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.
At Elliðavatn you will find a very nice walking path that will lead you around the lake. As you walk along you will pass people horse-riding, arctic flora and last but not least historic ruins. The ruins date back to the Viking age and are believed to have served as the first assembly building in Iceland. The walk around Elliðavatn will take about 3 hours.
Explore the history of the city's early settlements at The Settlement Exhibition. The museum is based on an ancient Viking house that was discovered in 2001. There are many artifacts, objects, models and multimedia displays here that enunciate the first civilizations, their culture and lifestyle. You can also find here old photographs, manuscripts, archaeological findings and more. There is a museum shop from where you can buy souvenirs for keepsakes.
Dómkirkjan is located in the centre of Reykjavík, next to Alþingishúsið (house of Parliament) and Hótel Borg. It is thought that a church had been in this place since the beginning of Christianity in Iceland. The present church is made of stone, and was built between 1788 and 1796. Dómkirkjan has played a part in Icelandic latter-day history. Iceland's national anthem was first played there in 1874, and Iceland's sovereignty was celebrated in the church in 1918, as well as its independence in 1944. Since Alþingi was re-established in 1845, its sessions have started with a mass in the church every year. Dómkirkjan has many old and distinguished objects and pieces of art. Its baptismal font, for instance, was made and given to the church by the famous Bertel Thorvaldsen in 1839.
The Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum itself is a part of the collection, as it is a unique building, a mixture of Egyptian pyramids and Arabic domes, mostly designed and built by the artist himself. He also sought inspiration from the Mediterranean countries; the exterior as well as the interior walls are white and smooth, creating a quiet and elegant frame for his provocative and powerful sculptures. Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982) was one of the pioneers of Icelandic sculpture and, like so many of his generation, he was mainly inspired by Icelandic nature and literature, as well as creating grand masterpieces in praise of the common people. While his first sculptures are fairly realistic, he moved on to abstract work in the last decades of his life, and the museum reflects the changes in his artistic vision.
Kjarvalsstadir-Listasafn Reykjavikur was one of the very first establishments which was founded solely for the purpose of hosting art exhibitions. Along with regular exhibitions of the famous Icelandic painter, Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval, the museum is also host to year-round temporary modern art exhibits by painters and sculptors from around the world. While here, you may enjoy a cup of coffee at the museum cafe as you take in the view from their floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Pentecostal Movement came to Iceland in the 1920s from Scandinavia. There are several congregations in the country, and the Fíladelfía Church was established in Rekjavík in 1936. There are approximately 600 people in the Fíladelfía congregation, but around 1,500 in the Pentecostal Movement as a whole, thus making it the third largest religious movement in Iceland. The building is large and spacious on the inside and well suited for religious ceremonies. Its architectural style, however, is nothing to boast about and the same can be said about the interior.
While not as novel in its selection of biological specimens as the Phallological Museum, the Museum of Natural History is well worth a visit. The collection hosts the usual suspects, geological, botanical and zoological exhibits displaying the nature of Iceland. In rather crowded rooms a visitor can wander among specimens of most Icelandic animals from insects to polar bears. The bird collection is especially grand, counting among its flock a white raven, an almost mythological fowl. In addition the museum makes journals, papers and geological maps available for those interested. The museum is inconspicuously located by the central bus terminal, Hlemmur. The entrance is from Hverfisgata, and then follows a considerable trek up four flights of stairs.
Sundhöllin is ahistoric public bath, one of the oldest in the city. It was established in 1937 and reflects an Art Deco style of architecture. It took eight years to build due to a lack of funds. It has a main swimming area along with a kid's pool. Saunas and steam baths are also available. The pool has a length of 25 meters (82.021 foot).
Jehovah's Witnesses practice their religion in a similar way as other groups of witnesses in the world. The Vottar Jehóva temple is located in a residential area in Reykjavík. It may look small and modest, but, when looked at closely, the building is quite stately. It is probably not worth visiting for the sake of the building itself, but for Jehovah's witnesses it is a rational visiting place.