Best things to do in Reykjavík

Let us get you through best things to see and what to visit in Reykjavík. Carefully selected sights by our users. Places to go, most interesting spots what to do. Simply top Reykjavík tourist attractions and sightseeings.

Reykjavík, Iceland

Harpa

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Harpa is a concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavík, Iceland. The opening concert was held on May 4, 2011. The building features a distinctive colored glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavik Art Museum

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Reykjavik Art Museum (founded in 1973) is the largest visual art institution in Iceland. It occupies three locations in Reykjavík; Hafnarhús by the old harbour (64.1490°N 21.9406°W / 64.1490; -21.9406 (Hafnarhús)), Kjarvalsstaðir by Klambratún (64.1378°N 21.9135°W / 64.1378; -21.9135 (Kjarvalsstaðir)) and Ásmundarsafn in Laugardalur (64.1416°N 21.8853°W / 64.1416; -21.8853 (Ásmundarsafn)).

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Sun Voyager

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Sun Voyager (Icelandic: Sólfar) is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, located next to the Sæbraut road in Reykjavík, Iceland. Sun Voyager is described as a dreamboat, or an ode to the sun. The artist intended it to convey the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavik City Hall

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Ráðhús Reykjavíkur (English: Reykjavík's City Hall) is situated by the Tjörnin (City Pond) in Reykjavík. It houses the offices of the mayor of Reykjavík and a large 3D map of Iceland. Since January 2017 it has also housed Reykjavík's official tourist information, Guide to Iceland, where travellers can get information about Iceland, book tours, accommodation and car rentals. The city hall is sometimes used for art exhibitions, functions or live music performances.The building was constructed in 1992 following an international competition won by architects Studio Granda.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

The Pearl

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Perlan (English: The Pearl) is one of the main landmarks in Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland. It is 25.7 metres (84.3 ft) high. It was originally designed by Ingimundur Sveinsson. Perlan is situated on the hill Öskjuhlíð, where there had been hot water storage tanks for decades. In 1991 the tanks were updated and a hemispherical structure placed on top. This project was largely at the behest of Davíð Oddsson, during his time as mayor of Reykjavík.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Austurvöllur

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Austurvöllur is a public square in Reykjavík, Iceland. The square is a popular gathering place for the citizens of Reykjavík, and especially during good weather due to the prevalence of cafés on Vallarstræti and Pósthússtræti. It has also been a focal point of protests due to the close location to the Parliament of Iceland.The square contains a large statue of Jón Sigurðsson, a leader of Iceland's independence movement.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

National Museum of Iceland

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The National Museum of Iceland (Þjóðminjasafn Íslands) was established on 24 February 1863, with Jón Árnason the first curator of the Icelandic collection, previously kept in Danish museums. The second curator, Sigurður Guðmundsson, advocated the creation of an antiquarian collection, and the museum was called the Antiquarian Collection until 1911.Before settling at its present location, at Suðurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík, in 1950, it was housed in various Reykjavík attics, finally for forty years in the attic of the National Library building on Hverfisgata (Safnahúsið, now the Culture House, Þjóðmenningarhúsið).

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Imagine Peace Tower

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The Imagine Peace Tower (Icelandic: Friðarsúlan, meaning "the peace column") is a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono, located on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay near Reykjavík, Iceland. It consists of a tall tower of light, projected from a white stone monument that has the words "Imagine Peace" carved into it in 24 languages. These words, and the name of the tower, are a reference to Lennon's campaign for peace, and his song "Imagine".

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Öskjuhlíð

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Öskjuhlíð is a hill in the centre of Reykjavík, Iceland. It is 61 metres (200 ft) above sea level. The hill is a designated outdoors area and is covered with trees. At the top of the hill stands Perlan, a landmark building set on top of six water tanks. It is a city landmark built during Davíð Oddsson's period as mayor.During the Second World War the United States Army occupation force built various bunkers on the hill.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Hofdi house

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Höfði is a house in northern Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland, built in 1909. Höfði is located at Félagstún. Initially, it was built for the French consul Jean-Paul Brillouin in Iceland and was the exclusive residence of poet and businessman Einar Benediktsson (1864-1940) for many years. It is best known as the location for the 1986 Reykjavík Summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That effectively was a step to the end of the Cold War. Within the building, the flags of the United States and the Soviet Union are cross-hung to commemorate the meeting.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Nauthólsvík

