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6 of the perfect in Reykjavik, Iceland

6 of the best in Reykjavik, Iceland

If your time is proscribed in Iceland, my suggestion can be that you just discover past Reykjavik and see the unimaginable pure panorama that the nation has to supply. The chances are although that, sooner or later or different, you’ll discover your self within the capital. If your time there may be restricted additionally, like ours was, then listed here are among the key issues a first-time customer will wish to see.

Sun Voyager

The Sun Voyager has been a well-known characteristic of Reykjavik’s waterfront since 1990 and is alleged to be an emblem of Icelandic desires of hope, progress and freedom. This sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason is a outstanding landmark that displays the spirit of town. Many guests imagine it to be a Viking long-ship – nevertheless, this was not the unique intention and it’s the truth is a dream boat and ode to the solar, representing a promise of undiscovered territory. A delicate stroll alongside the waterfront at sundown, while admiring the view of the bay and Mount Esja past, is the proper technique to take it in.

Hallgrímskirkja Church

The spectacular Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik is considered one of Iceland’s most well-known constructions. Built between 1945 and 1986, this Lutheran (Church of Iceland) church was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson and its tower resembles the basalt pillar formations attribute of some components of the nation. In addition to the tower, there’s a conventional nave plus a cylindrical sanctuary on the different finish of the church which is alleged to resemble a Viking struggle helmet. For a small price, guests can go up the tower – one of many tallest constructions in Iceland at nearly 75 metres excessive – through a elevate and entry an remark deck with views over town.

Harpa Concert Hall

The Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik is an exquisite and fashionable live performance corridor and convention centre, designed by the Danish agency Henning Larsen Architects in co-operation with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Its metal framework clad with geometric-shaped glass panels makes it one of many metropolis’s most placing landmarks, in addition to a centre of cultural and social life, and a vacationer attraction in its personal proper. It was to be a part of a redevelopment of the Austurhöfn space, full with a 400-room resort, luxurious residences, retail items, eating places and a carpark; nevertheless, this needed to be scaled again when the 2008 Icelandic monetary disaster took maintain. Iceland’s authorities funded the rest of the live performance corridor’s development and as we speak it homes the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the workplaces of The Icelandic Opera.


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Sky Lagoon

Just to the south of downtown Reykjavik, Sky Lagoon is a geothermal spa that opened in 2021. It boats a 70-metre infinity-edged geothermal pool with a swim-up bar and beautiful views of the North Atlantic, in addition to being recognized for its distinctive seven-step ritual expertise. Away from town centre, this luxury thermal spa is your gateway to feeling calm, rejuvenated and stress-free in a magical artifical lagoon.

A Reykjavik swimming pool

A swimming pool is a well-liked manner for locals to spend time enjoyable in Iceland, however can (and will!) be skilled by vacationers too. There are at the very least seven public baths to select from in Reykjavik; we visited Sundhöllin, the oldest swimming pool within the metropolis which has the identical designer as Hallgrímskirkja Church (Guðjón Samúelsson). Sundhöllin was renovated in 2017 and is as we speak dwelling to each an indoor and outside pool, a lap pool, a kids’s pool, three scorching tubs, a chilly tub and two saunas. Give visiting a conventional Icelandic swimming expertise a attempt, however do watch out to stick to the showering guidelines and etiquette.

Reykjavik’s swimming swimming pools provide a enjoyable technique to calm down on holidays. Visit considered one of these swimming pools and expertise a refreshing swim, or benefit from the pool’s services.

FlyOver Iceland

FlyOver Iceland is an immersive expertise the place you possibly can soar over the huge landscapes of Iceland. This dramatic ‘flight’ over among the the nation’s most spectacular landscapes enables you to witness unimaginable panoramas. Explore Iceland with a digital actuality tour, with a tremendous chicken’s eye view of Iceland’s pure wonders. This simulation must be skilled to be believed!

