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Reykjavik sights - self-guided city tour

Reykjavik's sights, what are they? When we were in Reykjavik recently, we had a hectic schedule, and yet we decided to embark on our own little city walk one of the mornings.... before the programme started! Or rather, our friend Christian from Matochresebloggen managed to lure us along... Did we find any interesting sights in Reykjavik?

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Discovering the sights of Reykjavik on your own

If you want to see the sights of Reykjavik on your own, you can find various maps online to follow. We started at our hotel, Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, and first walked to the statue Sunrise by the water. Then we walked approximately as the map shows.

To be honest, it was probably more like quirky in real life, but it looks better to show the map without that messy zigzagging we did from time to time. Anyway, we managed to do this city walk in the morning, before we went on a boat trip to the island of Viðey.

Stadsvandring på egen hand i Reykjavik

Solar journey

Our first destination on the city tour was the sculpture Sun Voyage (Sólfar in Icelandic and Sun Voyager in English). The sculpture was created in 1986 by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason. Really cool actually where it stands facing the sea!

solfärd

Harpa Concert Hall

From Solfärd we proceeded to Harpa concert hall which houses the Icelandic Philharmonic Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera. Construction began in 2007, but the economic crisis made the completion of the concert hall uncertain. After government intervention, construction was completed and the inaugural concert was held in 2011. It now hosts concerts and conferences, and offers restaurants and guided tours. We have to say, it's a cool building!

konserthuset harpa

The old harbour

A little further away is the old harbour, which is quite charming with its colourful houses. It was from here that we later took the boat to Viðey, and there are also several ships that can take you on whale watching tours. Peter also remembers having lunch at one of these restaurants when we were here in 2012!

gamla hamnen Reykjavik
reykjavik valskådning

Lækjartorg

Lækjartorg is a square in the centre of Reykjavik, where Bankastræti, Lækjargata and Austurstræti streets meet. The house in the picture is one of the government buildings. As usual, all houses in Iceland are so small and cosy!

Austurvöllur

We walked on to another square, called Austurvöllur. Apparently people like to hang out here in the summer, but on an early cold morning in March we were alone with a statue of Jón Sigurðsson, who once led Iceland's freedom movement.

Staty Reykjavik

Lake Tjörnin

When you are in Reykjavik, you should of course also check out Lake Tjörnin! It's a great place to walk around and is also home to Reykjavik City Hall, the Reykjavik Free Church and several museums, such as the Art Museum. Listasafn. The lake also contains lots of swans.

Tjörnin
Kyrka Reykjavik

Hallgrimskirkja

Hallgrimskirkja is perhaps the most visible of Reykjavik's sights, rising high above the city. The church has a highest peak of 74.5 metres, making it the second highest building in the country. The church looks really powerful as it rises towards the sky.

Hallgrimskirkja

We've visited the inside of the church before, and didn't think the interior was that remarkable, but for a small fee you could take the lift up to the tower where you had a magnificent view of the city. The church, named after the Icelandic priest and hymn writer Hallgrímur Pétursson, took 41 years to complete. Construction began in 1945 and was completed in 1986.

WIFI.se

In front of the church stands a statue of the explorer Leif Eriksson, son of Erik Röde and probably the first European to land in North America. The statue is older than the church itself and was a gift from the USA to celebrate the millennium of the Alltinget in 1930.

Leif Eriksson
Leif Eriksson, photo from 2012

Laugavegur

Last but not least, we have to mention Laugavegur. This street is a must to visit in Reykjavik, but on the other hand, you're not likely to miss it. Laugavegur is Reykjavik's biggest shopping street, but also its biggest nightclub street. Most things happen here! There is also a lot of fun street art to check out.

Reykjavik Street art

More sights in Reykjavik

In addition to the sights we have mentioned, it may be interesting to visit the dome-shaped building. Perlan, which can also be considered one of Reykjavik's attractions. When I (Helena) was there a long time ago, the place offered a restaurant and a view, but now there is also a museum called "Wonders of Iceland" with a planetarium. Here are also suggestions for some exciting excursions in the neighbourhood of Reykjavik:

Reykjavik
View from Hallgrimskirkja over the sights of Reykjavik, photo from 2012.

Where to stay in Reykjavik?

There are of course many hotels in Reykjavik, many of which are centrally located. During this trip we stayed at Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, which is about 15-20 minutes walking distance from the centre of Reykjavik. We stayed here really well, and we were also happy with the breakfast. If the room looks a bit small, it is because it is a single room. Those who had booked for us had happened to book two single rooms instead of a double room, but when you are in love you choose to sleep together anyway ...!

How to travel to Reykjavik?

The fastest and easiest way to get to Reykjavik is of course to fly. I've actually taken the boat once too, but it goes from Hirtshals in Denmark and you end up in Seyðisfjörður at the other end of Iceland, so you need to have plenty of time if you're travelling that way!

Several different airlines fly to Reykjavik, and we flew with Icelandair. On the way there we travelled on a regular economy ticket, and on the way home we went business class. Both journeys were excellent, but of course the return journey was the most comfortable! Above all, we enjoyed the lovely lounge in Keflavik, where we had breakfast before travelling home.

lounge reykjavik
frukost keflavik

The journey home was also unusually comfortable. We were served breakfast number two (!) and watched the film "Crazy Rich Asians". We were home in no time!

Icelandair
frukost icelandair
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