Einar Jónsson Outdoor Sculpture Garden
Einar Jónsson, one of Iceland’s most important early sculptors, has an incredible sculpture garden located next to Hallgrímskirkja, featuring an array of bronze pieces representing mythological figures and stories.
Commissioned by state architect Guðjón Samuelssón, and built between 1945 and 1986, Hallgrímskirkja is nearly 75 meters high, is one of the Reykjavik’s most famous landmarks, and is also visible throughout the city.
The Sun Voyager
This sculpture, called Sólfar in Icelandic, is located by the coast close to Harpa, and was created by Jón Gunnar Árnason in a commissioned competition to celebrate Reykjavik’s 200th birthday in 1986.
View from Perlan
Perlan, also knows as The Pearl, situated on the hill called Öskuhlíð, once housed hot water tanks. Now it is a multi-function building containing a Viking museum, restaurant, and shops. There is a viewing deck on the fourth floor, which offers panoramic telescopes at each of its six corners.
Nauthólsvík geothermal beach
Reykjavik’s only heated natural beach area, Nauthólsvík has a natural hot spring close by, making the ocean water comfortable for swimming. The beach also has an outdoor hot tub, changing rooms with showers, and a bar.
Vikin Maritime Museum
Located by the old harbor in Reykjavik and opened in 2004 in a building formerly used for fish freezing, the Maritime Museum features an exhibition on board the Coast Guard vessel Óðinn, the oldest ship in the Coast Guard’s fleet.
Kjarvalsstaðir – Reykjavik Art Museum
Kjarvalsstaðir is named after Iceland’s most beloved painter, Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972), whose permanent collection is on display. It is the first building in Iceland intentionally designed to display visual art.
The National Gallery of Iceland
The National Gallery of Iceland, Listasafn Íslands, was founded in 1884 and moved into its current building, originally constructed as an icehouse, in 1987. The main focus is on 19th- and 20th-century Icelandic art, including the most valuable pieces of Icelandic art in the country.
This bird-watching sanctuary and lighthouse at the tip of Seltjarnarnes Peninsula, west of Reykjavik, is a great place to watch the midnight sun reach the horizon, and to witness the Aurora Borealis in the winter sky.
Harpa Concert Hall
This architectural gem features a distinct glass façade reminiscent of the natural basalt columns found in the Icelandic landscape. Opened in 2011, this artistic and cultural center is a venue for many concerts and festivals, and offers great views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean.
This nearby mountain can easily be reached by bus from downtown Reykjavik for a great, moderate hike to the top with an excellent view. You can also view this mountain from many places within the city, beautifully snow-capped for most of the year.
Hafnarhús – Reykjavik Art Museum
Situated in the old harbor area of Reykjavik, Hafnarhús, or ‘harbor house,’ was built in the 1930s. This is where you’ll find the most contemporary exhibitions by both Icelandic and international artists. The museum features a permanent collection of works by Erró (1932- ), one of Iceland’s most well-known postmodern artists and a pioneer of Pop Art.
Ásmundarsafn – Reykjavik Art Museum
Ásmundursafn is dedicated to the Icelandic sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982). The building, designed by the artist himself as a studio in the 1930s, is worth visiting for its fascinating architectural domes and natural light – an ode to the artist’s admiration for Bauhaus style.
The National Museum of Iceland showcases a fascinating display of history, representing the earliest cultures to settle on the island, as well as contemporary culture. The museum features a door dating back to the 12th century, which represents Icelandic sagas and is the only medieval Icelandic carved door.
The Culture House Safnahúsið was built between 1906-1908 to house the National Library and National Archives. The building is considered one of Iceland’s most beautiful and has been protected as a historical site. The Reading Hall is remarkable and has been preserved in its original form.
This recent addition to Reykjavik’s art gallery and museum scene features a restaurant and bar on the ground floor, and three different art spaces on the top floors – the Living Art Museum, the Kling og Bang Gallery, and Olafur Eliasson’s work space and studio.
Reykjavik Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens are a popular outdoor recreation area, with winding paths full of trees and blossoms in spring and summer. However, it is equally beautiful in wintertime.
Old Harbor Area
Enjoy this bustling part of the city, with new shops and cafés, in an area that was once mostly devoted to seafood processing. Take in the great ocean views and the sight of Mount Esja across the shore.
This lovely island just off the coast of Reykjavik can be enjoyed on foot or by bike. The island features the Imagine Peace Tower, an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon. You can also see American sculptor Richard Serra’s Milestones project, with nine pillars framing the landscape.
The Settlement Exhibition
Archaeological remains excavated in 2001 turned out to be the oldest relics of human habitation in Reykjavik, with some fragments dating to before 871 AD. During the excavation, a longhouse from the tenth century was also discovered.