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Nauthólsvík is a small neighbourhood in Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland, about 900 metres (3,000 ft) from Perlan. It has a beach with an artificial hot spring.The temperature of the ocean is usually about 12 to 16 °C (54 to 61 °F) during the summer and drops down to about −2 °C (28 °F) in the winter. The area inside the cove is usually a few degrees warmer than the ocean. The temperature of the hot tub is pretty consistent around 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) with the second hot tub being a lot cooler. The service centre also sells beverages and snacks.Reykjavík University is located in Nauthólsvík in a new building, opened in 2010.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavik Museum of Photography

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Reykjavík Museum of Photography, in Reykjavík, Iceland, preserves about five million photographs by professional and amateur photographers, from around 1870 to the present century. The collection includes studio portraits, and industrial, advertising, press, landscape and family photographs.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

The Culture House

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|Safnahúsið (The Culture House)]] Safnahúsið (the Culture House), formerly Þjóðmenningarhúsið, is an exhibition space in Reykjavík, Iceland, which houses an exhibition, Points of View, drawn from various national museums and other cultural institutions. It has been part of the National Museum of Iceland since 2013. The director is Markús Þór Andrésson. The building, Hverfisgata 15, was constructed to house the National Library and at one time also housed a number of other museums.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Volcano House

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Volcano House is a Geology exhibition in Reykjavík, Iceland, located at Tryggvagata 11. The exhibition gives a brief overview of Iceland’s geological history and volcanic systems. Every hour the Volcano House shows two documentaries, one about the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 and one about the volcanic eruption in the Westman Islands in 1973. Volcano House also includes a coffee shop and a gift shop. Opening hours are from 9.00 - 22.00 every day of the week.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

National Theatre of Iceland

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The National Theatre of Iceland (Icelandic: Þjóðleikhúsið, pronounced [ˈθjou̯ːðlɛi̯kˌhuːsɪð]) in Reykjavík, is the national theatre of Iceland. The theater, designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, was formally opened on April 20, 1950. Since 2015, the artistic director of The National Theatre is Ari Matthíasson.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

National Gallery of Iceland

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The National Gallery of Iceland is located in Reykjavík, and contains a collection of Icelandic art. The gallery features artwork of famous Icelandic artists and artwork that helps explain the traditional Icelandic culture.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

The Icelandic Phallological Museum

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The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Icelandic: Hið Íslenzka Reðasafn), located in Reykjavík, Iceland, houses the world's largest display of penises and penile parts. The collection of 280 specimens from 93 species of animals includes 55 penises taken from whales, 36 from seals and 118 from land mammals, allegedly including Huldufólk (Icelandic elves) and trolls. In July 2011, the museum obtained its first human penis, one of four promised by would-be donors. Its detachment from the donor's body did not go according to plan and it was reduced to a greyish-brown shriveled mass that was pickled in a jar of formalin. The museum continues to search for "a younger and a bigger and better one."

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík 871±2

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The Settlement Exhibition Reykjavík 871±2 is an exhibition on the settlement of Reykjavík, Iceland, created by the Reykjavik City Museum. The exhibition is based on the archaeological excavation of the ruin of one of the first houses in Iceland and findings from other excavations in the city centre. The exhibition is located in 101 Reykjavík, on Aðalstræti 16, on the corner of Aðalstræti and Suðurgata.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Heidmork

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Heiðmörk was proclaimed a municipal conservation area of Reykjavík in 1950. It is located southeast of Elliðavatn, Iceland, and is about 6 miles (9.7 km) from the city of Reykjavík. Its name is derived from its namesake in Norway, Hedmark (Icelandic: Heiðmörk; both derive from the Old Norse Heiðmǫrk), an area with deep forests.The total area of the conservation area is 3,200 hectares (7,900 acres). It is a popular recreational area in Iceland. Heiðmörk is where Reykjavík's water reservoirs and drinking water wells are located.Rauðhólar are a notable natural formation of Heiðmörk, a cluster of red coloured pseudocraters.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Vikin Maritime Museum

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The Reykjavik Maritime Museum, formerly Víkin Maritime Museum, is a maritime museum located by the old harbour in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavík and run by Reykjavik City. The museum was established in 2005, and it is now one of five sites belonging to Reykjavik City Museum. There are seven exhibitions at the museum displaying Icelandic maritime history from the early settlements to the late 20th century. An important part of the museum is the Coast Guard and rescue vessel Óðinn (pronounced Othinn). In 2008, the ship was transformed into a museum exhibit about the cod wars in the 1950s and 1970s. The ship also tells about its own history. The museum focuses on the history of fishing in Iceland but also displays temporary exhibitions related to the sea.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Rauðhólar

