Must-see & do Attractions in Reykjavik
Reykjavik is full of fun things to see and do, but if you don’t have time to do everything on your list, consider this list of the top must see attractions.
1. Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre: Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre at the heart of Reykjavik is an award-winning building situated at the old harbour. Harpa opened its doors in 2011 and boasts a wide variety of hosted events where all musical genres play a part. Harpa won the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2013 for architecture.
Harpa was designed by Olafur Eliasson, Henning Larssen architects and Batteri architects. Harpa is the residency of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, The Icelandic Opera and the Reykjavik Big Band. Harpa is a state of the art conference centre. Harpa was awarded the prestigious MICE Report award for best conference centre in Northern Europe.
2. Perlan: At Perlan, you experience & learn to understand Iceland’s mysteries. Perlan brings Wonders of Iceland alive in a unique exhibition, through ground-breaking technology, science, photography, and design. Perlan’s spectacles include a real ice cave (100-meter long) and an interactive glacier exhibition. There is also an immersive Forces of Nature show, 10-meter high Latrabjarg Cliff with lifelike seabirds and virtual reality entertainment, a virtual aquarium and more.
Perlan, one of Reykjavik‘s most iconic buildings, stands upon the capital‘s highest hill. The 360° Viewing Deck is excellent, with picture panels and geological samples from around Reykjavik. At Perlan, you experience and learn to understand the Wonders of Iceland.
3. Hallgrimskirkja: Hallgrimskirkja is the largest church in the country, and towers over the centre of Reykjavik. Its 73-metre-high tower provides a wonderful 360° view over all Reykjavik, the mountains around and the ocean streaching west to Greenland and the Americas. Because of this, the tower is among the most visited tourist destinations in Reykjavik. Tower admission Adults: ISK 1000 Children: ISK 100 (ages 7-16) Tickets are sold in the church shop. Access to the tower is only by lift. At the top there are a few steps to the open-air viewing platform. Winter (October – April): 09:00 – 17:00. Tower closes 16:30. Summer (May – September): 09:00 – 21:00. Tower closes 20:30. The tower is closed on Sundays from 10:30 – 12:15 during mass at 11:00.
Hallgrimskirkja is an active, working church and sometimes we may close the church without notice, especially due to weddings or funerals. Everyone is welcome to join services and concerts, but we ask visitors to stay the whole time to avoid disturbance.
4. National Museum of Iceland: The National Museum of Iceland was established on 24 February 1863, with Jón Árnason the first curator of the Icelandic collection, previously kept in Danish museums.
The museum offers a variety of fascinating exhibitions and one permanent display illustrating lavishly the story of Iceland’s past, from the medieval days of Viking settlements to current contemporary culture. The main exhibition has over 2,000 artefacts discovered in various parts of the country. In pride of place amongst the museum’s many treasures is the Valthjófsstadur door, featuring elaborate medieval engravings depicting scenes from the legendary 12th century knight’s tale Le Chevalier au Lion.
5. Solfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture: The Sun Voyager is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, located next to the Sæbraut road in Reykjavík, Iceland. Sun Voyager is described as a dreamboat, or an ode to the Sun. The artist intended it to convey the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.
There are many beautiful places to stop and admire the scenery on these coastal paths, which are very popular with joggers and cyclists, however there is one well-photographed spot which has the added charm of being home to the striking Sun Voyager – a massive steel sculpture by Jón Gunnar Arnason which may resemble a Viking ship, but in fact, a dream boat and ode to the sun.
The epic view of Mount Esja, especially when it’s framed by the fiery edges of dawn and dusk, make this a favourite romantic destination for travellers and those with an appreciation of natural beauty.
6. Aurora Reykjavik: The Aurora Reykjavik is a new educational, recreational and interactive attraction which uses the latest advances in multimedia technology to bring the Northern Lights to life. The centre’s focal point is the experience room which uses a large HD projection to immerse visitors in the Aurora Borealis’ majestic green glow.
The display is 7 meters wide, it is only a short time-lapse video that goes on a loop with relaxing music under it, some people like to sit there for many rounds. You can also read about some old tales, what people thought of the Northern Lights in the old days. These stories are from different countries where you can see the Northern Lights.
We do explain the science behind this phenomena, both with a short video and some readings. You can also play with few touch screens, where you can see how the colors of the Northern Lights changes depending on the height of them. You can learn how to adjust your camera to take a photo of the Northern Lights and try out your camera on the Northern Lights photo simulator.
We have two screens where you can see two different Northern Lights forecasts. There is also a beautiful souvenir store at the end where you can find handmade Icelandic Northern Lights items, you can also enter there without paying for the entrance to the exhibition. Aurora Reykjavik is a new feature in Reykjavik’s blossoming tourism, it is owned by highly motivated young people who are working hard on making it a feature not to miss.
When you come and visit please give your self few minutes to fill out the visitor survey and contribute to our mission.