This list of places to see in Reykjavik will help you prepare a visit to the capital of Iceland and start to get to know one of the most impressive countries in the world.
Although it is true that this small and cold city, most travelers do not spend much time and only use it as a gateway or exit or to make a circular route through the country, it is interesting to spend at least a day in it to have a first contact with the country and its people, try the best local gastronomy and make some excursion to the wonders that are nearby, even if you do not have as many points of interest as other European cities.
We have made a list of what we think are, the 10 places to visit in Reykjavik … We started!
Hallgrimskirkja is one of the most amazing churches we have seen in the world and one of the must-see places in Reykjavik. This huge church, more than 74 meters high, is also the tallest building in Iceland and stands out for its architecture inspired by the basalt columns of this land of fire and ice.
Admission is free, although it should be noted that the interior is quite sober and the most remarkable is a large pipe organ. Despite this, it is worthwhile to go up in the elevator to the top of the church to have fantastic views of the city.
Right in front of the church is the statue of Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red and a gift from the United States to the Icelandic people.
Visiting hours: every day from 9am to 9pm from May to September. The rest of the year closes at 5:00 p.m.
2. Sun Traveler
One of our favorite places and another of the places to visit in Reykjavik, is the sculpture of the Sun Traveler or Sophar. This sculpture built to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city is at the end of a beautiful walk from the Old Port, on the seafront.
Built in steel, it represents the skeleton of a Viking ship and symbolizes a trip towards the sun, hope and eternity, besides being a magnificent place to relax next to the Atlantic Ocean, with the snowy mountains in the background.
3. Old port, one of the places to see in Reykjavik
The old port is one of the most atmospheric areas of the city, where the fishermen’s old wooden huts have been turned into restaurants. In addition to tasting the local cuisine based on fresh fish and seafood, strolling along the docks and seeing the boat traffic, it is from this area that you can take an excursion to see whales and puffins, two of the icons of the island.
If your visit coincides with Saturday or Sunday, keep in mind that during the weekend, the Kolaportid market is set up here, with stalls that sell everything from wool clothes to good local food.
And if you’re hungry, a curious place near the port is the Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a hot dog stand very famous thanks to the visit of Bill Clinton and what they say, has the best hot dog in Iceland.
Austurstraeti, Laekjargata and Skolavordustigur are some of the streets to stroll through in Reykjavik, although the main and best-known shopping street is Laugavegur.
This street, as well as restaurants and bars, is full of clothing stores, especially for outdoor activities and extreme sports, as well as a souvenir shop. If you want to buy something, keep in mind that the quality of the clothes is very high, as well as their prices.
Perlan or La Perla, is a building of more than 25 meters, located on a hill and another of the places to see in Reykjavik. Although it is a bit far from the center, the panoramic views of the city from its fourth floor and its surroundings, makes it worthwhile to visit and spend some time enjoying the place.
The most curious thing is the pearl-shaped structure of the building that surprises and even more when it is known that for years, it has served as storage of hot water for the city.
6. Plaza Austurvóllur
When the sun rises, the terraces of the bars of the Plaza Austurvóllur are filled with locals for a beer or a bite to eat, or simply lie on the grass. The square, the oldest and one of the must-see places in Reykjavik, is surrounded by colorful wooden houses and several important buildings of the city such as the Parliament of Iceland and the Lutheran Cathedral, as well as being located in the center, the Statue of Jon Sigurdsson.
7. Lake Tjörn
Another place to visit in Reykjavik in one day is the beautiful Lake Tjörn, surrounded by beautiful colorful houses. This haven of peace located near the center of the city, is perfect for a long and quiet walk while you watch as different species of birds move around the pond.
Near the lake there are also some important buildings of the city such as the National Gallery, the Town Hall or the Fríkirkjan Protestant Church.
8. Höfði House
If you continue walking along the promenade after seeing the sculpture of the Sun Traveler, you will arrive at Höfði, a beautiful house that is of great importance at the historical level when a meeting of Presidents Ronald Reagan of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev of the former USSR in 1986 to end the cold war. Although you cannot visit inside, the wooden house surrounded by beautiful surroundings places it among the places to see in Reykjavík.
Located on the seafront, between the Old Port and the sculpture of the Sun Traveler, the Harpa stands out for its impressive facade formed by a lattice of glass hexagons. This building with magnificent acoustics is a center for concerts and conferences in the city.
10. Excursions in Reykjavik
In addition to all these places to see in Reykjavik, one of the best things if you are staying several days in the city, is to do one of the most recommended day trips …
– Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall and the geysers of Geysir are three of the gems of Iceland.
– La Laguna Azul: Enjoying a hot spring bath in the pools of the famous Laguna Azul spa. Located about 70 kilometers from Reykjavik, if you do not have a car, you can take a bus from the BSI station or an excursion in some agency in the city.
– Aurora Borealis: One of the most impressive natural phenomena in the world, the Northern Lights, can be seen in Iceland from the end of August to mid-April. Keep in mind that nobody can assure you to see an aurora, although Iceland and near Reykjavik, is one of the best places to enjoy them.
– Whale Watching: One of the experiences we remember most about our trip to Iceland, was the first time we saw whales in their natural habitat.
– Game of Thrones: Some of the scenes of the famous series Game of Thrones, especially those that refer to the Northern Kingdom and the lands beyond the Wall, are shot in Iceland.