What Is the Most Northerly Capital in the World?

When you think about the most northerly capitals in the world, you probably have in mind Scandinavia, and you are right, the three northernmost capitals are there.

The capital of European island country Iceland, Reykjavik, is the world’s most northerly capital. It is also Europe’s most westerly capital. Its coordinates are 64°08′48″ N and 21°56′24″ W.

The second northernmost capital is Helsinki in Finland with 60°10′15″N, and the third Oslo in Norway with 59°54′48″ N.

You can compare this with Ottawa in Canada which is at 45°25′29″ N.

About Reykjavik and its name

The name Reykjavik comes from the Icelandic words for smoke (reykur) and bay (vík).

The island was on the way of Leif Ericson who was the first European to reach America. The first Viking settlements on Iceland were in the 9th century, and this was on the location of the present Reykjavik city. But the city was officially founded in 1786.

The zoomable Google map below will allow you to explore the city and the island, so have a look:

What is the best month to visit Reykjavik?

If you plan to visit this city, think about spring and autumn, say May and September. Winter may be too cold for people from milder climates, and summer may be too crowded. Note that this is also the coldest capital in Europe regarding the average yearly temperature, and it is the capital farthest from equator.

Prices may also be higher in the top season, so this is yet another reason to go in the mentioned periods.

However, note that in May the sky is never very dark, so if you want to see Northern Lights this is not the best period. For this, September is much better.

In these months you can also enjoy whale watching and horse riding. For bird watching, it is best to go in May.

If you are more into long hiking tours, then it is better to go in September, you will have less snow than in May.

Do I need to carry cash in Iceland?

Not really, you can manage completely without cash. Credit and debit cards can be used anywhere. But if you really want cash, note that there are no many ATMs in remote places. So make sure you do this in Reykjavik or at the Keflavik Airport already.

Cash may be needed off the main tourist routes and to use a restroom or some smaller hot springs.

Local currency is Icelandic Krona, and it is very strong, just to know.

Will my cell phone work in Iceland?

For European mobile phones the answer is yes, they will work. But this does not hold for most North American phones. In such cases you can use a SIM card from like Vodafone, Siminn, and Nova.

Is Reykjavik expensive?

The answer is yes it is expensive. This is why it is best to avoid top season which is summer.

Do I need a plug adapter for Iceland?

They use standard Europlug socket with two round prongs. If you plan to use an adapter, choose the one labelled as a Northern Europe adapter.

Can I charge my iPhone in Iceland?

With such devices there will be no problems, they can charge from any voltage source in the range 100 to 240 V. Iceland uses 230 V.

What month is best for northern lights in Iceland?

In principle, auroras happen all the time, but you cannot see it when nights are not dark enough, so do not think about summer if this is what you want to watch.

I already mentioned September, but the peak season for northern lights is winter till March. In these months you can have nights up to 18-19 hours.

What is Harpa?

Reykjavik was designated UNESCO City of Literature 2011. The same year they opened the Harpa, see the picture below, an incredible concert hall, and conference center.

The Harpa.
The Harpa.

This building has received numerous awards for its architecture and as a concert and conference center. It was named as the one of the best concert houses of the new millenium by Gramophone Magazine 2010.

The Harpa is now a home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic Opera, and Reykjavík Big Band.

Please see more about Reykjavik in this video:


So now you know more about the most northerly capital in the world. As you realize, the top three are in Europe, and Reykjavik is the champion. But do you know which is the world’s southernmost national capital? Follow this link to read about it.

This site is all about capitals, and I add texts here on a regular basis, so bookmark it and keep as a reference. Check also my text about the highest capital city in Europe. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.

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