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Top Rated Attractions in Reykjavík

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Viðey island

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

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.

Reykjavik Maritime Museum

A scenic repository that pays tribute to Iceland's seafaring culture, the Reykjavik Maritime Museum is located along the city's harborfront. The museum is built into a former fish freezing factory unit, a plant that was originally built on the Grandi landfill. It explores the time-honored legacy of Iceland's fishing past, alluding to the time when early settlers depended heavily on fishing for livelihood. Over the years, fishing practices burgeoned into a larger industry, thus accelerating Iceland's prosperous growth over the years. The maritime museum also hosts a stunning nautical relic that was acquired in 2008, the former Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn. Fastened to the pier adjacent to the museum, this grand vessel served a prime role in all three Cod Wars between 1950 and 1970. Iceland's first steel ship Magni, also stands at the pier in resolute magnificence.

National Theatre of Iceland

Visit the National Theatre of Iceland with family and friends to witness premier Icelandic and foreign classic theater productions, new works, musicals, operas and children's productions. Established in 1950, the theater complex features five different venues, namely the Main Stage, the Black Box, the Small Stage for Children, the Puppet Theatre Attic and the Theatre Cellar (Leikhúskjallarinn with a total seating capacity of 910. This is the place to discover both upcoming Icelandic artists and playwrights, alongside the shows featuring international artists and performers. The National Theatre of Iceland produces close to ten new creations each year, promising its avid audience an eclectic variety of live entertainment.

Reykjavik City Theatre (Borgarleikhúsið)

The Reykjavik City Theatre offers entertainment ranging from new Icelandic drama, well-known classics and dance performances, to rock concerts and more. The theater is home to a thriving drama department alongside the Icelandic Dance Company, who host various productions throughout the year. The theater complex is composed of multiple smaller venues, including a main stage with a capacity of 560, and a cafe-theater for more informal, intimate performances. Those who truly enjoy the performing arts would do well to invest in a subscription. With its eclectic program and modern facilities, the Borgarleikhúsið, or the City Theatre of Reykjavík, is a great place to delve into Icelandic culture.

Nauthólsvík Thermal Beach

Ribboned by a sunlit stretch of soft golden sand, the Nauthólsvík Thermal Beach offers a Mediterranean-inspired experience in the center of the city. Warm, gentle waves lap at the shores, providing a refreshing change from landscapes forged by ice. This delightful artificial beach was an initiative undertaken by the city to utilize naturally-occurring geothermal resources to create warm spots in the sea. The country's strategic location along the Mid-Atlantic ridge means that warmer waters can be fused with icy cold waters to create a pleasant area for swimming. Equipped with an array of facilities like changing rooms, hot showers, and a cafe, the Nauthólsvík Thermal Beach attracts several beach lovers who fancy a swim all around the year.

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