The world’s most northerly capital, Reykjavík is a lively, culturally-rich city set in a magnificent, unspoiled landscape shaped by the energy of the earth.

Leif.and.Hallgrimskirkja.brightTo get the most out of your visit, you might like to take a guided walking, bus or bike tour with one of our recommended providers.  Key sights include the imposing Hallgrímskirkja, a modernist concrete church begun in 1945, whose spire resembles columns of basaltic lava and is the city’s main landmark.  Standing in front of the church is a statue of Leifur Eiriksson, the first European to discover America. Records suggest that he landed on the shores of the New World in 1,000 AD, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

Other significant buildings in Reykjavík include the Höfði House where, in October 1986, Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev met to discuss global disarmament; the Parliament Building, which dates from 1880; the post-modern City Hall; and Government House, an unassuming whitewashed structure built in the 1760s, which now houses the office of the Prime Minister but which began life as a prison workhouse.

viking winterReykjavík’s newest landmark is the Harpa centre, home to the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera, which stages a range of concerts and events throughout the year.   Along the waterfront from Harpa is the striking Sun Voyager, a massive steel sculpture resembling a Viking ship.

Iceland is an excellent location for whale-watching so why not join a whale-watching safari or, for a different perspective on the capital, take the short ferry crossing to Viðey island?    As an introduction to your stay, we recommend a visit to Cinema No 2 at the old harbour, which screens short films about the country’s natural wonders.   And, for those interested in learning about Icelandic cuisine, we offer a range of food experiences – and an Interactive History of Beer Drinking in Iceland.    

Please click on the links below for more information about each excursion:

Reykjavík is home to a number of museums and galleries catering to a wide variety of interests.  Here are just three examples:

The Volcano House shows two films on the most powerful eruptions in Iceland during the last 40 years. One focuses on the eruption on Heimaey in the Westman Islands off the south coast, which happened in January 1973 when nearly 5,000 people had to flee in boats to the mainland, while the other film documents the eruption of Eyafjallajökull in April 2010, which resulted in the closure of large parts of European airspace. The Volcano House also offers a brief synopsis of Iceland’s geological history and volcanic systems and houses an exhibition where visitors can handle samples of pumice, ash and lava.

Whatever time of year you visit Iceland, the Northern Lights are always on display at Aurora Reykjavík, which features a continuously-running, HD, panoramic film of this spectacular natural phenomenon.   You can also find out how and why the lights appear, learn about the myths and legends associated with them, see astonishing pictures taken by professional photographers and discover which camera settings you should use in order to capture them for yourself.

An encounter with some of the major figures from Iceland’s past can be had at the Saga Museum, which recreates key events in the country’s history from the time of the earliest settlers, using life-like wax figures.

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