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.
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.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum is one unique museum with a large variety of phallic specimens that also include almost all types of mammal specimens. With more than 280 specimen and 93 species of animals that range from mice to whales, this museum features fascinating exhibits and makes for an interesting visit.
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.
Iceland's National Archives store a lot of information about the nation's history and culture. They also cover subjects like geography, topography, politics and other vital data. A lot of archivists and historians benefit from this organization. Students often come here to update study material and theses. Online services are provided, and so are some catalogues for intense research.
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.
Húsdýragarðurinn (Farmyard animal zoo)is situated in the Laugardalur recreational area. Ii is quite famous for its variety of Icelandic farm animals, as well as for the wild species native to Iceland. Every effort is made to create a habitat for the animals that is as close as possible to what would be expected in their natural circumstances. Horses, sheep, dogs, cows, pigs, goats, foxes and many other animals can be found in the Farmyard zoo. Seals, salmon and trout can also be found here. A visit to the Farmyard animal zoo is an ideal way for children to learn about animals in general, particularly Icelandic farm animals.
Built in the year 1958, Laugardalsvöllur is a national stadium that primarily serves football events. Home to the Knattspyrnufélagið Fram, the stadium can seat 15,000 people in all. It is also used for various other sporting events and is home to the Iceland Women's Football team.
Whether you believe it or not, there is a Botanical Garden in Reykjavik. It was founded in 1961, with 200 Icelandic species to begin with. Now it contains around 4,000 species, from all over the world. There are ponds and footpaths in the garden, and it is a wonderful experience to walk through on a nice summer day. All the plants are well documented and marked. A visit can therefore be educational as well as fun. You will be surprised by some of the plants surviving there.