10 Things that make Reykjavik worth visiting

Reykjavik, Hallgrimskirkja

Reykjavik, spot the church?

Very often, people who visit Iceland don’t visit Reykjavik or stay a very short time in the city. However, even that the capital is not so big, it’s really nice to stop there. Here you will find 10 cool things to do in Reykjavik.

1. Hallgrimskirkja church

Hallgrímskirkja is both a parish church and a national sanctuary in Iceland. It is named after the poet and pastor Hallgrímur Pétursson. Go to visit the church and ride the elevator right to the top to see the view. The cost of admission to the tower is only ISK 900 and you have a very great view on the city and its colourful roofs. And did you know that the unique basalt columns at Svartifoss inspired the architect who made Hallgrímskirkja church?

2. The Settlement Exhibition – Landnámssýningin

The Settlement Exhibition is the perfect place to stop if you want to discover the Viking age. The museum is based on a 2001 excavation of the area where the oldest archaeological evidence of human settlement of Iceland, dating from 871 +/- 2 years was discovered. The finds include a house and a collection of artefacts that give you a glimpse into the everyday life of life in the Viking age. The interactive display of the museum with the various multimedia technologies makes it fun, informative and interesting for people of all ages.

3. Lake Tjörnin and the Reykjavik City Hall

Tjörnin is a prominent small lake in central Reykjavík. Tjörnin means "the pond" and is a home for countless ducks, swans and geese that even stay for the entire winter season thanks to a little geothermal heating. Bird feeding on the lake shore, a popular pastime, has led to the lake being called "the biggest bread soup in the world". Most visitors to the city pass along its shore, as it is situated in the city centre next to the Reykjavik City Hall where you can see a huge relief map of Iceland.

4.Walk in the streets, see the colourful houses and search for street art

Just walk the streets downtown, look at all the colourful houses and do some shopping in the nice little shops. You can also search for street art even if actually, you don’t even have to search for it because there are so many that you’ll find a decent amount just by wandering around the city.

Harbour in Reykjavik

Reykjavik Downtown Harbour

5. The Harbour

This colourful Old Harbour was built between the years 1913 and 1917. It is a very beautiful place where you can walk and have stunning views across the bay to Mount Esja. The Old Harbour area is where the majority of marine activities, such as whale watching and puffin tours are concentrated. Just walk around and admire the boats and the blue water.

6. Eat a hot dog

The hot dog stand Baejarins bestu (it literally means "The Town's Best'), near Reykjavik harbour, has a reputation of selling the best hot dogs in Iceland. There is usually a long line there and many foreign visitors claim the hot dogs to be some of the best in the world. Just ask Bill Clinton and James Hetfield, who are among its most well-known guests. If you like a good hot dog, this is the place to go.

7. Go to the Flea Market

The Kolaportid flea market is located in the old harbour area, a few minutes from the city centre. It is indoors and open every weekend. Stalls sell vintage clothing, used books, knick knacks and antiques, as well as toys, woollen goods and more. Kolaportid is an ideal place to watch Icelanders in their natural habitat, and a great place to buy strange Icelandic delicacies such as dried fish and fermented shark, but also the freshest liquorice you have ever tasted and freshly baked Kleinur.

8. Eat at a local restaurant and discover the Icelandic food.

Go to one of the numerous restaurants of Reykjavik and discover the taste of Icelandic food. Here you can find an article about local’s top 5 places to eat out in Reykjavik Top 5 places

9. Go to a swimming pool

Go swimming in a public pool, get naked with the locals in the shower and enjoy a soak in an outdoor hot tub even if its -5° outside. Check out this map Swimming Pools Map to find the nearest pool to you.

The Sun Voyager against Mount Esja

Sun Voyager

10. Sun Voyager

Reykjavík is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with waterfront paths stretching around the entire peninsular. There is one well-photographed spot which has the added charm of being home to the striking Sun Voyager: a massive steel sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason which may resemble a Viking ship, but is in fact a dream boat and ode to the sun. The epic view of Mount Esja, especially when it's framed by the fiery edges of dawn and dusk, make this a favourite romantic destination for travellers and those with an appreciation of natural beauty.

Hallgrimskirkja, the downtown city icon

Hallgrimskirkja Church

Reykjavik, Hallgrimskirkja

Reykjavik, spot the church?

Tjornin, the pond in Reykjavik

The Reykjavik Downtown Pond

Harbour in Reykjavik

Reykjavik Downtown Harbour

The Sun Voyager against Mount Esja

Sun Voyager

Contributed: Mathilde Lelongt