Now that we have completed our journey around this cute island, it’s time for us to partake in a little bit of the city life in Reykjavik and see how the majority of Icelanders live. Here is our little Reykjavik overview:
After cleaning up and washing our clothes of ash (this was the most excited I have seen Sandra about laundry), we took to the streets to explore this small but colorful capital city. Perhaps the best views are from the top of the main church (Hallgrímskirkja), perched atop the highest hill in Reykjavik:
This is also the most convenient church I’ve encountered in Europe, with an elevator to get to the top rather than the usual really skinny spiral staircase.
Overall Reykjavik has its own quirky sense of humor and style, while maintaining a very modern exterior. There always seems to be interesting artwork, fashion, people and stores in sight. On such an isolated island, you definitely get a good sense of unique Icelander style!
Which makes it a fun city to wander around, as you never know what you’ll stumble upon…
One such random object we wandered by was this Sun Voyager sitting neatly by the shoreline:
(What better place than here to practice jump shots?)
One of their most modern buildings is the Harpa Concert and Conference Center, which won the Building of the Year award in 2013 by the EU. The building is quite angular with slanted honeycomb glass walls and a mirrored roof.
Speaking of buildings, we’ve noticed most of their houses have a corrugated steel exterior. This is because they have so few trees (thus less wood for houses) and also because it is so weather proof. Either way, it can be painted any color which results in the colorful streets of Reykjavik.
One thing that really sets Reykjavik apart is their wild party attitude. We intentionally planned to be here over the weekend to partake in the “runtur”, a kind of Icelandic pub crawl. People usually pre-drink first – as alcohol is notoriously expensive at clubs – then the streets explode with people heading from bar to bar (which are often just steps away from one another, and functioning as cafés a couple hours prior) staying out all night long. It shocked us that bars still had long line-ups after 3 AM!
The fun part was that all this took place under the midnight sun, meaning that the sky stayed bright while people partied until the early hours of the morning. And what better time to have some of the best hot dogs in town than during a 4 AM sunset/sunrise after an evening of fun?
Most of the city is centered around Laugavegur Street, so staying in this general area is ideal. The city is relatively small, so most places will be within walking distance no matter where you are.
For a great view of the entire city head to the top of the Hallgrimskirkja church.