Reykjavik’s unmissable landmarks and historical sights

Make sure your trip to Iceland is complete with this list of Reykjavik landmarks. The 15 locations include natural, architectural, and historic locations.

The city of Reykjavik has plenty to offer visitors, from interesting places to visit to exciting activities and tours, incredible natural wonders, and a wide variety of nightlife activities. However, on top of this, Reykjavik also has many landmarks that are well worth seeing during your trip.

Major landmarks in and around the city vary from architectural landmarks and places of historic interest to scenic and natural landmarks, some of which may be ideal for photography, relaxation, or romantic days out. In this guide, you will be able to learn about 15 of the most significant Reykjavik landmarks and gain a deeper understanding of why you should take the time to see them during your vacation in Iceland.

Historic and architectural landmarks in Reykjavik

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1. Reykjavik City Hall

Reykjavík City Hall is one of the most important architectural landmarks in the city. Located near the Tjörnin Lake in the city center, it is a striking, contemporary building that houses offices for the mayor and other senior officials. The exhibition hall also features a huge 3D map of Iceland.

Highlights:

You can visit City Hall as part of the Reykjavik city walking tour. The surrounding area is also a superb location to see swans, geese, gulls, and other birds.

Address and opening hours:

Tjarnargata 11, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Open daily, 8:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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2. Perlan Museum

Purchase a Perlan Museum Wonders of Iceland entry ticket and see one of the most iconic buildings in all of Iceland. The Perlan Museum serves as a nature museum and has a unique indoor ice cave. Other attractions include a 4K northern lights planetarium experience and an ice cream parlor.

Highlights:

The top of the building is a revolving dome, which serves as an observation deck, providing spectacular 360-degree views over the city of Reykjavik.

Address and opening hours:

Perlan, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland. Open daily, 9:00 AM-10:00 PM.

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3. Hallgrímskirkja

The Church of Hallgrimur, or Hallgrímskirkja, was completed in 1986 and has emerged as one of the most famous Reykjavik landmarks, thanks to its distinctive curved shape. The building is said to have been inspired by mountains and glaciers in the region. It is also one of Iceland's tallest buildings.

Highlights:

For a great way to experience this landmark, book the sightseeing walking tour. The group tour lasts 2 hours and offers a fantastic introduction to the city.

Address and opening hours:

Hallgrímstorg 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Open daily, 10:00 AM-8:00 PM.

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4. Imagine Peace Tower

The Imagine Peace Tower tour is the perfect way to see one of Reykjavik's most unique architectural landmarks. The tower consists of a stone monument, which projects light upwards, creating a tall light tower. It is a memorial to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Highlights:

The tour is a great way to learn about the history and message behind the memorial. On a clear night, the lights appear to reach a height of 4,000 meters.

Address and opening hours:

Imagine Peace Tower, Videy, Iceland. The tower is lit between October and December.

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5. Berserkjahraun lava field

When it comes to historic landmarks in Reykjavik, few can compare to the Berserkjahraun lava field located on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The lava field itself is 4,000 years old and can be easily reached by car. Once there, you will be able to walk around the area and take in the stunning scenery – it's spectacular in all seasons.

Highlights:

On the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufell tour, you'll have the chance to see Berserkjahraun and other natural wonders on the Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Address and opening hours:

Berserkjahraun, 341, Iceland. Tours start at 8:00 AM.

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6. Sun Voyager

One of Reykjavik's more intriguing landmarks in the Sun Voyager or Sólfar sculpture, located on the coast in Sæbraut. The sculpture was created by Jón Gunnar Árnason and is made from stainless steel and granite. It looks like a Viking longship and is said to represent freedom, hope, and undiscovered lands.

Highlights:

The Sun Voyager is one of the most popular public art pieces in the country. It is also a great place to capture some photographs with loved ones or take an epic selfie.

Address and opening hours:

Sæbraut, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Open 24 hours.

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7. National Museum of Iceland

With a National Museum of Iceland entry ticket, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the country. The museum's permanent exhibitions center around the history of Iceland. Showcasing more than 2,000 artifacts and items, take a journey through time and learn the nation's story.

Highlights:

Items in the museum date from the Viking era all the way to the present day. Don't forget to visit the museum shop, where you can buy replicas of some of the artifacts.

Address and opening hours:

Suðurgata, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Open daily, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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8. Grótta Lighthouse

The island of Grótta sits on Reykjavik's west coast. It houses one of the region's most noticeable landmarks, Grótta Lighthouse, which is accessible during low tide periods. While a lighthouse has existed on the island for over 100 years, the current structure was built in the late 1940s.

Highlights:

The lighthouse and surrounding island is a great place to capture photos. The island has also become a popular location for visitors hoping to see the northern lights.

Address and opening hours:

Grótta Island Lighthouse, Iceland, Seltjarnarnes, Iceland. Open 24 hours a day.

