Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland


Northern European Itineraries

The world’s northernmost capital is surrounded by scenic marvels. You could say Iceland combines the climate and glaciers of Alaska with the volcanic activity of Hawaii and Yellowstone. Head out of town for the natural drama, or stay in town and shop for the country’s famous woolens. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong.

Charming Reykjavîk

AMBIENCE

Though Iceland’s capital is over 200 years old, it all seems fresh, with colorfully-painted buildings covered in stucco or corrugated steel that evoke small-town style. Clean is due in part to “green”—buildings are heated with geothermal hot water and electricity comes from volcanic steam. The snow-capped bulk of the Esja mountains looms just 10km across the water from the cruise pier, a reminder of the rugged volcanic terrain, waterfalls, steaming thermal vents, glaciers, and volcanos (both dormant and active) that mark the dramatically picturesque contryside.

HISTORY

Permanent habitation in Iceland began in Reykjavík around 874 A.D., with the arrival of the Norseman Ingólfur Arnarson (‘though Norse legend says they were greeted by Irish monks). Alþingi, the world’s oldest existing parliament, was founded on the shores of Thingvellir Lake in 930. The island’s chieftains became vassels of the Norwegian crown in 1220, with rule eventually shifting to Denmark. The transition to home rule began in 1874, proceeding in stages until 1944 with the founding of the Icelandic Republic. During those war years British and U.S. forces were “guests” of officially neutral Iceland. Since then, Iceland made headlines when Reykjavík hosted the Fischer-Spassky chess match and the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit, Surtsey rose from the sea, and ash from Eyjafjöll volcano halted European air travel.

FACTS

Size: 106 sq. mi. (274 sq. km.) (city) / 300 sq. mi. (777 sq. km.) (metro)
Climate: Subpolar Oceanic Temperatures: 39°F (4°C) to 57°F (14°C)
Population 121,490/208,710 Busy Season Summer
Language: Icelandic, English Money: Icelandic Króna (ISK) $1 US = 112 ISK
Time Zone: Greenwich Transportation: Walking, buses, taxi
Phones: Dial 011 354 from the US, dial 112 for emergencies
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