Downtown shops, Reykjavik, Iceland

Exploring the Tiny City of Reykjavik, Iceland

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to spend in the endearing, little city of Reykjavik, Iceland–it is pretty small, but I would have liked to have a couple of full days to explore. Despite our lack of time, we were still able to walk around, enjoy a few sites and eat some delicious foods. The city is very walking friendly, and we loved the fact that almost everywhere we stopped offered a free wi-fi connection.  It was nice to quick check an email or look up directions when needed.

One of the most iconic sites in town is Hallgrímskirkja, the uniquely shaped church overlooking the city. The church is built of concrete and was designed to resemble a volcanic basalt rock formation. You can go to the top of the church tower for beautiful views overlooking the city. The tower had just closed for the day by the time we made it there, so unfortunately we couldn’t go to the top. I know it looks like it was afternoon in the pictures, but it was really just after 8 p.m. By the way, I loved the continuous daylight; it gave us many additional hours to explore.

Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland

Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur are the main shopping streets downtown and there are plenty of fun shops to keep you occupied for an afternoon. We browsed for a bit and stopped in a music store to buy some local music. There are many restaurants and bars scattered around nearby as well. These streets are the area where we had a small taste of the Saturday nightlife, but that deserves a post in and of itself.

Downtown shops, Reykjavik, Iceland

Downtown shops, Reykjavik, Iceland

A quick walk along the waterfront led us to Harpa and the Sun Voyager sculpture. Harpa is a beautiful glass building positioned on the waterfront so the glass sparkles to life with reflections from the sun and water. Inside, you will find that it is home to the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and it hosts many other acts as well. There is a little cafe inside and a few other things to see, and it appears to be open pretty late. We wandered inside around 9:30 p.m. for a quick look around, and the views out the glass were beautiful.

Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland

Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland

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Walking a little farther past Harpa, we made a stop at the Sun Voyager. The sculpture looks like a viking ship and represents “a dream of hope, progress and freedom”, and it eludes a modern feel.

The Sun Voyager, Harbor, Reykjavik, Iceland

Harbor, Reykjavik, Iceland

Sea Baron is a small restaurant in an old fisherman’s hut, located right along the edge of the harbor and the fish served are as fresh as one can get coming straight from the boats. The owner, Kjartan, is a retired fisherman and coast guard chef; he opened a small fish shop from the harbor docks, which later turned into a restaurant by accident. What happened was that a group of foreigners asked him if he could prepare their fish for them to eat, and once Kjartan recognized the opportunity for a booming business, the rest is history.

Sea Baron, Reykjavik, Iceland

Sea Baron, Reykjavik, Iceland

It has been proclaimed that the Sea Baron makes the world’s best lobster soup. I had heard so much about this soup that I was craving it before I even arrived, and it was every bit as wonderful as I was expecting. The piping hot soup is served with a large bowl of bread and fills you up for less than $10–you can hardly beat that! Also on the menu is a scrumptious assortment of fresh seafood and vegetable skewers, such as catfish, cod, salmon, mink whale, halibut, lobster, shrimp, scallops and more. All of the skewers are displayed in the cooler by the register so you can see your options, and once you order, your choices are plucked up and thrown right on the grill. We tried the salmon, scallops and potato skewers and they were all to die for–all in all a perfect meal.

Sea Baron, Reykjavik, Iceland

Sea Baron, Reykjavik, Iceland

Sea Baron, Reykjavik, Iceland

Sea Baron, Reykjavik, Iceland

Bæjarins Beztu hot dogs are very popular and at around 360 kr. a pop (approximately $3); they are quite a steal. The name of the stand actually means “towns best” and by the looks of it, most people concur–even Bill Clinton and Anthony Bourdain have stopped at this famous stand. The hot dogs are said to be best enjoyed after a night out on the town, but we ended up trying the legendary dogs for dinner one evening. Our review–they were good, not spectacular, but good. Micah ordered his with just ketchup and mustard, and I got mine with everything. I figured I had to try it the “right” way, and ordered the works, which comes with both types of onions (crunchy and raw), ketchup, sweet mustard and remoulade. I really don’t like onions, but I figured maybe with all the ingredients together it would be good. My answer was a resounding no, but hey, I tried, right? After I messily picked the onions off, it was pretty tasty, though!

