Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is also the northernmost capital in Europe. The city is a destination unlike any other and most visitors fall helplessly in love, wanting to come back as soon as possible. The city is close to nature and you have wonderful views of the ocean and mountains from almost anywhere in the city.
Reykjavík may be small, but it has everything you can wish for in a big metropolitan city. Here you will find world-class restaurants, designer stores, cozy cafés, fine museums and galleries and a bustling nightlife. At the same time you will experience the village innocence and friendly atmosphere.
Here is a list of the places you absolutely must visit on your Reykjavík City Break:
Photo by Tanya Hart
The church is Reykjavík’s main landmark and the tower can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. This immense white-concrete building (1945-86) has been the star of many postcards and is probably the most photographed building in Reykjavík. Take the elevator up to the 74.5m high tower and enjoy the amazing panoramic view of the city and all the colourful houses. The church is named after pastor and poet Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-1674) and the architecture is inspired by columnar basalt in the Icelandic nature, which you can for example see around Svartifoss, Dverghamrar, Gerðuberg and Aldeyjarfoss.
In front of Hallgrímskirkja you will find a statue of Leifur Eiríksson (Leif Ericsson), an Icelandic explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
This small square in Reykjavík City centre has been a popular gathering place for decades. The square is surrounded by cozy cafés and important landmark buildings like the Parliament House and Reykjavík Cathedral. In the centre of the square you will find a statue of Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879), who was an important historical figure, the leader of the 19th century independence movement in Iceland.
Photo by Elisabeth Ellis
This is a weird and wonderful place, especially if you are into eccentric and slightly creepy things. The museum is small, but it houses the world’s largest display of penises and penile parts. Featured items include giant members from sperm whales, miniscule mouse parts, contributions from a polar bear and a single human sample. True story!
Photo by Special Tours
Whale watching tours are offered daily from Reykjavík harbour. These tours offer you a chance to see the great mammals of the sea in their natural habitat. The most common whales spotted include Minke Whales, White-Beaked Dolphins, harbor Porpoises and even the majestic Humpback Whales. These tours are educational and interactive and the experience is nothing short of amazing.
5. Höfði House and Sólfar Sculpture
Photo by Michael Nyika
Höfði House is a beautiful building of historical importance. The house was the location for the 1986 Reykjavík Summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev on the Soviet Union. The meeting was effectively a step to the end of the Cold War.
Photo by Atli Harðarson
Sólfar (Sun Voyager) is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. The sculpture is stunning and located by the sea, not far from Höfði House.
Photo by mebrett
This is the oldest museum in the country, a home to Icelandic historical treasures. The museum displays artefacts from Settlement to the modern age. It gives an in-depth overview of Icelandic history, culture and heritage and you can get an audio guide that guides you through the exhibitions and adds important details.
Photo by Klaus Nahr
Grótta is a popular recreation area and a romantic getaway for locals who come there to enjoy spectacular views and watch sunset or the Northern Lights. Just before entering the parking lot, you will find a small, round footbath carved into a rock. The footbath is fed with warm water from a geothermal borehole. This is a wonderful place to sit, soak your feet and hold hands with your loved one while watching a beautiful sunset. Can it get any better than that?
Have you already planned your Reykjavík City Break, Stopover or Iceland Holiday? If not, TripCreator can help you on your way. We have predefined City Breaks or you can create your own tailor-made trip to Iceland.
If you liked this blog post, you might also want to take a look at our list of the 15 Most Beautiful Waterfalls In Iceland.