Don’t really feel you might have sufficient time to see all these items? We had solely two nights in Reykjavik and managed to go to all of the above, along with occurring a whale watching tour from Reykjavik’s previous harbour and our Dining with Icelanders expertise. How, you ask? We used the Hopp electrical scooters that you just’ll discover scattered across the metropolis. Not solely are they tremendous enjoyable and simple to make use of, however they’re a good way to effectively get round Reykjavik! (Admittedly, we used the automobile for Sky Lagoon since that’s additional out…)

Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here:

Disclosure: TOur journey to Iceland was additionally sponsored by Helly Hansen.

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Whale watching from a luxurious yacht off Reykjavik, Iceland

Whale watching from a luxury yacht off Reykjavik, Iceland

The chilly waters off Iceland‘s coast support a variety of marine life and provide the perfect opportunity for whale watching, particularly during the period from April to September. Whales, dolphins, seals and porpoises are regularly seen in their natural environment on boat trips out of Reykjavik. And sometimes, if you’re very fortunate, chances are you’ll even see basking sharks.

Whilst there are a lot of whale watching companies working out of Reykjavik, figuring out who to decide on could be a problem. With the bigger vessels, your view is likely to be slightly extra distant and the flexibility to maneuver to get one of the best view is likely to be considerably restricted. With smaller boats reminiscent of ribs, you’ll have higher manoeuvrability and may need a higher likelihood of getting ‘up close’, however this not give you the your required degree of consolation, significantly if the climate is unfavourable.

We went with Harpa Yachts, who supply the proper mixture of fine visibility, consolation and manoeuvrability, aboard a luxurious yacht the place you possibly can escape the crowds and profit from an expertise with fewer passengers, and with native and private service on board.

Harpa Yachts is a household firm that has been providing snug whale, dophin and puffin watching cruises from Reykjavik since 1998. The founders and homeowners have been pioneers of whale watchting journeys in Reykjavik. Their foremost focus has been on a private, high quality serivce aboard their well-maintained 70-foot MY Harpa yacht, absolutely outfitted with a salon, lounge, bar and a fly bridge with 360-degree views. They even have MY Amelia Rose which is 108 toes lengthy, usually used when the climate is much less good, and their latest addition, the 50-foot MY Axel Rose used for smaller teams and unique journeys.

Cruises depart from Reykjavik Old Harbour in downtown Reykjavik and head out to Faxaflói Bay, a big bay in south-west Iceland, between the Reykjanes and Snӕfellsnes Peninsulas.

“Welcome aboard this one-way trip to Greenland…” stated Capt Einar over the tanoy system as we departed the harbour at Reykjavik. By this time, we’d obtained used to Icelanders having fun with a joke or two from different excursions we’d been on, however we did marvel if another passengers have been momentarily barely panicked by the announcement!

We departed Reykjavik, hopeful of seeing whales however on the similar time realising that we have been coping with nature and a profitable sighting was under no circumstances assured. That stated, most journeys are profitable, significantly within the peak Summer months of July and August.

The vessel is gorgeous and was initially inbuilt Italy by Cantieri di Pisa. She was purchased by Harpa Yachts in 2012 from homeowners in Greece and sailed to Iceland, earlier than being modernised in 2017-2019. She can maintain as much as 35 passengers, guaranteeing that you’ve a reasonably intimate whale watching expertise.

As we ventured out into the bay, we noticed occasional puffins – usually stretched out in a line of half a dozen or so – with many carrying sand eels of their beaks, little question taking them to their younger. Iceland’s nesting grounds account for round 60% of the worldwide inhabitants of Atlantic puffins through the Spring and Summer, so there’s a excessive likelihood you’ll see some, even when it’s from a distance.

Of course, the principle function of our journey out to sea was for a whale sighting and that was up to now eluding us, regardless of one of the best efforts of our captain and crew. As many as 23 completely different whale species have been recorded off the shores of Iceland, however solely 12-14 of those are thought-about to be common inhabitants.

The vessel has an remark deck on the high and passengers have been suggested to say a time on the clock if they need to spot something (for instance, “3 o’clock” if there was a sighting on our starboard facet) to assist others know the place to look.

Everyone was scouring the ocean hoping to see one thing but it surely appeared we have been out of luck.

Then unexpectedly, we had a sighting. A humpback whale!

