Reykjavik is an expensive city. Below are some things that I love in the city that do not cost anything to see as well a a few walks.
The Lutheran Hallgrimskirkja Church dominates the city. It opened to the public in 1986 and is the biggest church in Iceland. Its streamlined design is striking although it is quite simple inside.
You can take a lift to the top of the tower to admire the views, but there is a fee for this [so I should not really be mentioning this on this page] and probably a queue.
Einar Jonsson Sculpture Garden.
Most reviews say the best bit about this museum is the sculpture garden which is free. We went on New Years Day 2019 so the museum was closed anyway but the sculpture garden was open.
It also has my favritist and wrongist statue ever!
Tjornin and the Town Hall.
I love Tjornin, which is a lake and gardens right by the modern Town Hall just off from the town centre. The lake has a multitude of birds desperate to be fed. The gardens which are dotted with statues and sculptures are a pleasant place for a stroll, see Walking Around below.
Tjornin in the Spring:
Tjornin in Winter:
Radhus -The Town Hall
The town hall may be a bit ugly on the outside but inside it looks great and there is a large 3D model of Iceland to behold in the hall.
This striking concert venue with numerous halls near the harbour is impressive inside and out. It opened in 2011 and I was lucky enough to see Björk perform there in 2021. The facade comes to life at night with changing rainbow colours and designs. Inside is like being inside a diamond tiara! The shop inside is interesting but pricey. I did not try out the bar!
Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach
The Geothermal Beach is near Perlan and is free to visit in the summer.You could visit the Beach before or after going to Perlan with a lovely short walk through the wood on Öskjuhlíð Hill [more info on this page below]. For further information on the Geothermal Beach and other places to bathe in Reykjavik, click HERE.
A few walky suggestions:
There are a few interesting walks that I can recommend:
#1 Sculpture and Shore Walk
The Sculpture and Shore Walk gives striking views across the bay to the mountains to one side with the city on the other and Harpa at the bottom. The walk is mentioned on Google maps, but it’s impossible to get lost. This walk takes you past several impressive modern sculptures including the wonderful Sun Voyager as well as Höfði lighthouse and many abandoned escooters looking rather forlorn.
I popped back to the lighthouse one evening and managed a likkle glimpse of the Northern Lights. [I have never paid for a tour yet].
#2 Walk around Tjornin.
The second walk is circular and takes you through parkland around Tjornin and again this walk takes you past a multitude of traditional and modern sculptures including works by Einar Jonsson. We broke up the walk by visiting the excellent National Museum of Iceland which was just a minor detour. [More info is on my Museums page]
You could also take anothor small detour and walk along Suðurgata which runs parallel to Tjornin on the far side where you there are lovely views over the pond and you can venture into the atmospheric graveyard that has been overrun by trees.
#3 The walk to Þúfa [and back].
If you look past Harpa towards the harbour you can see a large mound at the end of the harbour arm. We thought it looked like a big bosom, and as we had no idea of its name or purpose, that was the name we gave it. We now know that this mound is called Þúfa and it is in fact a very large work of art which was created in 2013.
On New Years Eve 2018 Leashia and I decided to investigate before it got dark. The harbour arm walk there was pleasant and it takes you past boutiques and cafes as well as the Grandi Foodhall. You are also near some museums and the Fly over Iceland attraction. As we approached Þúfa there was a fishy smell in the air and we a saw a seal frolicking in the sea.The mound itself has narrow stairs winding around it and we made our way to the top where the source of the fishy smell became apparent. At the very top there were fish hanging in a cage drying in the fresh air. The view back towards the city was lovely.
#4 Walk around Öskjuhlíð Hill
The wonderful Perlan Museum sits atop of Öskjuhlíð Hill which is partially wooded. A walk along the trails in the wood are a delight and a wonderful contrast to the city nearby. It does not take as long as you might think to get here, around 30-40 minutes walk from the centre of Reykjavik. We visited the wood on the way to the Geothermal Beach which is only a few minutes away.The wood has a little bit of history and there are the remains of WW2 installations visible along with information boards written in Icelandic and English.
#5 Aimlessly mooching
Mooching around the City centre, taking in the architecture, street art, the mountains in the distance and statues dotted around are absolutely free. Popping into a bar or cafe is not, but you can’t have it all.
The wonderful natural marvels, which includes The Golden Circle, volcanoes and waterfalls near Reykjavik are all free – yay! Getting there by coach or hire car is not, booo! For more info click on the links below-