Things to do in Reykjavik
If you are not hiring a car in Iceland, I would recommend basing yourself in Reykjavik and going on day trips from there – read my separate posts on my Golden Circle and South Iceland tour.
Reykjavik is a small but pretty city but there is only really enough to do for one day. We visited in January and it is true that there are not many hours of daylight! The sun rose around 10.30/11am (very weird feeling!) and then set around 4.30pm – it was around -5 in the day and -8 at night but I was prepared and layered up so surprisingly did not feel that chilly.
The locals speak fluent English (although it is always nice to learn a little bit of the local language) and are generally very friendly and accommodating. There are only c.340,000 people living in Iceland and around three quarters of those live in Reykjavik!
We started off with a visit to one of the main landmarks in Reykjavik, Hallgrímskirkja Church, which was designed by the late Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, who loved the fascinating shapes and forms created when lava cools into basalt rock, hence the pretty funky design. The interior of the Church is actually very plain , which is rather different to your stereotypical Church and a contrast to the exterior design.
We visited the tower by lift for views of Reykjavik which was 1000KR (about £8). It was so windy at the top of the church so be warned! It is not an open air view but they have stools to climb on to make sure you get a 360 degree view of the city through the window bars. It was so pretty seeing the mountains in the distance, the beautiful different coloured houses and the surrounding harbour.
We then walked down to the harbour to view the Harpa Concert Hall which was only built in 2011 – really quite a stunning building with glass panels of different colours. Free to enter and walk around and nice to grab a hot chocolate when it is chilly!
If you are in to shopping you must wander down the main shopping street, Laugavegur, which is where many bars are too! There are also a decent amount of museums for a city as small as Reykjavik – an Art Museum, History Museum and a Maritime Museum.
I sadly did not have time but there are a number of outdoor swimming pools to visit in Reykjavik. Sundholl is in the centre, just a few minutes walk behind Hallgrimskirkja Church which has indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs and a sauna. Vesturbaejarlaug outdoor pool is in the west of the city with hot tubs and saunas and Laugardalslaug is the largest pool, situated within Reykjavik’s recreational centre, Laugardalur, where there is also a sports hall, botanical garden and a family park and zoo!
If it had been a little warmer I would have also been keen on a bicycle or boat tour or even whale watching!
East London Girl: Things to do in Reykjavik