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The Rauðhólar ("red hills") are remnants of a cluster of pseudocraters in Elliðaárhraun lava fields on the south-eastern outskirts of Reykjavík, Iceland. The Rauðhólar pseudocraters are part of Reykjavík's nature reserve of Heiðmörk.The age of the Rauðhólar is about 5200 years.Originally there were over 80 craters, but the gravel from them was taken and used for construction. Most of the material was taken around World War II and used for projects such as Reykjavík Airport and road building.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík City Theatre

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The Reykjavík City Theatre (Icelandic: Borgarleikhúsið) is a theatre in Reykjavík.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

The Living Art Museum

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| name = The Living Art Museum | native_name = Nýló - Nýlistasafnið | native_name_lang = is | logo = | logo_upright = 0.8 | logo_alt = Nýló logo | image = Nylo 111.png | caption = Nylo entrance in 111 Breiðholt | map_caption = Nýló location in Iceland | map_alt = | coordinates = | established = 1978 | dissolved = | location = [[Marshallhúsið, Grandagarður 20, 101 (Reykjavík)Iceland | type = Contemporary art museum | collection = Approx. 2,300 | visitors = | director = Dorothée Kirch | president = | curator = The Board of The Living Art Museum | publictransit = Bus nr 14, Strætó bs | network = | website = nylo.is

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Statue of Leif Ericson (Reykjavik)

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Arbaer Outdoor Museum

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Árbæjarsafn is the historical museum of the city of Reykjavík as well as an open-air museum and a regional museum. Its purpose is to give the public an insight into the living conditions, work and recreational activities of the people of Reykjavík in earlier times.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Leifur Ericson

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Leif Erikson or Leif Ericson (c. 970 – c. 1020) was a Norse explorer from Iceland. He was the first known European to have set foot on continental North America (excluding Greenland), before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, tentatively identified with the Norse L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada. Later archaeological evidence suggests that Vinland may have been the areas around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and that the L'Anse aux Meadows site was a ship repair station.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Álafoss

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Álafoss (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈaːulaˌfɔsː]; eel falls) is a waterfall on the river Varmá in Mosfellsbær, Iceland. A wool factory of the same name has adjoined the waterfall since 1896, when a local farmer imported machinery to process wool using the energy from the waterfall. During World War II, barracks were constructed there for British soldiers. Álafoss played a major role in the founding and growth of the town of Mosfellsbær. The band Sigur Rós has a studio named Sundlaugin at Álafoss, and the otherwise untitled fifth track on the band's "( )" album is nicknamed after the area.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

Þverfellshorn

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Þverfellshorn is a peak in the Esjan mountains of Capital Region (Greater Reykjavík) in southwestern Iceland. It is located roughly 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) by air northeast of Reykjavík. It is one of the most visited peaks in Iceland, attracting hikers for its scenic views. Its elevation range is 820 metres (2,690 ft) - 840 metres (2,760 ft). The car park at the foot of the mountain is known as "Mógilsá".

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Tjörnin

A small lake in the centre of the city where young and old often gather to feed the ducks. The Icelandic name, Tjörnin, literally means "The Pond". Tjörnin is mostly surrounded by a park called Hljómskálagarðurinn (Music Pavilion Park) which gets very popular in good weather. The southern end of Tjörnin links it to the Vatnsmýri swamp, a small bird reserve with paths open to the public except during egg hatching season. Built into Tjörnin on the northern side is Reykjavík City Hall.

Austurvöllur

A small park (or square, depending on definitions) in the heart of Reykjavík. It's many locals' favorite place to spend sunny days, either at one of the cafés lining the north of the square or simply having a picnic on the grass. The parliament and the national cathedral both stand by Austurvöllur.

Klambratún

Klambratún is a park just east of the city centre on an area which remained farmland while the city was built up around it. The area was later converted into one of the largest public parks in the city and often hosts various events. One of the houses of the Reykjavík Art Museum, Kjarvalsstaðir, is inside the park.

Reykjavík Botanical Gardens

The Reykjavík Botanical Gardens are not large, but they're nice for a short stroll and a good place to see some of the plants that grow in Iceland.

Viðey

Viðey is a large island in Kollafjörður, the fjord to the north of Reykjavík. It used to be inhabited, and in the early 20th century it had a small fishing village. Nobody lives there anymore apart from the birds, but it's a popular way to get away from the city without leaving it. During the summer, a café is operated in one of the houses on the island. The building was built for Skúli Magnússon, an 18th century politician often called "the founder of Reykjavík" and designed by the same man as the royal palace in Copenhagen - although it is not quite of the same scale. Among its more modern architecture, Viðey is home to the Imagine Peace Tower by Yoko Ono (see below). To get to Viðey you must take a ferry from Sundahöfn, some distance from central Reykjavík (on bus route 5). The schedule and prices can be found [http://www.reykjavik.is/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-3348/5419_view-672/ here] {{dead link|April 2016}}.