Everyone’s gaze tranfixed on the place we’d simply seen it. There have been three or 4 boats searching for whales and one of many smaller boats re-positioned itself for a greater view, earlier than we noticed it come to the floor once more some minutes later.

Here’s one other model of the identical {photograph}, cropped slightly tighter.

The humpback whale (or hnúfubakur as it’s referred to as in Iceland) usually stays underwater for five to fifteen minutes. They are characterised by lengthy flippers and usually stay in solitude or small, unstable teams. There are regarded as as much as 100,000 humpbacks worldwide and so they migrate a distance of 6,000 kilometres a method – the longest journey identified for any mammal. They will be something as much as 17 metres lengthy (that’s concerning the size of 10 adults laid on their facet in a single line!) and as much as 40 tons (the mixed weight of three double decker buses!).


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With a big time period having handed, and no additional sighting, it appeared our pleasant whale had moved on. An alert got here via on the radio {that a} whale had been sighted elsewhere so all of the boats left to attempt to make the most of that sighting. We stayed the place we have been and our captain’s persistence was rewarded when the whale appeared as soon as once more, simply as the opposite boats left!

Humpback whales are well-known for his or her breaching acrobatics – while we by no means noticed this whale breach, we have been fortunate sufficient to see it come to the floor on a number of events. That alone was a really particular expertise.

There was one closing wave of the whale’s tail, generally known as a fluke, as if taunting the boats that had chosen to look elsewhere. Lifting the fluke like this earlier than a dive is one thing that’s significantly attribute of humpbacks.

With Harpa Yachts, we obtained to expertise a enjoyable small group tour, with seating choices each indoors and outside while on board. Warm blankets can be found, as is free WiFi, a bar and lounge, a restroom {and professional} and skilled crew. In the occasion of no whale sightings – which may occur on uncommon events as nature shouldn’t be at all times 100% predictable – a free ticket can also be provided.

Whale watching in Iceland is a singular expertise that you just received’t wish to miss!

Sadly, whales are nonetheless hunted in Iceland regardless of a global settlement by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to cease all industrial whaling by 1986. However, the observe of whaling in Iceland has seen a pointy delcine and the nation has introduced that, as a result of falling demand, it’ll now not hunt whales from 2024. Hopefully it will make whale watching journeys out of Reykjavik much more rewarding sooner or later.

As nicely as whale watching excursions, Harpa Yachts additionally supply a Northern Lights yacht cruise in addition to non-public yacht excursions alongside the shoreline of Reykjavik, with distinctive seaside views of town. On a non-public cruise, you are able to do something from deep-sea angling to skeet capturing to golf driving competitions.

Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here. Footage from our whalewatching tour will be seen between 5m 56s and 6m 03s:

Disclosure: This publish is sponsored by Harpa Yachts. Our journey to Iceland was additionally sponsored by Helly Hansen.

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Short keep: Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland

Short stay: Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland

The 88-bedroomed Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel is housed in a historic constructing in downtown Reykjavik and caters for each enterprise and leisure travellers. This charming landmark lodge occupies a re-developed workplace constructing that dates from – sure, you’ve guessed it – 1919. It is considered one of Reykjavík’s oldest buildings and opened its doorways as a lodge within the Summer of 2005.

The welcome

We arrived fairly late having travelled from past the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon (a drive of greater than 5 hours), and brought within the airplane wreck, Skógafoss, Seljavallalaug swimming pool and Seljalandsfoss alongside the route. We due to this fact welcomed the swift and environment friendly nature of the check-in course of within the lodge’s pristine, spacious foyer.

It’s right here within the lodge reception space that there’s additionally complimentary espresso and tea, water, fruits and vitality bars from 4am to 7am for anybody wanting ‘breakfast to go’.

The room

Our modern visitor room was compact however very snug, with the whole lot we wanted.

Equipped with a desk, sockets both aspect of the mattress, a flatscreen TV mounted to the wall, and a kettle with tea, espresso and sugar, the room additionally had a cabinet with a protected, baggage rack, ironing board and iron, plus a facility to request laundry or dry cleansing companies.

