Reykjavík must surely be the smallest capital in the northern hemisphere and as such bears this status with pride. Most tourists don‘t feel like they are in the country’s biggest city, as distances between attractions are not huge, traffic is not overwhelming and downtown Reykjavík is laid-back and interesting. The main shopping streets are geared primarily towards tourists and their needs. Reykjavík, however, has the trappings of any major centre which soon becomes apparent when dining out or spending a night on the town. Quality is the keyword when visiting the capital of Iceland. The highlights of Reykjavík might not always be obvious, but they are plentiful, depending on what you seek from the city.
Everybody loves a good view and Reykjavík has some amazing vistas of mountains and fjords as well as multi-coloured rooftops. Perlan at Öskuhlíð is a great place to see Esja, the beautiful mountain and surrounding fjords. Another high point is the Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral at the top of Skólavörðurstigur, from which a whole panorama opens up. A fee is charged to go up the bell tower.
This small city has a good reputation of being safe, despite the hectic nightlife that might go on until all hours of the morning. Most attractions are within walking distance and if not, there are various shuttles and buses to main attractions. The Hop-On-Hop-Off bus is a good way to tour the city and can be booked through TripGuide Iceland. Most museums are located downtown and accept the Reykjavik City Card as well as some art galleries. The Harpa Concert Hall is a magnificent edifice on the waterfront which hosts various cultural events and concerts. Guided tours through the building reveal architectural genius.
Late Night Walks
Most walking paths are well-lit and neighbourhoods are calm, so going for a midnight stroll to see the midnight sun or northern lights is taken for granted by the locals. Two major walking paths are along the seashore of the city. One is from Harpa Concert Hall along the seaboard with a view of boat activity from the harbour and Viðey Island. The other is from the Grandi area to Grótta lighthouse. Cycling in the dark is also a favourite pasttime for some.
Swimming, Whale Watching and Horse Riding
Reykjavík has its own sandy beach with a giant hot tub at Nauthólsvik which is a favourite of local ocean swimmers. There are also 7 public swimming pools each with their own setup and character. Getting in touch with nature doesn‘t take much in Reykjavík where shuttles will take you to horse riding activities in the suburbs and beyond. Whale watching from the central harbour is a great activity while in Reykjavík.
We recommend booking your activities in advance through TripGuide Iceland.
Besides all of the above, the actual highlight of Reykjavík is that it is so close to amazing landscape and wide open spaces from where the real Iceland beckons.