10 Sights to Visit in Reykjavik

Even though Reykjavik isn’t a very big city, it has a lot to offer and there are many lovely sites to visit. We’ve put together a list of our top ten sites to visit in Reykjavik – but of course there’s much more to see and do in Icelands capital.

1. Hallgrimskirkja Church

One of the most iconic buildings in Reykjavik is Hallgrimskirkja church. You can see it almost wherever you are and it is amongst the highest buildings in Iceland. You can go up the steeple and enjoy the magnificent view over the city and surrounding coastline. The church itself is beautiful and the organ is a work of art.

2. Perlan (The Pearl)

Perlan (The Pearl) stands out for its unique and modern architecture. Up on the fourth level there is a 360 degree viewing platform where you can get the best panoramic views of Reykjavík. When the sun sets, it’s a spectacular spot for the Northern Lights in winter if the forecast is looking good. You can also dine at the Perlan Restaurant and enjoy a view across the whole city. Visit the newly opened Glacier and Ice Cave Exhibition to learn about the Wonders of Iceland.

3. Tjörnin (The Pond)

Tjörnin or The Pond, is located in the city centre of Reykjavik. The birds on the Pond give the city a lively charm. You can take a walk around the Pond to see the sculptures set amongst the park grounds and enjoy the sunset. In winter the pond freezes over and people go ice skating on it. Hot geothermal waters are pumped into a small section of the pond where ducks and swans gathers. It’s ok to feed the duck in winter but please refrain from doing this in the summer time.

4. The Parliament

The Parliament, Althingi was founded at Thingvellir back in 930 up until 1799 when it was discontinued for some decades. Althingi is one of the oldest extant parliamentary institutions in the world. These days

In 1844 Althingi was relocated to the capital city and has be held here in Reykjavik ever since. The role of the Parliament has changed over the years but its main function today is to discuss and pass legislation. With 63 members voted by the public, they are refered to as ‘thingmenn’ which means People of the Althingi or Parliament.

The parliament is located in the heart of Reykjavik, in Austurvollur square. This square is the place to be in the summer time as the sun in shining and people gather on the grass. There are many nice restaurants to dine outside and enjoy the sun. At the centre of the square stands a statue of Jón Sigurðsson, the renowned figure who led Iceland to independence.

5. Harpa Concert Hall

Harpa Concert Hall is one of Reykjavik’s most unique buildings. It was designed by a Danish firm in co-operation with the Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson. Harpa stand at the edge of Reykjaviks Harbour and is Icelands biggest concert hall suitable for a broad range of concerts and cultural events.

The interior and exterior are both stunning but the interior is worth a visit and walk around. There’s a nice café on the ground floor and a restaurant on the top floor. There are guided tours on offer and some great short cinematography shows worth looking into.

In winter the glazed facade is eliminated with a magical light show representing the Northern Lights.

6. The Old Harbour

The old harbour is the first lasting harbour of Reykjavik and an area of great history. On the eastern pier you will find galleries, excellent restaurants, cafés and more. You will also find numerous whale watching companies willing to take you out to sea on unforgettable excursions. The atmosphere at the old harbour is friendly, the sea air is fresh, and there’s plenty of interesting activities to check out such as the Maritime Museum.

7. The Sun Voyager

The Sun Voyager is a beautiful sculpture on the coastline, a short walk from Harpa Concert Hall. The sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, serves as a reminder of the Icelanders history and heritage when the first Viking settlers sailed to Iceland. Designed as an ode to the sun symbolising freedom, progress, the promise of undiscovered territory and a dream of hope. The Sun Voyager is a lovely sculpture that has become one of Reykjaviks symbols.

8. City Hall

With an impressive modern design, the building sits right on the northern shore of Lake Tjörnin, The Pond. The building is also open to visitors, providing internet access and an information desk, exhibition halls and a cafe. Sit in the café and enjoy the magnificent view over the Pond, admire the birdlife through the huge class windows. Visit the galleries to admire one of the steady streams of new and exciting exhibitions. Make sure to have a look at the 3D map of Iceland in the entrance.

9. The Seaside

Wherever you are in Reykjavik you are never far from the sea and it’s refreshing to take a walk along the coastline. Ægissíða is a great place to walk. you might even see a seal swimming in the ocean. Grótta is another great place for a walk along the rocky coastline or black sand beach. The lighthouse is fun to walk out to but beware and check for high tide so you don’t get stuck. There is also a very small but cute geothermal pool where locals sit in and watch the sunset. Grotta is also a good place to check for Northern Lights at night.

10. Kolaportið Flea Market

At Kolaportið Flea Market you can find almost anything. An indoor flea market so no need to think about the weather. It’s open during weekends from 11:00 – 17:00 and is fun to visit. The atmosphere is unique and the old industrial building is usually filled with people hunting for books or antiques, grocery shopping, selling old garments, buying music and DVD’s, or digging through piles of stuff in search of hidden treasures. We recommend bringing cash as the majority of stalls are unable to accept card. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon in Reykjavik.

Festivals Made For Children


Iceland is known to have wide range of cultural activities, there are numerous festivities that all-family can enjoy, but there are also lists of festivals made for children. These events take place to gather the youth beautiful youth in Iceland and visitors are also welcome to participate. Literature plays an important part in building youth’s minds into better citizens as well as future candidates for leadership in Iceland. Cultural arts keep the young minds to focus on what is good and not to the dangers of future. Icelander kids are well rooted in their culture, which is why Iceland never runs out with fun events and festivities that are culture themed. As a matter of fact, they have preserved their culture in the same way they did with their nature. Attending such events with your kids in Iceland will get your children value more what is right such as; literature, arts, music and religion. Many of these events participants are international young artists that can bring inspiration to everyone both young and old.

Children Culture Festival – There are three aspects of this event and they are; children’s culture, culture for children and culture with children. This festival is one of the festivals that are made and are focused to children and those becoming of age. It is a week long celebration of music, arts, and cultural activities. The children are the once being highlighted as artists and it is giving a huge impact to every growing kids in Iceland. The festival includes; activities for children like theater workshops, visual arts, puppetry, circus, dance activities, music, film and storytelling. The institutions such as schools, libraries, theaters, museum and those with cultural aspects are full forced to give the event life. There are almost 150 programs and special events that you and your kids will be an audience of. This festival is celebrated in Late April.

International Festival of Children’s Literature – Another addition to the festivals made for children is the International Festival of Children’s Literature which is held biennially in the Nordic House in Reykjavik. The festival is traditionally named after Moorland where the Nordic House Stands. There are special focus of each event and are pointing out to Moorland like; Cat in the Moorland (in 2001 when it started), Magic in the Moorland (2004), then came; Kids in Moorland (2006), Ghost in the Moorland (held in 2008), Pictures in the Moorland (2010) and the latest is Food in the Moorland (2012). In this festival, children from Iceland and abroad are participating to reading, panels and literary programs, author discussions, lectures by scholars, exhibitions and workshops as well as culture programs.

Young Art Festival – As this festival focuses on young people who acknowledge their talents, this can be a great inspiration for your kids even if they are still on the development in discovering their own talents. Commonly called as Unglist, this is a unique and awesome experience to any growing up kid because it can bring out the best in them. The program is packed with music, fashion, photography, design, paintings, theater, and all concepts that are art related. This is definitely one of the festivals that are made for children aspiring to step on music and arts. This is held annually in November.

When it comes to culture and arts, Iceland is never at the end of the list. This is how they build their character and how they keep on smiling from every challenge they face. Indeed a country with so much to treasure and one of what they value most are their children. The Icelander parents way in developing their kids to be a better person is through these festivals made for children.