Mount Esja is an excellent challenge for everyone. Each person can choose their path according to their physical fitness because there are several hiking options on Mount Esja. One should start at Mógilsá and from there the route is very well marked. Mount Esja can be seen from Reykjavík and from that distance it seems to change color constantly, some say to match her mood. The color changing has a more rational explanation though: the colours are reflected by the light on basal salt rocks and palagonite minerals. The mountain is 909 meters above sea level and is believed to be 3 million years old! A hiking trip on Mount Esja is hugely popular among people in Reykjavík.
If adventure sports put you off, think again. Eskimos offers such a wide range of activities, it's hard to maintain that somber attitude. There's dog sledding, kayaking, rafting, horseback riding, snow safaris et al to enthrall you and test your bravado quotient. At the same time, appreciate nature's bounty in the form of fjords, glaciers, lava formations, geysers, waterfalls, lagoons and what have you. Be sure to get hold of the right gear and guide.
Hitt Húsið is a cultural center located in Reykjavík. It has been established to promote cultural youth activities and hosts the Unglist, a festival where young artists celebrate their youth and their art. The center is a hub for variety of genres of art that range from music, design, photography, dance, fashion, and films. Call for additional information.
Heiðmörk is an extremely popular recreational area. Whether it's for a nice walk in the outdoors with the whole family, jogging, or a romantic picnic 'á deux' this is the right spot! In 1949 the Reykjavík Forestry Station began systematic planting in Heiðmörk and since then, every summer thousands of trees are planted. If you have a special interest in plants or birds (or both) you will find a great variety of them in Heiðmörk.
A short distance from Reykjavík, Viðey is a charming island . The island's highest point is 32 meters (104.9 feet) above sea level. The island is thought to be around two million years old, a former volcano rising from the bottom of the sea. It rose above sea level only nine to ten thousand years ago. A day spent in Viðey is an ideal outing for the family. Besides walking the island, it is possible to hire a horse and see Viðey from horseback. The island is relatively well grown and rich in bird life. At least 30 species are known to lay eggs on the island. There are also beautiful, historic buildings on the island. Research has shown that people lived there as early as the tenth century and a church was built in the twelfth century. A monastery was established in 1225 and stood until 1539, when it was raided and everything from it stolen. The oldest stone building in Iceland is in Viðey and has preserved its original charm and grandeur. One of the oldest church buildings in Iceland, built in 1774, is also in Viðey.
Árbæjarsafn was founded in 1957. It is situated in Árbær, an old farm that used to be outside Reykjavik, but the city has grown and expanded so that this place is now within the city itself. When the museum was established, only farmhouses stood there but within the next years some old houses from Reykjavik's city center were moved up there and rebuilt. One of the museum's buildings is a church, built in 1842 and still used for religious ceremonies. As well as being an open-air museum, it also organizes exhibitions based on themes from the past. A case in point is an exhibition showing old cars and old garage tools. It is thought that the first settlers in Iceland built their houses in Reykjavik in 874. The museum is dedicated to Reykjavik's history from that day until the present day, showing artifacts representing the everyday life of Reykjavik's inhabitants over the period. For those wanting to get to know the history of Reykjavik, Árbæjarsafn is the best place to visit.
An immensely flattering imitation that traces the rugged mountainous features of Iceland's topography, the Hallgrímskirkja is a stunning structure in the heart of Reykjavik. Designed by architect Guðjón Samúelsson, the church was completed over a prolonged span of 41 years. It stands today as a symbol of splendid modernism and Iceland's natural beauty. The Hallgrímskirkja features a dramatic gray facade with craggy edges that swoop upward to meet the detailed steeple. The spire towers at a height of 74.5 meters (244 feet) and is visible from far-flung corners of the city. Compared to the church's imposing facade, the interior is less pronounced, though it notably houses a 5275-pipe organ that was erected in 1992.
Sun Voyager is a beautiful landmark in Reykjavik and boasts of designs by Jón Gunnar Árnason, a famed architect. Also known as Sólfar, this steel-ship features tridents symbolizing magic and proudly sits at the seaside. Being the last design of the architect, it is believed that the ship is a mark of healing and faith and is also interpreted as a ship that transports the spirit to the afterlife.
Beautiful and traditional Icelandic ceramic dominates the space in this gallery. The owner and proprietor Lana Matusa, was born in Serbia but now resides in Reykjavik. The troll tales are an inspiring factor in Lana's work. Icelandic legends narrate stories of sleeper-guards and elves living in the lava area. Hence the studio houses a collection of lava artifacts made of genuine material gathered from the island itself! So anyone interested in trolls and elves can make a beeline to this ceramic studio.
Íslenska Óperan (The Icelandic Opera House) is located in a beautiful old building in the heart of Reykjavík. The house used to be a movie theatre but was changed into an opera house and concert hall in 1982. The decor inside has been kept in its original state so the house has a unique charm. The Opera House is very sought after for musical events, and concerts here are classical and contemporary alike. Call for event timings and additional information.
When Icelanders stopped whale-hunting several years ago, a new industry and tourist attraction emerged, whale watching. Húni II is a 130-ton oak vessel, built in 1963 as a fishing boat, and is well suited for the present purposes. The guide is English-speaking. There is probably no better way for children to see the largest animals on earth, than to see them in their natural surroundings. The ship follows a regular schedule, leaving in the morning, but afternoon trips can be arranged for larger groups. Sea angling trips are also possible for groups. Húni's scheduled departure is at 10a and the duration of the trip is 3-4 hours.