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.
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.
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.
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.
Gljufrasteinn was the home of Halldor Kiljan Laxness, a celebrated writer of Iceland and probably one of the best writers in the world of literature. Constructed in the year 1945, the structure was designed by Agust Palsson, a noted architect. Now converted into a museum, the building welcomes visitors with a multimedia display about the writer's life and his iconic works. His life is chronicled against the backdrop of key events in the history of Iceland.
An urbane, thriving capital that rests on the waters of the North Atlantic ocean, the city of Reykjavik is scattered with indicators of Viking history, a blossoming cultural realm, iconic architectural marvels, and a gorgeous sprawl of natural beauty. The city is one of the many cornerstones of the Viking Age, semblances of which can be seen in the Saga Museum and the Reykjavík 871±2. It is also the proud home of the geothermal wonders of the Blue Lagoon, the remarkable Hallgrímskirkja, and the unique Perlan building. A wealth of bars, superb restaurants, nightclubs and cafes dot the streets of Reykjavik's center, expressing their newfound cosmopolitan energy. At the edge of its modern outskirts, Reykjavik also hosts incredible landscapes and stretches of unspoiled wilderness that are waiting to be explored.
One of the best parks in the city, Klambratún is known for its lush greenery and ample recreational space. Locals flock this park with their families and children. Earlier known as Miklatún, the park provides a basketball court and a beach volleyball court as well. It also doubles up as a venue for local concerts and events.
Keiluhöllin Egilshöll is among the premier bowling alleys in the country. This avant-garde center has 22 lanes with automatic scoreboards. Hone your skills or compete with friends and family at this establishment. Opened in 2012, it also features a lovely restaurant and sports bar. Though it is expensive, you can be sure of a fun time at this place.
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.