English-speaking channels on our TV included CNN, BBC News, Sky News and Cartoon Network, while further TV companies included a welcome, alarm clock, information, Web radio and YouTube, and you possibly can even choose a video of a hearth to present your room that additional cosy really feel.

The lavatory

Our lavatory had an ideal bathe space with considered one of Iceland‘s many waterfalls used as a backdrop, in addition to a basin, shaving mirror and WC.

Radisson’s own-branded toiletries had been additionally equipped.


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The amenities

The Brut Restaurant is a excessive finish informal seafood restaurant established within the Autumn of 2021 which we dined in a single lunchtime. Among the dishes we had was a deliciously tender octopus starter which got here with a barely smoky, wealthy salsa rojo and kohlrabi.

Also amongst our order had been whelks, candy in flavour and barely chewy however not overcooked, served with a garlic butter.

The broccoli with chilli, capers and Tindur cheese made for one more attention-grabbing starter, not least as a result of we hadn’t tried (or heard of!) any such cheese earlier than. It seems it’s a pointy, tangy (but in addition tasty!) exhausting Icelandic cheese.

And to spherical off our starters had been uncooked, marinated scallops with tomato and lemon juice. Who knew that scallops might style so candy and scrumptious in the event that they weren’t really cooked?!

Our mains had been an ideal success additionally, from this ocean perch with olives, tomato and basil (an ideal alternative for a gentle, sweet-tasting fish)…

…to the grilled courgette with yohurt and a lemon and salsa verde, good for the vegetarians.

But don’t overlook it is a fish restaurant only a two-minute stroll from the harbour, so the fish is unquestionably value making an attempt. Possibly the very best dish of all was the monkfish with a rooster glaze, roasted hazelnuts and mushroom – an uncommon mixture you would possibly suppose however monkfish is a meaty fish which might deal with these further flavours.

For one thing extra delicate, strive the lemon sole with a chic beurre blanc and samphire sauce.

A patisserie choice was wheeled out on a trolley that made desserts exhausting to withstand. These delicacies are sourced from Gulli Arnar, a comparatively new bakery in Hafnarfjörður (simply outdoors Reykjavik).

Their petit gâteau choice is created from the best components and features a lemon tart with a butter-baked biscuit base, lemon cream and Italian meringues…

…plus this milk chocolate hazelnut mousse with apricot jelly.

Brut restaurant additionally doubles up for a buffet breakfast within the mornings.

A health flooring is situated on flooring 0 and options an array of contemporary train tools together with complimentary water and towels. It is open 24/7.

And there are a selection of assembly rooms to be used by enterprise travellers, in addition to alternatives for personal eating.


The Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel is in downtown Reykjavik in an space often called the 101 District (due to its 101 postcode). It is inside strolling distance of bars and eating places, and the primary buying streets equivalent to Laugavegur, in addition to close to the previous harbour, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik City Hall, Harpa Conference Centre and the National Museum of Iceland. The well-known Hallgrímskirkja Church is lower than a kilometre away.

Street parking is offered straight outdoors the lodge and is free after 6pm, plus there may be multi-storey parking shut by in Hafnartorg. Immediately outdoors the lodge is the recent canine stand Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, owned by the identical household because it opened in 1937, made well-known after Bill Clinton visited in 2004.

Other good touches

Some complimentary goodies had been in our room on arrival and complimentary glowing and nonetheless water is offered for Radisson Rewards members (changing into a member is simple – you may be a part of on-line in a matter of minutes).


Standard rooms begin 23,000 ISK for Radisson Rewards Prepaid Members, on a room solely foundation.

The finest bit

The finest a part of our keep was lunch at Brut Restaurant. This was on a par with a few of our greatest meals in Iceland, with each the service and the meals being distinctive.

The ultimate verdict

The Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik is a really snug way of life lodge with a wonderful restaurant. Its location in a modern a part of Reykjavik’s metropolis centre is ideal, with the whole lot you possibly can want for inside a brief stroll: the harbour, quite a few sights, buying, bars and eating places.

Planning a visit to Iceland your self? You can watch a video from our journey to Iceland right here:

Disclosure: This publish is sponsored by Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik. Our journey to Iceland was additionally sponsored by Helly Hansen.

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