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Top 10 Attractions in Reykjavik

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Reykjavik is a very clean, attractive city. The Icelandic capital is surrounded by a beautiful landscape, which adds to the activities offered to visitors and travelers. You have many options and there is always something you can do - find out about the best attractions and top activities in Reykjavik right here.

1. The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Blue Lagoon Ltd

While the Blue Lagoon is not situated within the Reykjavik city area, this attraction is an absolute "must" for travelers and the major attraction for many Reykjavik visitors. The thermal waters are always pleasantly warm, whatever the weather. In the city, Reykjavik's thermal pools are open from early morning until late in the evening.

2. Go Shopping in Reykjavik

Enjoy browsing through local crafts shops along with Scandinavian designer stores. The Kringlan shopping mall is a hub of social activity in Reykjavik. Among over 150 shops is Íslandia, a one-stop outlet for Icelandic souvenirs. Fur clothes are a particular Icelandic speciality and these can be found at the upmarket Eggert at Skólavördustígur 38. The famous lopapeysa (Icelandic jumper) can be bought in many of the tourist shops or at Skólavördustígur 19. You get lots of discounts with the low-cost Voyager Card.

3. Watch the Whales

For an exciting sea adventure, try one of the many whale-watching tours that are available from Reykjavik. The ocean around the city is a natural habitat for many types of whales (dolphins and seals are often see, too.) Tours also pass by Puffin Island. The whale watching season runs from late March to late October. Another exciting option is to catch your own fresh fish on a sea-angling cruise, which is now offered by some of the boat operators.

4. Enjoy the Nightlife of Reykjavik

The city of Reykjavik is known for its colorful and entertaining nightlife. Note that in Iceland, the partying starts rather late (bars/clubs get busy after midnight)! People often begin the evening meeting at someone's house before they head downtown. There are countless bars, nightclubs, pubs, and late-night restaurants in Iceland's capital - you can spend the whole night visiting different places!

5. Perlan (The Pearl)

Reykjavik's landmark, the Perlan, is a unique piece of architecture - built in 1988. On top of the large tanks in which natural hot water is stored for heating the city, a glass dome has been constructed: under the dome is a rotating restaurant serving fine cuisine! The dome also contains a cafe, while around the outside is a viewing platform with beautiful panoramic 360-degree views of the city and its surroundings. Access to the viewing platform is free of charge. Photo opportunity!

6. The Museums In Reykjavik

Reykjavik museums offer a great combination of fun and learning for the whole family. The National Museum and Saga Museum allow the children to experience in an interactive way how the Vikings fought and feasted. Live actors at the open-air Reykjavik City Museum - Arbaejarsafn offer an insight into how people in Reykjavik lived in the old days. It is Iceland’s biggest open-air museum. It traces the development of Reykjavik and Iceland from their beginnings to the present day.

7. Church of Hallgrímur (Hallgrímskirkja)

Hallgrimskirkja Church can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. It is probably the most controversial building in Iceland. Its steeple rises above all other buildings in Reykjavik and the church can seat over 1000 worshipers at a time. It was named after the Icelandic poet Hallgrimur Petursson, and the grounds also house a statue to the first Viking said to have discovered America, Leifur Eiríksson. The Nave is open to the public daily.

8. Videy Island

Reykjavik's Videy Island is a unique site that combines history, culture and nature, and is only a few minutes away by boat. Videy was inhabited until the 1940s and it is here that you can find Videyjarstofa, the oldest stone building in Iceland built for the High Sheriff in 1752. There are hiking paths around the island, which is renowned for its varied bird life. At least 30 species of breeding birds have been counted on the island. Videy also inhabits interesting sculpural art work.

9. Waterfront & Sun Voyager

Reykjavik is surrounded by the ocean, and the waterfront paths are perfect for a relaxing stroll, some jogging, cycling or rollerblading. The city's northern waterfront is a popular area, with a view of Reykjavik's landmark mountain, Mt. Esja. The striking sculpture Sun Voyager by Jon Gunnar Arnason stands here. It is a massive steel sculpture in the shape of a Viking ship. Stand by this sculpture during sunrise or sunset, at any time of the year, and enjoy an unforgettable moment.

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