Highlights of Reykjavik
A beautiful sculpture of a Viking ship located by the ocean on a small peninsula by Sæbraut, close to the Reykjavík center. The sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason symbolises the Viking past of the Icelanders and an ode to the sun. It serves as reminder of our history and heritage when the first Viking settlers came sailing to Iceland. An ideal opportunity to see Sólfarið at its best is when the sun is setting, at whatever time that may be.
With an impressive, modern design, the building sits right on the northern shore of Lake Tjörnin. It’s not only offices for the mayor and city’s excutive officials, but is also open to visitors, providing internet access, an information desk, exhibition halls and a cafe. The restaurant boasts huge glass windows so you can sit back and admire the water, bird life, nature and city surrounds. The three dimensional map of Iceland is always a favourite with visitors to the country.
One of Reykjavík’s most iconic buildings and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. The tower of the church is among the city’s highest buildings and offers a fantastic view of the city. It’s named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Petursson, author of the Passion Hymns. The architect who designed it, Guðjón Samúelsson is said to have designed it to resemble the basalt columns of Iceland’s landscape.
Standing at 25 metres high, Perlan is one of Reykjavík’s most striking buildings and although it was opened to the public in 1991 it still makes a stand out piece of architecture for its modern construction. Up on the fourth level there is a 360 degree viewing platform where you can get the best panoramic views of Reykjavík and when the sun sets it’s a spectacular spot for the northern lights. You can also dine at the Perlan restaurant that slowly rotates so you get to see the whole city without even having to turn your head.
People go to the pond to feed the birds and enjoy one of the most amazing views that Reykjavík has to offer. There isn’t a better place in the city to enjoy a beautiful sunset and you can watch or feed a huge variety of birdlife that calls the lake home while you’re at it. When the lake freezes over in winter, hot geothermal waters are pumped in to defrost an area for the birds while those who can handle the cold keep warm from the romantic atmosphere and take to the ice on skates.
Harpa stands at the edge of the Reykjavik Harbour with Iceland‘s biggest concert hall suitable for a broad range of concerts and cultural events. Harpa also occasionally hosts promotions, plays, and public events. It‘s open to everyone, always, and you should definitely visit Harpa, whether it‘s for a show, to buy souvenirs, a concert or a lovely dinner in one of the fabulous restaurants. Designed by a Danish firm in co-operation with Ólafur Elíasson, an Icelandic artist.
The descriptive name comes from the fact that it‘s the first lasting harbor in Reykjavik. The most visited area is the eastern pier where you’ll find a community of shops, galleries, electric bike and scooter rentals and guided tours in Reykjavík and whale watching companies. The area is filled with excellent restaurants and coffee houses. The atmosphere at the old harbour is friendly, the air is fresh and salty and there’s plenty of interesting activities to check out.
Apart from its ancient ruins and rich historical background, other attractions include impressive works of ar. With an extensive network of trails and a population of resident horses, the island can be explored both on foot and by horseback. No matter what path you take, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding mainland, and to the west, you’ll be able to see the impressive outline of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Höfði House, built in 1909, is considered to be one of the most beautiful and historically significant buildings in the Reykjavík area. It’s best known as the location for the 1986 summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov, a historical event that effectively marked the end of the Cold War. During this meeting images of the house were broadcast all over the world. The sculpture in front of the house depicts pillars from the chieftain’s seat of the first Norwegian settler in Reykjavík.
A little bit of paradise is to be found in the form of a golden-sanded geothermal beach at Nauthólsvík in Reykjavík. It was opened in 2001 to the delight of residents and tourists alike and now attracts an estimated 530.000 guests each year. The creation of the geothermal beach was an ambitious, but very successful, project involving the construction of a lagoon with large sea walls, where cold sea and hot geothermal water fuse together resulting in higher temperatures.
In Laugardalur you will find a youth hostel, a campsite, and the largest outdoor thermal pool in Reykjavík, Laugardalslaug. It is very hard to describe the experience of tiptoeing over frozen ground to the pool in your swimsuit and then immersing yourself in the wonderful water that nature has heated to just the right temperature. Laugardalur also boasts a beautiful botanical garden featuring an impressive selection of Arctic flowers and plants.
A work of art conceived as a beacon to world peace by Yoko Ono. The work is designed in the form of a wishing well from which a powerful tower of light beams. The light tower is composed of a number of individual lights that join together to form a single beam. The strength, intensity and brilliance of the light tower continually changes as particles in the air fluctuate with the changing weather and atmospheric conditions unique to Iceland.
Every country has traditions when it comes to leisure. Iceland’s big thing is swimming pools. Laugardalslaug is the city’s largest pool with extensive facilities, located in Laugardalur Valley. Its facilities include a 50m outdoor pool, outdoor children’s pool and paddling pool, two waterslides, numerous hot tubs, steam bath, gym and mini golf course. There really is no better place to be on a sunny day, or a cold one for that matter.