view-points for keen photographers (which are accessible to all, including wheelchair users). Bird-watching is another draw, with guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins and more nesting along the spectacular cliffs. Surfing on the powerful Atlantic swell is popular, as is scuba-diving beneath it, while sailing tours reveal whales and dolphins in their natural environment. The Nature Centre at Sandgerði is a great resource for wildlife enthusiasts keen to know more about local fauna.
Reykjanes Tourist Information - Krossmoi 4 (shopping mall) - Reykjanesbær
Tel: + 354 421 3520 Open Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm