The Top 10 Sights to See in Reykjavík
There isn't a better place in the city to enjoy a beautiful sunset
Hallgrímskirkja church is 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 for the small price of 400ISK for adults, 100ISK for children. Hallgrímskirkja is the largest church and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland. 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 lava flows 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. Consider a visit to The Saga Museum while you're there.
People go to Tjörnin 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.
When the sun is shining and the air is hot, Austurvöllur is the place to be no matter who you are. Surrounded by cafés and restaurants on Vallarstræti and Pósthússtræti, this public square is a wildly popular spot for locals to dine outside, soak up some sunshine or recline in the grass with picnics. With its close proximity to the Parliament of Iceland building, Austurvöllur has contrastingly also been the gathering place for political protests. At the center of it all stands a statue of Jón Sigurðsson, the renowned figure who led Iceland to independence.
Wether you want to sample dried fish and fermented shark, purchase a bag of Icelandic candy or browse through thrifted clothing, Kolaportið should be the destination of your choice. Kolaportið is an indoor flea market that is open during the weekend between 11am-5pm. The atmosphere is very unique and the old industrial building is usually filled with people hunting for books or antiques, grocery shopping at the food court, selling their old garments, buying music and DVD's or digging through piles of stuff in search of hidden treasures. We recommend bringing cash, as the majority of stalls are unable to accept cards.
The whole 28.000 square meters of Harpa stand at the edge of the Reykjavik Harbour with Iceland‘s biggest concert hall suitable for a broad range of concerts and cultural events, conference centre with meeting facilities and in-house catering and fine restaurants. Harpa also occasionally hosts promotions, plays, operas 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. Harpa was designed by a Danish firm in co-operation with Ólafur Elíasson, an Icelandic artist, and opened to the public on May 4th 2011.
The so-called old harbor of Reykjavík is the first lasting harbor of the city. 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. You will find numerous whale watching companies willing to take you out to sea on unforgettable excursions. The area is filled with excellent restaurants (sushi and other seafood, tapas, burgers, etc.) 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.
The Sun Voyager or 'Sólfar' is a 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. It should be every photographer's dream to capture the amazing view.
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. Café Öndin boasts huge glass windows so you can sit back and admire the water, bird life, nature and city surrounds. Go to the galleries to admire one of the steady streams of new and exciting exhibitions always coming through. The three dimensional map of Iceland is always a favourite with visitors to the country.