A Bear Guide to Reykjavík
Hallgrímskirkja stands guard over Reykjavík. Its stepped concrete facade is an ode to modernism and a reminder of the Icelandic landscape. The church is named after the 17th-century clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson, author of Hymns of the Passion. Hallgrímskirkja is an Evangelical-Lutheran church and is a part of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Iceland. Admission to the church is free. Admission to the tower is ISK 1000. More information here.
Harpa is one of Reykjavik‘s greatest and most distinguished landmarks. It is a cultural and social centre in the heart of the city and features stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean. Harpa is an enchanting destination for intrigued travellers and its grand-scale award-winning architecture has attracted 10 million guests since its opening, May 4, 2011. Find out more about guided tours, event schedules and more here.
The Sun Voyager is a striking steel sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, made to resemble a Viking ship but is, in fact, a dream boat and an ode to the sun. Standing by the sculpture during sunset, at any time of the year, is an unforgettable moment. The epic view of Mountain Esja and Faxaflói bay makes this a favorite romantic destination for travelers and all of those who appreciate the beauty of nature. More information here.
Laugavegur is one of the oldest streets in Iceland’s capital. Its name roughly translates to ‘the Water Road’, as it was up and down this area where women used to bring their laundry to be washed in the hot pools. It was properly constructed in 1885. The popular shopping stretch of the street starts at the city’s bus centre, Hlemmur, and continues to Bankastræti; west of here is the economic district. During pride, rainbow colours can be seen in almost every window.
Running perpendicular to Laugavegur street, this road will take you up the hill to Hallgrimskirkja. Lined with cafés, art galleries, gift shops and restaurants, the street features Rainbow colours on the north end. Great for a walk among the most local places.
The south end of one of the main streets in downtown Reykjavík (Skólavörðustígur) has been dressed up in the colors of the rainbow to celebrate the Reykjavík Pride festival every year. It was only recently, in 2019, that the street art became permanent, an initiative of Reykjavík Pride and the City of Reykjavík as a permanent symbol of joy and support for diversity.
Perlan resembles a pearl sitting on top of Reykjavík. It is surrounded by the charming woodland of Öskjuhlíð hill, with 360° views all over the capital area. There is something for everyone to do and enjoy in any weather condition. Perlan houses a modern nature exhibition, a real indoor ice cave, a 4K planetarium, a 360° viewing platform, an ice cream shop, a lovely café, bouncy castles with fun trials, and more. More information here.
A unique way to see Iceland as you’ve never seen it before. State-of-the-art technology gives the feeling of flight. You will hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-metre spherical screen while a film whisks you away on an exhilarating journey across Iceland. Special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience. More information here.
An all-new Icelandic experience minutes from downtown Reykjavík. A thermal spa inspired by nature & culture. Immerse yourself in warmth at this oceanside geothermal lagoon. The North Atlantic Ocean stretching out before you. Sky Lagoon is about that Icelandic feeling of warmth and wonder by way of a 7-step ritual that features nordic bath culture to rejuvenate and inspire. More information here.
Icelandic Phallological Museum
The Icelandic Phallological Museum is probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country. The museum proudly contains a collection of more than two hundred and fifteen penises and penile parts belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland. It should be noted that the museum has also been fortunate enough to receive legally-certified gift tokens for four specimens belonging to Homo Sapiens. For more information click here.
The pond and Hljómskálagarðurinn park
Few open areas in Reykjavik occupy a more solid place in the hearts of the city’s inhabitants than Tjörnin and its immediate surroundings, Hljómskálagarðurinn and Vatnsmýrin, where nature and human life meet in the middle of a metropolis in a unique way. At the northern end of the Pond, urbanization began in Reykjavík in the 18th century and since then the Pond has been a centerpiece in Reykjavik and an important area for outdoor activities and games.
Laugardalur and Botanical Garden
Reykjavik Botanical Garden is a living museum in the open air. The Botanical Garden was founded in 1961 and is run by the City of Reykjavik. The role of the Botanical Garden is to preserve and record plants for education, research and admiration. More information here.
The National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum displays objects that provide insight into Icelandic cultural history – displays that encourage visitors to dwell on the past, present and future. The museum aims to nurture knowledge and innovation while maintaining a wide perspective and sense of community. More information here.
The Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement Exhibition – Reykjavik 871± 2 deals with the settlement of Reykjavík. The exhibition is based on scholars’ theories on what the heritage sites in central Reykjavík can tell us about the life and work of the first settlers. The focus of the exhibition is the remains of a hall from the Settlement Age which was excavated in 2001. The hall was inhabited from 930-1000. North of the hall are two pieces of turf, remnants of wall which was clearly built shortly before 871. This is one of the oldest man-made structures so far found in Iceland. Also on display are objects from the Viking age found in central Reykjavík and the island of Videy. More information here.
Reykjavík Museum of Photography
The museum exhibits both historical and contemporary photography in artistic- social- and cultural context. The Reykjavík Museum of Photography has a great collection which now comprises approximately six million photographs. The oldest photos date from about 1860, the most recent from 2014. It also features temporary exhibitions of current local photographers. For more information click here.
Reykjavík Art Museum – Hafnarhús
The old harbour warehouse, Hafnarhús, offers a progressive exhibition program with local and international contemporary artists. The works of key figures, as well as established and emerging current artists are presented in six galleries.
Hafnarhús is also home to the works of Erró (b. 1932), a significant player in the international pop art scene. More information here.
The Old Harbour
The old harbour is the heart of Reykjavík and the catalyst to its formation. The city grew up around the harbour and in the early 20th century it became one of the centers of the Icelandic trawling industry. The harbor area has been transformed in the past decades. It is still one of the most important harbors in Iceland, but in recent years tourism and whale watching have gradually replaced fishing vessels while shops and restaurants have occupied warehouses. The excellent natural harbour was no doubt one of the reasons the first settler of Iceland, Ingólfur Arnarson, chose to settle in Reykjavík.
Unspoiled nature reigns on the island of Viðey, which has a unique place in Icelandic history. Birdlife abounds on the island, while outstanding works of modern art also make their mark. Reachable only by ferry (subject to weather conditions), it is a wonderful place to visit. More information about the island here. For Ferry schedules and pricing please click here.
Kringlan shopping mall
Kringlan is the largest shopping mall in Reykjavík. Kringlan offers a wide variety of over 150 shops, 23 places to eat and a range of services. At Kringlan you will find everything from a public library and a cinema to some of the finest fashion shops and restaurants in town. More information here.
Smáralind shopping mall
Smáralind is the biggest shopping mall in Iceland. In Smáralind you’ll find over 90 shops and businesses on three floors. There is an excellent selection of world- renowned labels, including DressmanXL which we recommend for bear sizes. Furthermore there are restaurants, coffee shops, bakery, pharmacy, ice cream parlor, multi screen cinema and a fully equipped gym. More information here.