Walk between the colourful corrugated-iron dwellings on Vesturgata, and emerge beside the tourist office (3).
Lunch on the run Here you'll find Pylsuhusid, a kiosk serving hot dogs (Iceland's favourite fast food) for ISK450 (£2.25).
Getting there British Airways (03; ba.com) returns to the Heathrow-Reykjavik route next week, while early next month easy Jet (08; easyjet.com) launches flights to the city from Stansted, adding to existing services from Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Luton and Manchester.
A bed in a four-person dorm costs ISK3,400 (£17), while a private double is ISK11,700 (£58). Take a view The harbourside has been transformed by Harpa (8), a vast concert hall conceived during Iceland's boom years.
When it opened in 2011, the country was already plumbing economic depths.
The Icelandic capital is blossoming, with the new Culture House (1) reflecting the nation's art and literature, Iceland's biggest and tallest hotel recently opened, and a host of fresh places to eat and drink.
And just as the Northern Lights season begins, two new flights are starting to the Icelandic capital.
Beyond it at Fiskisloo 23, Whales of Iceland (10) contains life-size replicas in steel and foam of 23 cetaceans found around Iceland's coast (00 3; whalesoficeland.is; 9am to 6pm daily; ISK2,900/£14.50).