Photogenic Reykjavik - a Walk Through the Capital
A map and a camera were all I needed to explore the beautiful City of Reykjavik and to enjoy it in all its glory. This sunny Friday was the perfect day to go out for a walk around Iceland´s amazing capital city, I really enjoyed discovering and visiting so many beautiful places.
Earlier that week I had made myself a route which had many popular tourist attractions on it including the Hallgrímskirkja Church, the Sólfarið ( Sun Voyager) sculpture, the Laugavegur shopping street, the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden, Tjörnin Lake, Brauð og Co, the Harpa Concert Hall and so many more places. They are all well worth visiting!
Bæjarins Bestu – The best hot dog stand
I made a quick stop at the hot dog stand at 11 am. It was too early to have lunch, so I didn’t order anything. Surprisingly, though, there was already a long queue of people who wanted to get a hot dog. I don’t know what it is that makes the Icelandic hot dogs so special, but they just taste amazingly good. At least, that is what I had heard! I really recommend that tourists try a hot dog, several people have told me these hot dogs are different, in a good way, and very delicious. I haven’t tasted one myself, but this is certainly on my to-do-in-Iceland list! Njóta máltíð! (Enjoy the meal!)
My day started in the morning at the Arnarhóll Statue which is located at the top of a hill. This statue is dedicated to the first settler of Iceland, Ingólfur Arnarson.
It is well worth wandering up the hill and standing right next to the statue, you will have a beautiful view of the harbor and Harpa. This is the perfect place to relax and just enjoy the views, in the summer this hill is a popular place to laze in the sunshine. The statue is also often used as a meeting point because it is so prominent and easy to find.
The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is one the most famous landmarks in Reykjavik. Henning Larsen, a Danish architect, designed this stunning building. I took photographs from many different angles, both inside and from outside this glass faceted building. Harpa offers concerts, conference facilities, catering, meetings, and events. It is free to visit and there is a nice gift shop at the front entrance. Harpa is truly worth visiting!
Tip: It is good to visit Harpa when it is dark and the building is illuminated, making the different colors of the glass particularly impressive.
Sólfarið – Sun Voyager
This sculpture reveals its greatest beauty at sunrise and sunset. You will have simply breathtaking views of the sea and the mountains at any time, though. It is really close to Harpa, and it is great to pause here for a moment. The sculpture resembles both the framework of a Viking longship and the skeleton of a whale. The sculptor, Jón Gunnar Árnason, designed this much-photographed steel sculpture, which, it is said, is an ode to the sun, representing the positive forces of both light and hope.
PS: don’t forget to view the sculpture from the ocean side, this view will reveal some really beautiful buildings!
The main street of Reykjavik has lots of charming hipster and tourist shops. There are also quite a few galleries and arty shops, many with locally made goods and a strong Scandinavian flavor. A few restaurants offer Icelandic cuisine, with dishes such as Hákarl (rotten shark), plokkfiskur (fish stew), Skyr (a yogurt-like Icelandic soft cheese), traditional lamb soup or local fish being on the menu. There are so many lovely, cozy coffee bars which are perfect when you want to have a drink and to warm up, they are also great places to get some good cake!
The imaginative graffiti makes Laugavegur even more fun!
Brauð og co
This charming organic bakery is located on Frakkastígur, between the main shopping street of Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur, the street which has the iconic church, Hallgrímskirkja at its top end.
The lunch I bought from Brauð & Co was really delicious! Although it has not been open long, it is already one of the most popular bakeries in Reykjavik. You really can’t miss it, it is the most colorful house on the street!
This is definitely one of my favorite spots in Reykjavík. The architecture of Hallgrímskirkja is very original, I have never seen a church like that! It is simple, modern, spacious and uncluttered inside. If you take the elevator to the top of the tower there are amazing views.
I did not spend long inside the church. I enjoyed sitting on a bench outside where I ate my delicious lunch (which I bought at Brauð og Co) and enjoyed the view of the church and the area around it.
Einar Jonsson Sculpture Garden
On my way to the Tjörnin Lake, I strolled through the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden which is surrounded by trees. I spent a while there because I thought it was very interesting. Each of the sculptures has a different meaning, the way Einar has expressed his feelings through his stonework is amazing and thought-provoking. Now, doesn’t that sound like an attractive place to visit?
Cats love this place as much as people, I saw four cats walking around in this tranquil garden and they were so sweet! This is a lovely place to go when you want a little calmness and beauty!
Last, but certainly not least, my final stop was at Tjörnin Lake, a beautiful place to be in the company of ducks and swans, surrounded by some of Reykjavík´s loveliest architecture. There are many picturesque houses with interesting histories around the lake. Many local buses pass along this road behind the lake so it is easy to take a bus back to your accommodation if you wish to. There are also coffee houses and restaurants nearby if you would like to get a drink or something to eat.
When you ever visit Reykjavik, just take a map with you and see where you finish up!
If you feel inspired and want to explore Reykjavik yourself, don’t hesitate!
Here is my map, I hope you will have a great time. Don’t forget to let me know how you experienced your own walking tour of Reykjavík!
|1. Arnarhóll Statue||5. Brauð og Co – bakery|
|2. Harpa Concert Hall and the harbor||6. Hallgrímskirkja Church|
|3. Solfarið – The Sun Voyager scuplture||7. Einnar Jónsson Sculpture Garden|
|4. Laugavegur – the main street||8. Tjörnin Lake|
Everyone knows the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, right? It’s a large pool in a magnificent lava landscape filled with geothermally heated, mineral-rich water. The Secret Lagoon is less well-known but equally spectacular. So why would you not want to go the Secret Lagoon?
I went on the lava caving tour with my two Belgian friends, it was so cool! We got all the equipment we needed from our guide who was very helpful. Everyone was picked up at their accommodation then we went to the volcanic area.
After lunch, we went to the place to be, the houses from the GOT series. Our guide, who had participated as an extra, had to kill people in the series. He showed us the different ways to kill someone with a sword and a knife (not a real one of course!)