Iceland’s biggest city, Reykjavik bears the distinction of being the world’s northernmost capital, and for virtually every Icelandic visitor it serves as a gateway, just to the city itself or to the rugged adventure options beyond.
Reykjavik is filled with things to do that range from the usual suspects (museums like the National Museum of Iceland and The Settlement Exhibition) to more uncommon attractions like geothermal spas at the nearby Blue Lagoon. Here are the top 8 things to do:
1.See the Northern Lights – Iceland is one of the best places in the world to experience the rare and gorgeous Northern Lights. You may be able to spot them from downtown Reykjavik, but the best place to see them within the city limits is by the seaside at Seltjarnarnes.
There, you will be away from the street lights and be able to take in the full majesty of the experience. The area of Grótta is particularly nice; many birds nest there and there is also a charming old lighthouse, perfect for photography enthusiasts.
2. Visit Hallgrimskirkja Church – Towering over the centre of Reykjavík is Hallgrímskirkja church, visible from almost every angle of the city and therefore making it very easy to find. At the top of this 74.5m expressionist building is a viewing platform boasting 360° views over the entire city. Along with the view from Perlan on Öskjuhlíð hill, this is probably the best view you will get of the city, save for from air.
3. Explore the Green Areas and Public Parks – There are numerous green areas and parks you can visit in Reykjavík. Public gardens in the city include Hallargarður and Hljómskálagarður, by the city pond, as well as Klambratún/Miklatún, surrounding the art museum, Kjarvalsstaðir. These are popular areas for outdoor games throughout the summer time.
4. Whales of Iceland – Iceland has a rich history with the giants of the sea, and while visitors to the country can sign up for a variety of whale watching tours, the only way to really take in the full scope and beauty of the country’s whales is in the massive Whales of Iceland museum, which may be the largest of its kind in the world.
5.Piece of Berlin Wall In Iceland – A 4-ton section of the iconic Berlin Wall was erected in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik in 2015. It was gifted from the New West Berlin art gallery in Germany to commemorate the 25th anniversary of German reunification.
6. Álfaskólinn (Elfschool) – The school studies Iceland’s other supernatural fauna as well, such as fairies, trolls, dwarves and gnomes, but they mainly focus on elves, because they are the most commonly believed in and “seen.” The school also offers five-hour classes for curious travelers which include a tour of hidden folk habitats and end with coffee and pancakes with the school’s headmaster. Students receive a diploma at the end of the class, which shows that you were sufficiently educated in the affairs of elves.
7.Old harbor – The old shipping harbor is right along the sea side close to the town center. Super cute harbor with old fishing boats and a great view of the skyline.
8. Walk around the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall – The Harpa is a gorgeous glass building right along the ocean that hosts concerts and plays. There is no charge to walk around inside and marvel at the design. Plus, it’s a great spot to catch a view over the harbor and Mt. Esja.