Reykjavik 2021

A volcano skyline behind moss covered lava fields between Keflavik airport and Reykjavik.

Driving from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik you cannot miss the moss-covered lava fields and volcanic skyline. 

Without a doubt, Reykjavik is one of my favourite cities in the world. Even after numerous trips I’ve still never been to all of the swimming pools and art galleries this relatively small city hosts (two of my favourite

Tuija wearing a brown raincoat stands in front of a rainbow painted street in Reykjavik.
Skólavörðustígur AKA rainbow street in Reykjavik, October 2021.

There is always something new and exciting to see at the architecturally exciting City museums: Kjarvalsstaðir, Hafnarhús, and Ásmundarsafn, The Culture House and National gallery of Iceland, and The Living Artist Museum: an artist run centre in the sea-side Old Harbour Grandi area. 

Glass ceiling view from within the National Gallery of Iceland.

The view from the second floor of the National gallery of Iceland, between exhibition rooms. 

Every day in Reykjavik for me begins with a trip to a local pool, trust me, the lagoons are great but nothing feels more authentic than starting your day with a few laps and a hot tub soak amongst the regulars. I’d recommend checking out Vesturbæjarlaug (west of downtown) which has Finnish style saunas in the changing rooms,  Árbæjarlaug (a short bus ride from city center) with its beautiful views of the Elliðaárdalur (suburban valley), and Laugardalslaug - just east of downtown and home to a saltwater hot tub! If you’re staying closer to downtown and looking for less of a journey the Sundhöllin public baths are excellent, the oldest in Reykjavik (1930’s architecture) and feature roof top hot tubs and sauna!

An 8-bit Nintendo style mural of Reykjavik’s Hallgrimskirkja  

A fence mural found along the walking route to Vesturbæjarlaug Oct. 2021.

There are plenty of local galleries, boutiques and shopping areas in general but a fun way to find a souvenir is shopping at the thrift stores downtown. There are many to choose from but my best finds have all been from Verzlanahöllin (think Icelandic sweaters at 10-25% the cost, as well as the big Icelandic brands and European brands).  

A shop window on the left and Tuija showing off a hand-knit Icelandic Sweater.

Verzlanahöllin shop hours and a hand knit Lopi Peysa (Icelandic wool sweater) I found for 3000 ISK! (About $28 CAD).  

Reykjavik has so many restaurants to choose from, something for everyone surely, but a good start if you can’t decide would be to hit up one of the food halls: Grandi Mathöll, Hlemmur or Borg29 mathöll have all hit the spot for me.

A 4 pm sunset colours the moss-covered lava fields nearby Þingvellir, Oct 2021.

If you have time, a short drive from Reykjavik you’ll find Þingvellir National Park - its featured on numerous golden circle tours, but even just driving through (as I was on my way to Laugarvatn Fontana) was worth the views!

Laugarvatn lake, pool, and steaming grounds on the left and Tuija smiling into the sunset on the right.

Smiling into the sunset post relaxing afternoon at Laugarvatn Fontana. 

I was lucky to visit Reykjavik 3 times on my last trip to Iceland, September, October/November, and December, and loved seeing the changing seasonal daylight and sunrise/sunsets. 

A lilac, pink and orange sunrise on December 1, Reykjavik Harbour.

The sun rising at 10:30 am overlooking Reykjavik Harbour on December 1, 2021. 

A nice way to end your visit to Iceland is with a stop at the Blue Lagoon en route to the airport, (depending on what time your flight departs). The lagoon is about 20 minutes from the airport and caps off your journey in the most relaxing way!

A winter sunrise over soft blue sky and silica rich, white geothermal waters.

Ending the journey with a sunrise trip to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland, December 1 2021.