Bæjarins Beztu, Reykjavik, Iceland

Bæjarins Beztu, Reykjavik, Iceland

The Laundromat Cafe located near the main shopping area and harbor is a quirky little cafe, bar, coffeehouse and laundromat all in one. I have never seen a cafe with a laundromat inside like this–it is a brilliant idea as it gives patrons a fun spot to hang while doing laundry. Don’t let the word laundromat fool you though; there are several washing machines downstairs along with couches and tables for relaxing, but the main part of the cafe is upstairs with a bar, tables and many books for perusing. I loved the style of this place–I could have stayed for hours. A full menu is offered, but we stopped in specifically for dessert. Micah tried the chocolate cake; it was good, but a bit heavy–definitely a good option for sharing. Since we were being glutinous, I ordered the Skyrcake which was a homemade cake with skry (a tasty, thick and tangy yogurt), berries and white chocolate–it was amazingly delicious! I think it has to be one of my favorite deserts of all time. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and because of the fresh berries, somewhat light at the same time.

Laundromat Cafe, Reykjavik, Iceland

Laundromat Cafe, Reykjavik, Iceland

Laundromat Cafe, Reykjavik, Iceland

Laundromat Cafe, Reykjavik, Iceland

Laundromat Cafe, Reykjavik, Iceland

Have you been to Reykjavik? What was you favorite activity and restaurant?

 


16 Comments
  • Amy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:23h, 01 August Reply

    We enjoyed Svarta Kaffi, which actually serves the soup in a bowl made of bread! Delicious and pretty good value too!
    Amy recently posted…Before Midnight: Love, Expectations and Growing OlderMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 21:46h, 04 August Reply

      That sounds really good! We will have to make note for next time. Thanks!

  • Amanda
    Posted at 19:11h, 01 August Reply

    I saw your interview on Gotta Keep Movin and so I popped on over to your site. I am so glad I saw these pictures and read this post. Reykjavik looks absolutely charming, but I don’t even know if that’s the right word! I would love to visit Iceland, so I will definitely be exploring some of your posts. 🙂
    Amanda recently posted…I Love Blog SchoolMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 21:51h, 04 August Reply

      Thanks so much for stopping by! We appreciate it! 🙂 Reykjavik was such a fun little town, and the countryside was amazing! You should definitely visit if you have the chance! We were just talking about how it’s our favorite place that we have been to 🙂

  • Angela
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:02h, 01 August Reply

    Excellent post. It looks like you guys were able to see a lot in one day! I love the city and also felt like I was not able to take it all in.
    Angela recently posted…Monthly Flashback Image #3My Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 21:52h, 04 August Reply

      Thanks! We did get to cover a decent amount of ground, but I agree, we would like to see more too!

  • Laura
    Posted at 16:09h, 06 August Reply

    This is almost an exact summary of my time in Reykjavik last week too! Except for the food places.. Being vegetarian I had to pass up the famous hotdogs, but I did eat a darn good veggie burger at the old harbour’s Burgerjoint instead. Yum!

    Such a beautiful little city. I want to go back already!
    Love your pictures too 🙂
    Laura recently posted…JulyMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 22:44h, 06 August Reply

      Thanks, Laura! That’s too funny! 🙂 I want to go back already as well! The veggie burger sounds good–maybe I’ll have to try it next time to mix it up!

  • Alesha
    Twitter:
    Posted at 10:19h, 08 August Reply

    Looks so fun! It made me hungry for a good dessert too!
    Alesha <3
    Alesha recently posted…Church Planting: Day OffMy Profile

  • Eye & Pen
    Twitter:
    Posted at 04:06h, 12 August Reply

    Brilliant! Seriously, Iceland is at the VERY top of my list to visit soon! I can’t wait. I’ll definitely come back and reference your posts, once I buy my ticket 😉 Cheers!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 21:35h, 18 August Reply

      Awesome!! Hope you get there soon–we loved it! Let us know if you have any other questions as well 🙂

  • Courtney
    Posted at 13:17h, 14 February Reply

    I am so excited I came across this blog! My fiance and I are going to Iceland for our honeymoon this coming July and could not be more excited! Our home base will be in Reykjavik but plan to rent a car to explore. Originally we were going to book with a tour group and not worry about driving, but it seems that it would add to our experience. That dessert looks SO good. I cannot wait to go!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 19:43h, 15 February Reply

      Thanks so much Courtney! Glad you are enjoying it, and hope you have a wonderful trip! We loved having the flexibility of a car–thankfully, the roads are pretty easy to navigate and it’s such a great place to just take your time and stop along the way! And yeah, that dessert was amazing–I am craving it again now, lol!!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…45th Parallel Distillery Tour and TastingMy Profile

  • Supriya
    Posted at 14:55h, 18 February Reply

    This was very useful. We’re planning a trip for summers this year and are very excited!
    Would love to know if you explored western fjords?

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