We spent time in this charming city on the first day and last day of our Icelandic adventure. The capitol of Iceland is full of welcoming people, colorful buildings and streets, and delicious cafes and restaurants. Its laid back pace of life allows you to take in the beautiful landscape surrounding the city, while feeling safe roaming the tiny streets of town. I wish all people in America were this welcoming to outsiders and that everyone made everybody feel as safe.
Nestled among the story telling street art, we explored:
- Hallgrímskirkja: A Lutheran parish church, completed in 1986. It’s Reykjavík’s main landmark and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Its architecture is inspired by the basalt columns that make up so many of Iceland’s seaside cliffs. In the top of the church sits an observatory that offers 360 degree views of the colorful city below (900 ISK admission).
- Harpa Concert Hall: A modern glass honeycomb concert hall and conference center that sits on the North Atlantic Ocean with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You are able to walk around inside for free.
And of course, being in a country that is expensive and vastly remote, eating out was just not an often occurrence (hence the camping idea). Therefore, we used our days in Reykjavík to serve as a sort of a food hub stop where we found places that only served up traditional Icelandic food. Icelanders are not exactly known for their exquisite cuisine but they have some far-fetched foods that we as Americans aren’t accustomed to, such as lamb soup, puffin, whale, fermented shark, and reindeer.
Café Loki is an amazing cafe that sits right across from Hallsgrímskirkja. After exploring the church, we walked there right before the lunch hour to grab a bite. It was a perfect day for some warm and hearty lamb soup, or Kjötsúpa.
For lunch, we sought out the most popular hot dog stand in Reykjavík, Bæjarins Betztu. When you order, make sure to get one with every topping to get the full Icelandic experience- ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion, and remoulade. I am not a hot dog person, but these were fantastic! They’re completely different than an American hot dog. Icelanders are crazy about hot dogs!
Íslenski Barinn (Icelandic Bar) was the perfect place for our last meal in Iceland. They offer many traditional Icelandic foods, so we had the opportunity to taste test some of the local food that we missed throughout our trip around the island.
Below in the top left: Puffin in a jar with Icelandic blueberries, skyr, pickled red onion, and herbs.
Icelandic delicacy platter: smoked salmon on rye bread (middle right), reindeer meatballs (center square dish), marinated fin whale (middle left) , lamb bacon (silver gravy boat at top), popped cod skin (bottom), tarter sauce, Icelandic pastry and butter.
Lindsay View All →
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!
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