Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland is home to architectural marvels, designer decks, unique museums and the Blue Lagoon. Visit this island country of the North Atlantic ocean and traverse a colourful, touristy affair.
1. Enjoy Reykjavik from Above
Get all the way upto the bell tower of the Hallgrímskirkja church, the capital’s landmark and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland at 73 metre. Located at the southeastern part of the city, the church was built over the period of more than 40 years from 1945-1986. Very sober on the inside, with barely any ornament or decoration, it offers a magnificent view of the charming, colourful houses of Reykjavik set against the incredibly beautiful white mountains, a breathtaking landscape you don’t see often. Another place to enjoy the spectacular view is the Perlan which is located on the Öskjuhlíð hill. It was built in 1991 using six gigantic water storage tanks and placing a semispherical structure above them. From the top of its more than 25 meters of height one can enjoy a walk on its viewing deck and discover another side of the city, very impressive both during summer and winter! The inside serves as a concert and exhibition hall, and one can also find a revolving restaurant and a few shops here.
2. Shop Icelandic Wool Designer Clothes and Much More
Typical hand-knitted pullovers, thermal clothes, heels, jewelry and Iceland-designed toys for kids… you won’t have enough luggage space to carry it all! Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur are the main shopping streets in the downtown area. Enjoy a nice walk for window-shopping and enter the many boutiques offering a wide variety of clothes and objects – from designer costumes for men to Christmas decorations or art sculptures made from real volcanic lava. If it’s cold outside and you would like to enjoy a shopping session away from the sometimes glacial winter winds, head to Kringlan, Reykjavik largest shopping center, where international high-street brands such as Zara and Tiger are located next to some local ones such as 66º North, brand selling high quality outdoor clothing.
3. Eat Iceland’s Home Food
The capital city offers many choices for a quick bite or a large, multiple course meal. Both vegetarians and nonvegetarians can indulge in a sumptuous meal that would suit their pocket. If you are not a vegetarian, try some Hangikjöt (smoked lamb) or Kjötsúpa (meat soup), and some Icelandic fish, served in many restaurants around the old harbor depending on the catch of the day! If you are a vegetarian, do not miss two of the best spots in town: Svarta Kaffid that serves a wide variety of soups on a bread bowel, which of course can be eaten afterwards, and Kryddlegin Hjörtu, literally “spicy hearts”, offering soups and a salad bar, all local and cooked with love. Of course, visitors cannot leave without trying Skyr, the Icelandic yogurt that is a healthy mix of Greek yogurt and strained yogurt. Truly delicious!
4. Discover Unique Museums
Who said museums were boring? Whether you are interested in art and culture, diging deeply into the Icelandic history or simply having some museum-fun, visit the museums here. For those wishing to learn more about the Viking Age (eighth to 11th century AD), head over to the National Museum of Iceland and the Settlement Exhibition to admire a vast collection of tools, crafts and archeological remains, as well as the oldest archeological evidence of human settlement of Iceland. If you prefer an open museum, visit the Árbær museum, a recreated typical Icelandic village showing how farmers used to live before and after the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840). Just for fun,visit The Icelandic Phallological Museum, locally known as the Penis Museum, displays some 280 penises from more than 90 animals. Because, why not?
5. Take a Dip in the Blue Lagoon
Although it is not technically located in Reykjavik itself, the Blue Lagoon is a must-stop to spend at least half a day. Located in the lava field in Grindavík, about 50 kilometres from Reykjavik, this man-made lagoon is fed by hot water from the geothermal power plant next to it. The blue shade comes from the silicate minerals in the water which are not dangerous. Visitors are offered the unique experience of swimming in hot, blue water while it is cold outside or even snowing! Tourists and locals can book different spa services such as in-water massages, facial or other beauty treatments. There is also a lounge room, a snack bar and a restaurant, as well as the star of the place – an inwater bar from which one can order a wide range of drinks to enjoy while swimming!