Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland which romances visitors with its bewitching mixture of big-city excitement and village vibe. During the summer, sunlight shines on the world’s most northerly capital for 22 hours a day, but a seemingly never-ending night takes over the city in winter. Throughout both seasons, Reykjavik thrives thanks to its many cultural trappings. The capital plays host to state-of-the-art geothermal pools, world-class restaurants and many fine museums and galleries. Friendly locals make the city feel like home quickly, and visitors fast fall in love with the Icelandic capital.
Best Time to Visit
In summer, there’s midnight sun and the temperature gets a little hotter! But if you want to hike, the best season is July and August. February, March, September and October are typically best for the Northern Lights. Visitors from April to October can spot whales off the city’s coast.
Top Places to Visit in Reykjavik
The most eye-catching landmark in Reykjavik is the Perlan, built in 1988 above the large tanks that hold the city’s reserves of natural hot water. Inside the stunning glass dome is a rotating restaurant that serves some of the capital’s finest cuisine, and the outdoor viewing platform offers panoramic views of Reykjavik.
2. National Museum
The well-planned National Museum offers a great introduction to Iceland’s history and culture. Featuring models of Thor, silver hoards and swords, the Settlement Era exhibit is the museum’s most popular. Another big draw in the collection is the 13th-century church door carved with the story of a lion and the knight he protected.
3. Arbaer Museum
Must-see sight that offers visitors a glimpse into traditional life in the countryside. The museum features transplanted houses from around Iceland, and visitors are welcome to wander through the grounds and the residences. Local actors dressed in period costumes demonstrate farm chores, like cow milking, butter churning while providing insight into traditional life.
4. Videy Island
Home to majestic rock formations, miles of hiking trails and at least 30 species of birds. Intriguing sculptural artwork can be seen all around the island, including pieces by Richard Serra, Yoko Ono and other renowned artists.
5. Church of Hallgrimur
Over 1,000 people can worship in the church at one time, and its steeple towers above all the other buildings in the capital. Named for the local poet Hallgrimur Petursson, the church includes a statue to Leif Ericson, the first Viking to discover America.