Its economic (and volcanic) woes have become well known over the past couple of years, but 2012 is shaping up to be one of the best years ever to take cheap flights to Reykjavik. easyJet is offering a new, three-times-per-week service from Luton, it was voted “Best” in Lonely Planet’s Travel Readers’ Choice award and Iceland is experiencing two “maximum cycles” – brighter and more intense Northern Lights and more volcano activity.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and its position close to the Arctic Circle makes it the furthest north seat of a national government anywhere. However, its climate is not nearly as harsh as its location would suggest. Winter temperatures average just a few degrees Celsius below freezing.
Although the area has been populated since the 9th century, Reykjavik was not founded until the late 18th century making it a relatively young city, by European standards. Today its population of about 120,000 enjoys a thoroughly modern city with many natural amenities at its disposal.
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Fresh arrivals aboard cheap flights to Reykjavík will be pleased to hear that the local climate is considerably milder than Iceland’s location just south of the Arctic Circle would suggest. This is the result of the Gulf Stream that flows along the southern and western coasts of the country and greatly moderates its winter temperatures. As a result these are just a few degrees Celsius below freezing at their lowest in December and January. However there is no disguising Iceland’s position during the summer months with the average highs in July and August reaching just 14 degrees Celsius.
The peak season here extends from June to August when there is close to 24 hours daylight per day. July is the best time for whale and bird watching. Various festivals and celebrations also draw visitors to the city, among the most popular are Culture Night in August, the Winter Lights festival in February and the Festival of the Sea in June. By September, prices begin to fall and the days start to get much shorter.
Although the Northern Lights are best seen between September and March, December is probably the height of the off-season not only because of the relative cold but also because the days are just four hours long.
You can save a lot more money after your cheap flight to Reykjavik by using public transport. The bus system, Strætó, will take you around the city and the suburbs cheaply and quickly. They don’t run all day, but there are some night buses.
Watch your budget when you’re out late at night because taxis can be expensive. It’s easy to walk around Reykjavik, so most people don’t rent a car. There are plenty of bike rental companies to be found, so consider a two-wheeler to get around.