It was almost impossible to select which ones to include without turning this in a never-ending story, but nevertheless I did it: here are some tips to spend your time in the most northern capitol of the world, the beautiful and cozy Reykjavík.
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❄ Pay a visit to the many art galleries en museums the city has to offer.
❄ The photography museum is FREE (yay!) and of course it all depends on the kind of exhibition they are showing, but I think it’s a must-see either way. I really enjoyed the museum. And, again, it’s FREE, so you’ve got nothing to lose!
❄ Skip the Reykjavík Art Museum, unless there is an exhibition you really want to see. Especially if you’re short on time. Granted, I know very little of art, but most of the times that doesn’t bother me and I can still enjoy an art museum. This visit left me confused! Not my cup of tea I guess.
❄ Walking along the streets of Reykjavík is a great way to get inspired. Lots of graffiti, colourful buildings and lovely views.
❄ Want to see the parliament? No problem, it’s just a short walk away from the main street. It’s rather small and unimpressive (that’s what she said), but still worth a visit!
❄ In some cafés you can find the free newspaper The Reykjavík Grapevine. A great paper and best of all: it’s in English, so us foreigners can read it as well :)
❄ If you love to eat fish, Reykjavík is the place for you. Go to Café Retro (located on the newer part of the harbour) and enjoy the BEST fish soup you will ever eat in your life (it contains mussels, shrimps, scallops, salmon and other white fish). It’s a little les touristy and full of locals. Be on time, or else they’ll be out of soup! They do have more delicious things on the menu though, so no need to worry.
❄ Want to visit another authentic fish restaurant? Go to the old harbour and eat at Sægreifinn. It’s a small place and often a bit crowded, but they have great food (we ate the crayfish soup, mjam!). If you want you can also taste Moby Dick on a Stick (whale, which I didn’t try because I found the idea rather cruel).
❄ In Iceland they LOVE coffee and in town there are many great places to order one of those lovely warm fellows. Visit Stofan if you want to relax on a sofa (or really love chocolate cake… theirs is great!), drink some coffee over at Café Babalú if you’re into crazy interior (no, but seriously, it’s the cosiest place) or else there is always a Te & Kaffi around the corner. I guess you could say it’s sort of the icelandic equivalent of Starbucks (but better!). They also have free wifi at almost all of the cafés, so it’s great if you want to send a message home or get some (school)work done.
❄ Want to see some impressive Icelandic architecture? Pay a visit to Harpa, the opera building near the harbour. Pro tip: too cold outside but you really really want to look at the marvellous view of the mountains across the harbour a little longer? Enter Harpa, take the stairs and walk to the back. Voilà! A place behind the glass to take some pictures or just look at the view, without freezing your nose off.
❄ If you want to do some real hardcore shopping, I suggest you visit one of the malls just outside the city centre. It’s there where you can find some of the bigger chains, like Zara and Vero Moda. The city centre has some great stores as well, but they are more “one of a kind”. If you like scandinavian design, you will LOVE shopping in Reykjavík. Do not forget to bring a heavy wallet though, because everything is rather expensive… TIP: take a look at record store “Lucky Records”, where they have a large collection of vinyl. A must if you want to bring some of the Icelandic music home with you.
❄ You are in Reykjavík and have the time to leave the city? GO! You have not fully experienced Iceland yet if you’ve seen nothing of the beautiful nature the country has to offer. If you still need some convincing:
Feel free to leave questions or recommendations!
(I was not sponsored by the Icelandic tourist board to write this post lol. BUT SERIOUSLY, you should go.)