What’s Doing in Reykjavik, Iceland

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A visitor at a cave in Friðland

A visitor at a cave in Friðland

WHAT TO DO

To get your bearings, take a free walking tour, offered during the summer months twice a day at noon and 2 p.m. as well as an evening tour at 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The tour, given by university students, is an excellent way to introduce oneself to the city’s attractions and history.

The Kolaportið flea market is located indoors near the harbor and is open every weekend. It’s like eBay except in real life. Don’t miss the food stalls (tables actually) in the back, filled with Icelandic delicacies such as dried fish (admittedly an acquired taste) and delicious Icelandic donuts.

Take a ride to the top of Hallsgrimkirkja, an imposing gray church with a distinctive stepped-slope façade. It’s one of the tallest structures in the country as well as one of the most prominent landmarks. The birds-eye view from the top is unparalleled.

The Taste the Saga tour of the Ölgerdin brewery

The Taste the Saga tour of the Ölgerdin brewery

Continue to the Harpa concert hall, which opened in May 2011. The jewel-like geometric building sits alone the waterfront and is home to the country’s symphony orchestra and opera. Its different color panels are dazzling at night and the building itself almost didn’t see completion as construction started right before the country’s economic crisis.

The Saga Museum at Grandagardur uses dioramas to tell the story of how Iceland’s first settlers and what they encountered. It features an animatronic-like Snorri Sturluson whom visitors often mistake for an actor playing him. The National Museum of Iceland, renovated ten years ago, tells even more of the country’s history.  Finally, the Taste the Saga tour of the Ölgerdin brewery offers an introduction to Icelandic beer and spirits.

Take a drive to the outskirts of Reykjavik and visit the Heiðmörk nature reserve, a virtual paradise of lava fields, caves, and local vegetation. The Rauðhólar or Red Hills are remnants of pseudocraters in the lava field and are the park’s most notable feature.

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