For travellers who are stopping over in Iceland/only have a few hours to tour the unique and quirky city of Reykjavík, you have come to the right place!
Here is an overview of suggested locations (in order of proximity):
- Hallgrímskirkja Church
- Brauð & Co.
- Reykjavík Roasters
- Harpa Concert Hall
- Sun Voyager Statue
- Bryggjan (en route to Keflavik airport)
STOP #1: Hallgrímskirkja Church
Dominating the skyline of Reykjavík, the largest church in Iceland is an architectural feat to behold. State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson's design of the church was commissioned in 1937. He is purported to have designed it to resemble the trap rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland's landscape. From my perspective, the basalt columns of Reynisfajara Black Sand Beach came to mind immediately.
You can also opt to ascend the tower to observe a birds-eye view of multicoloured rooftops.
Admission prices are as such and it is recommended to check the tower opening times beforehand: adults: ISK 900, children 7-14 years old: ISK 100
STOP #2: Brauð & Co.
Situated on Frakkastígur 16, this local artisan bakery purportedly boasts Reykjavík's best sourdough breads and pastry.
Don't be fooled by the colorful graffiti-filled exterior. The pastries here are divine and relatively affordably priced. Handcrafted with local, high-fat butter, Ágúst and his crew invest effort to deliver top-notch croissants, Danish and our favourite, the fantastically rich cinnamon rolls. You can also watch the bakers busily churning out amazing baked goods. If you want to ask about the ingredients or the methods behind what’s on offer, don’t hesitate to ask.
The vinarbraud was deliciously crispy and fragrant.
STOP #3: Reykjavík Roasters
Best coffee in Reykjavík? We had to stop by. This hipster coffee spot honestly resembles someone's cosy and thoughtfully decorated living room.
My parents thought the coffee was all right, but I'll leave the judgment to more discerning coffee connoisseurs.
STOP #4: Harpa Concert Hall
Situated on the border between land and sea, the Centre stands out as a striking sculpture reflecting both sky and harbour space as well as the vibrant life of the city. The spectacular facades have been designed in close collaboration between architects, engineers and artists. As one of Reykjavík's most prominent landmarks, it is a cultural and social hub. It is also a captivating tourist destination and has fascinated 4 million guests since it opened to the public in May 4, 2011.
The interior contains interesting geometric features that are illuminated when the sunlight filters through them. Instagram away!
For those looking to make last-minute souvenir purchases, there is also a fantastic souvenir shop located right in the foyer.
STOP #5: Sun Voyager Statue
Just minutes away from the Harpa Concert Hall, a stroll along the picturesque waterfront will lead you to the statue.
The Sun Voyager is described as a dreamboat, or an ode to the sun. The artist intended it to convey the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.
Also, Laugavegur is a popular shopping street which offers a variety of shops, hotels and restaurants.
STOP #6: Bryggjan, Grindavik, Iceland (25 mins drive from Keflavik International Airport)
Right in the core of the fishing industry (and yes, it smells that way too), Bryggjan, the lobster soup here is very popular with tourists. Although it is priced at a hefty 2000 ISK, you can get unlimited refills and servings of bread to mop up that salty, tangy goodness. Some reviewers have commented that the soup is overly salty, but I'll let you decide for yourself.
There are other options for your palates such as the airy and delicious brown sugar meringue pie. It tasted somewhat like a macaron.
Enjoy your stay in Reykjavík. With its quirks and charms, it is the perfect beginning or ending to an Icelandic adventure.