Scenic and natural landmarks in Reykjavik

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9. Cave Vidgelmir

The Cave Vidgelmir is a lava cave and the largest cave of its kind in Iceland. The lava tube is believed to have been inhabited during the Viking era. Today, tours of the Cave Vidgelmir have become a popular activity for visitors.

Highlights:

You can go inside the cave as part of the lava Cave, hot springs, and waterfalls tour. In total, the cave stretches almost 1,600 meters in length.

Address and opening hours:

Fljótstunga, 320 Reykholt, Iceland. Open daily, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

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10. Gullfoss waterfalls

Gullfoss is one of the incredible natural landmarks in the region and is famous for its multi-step cascade along the Hvitá River. The name Gullfoss translates to 'Golden Falls'. The waterfall forms part of the Golden Circle route and is a major point of interest in the Reykjavík City Sightseeing and Golden Circle Express day trip package.

Highlights:

Aside from the spectacular waterfall, the surrounding region includes a waterfall lookout point and attached restaurant, Gullfoss Panorama, which offers indoor and outdoor dining.

Address and opening hours:

Gullfoss, 846, Iceland. Tours start at 9:00 AM.

11. Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and one of the best-known natural landmarks in the region. By booking a Blue Lagoon entry ticket, you'll get round trip transportation to the location, so you can focus on relaxing in the warm waters and taking in your picturesque surroundings.

Highlights:

The Blue Lagoon includes an in-water bar, enabling you to enjoy drinks while you relax. Book the tour, and you'll receive silica mud to apply to your skin.

Address and opening hours:

Norðurljósavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland. Open 7:00 AM-12:00 PM.

12. Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara Beach is one of the most interesting nature-based landmarks in the region. The black sand beach is prone to experiencing 'sneaker waves', which have the potential to be dangerous. As a result, the beach uses a zone system based on the current conditions, and visitors are advised to keep well back from where waves are landing.

Highlights:

The south coast guided day tour offered by Tourism Iceland includes a stop at Reynisfjara Beach and is a great way for visitors to see the area and remain safe.

Address and opening hours:

Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland. Tour times vary.

13. Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is often the first stop when visitors explore the Golden Circle route. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and lies in a rift valley. Aside from its natural beauty, it has also become a popular location for snorkeling and similar activities.

Highlights:

The park is one of the main stops on the Golden Circle, Kerid, and Secret Lagoon tour. You'll have the chance to get out and take some wonderful photos in the area.

Address and opening hours:

Thingvellir National Park, 806 Selfoss, Iceland. Open 24 hours.

14. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is one of the most visually-stunning landmarks in the area. It is the largest glacial lake in the country, as well as one of the deepest. The surrounding area has been used in a number of popular Hollywood films, and the lagoon itself is primarily known for its floating icebergs.

Highlights:

Book the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon day trip for a great way to experience Jökulsárlón. During that section of the tour, you'll have the chance to go on an optional boat cruise.

Address and opening hours:

Jökulsárlón, 781, Iceland. Tours start at 7:00 AM.

15. Sky Lagoon

The Sky Lagoon is another of the natural Reykjavik landmarks that attracts plenty of visitors. With the Sky Lagoon pass that includes a 7-step spa ritual, you can soak in the geothermal waters, fully embrace Icelandic bathing culture, and take relaxation to the next level.

Highlights:

The 7-step spa ritual allows you to connect with local traditions and will help you to rejuvenate your body and mind.

Address and opening hours:

Vesturvör 44-48 200, 200 Kópavogur, Iceland. Open daily, 10:00 AM-11:00 PM.

FAQs

What is the oldest historic landmark in Reykjavik?

Aðalstræti 10 is the oldest house in Reykjavik and was opened to the public as a museum in 2018. As a result, it is sometimes recognized as the city's oldest architectural landmark. However, natural landmarks in the region are plentiful, and some have extensive histories. For instance, the Berserkjahraun lava field is 4,000 years old.

What are some free landmarks to visit in Reykjavik?

The Sun Voyager sculpture is both a landmark and a piece of public art, which is completely free to visit. Other free landmarks include Reykjavik City Hall and the Berserkjahraun lava field.

Are there any guided tours that focus on the architecture of Reykjavik's landmarks?

The Sightseeing Walking Tour with a Viking and the Reykjavik City Walking Tour spend some time discussing the architectural landmarks in the city.

How can I get the best views of scenic landmarks in Reykjavik?

Some of the natural landmarks in the region, such as the lava fields, have dedicated observation areas. You can also see many of the popular Reykjavik landmarks from the observation deck at the top of the Perlan Museum.

What are some natural landmarks near Reykjavik worth visiting?

The Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the region. Other popular natural or scenic landmarks in and around Reykjavik include the Gullfoss waterfalls and the Sky Lagoon.