Reykjavik architecture has its interesting moments, ranging from renovated old to funky modern Scandinavian.
The Harbour is a very popular area.
Hallgrim’s Church – this mountain of a church dominates the skyline in its own uniquely volcanic way. Climb the tower for panoramic views but the interior is sadly dull.
Domkirkja Lutheran Cathedral – built originally in 1796 by Danish craftsmen who were too hammered for the job, it later had to be rebuilt several times.
Hofdi House – a painted wooden house that moved all the way from Norway and has played host to Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and Winston Churchill.
Oskjuhlid and ‘The Pearl’ – large water tanks provide a base for a large domed structure which has a restaurant inside. Not quite St. Pauls (London) but it’s fun.
Radhus City Hall – a white post-modern building containing amongst other things a large relief map of the country.
Short Trips out
Blue Lagoon ‘Blaa Lonid’ – journey two hours to bath beside a power plant? This would normally seem like insanity, but not in Iceland. These pools are curative and a social event for most Icelanders. Different pools have different curative powers – including arthritis, asthma and eczema.
The outdoor Blue Lagoon is the most famous in Iceland and rich in skin-healing properties such as salts, algae and silica. And the power plant is geothermal, not nuclear!
Reykjanesfolkvangur – a few miles south of the city is a natural reserve protecting the most interesting laval formations of the Reykjanes peninsula.
There are lots of walking trails, a large blue lake at Kleifarvtin, and steaming holes at Austurenjiar.
Videy Island – a small island, but with some important historic features.
The oldest building in Iceland is there, built in 1755, along with a memorial, a cave, sea birds nesting and interesting coastline with basalt columns.
Museums: National Museum (Icelandic and Norse Culture), Arni Magnusson Institute (Icelandic Sagas), Culture House (Historical Exhibitions) and many more.
Galleries: Hafnarhusid, National Gallery
Theatre: performances at the National Theatre and the Reykjavik City Theatre.
Classical Music/Opera/Ballet: The Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra and Ballet Company are well regarded.
Live Music: Gaukeur a Stong is very well known for its live bands and even livelier guests.
Other music and food filled ‘let’s get wrecked’ pubs abound, but beers are costly and the price of spirits will break yours.
Nightlife: wild nights are almost guaranteed, especially at the weekends as local youths go on outrageous pub and club crawls or ‘runtur’.