Home to more than 60% of the Icelandic population, Reykjavik is a green, miniature metropolis with a heart as big as the mountains that surround the city. Nature is never far from the urban delights, and in Reykjavik you’ll discover something new and delightful around every corner, without ever losing touch with the wonderful spirit of Iceland.
One of the smaller capitals in Europe, Reykjavik is easy to get around in on foot. With so many cultural and green spaces to explore, as well as plenty of opportunities to discover the wonders that lie immediately beyond the city limits, you’ll never be short of things to do, see and taste here. In the 9th century, Viking chieftain Ingolfur Arnason built the first settlement in the island, and his son Thorsteinn set up the Icelandic parliament, one of the oldest continuous governing bodies in the world today. Start your tour of the city in front of Parliament House in the west of the city, before making your way eastwards to the truly stunning Hallgrímskirkja, which rises majestically above the rest of the city with its rocket-shaped spire. From the bell-tower it feels like you can see even the furthest corners of Iceland. Right next to the church, you’ll find the Einar Jonsson Museum. Dedicated to the first sculptor on Iceland, the garden just behind the museum is full of wonderful creations.
For another stunning view of the city, head to the magnificent glass-dome known as Perlan. Literally meaning The Pearl, the building’s mirrored walls and ceiling glisten like a true Nordic gem in the sun-light, turning emerald at night when the Northern Lights dance across the sky. From the top of the building, easily reached through our city tour, you can view the harbour and the vast Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the capital. Endeavour on a bit of shopping at the Kringlan Shopping Centre near Perlan, before grabbing a quick but delicious lunch at one of the Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur’s hotdog-stands that are found throughout the city. Hotdogs may not be what you immediately associate with Iceland, but the locals have really managed to make this light meal a treat of their own.
After this scrumptious bite, head back north towards the Reykjavik Harbour, past the jagged glass-façade of the Harpa Concert Hall. Swing by the Saga Museum for a fascinating glimpse into the colourful Icelandic Sagas that still echo strongly through the fabric of modern Iceland. From the harbour you can go on a whale-watching tour before returning back for a well-deserved dinner at one of the nearby restaurants that specialise in sumptuous Nordic cuisine. Watch the Imagine Peace Tower send a beam of light up into the atmosphere and enjoy strolling through the lit-up streets as you mentally plan the adventures of the next day: stay in Reykjavik, or head out and explore some of the geological wonders that make Iceland a truly otherworldly wonderland.
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