Inspiring Photos To Remind You Not To Skip Reykjavik

I’m well aware that Iceland is deeply evocative of volcanoes, lava fields and fierce waves crashing violently against towering cliffs; however, these otherworldly landscapes — as photogenic as they are — should not, in any way, overshadow the quirky treasure that is the Icelandic capital. Let these photos of Reykjavik prove in 27 different ways how wonderful and worthwhile the city is and why you shouldn’t simply just pass through.

Give Reykjavik the credit it deserves!

My Favourite Photos of Reykjavik

The view from Hallgrimskirkja

photos of reykjavikphotos of reykjavik Straight ahead: Greenland

photos of reykjavik
photos of reykjavik
 
The southern part of Reykjavik, including the city’s domestic airport and Tjörnin, Reykjavik’s lake
The northern end of Reykjavik includes the majestic Harpa concert hall and several colourful streets that are so typical of the city
 
photos of reykjavikphotos of reykjavik

photos of reykjavik

Hallgrimskirkja‘s characterful steeple is visible throughout the city, making it a veritable landmark for many tourists that have yet to familiarise themselves with Reykjavik’s layout. The quite peculiarly-shaped facade was actually inspired by the geometrical shapes created when lava cools into basalt rock, a sight often compatible with Iceland’s rugged coastline. Right in front of the church, firmly looking at the sea ahead, is a statue of Leifur Eiriksson, the actual first European to discover America… a solid 500 years before Christopher Columbus saw the distant shores of the New World. And because Iceland has rather modest structures — a clever way to guarantee nature is the perpetual star of the show, and not vulgar man-made constructions — this is also technically the tallest building in Iceland, at 73 metres.

There’s an observation deck atop the steeple and the 360-degree views of the capital region including the shore and the mountains, making it well worth the modest ISK 900 (~ $7.95 at the time of writing) entry fee. And yes, just in case your calves were starting to get anxious: there is a lift.

The Reykjavik waterfront

photos of reykjavik The unique Harpa concert hall

photos of reykjavik Chasing light inside Harpa

Reykjavik’s second-most famous structure is another landmark whose allure was inspired by Iceland’s exalted nature. Much like the Hallgrimskirkja and yet vastly different, the rather distinctive geometric glass facades of the Harpa are reminiscent of the basalt rocks found all across the nordic island. It’s more than just a pretty face, though, as it houses concert halls — do check out their calendar as they have several non-Icelandic-speaking features for us tourists, including the Icelandic Opera and Symphony Orchestra as well as comedy shows — and fantastic design boutiques and restaurants.

Tip: take the lift to the top floor of the eastern facade to enjoy this striking view of the building.

photos of reykjavik photos of reykjavikThe Sun Voyager

Located just a few minutes walk from Harpa along the Reykjavik harbour, the Sun Voyager sculpture is not, contrary to popular belief, a Viking ship, but instead an ode to the elusive sun crafted by Icelandic artist Jón Gunnar Árnason to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city of Reykjavík.

photos of reykjavik
photos of reykjavik
 

The beautiful back streets

Reykjavik is blessed with a maze of pedestrianised, winding narrow streets lined with traditional Icelandic houses that make for perfect Instagram shots (hey, I’m a millennial, it’s not my fault I’m obsessed with the ‘gram). This is one of the things I simply must indulge in whenever I visit the capital, as I cannot tire from observing locals go about their daily business and fantasise about what my life would be like if I owned one of these rainbow-coloured properties, which I imagine are rather expensive even by Icelandic standards.

Until I can afford one, though, I’ll continue to stroll aimlessly around Reykjavik and fall even deeper in love with this quirky city every time.

photos of reykjavikFischersund

photos of reykjavikMjóstræti

photos of reykjavikFischersund

photos of reykjavik
photos of reykjavik
 

The area east of Ingólfstorg square in central Reykjavik is perhaps the best part of the city. Very high chances of cat sighting, too. I repeat: HIGH CHANCES OF CATS.

For some reason, I hardly ever see tourists here so there’s a slight chance locals will despise me for sending nosy camera-totting visitors in their tranquil neighbourhood but I can live with that.

photos of reykjavikNjálsgata

photos of reykjavik
photos of reykjavik
 
Kárastígur
Frakkastígur
 
photos of reykjavikGrettisgata

photos of reykjavikSkólavörðustígur

photos of reykjavikKlapparstígur

Another popular area is the road leading up to iconic Hallgrimskirkja. The main road is dotted with charming shops and cafés but what I like most about it is the network of perpendicular streets around it, which is also full of those Icelandic houses bearing strong resemblance to Scandinavian metal sheet houses. Definitely a good spot for quintessential, redolent photos of Reykjavik.

photos of reykjavik Skólavörðustígur

photos of reykjavik Skólavörðustígur

photos of reykjavik Ingólfstorg

The view from Perlan

Right outside the city centre — a swift 25-minute walk thanks to the capital’s compact size — is perhaps where you need to go to get the best views of Reykjavik. Perlan is a multi-function centre with large exhibit spaces, several shops, a revolving restaurant on the top floor and some of the most unobstructed panoramas in the area from the free-to-visit, 360-degree outdoor viewing deck. The proximity to Reykjavik’s domestic airport also makes Perlan a must-visit location for plane spotters!

photos of reykjavik
photos of reykjavik
 
photos of reykjavikphotos of reykjavik

photos of reykjavik
photos of reykjavik
 

* Disclaimer: I took these inspiring photos Reykjavik as a guest of Icelandair and Reykjavik Excursions. All opinions are my own.

10 Comments on Inspiring Photos To Remind You Not To Skip Reykjavik

    • Marie-Eve
      January 24, 2017 at 2:01 pm (8 months ago)

      Thanks Tanja!

      Reply
  1. Charlie
    February 4, 2017 at 12:54 pm (8 months ago)

    Fantastic blog! I want your life… I read your post on ProBlogger, thank you for sharing your Pinterest tips. Iceland is on my bucket list more so than any other place. Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures.

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      February 7, 2017 at 11:06 am (8 months ago)

      Glad you like the blog Charlie!

      Reply
  2. arga
    March 23, 2017 at 5:48 am (6 months ago)

    I read your blog after coming back from Iceland recently. Really want to go back there! It’s true, the capital city is quirky. Too bad I went there when it was snowing all day. Couldn’t get amazing pictures like yours :”

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      March 24, 2017 at 5:45 pm (6 months ago)

      You need to go back in the summer!

      Reply
  3. Amélie
    March 26, 2017 at 12:17 am (6 months ago)

    Super photos! Je ne pensais pas que Reykjavik était aussi colorée! Ça donne envie d’y passer plus d’une journée!

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      March 27, 2017 at 12:13 pm (6 months ago)

      Oh oui! C’est une ville très étonnante.

      Reply
  4. Thaissa Zillio
    June 7, 2017 at 9:53 am (4 months ago)

    Hi Marie,
    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. Im planning my trip to Iceland and experience it solo! Do you think its safe to go for a road trip solo? And you had to stay at different hotels or you would drive back to your hotel in the city ?

    Reply
    • Marie-Eve
      June 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm (4 months ago)

      Thank you Thaissa! Iceland is one of the safest places on Earth from a human standpoint. Mother Nature is another story, though! As for hotels, it depends on the kind of trip you want to have and places you want to see. Setting up a base in Reykjavik will only open up the Golden Circle and Snaefellsness peninsula, while going outside the city will take you to the south coast, the eastern fjords, etc. It’s really up to you!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *






595 Shares