Grótta

At the far western end of the peninsula on which Reykjavík sits there is a small island. This island, called Grótta, is connected to the mainland on low tides and open to the public most of the year (closed May 1 thru July 15). Just make sure you don't get stuck on the island when the tide comes in!

Alþingi

On the southern edge of Austurvöllur is a small building of hewn stone, but don't let its size fool you. This is the building of the Icelandic parliament, known as Alþingi. The institution has in fact long since outgrown the building which was built in 1881 for a nation of a little over 60,000. Today the upper floors of most houses on the north and west sides of the park also house parliamentary offices. The Alþingi building today houses only the debating chamber of the unicameral institution and the party meeting rooms. When Alþingi is in session it is possible to go up to the viewing platforms and follow the debates, otherwise it is necessary to be part of a group to see the building from the inside.

Reykjavík Cathedral

The church beside the parliament is Reykjavík cathedral, the head Lutheran church of the country. Similarly deceptive in size, it has been beautifully renovated both inside and out to reflect its original 18th century architecture.

City Hall

One of the best examples of late 20th century architecture in Iceland, built into Tjörnin (The Pond). On the ground floor, which is open to the public, there is a large relief map of the whole country as well as a café and an exhibition hall.

Hallgrímskirkja

This can't miss attraction towers over the city on top of a hill. In front is a statue of Leif Ericsson (Leifur Eiríksson in Icelandic), the Norse explorer who sailed to North America in the 10th century. The United States gave this statue to Iceland in 1930, in honor of the 1,000th anniversary of the Althingi, the Iceland parliament.

Harpa

Harpa is a new concert hall and conference centre at the heart of Reykjavík. It is the new home of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and regularly host to other acts as well.

Perlan

An iconic building on top of a wooded hill called Öskjuhlíð, to the southeast of the city centre. Perlan is built on top of five hot water storage tanks and offers fantastic views of the entire city both from a viewing platform open to the public and a rotating restaurant at the top. If the restaurant is too expensive for you (it is for most), there is also a small cafeteria on the same floor as the viewing platform.

Imagine Peace Tower

Yoko Ono's memorial to John Lennon, projecting a "tower of light" into the air that can be seen from around Reykjavík. The tower is turned on October 9-December 8, December 21–28, December 31 and March 21–28.

National Gallery of Iceland

The national art gallery with a large collection of contemporary artworks by Icelandic 19th and 20th century artists, both paintings and sculptures.

Reykjavík Art Museum - Kjarvalsstaðir

It is safe to say that Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972) is the single biggest name in Icelandic painting. Kjarvalsstaðir hosts a collection of his work, as well as hosting other temporary exhibitions.

Reykjavik Museum of Photography

A very small museum with a nice library and reading room where you can find some older (but good) books about photography and current and past issues of photography magazines. It also has a huge collection of Icelandic photographs.

National Museum of Iceland

This museum, located right by the University of Iceland campus, takes the visitor through the history of a nation from settlement to today. Includes a café and a museum shop.

Reykjavík City Museum

In the suburb of Árbær, and frequently called Árbæjarsafn (Árbær museum), this open air museum contains both the old farm of Árbær and many buildings from central Reykjavík that were moved there to make way for construction. The result is a village of old buildings where the staff take you through the story of a city. The staff are dressed in old Icelandic clothing styles and trained in various traditional techniques, for example in making dairy products or preparing wool.

871±2

Run by the Reykjavík City Museum, this exhibition in central Reykjavík was built around the oldest archaeological ruins in Iceland. As the name indicates, these ruins date to around the year 870. This interactive exhibitions brings you the early history of the area that today forms central Reykjavík.

The Culture House

This grand building, previously housing the national library, is today home two world class exhibitions. On the ground floor is one of the most important collections of medieval manuscripts in the world, including many of the oldest copies of the Icelandic Sagas. The top floor has an impressive exhibition on the Volcanic island of Surtsey, backing the Iceland's campaign to get it recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is fully interactive and a great introduction to the geological hot spot that is Iceland.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum

A museum dedicated to Phallology, the study of penises. This museum features phalluses of numerous animals from various whales to a human specimen.

Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant

Get a tour of the geothermal power plant that provides Reykjavik with heating and hot water

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