Reykjavík: Best Things to Do

Image by Andrés Nieto Porras from Flickr

Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland

This city is famous for its natural beauty, from the Northern Lights, grassland, snow-covered mountains to its magnificent landmarks such as the Sun Voyager, Hallgrimskirkja, Harpa, Perlan, and Hallgrimskirkja

Don't forget to taste the Icelandic traditional food in Reykjavik

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SIGHTSEEING

The Sun Voyager is a metal sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, it's described as a dreamboat that conveys a dream of hope. This iconic sculpture is a popular landmark to visit. You will be able to see the ultimate gleam and beauty of the sculpture when sunset. Harpa Concert Hall is a conference center and Reykjavik's greatest landmark. Many concerts have been held in Harpa since the opening of the building. The building also has two restaurants on the 1st and 4th floor. There's also a shop that sells books, flowers, and Icelandic souvenirs.

Sun Voyager

Huge 1990 stainless-steel sculpture of a boat by Jón Gunnar Árnason, set on granite beside the sea

Address : Sæbraut, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Harpa Concert Hall

Modern glass honeycomb concert hall & conference center, home to the national opera & symphony

Address : Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

DOWNTOWN

Reykjavik Art Museum is the largest visual art institution in Iceland. The museum often holds a variety of events annually and holds exhibitions from international artists as well. The museum also takes part in collaborations of music, film, design, dance, drama, and literature festivals. There are three locations of the Reykjavik Art Museum, in Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, and Ásmundarsafn.

Reykjavik Art Museum

Modern former home of artist Ásmundur Sveinsson featuring many of his sculptures

Address : Tryggvagata 17, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

SHOPPING

Kolaportið is Iceland's only flea market. The indoor flea market is located near the harbor of Reykjavik. You can shop for unique things here such as vinyl records, licorice, Icelandic souvenirs and even fermented shark which is the national dish of Iceland. But you have to make sure to check the day before you're coming to this place because the market only opens on Saturday and Sunday.

Kolaportið

Large indoor bazaar with vendors selling new & used items, plus traditional Icelandic food

Address : Tryggvagötu 19 , Old Harbour Grófin Reykjavik Kvosin, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

FOOD & DRINK

Lamb, dairy, and fish are the main ingredients of Icelandic food. Some of the popular foods in Iceland are skyr, hangikjöt (smoked lamb), kleinur, laufabrauð, and bollur. Icelandic foods are usually preserved by pickling, drying, and smoking that makes the food have distinctive flavors. Brennivín is considered Iceland's distilled beverage. The popular alcoholic drink is made of fermented grain or potato and added with a caraway or a Persian cummin for the flavor.

CULTURE

In 2011, Iceland was designated by UNESCO as the City of Literature because of its contribution to classical literature, and the famous literature is Icelanders' sagas and prose. Icelandic culture is deeply rooted in North Germanic traditions, and Iceland is really good at preserving their native language. The art in Iceland, particularly paintings are mostly inspired by the beauty of Icelandic landscapes.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Peak season: Peak holiday season in Iceland happens during the summer, or from mid-June through Agust. A lot of people visit Iceland during this time because the sun never completely sets, so they can explore the country in the Midnight Sun.

HOTEL

Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura is located in one of the greenest areas in Reykjavik. The hotel is filled with decorations that are inspired by the beautiful nature that surrounds the hotel. You can also do some fun outdoor activities such as biking, running and walking the trail and pathways that are located near the hotel. Kex Hostel is an interesting vintage-themed hotel. The hotel is named after the word Kex which means biscuit in Iceland because the hostel was built in a former biscuit factory. The hotel has a unique vintage barbershop that is located in a former vault. And for you who likes reading, the hostel has a bar with a collection of books.

Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura

This sleek hotel is 1 km from Nautholsvik geothermal beach and 2 km from the National Gallery of Iceland

Address : Nauthólsvegur 52, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Kex Hostel

Offering views of the Atlantic Ocean, this hip hostel shares a building with artists' studios

It's a 3-minute walk from a bus stop and an 11-minute walk from Harpa concert hall

Address : Skúlagata 28, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

RESTAURANT

Kaffivagninn is the oldest restaurant in Iceland, it has been operating since 1935. They serve traditional Icelandic menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can try their tuna melt, smoked Icelandic salmon, Odin's fish soup, and the kffivagninn fish pan. The restaurant is located on the harbor in downtown Reykjavik. Another restaurant that is worth visiting is Höfnin or The Harbor. It is a family-run restaurant that has been established since 2010. The restaurant offers traditional Icelandic food with a modern twist. Some of their recommended menus are the shellfish soup, mussels, traditional fish stew, char, and the Icelandic lamb and beef.

Kaffivagninn

Kaffivagninn is the oldest restaurant in Iceland, it has been operating since 1935

They serve traditional Icelandic menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Address : Grandagarður 10, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Höfnin

A family-run restaurant that has been establsihed since 2010

Address : Geirsgata 7, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

CAFE

Café Loki is located in front of the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church and only serves Icelandic food and is the perfect place to have breakfast before you start exploring the city. You can enjoy the coffee and tea that they offer along with pancakes, bagel, and bread ice cream. And if you want to have a brunch instead, try their Icelandic plate choices. Another option to have a tasty breakfast is at Cafe Babalu, which is a vegan-friendly cafe. They offer delicious coffee and a selection of amazing pastry, and even hot chocolate. The unique decorations of the cafe also create a very nice atmosphere.

Café Loki

Café Loki is located in front of the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church and only serves Icelandic food and is the perfect place to have a breakfast

Address : Lokastígur 28, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Cafe Babalu

Sweet Cafe with nice atmosphere

Very fair prices for the area and everything is tasty

Address : Skólavörðustígur 22, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

BAR AND NIGHTLIFE

Snaps Bistro Bar is a French bistro that offers quality selections of wines, cocktails, and gin and tonic. The bar has a great atmosphere that is perfect to spend a night with friends.

Snaps Bistro Bar

A French bistro that offers quality selections of wines, cocktails, and gin and tonic

Address : Þórsgata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

INTERESTING PLACE

Hallgrimskirkja is the largest church in Iceland with its 74.5 meters height. The Icelandic inspired cathedral finished the construction in 1986 and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Reykjavik. You can enter the church and go to the top of the clock tower to enjoy a 360-degree view of Reykjavik. One of the reasons why people come to Iceland is to see the Northern Lights, and Aurora Reykjavík is the right place to visit before you start hunting for the Northern Lights. Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights information center with historical exhibits, art, and a theater. Here, you can participate in the guided tour to learn about Northern Light, from the perfect place to hunt, time, and even the camera set to capture the best sight of the Northern Lights.

Hallgrimskirkja

Inspired by Icelandic traditions, this modern cathedral, consecrated in 1986, has a 73m-high tower

Address : Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Aurora Reykjavik

Northern Lights information center with historical exhibits, art, a theater & guided tours

Address : Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOT

Perlan is a futuristic-looking building that features a real indoor ice cave, exhibitions Northern Light planetarium show, a restaurant, and an amazing observation deck that allows you to see the 360-degree view of Reykjavik. Another popular photo spot in Iceland is Þúfa located in Grandi. It is an outdoor art piece and a popular Reykjavik landmark. The interesting artwork is a place for inner peace and meditation. From this spot, you can also see the great views of Harpa.

Perlan

Futuristic revolving glass-domed fine dining restaurant in park setting, with cocktail bar

Þúfa

A spiral pathway leads visitors up a small hill to this outdoor installation by artist Ólöf Norda

Address : Norðurslóð, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland