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Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland as well as its largest city and is situated on the coast. There are loads of things to do in Reykavik including day trips and tours, as few want to miss the steaming hot springs, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls and dipping into the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa. However, there’s also a lot to do within the city of Reykjavik itself and some fantastic accommodation to make the luxury traveller feel very at home. Flights from London take just 3 hours, making Reykjavik ideal long-weekend territory. These are my Top 5 things to do in Reykjavik.
1) The Pearl (Perlon)
Ideal for the luxury traveller as this is a well-renowned, fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar that is also a major landmark and a fantastic view-spot! This magnificent, futuristic, glass and steel dome structure revolves to offer stunning 360 degree views of the city below, while also acting as hot water tanks to heat the buildings of Reykjavik. There is a viewing platform with telescopes on the top floor but the view from the restaurant, with an accompanying cocktail in hand, is just as good in my opinion! Settle in with your meal, the entire rotation takes nearly 2 hours so you don’t notice it moving but you’ll have seen the entire view by the time you leave.
2) A Harbour-side Walk along the Boardwalk
Taking in the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre and the Solfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture. Ok so it’s a bit of a mouthful and I’m slightly cheating as this is really 2 places, but it just works so well together that it really had to be included like this! The Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre is a stunning venue, if you can catch a performance or show there then brilliant, but if not, go just to appreciate the modern architecture and sample the lovely café or pick up a quirky piece from the gift shop. The Solfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture is a striking sculpture based on the style of a Viking ship, it is a superb photo opportunity and is particularly great as the sun sets and the light catches it. The Harpa Concert Hall is also lit by night with beautiful rainbow lights, so the early evening is the ideal time for your walk.
3) Visit Hallgrimskirkja Church
For a fantastic, panoramic view of the whole of downtown Reykjavik, take the elevator to the top of Hallgrimskirkja on Skolavorduhaed hill. The striking concrete church is the largest in Iceland at 73 metres and its unusual design is inspired by a waterfall.
4) National and Saga Museums
For a fascinating insight into Iceland’s Viking past, both these museums are well worth a visit. The National Museum is reasonably small so it only takes a couple of hours to visit but is well laid out, informative and has a great café. The Saga Museum offers a more immersive experience with realistic displays and there’s even a chance to dress up as a Viking at the end!
5) Go Northern Light spotting
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights and for a chance to see this amazing spectacle, it’s worth heading out of the main centre of the city to the seaside at Seltjarnarnes. With less disturbance from street lights, your chances of seeing the lights are greater. The lighthouse on the nature reserve at Grotta makes a great backdrop for your photos, just wrap up warm!
As well as my Top 5, don’t forget to sample the shopping; Icelandic design is on trend currently, the main shopping streets are Laugavegur, Austurstraeti, Laekjargata and Skolavordustigur. The nightlife is also infamous, partly because this is such a small city so everywhere is within walking distance so the party vibe is excellent and bar-hopping is great fun! The next time you fancy a weekend away to somewhere that will intrigue and offer a totally different environment from home, give Reykjavik a try.
Read my other top five best articles to discover the best beaches and luxury hotels around the world.
Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.