Reykjavik, Iceland: Where to Eat, See and Sleep

A visually-immersive journey into the town of Reykjavik, Iceland and its most treasured and architecturally-impressive landmarks: The Hallgrímskirkja and Harpa Conservatory. 

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I left Reykjavik, Iceland — in my eyes, a living, thriving and hospitable ice globe come to life. Our immediate impression of Reykjavik is unlike any other metropolitan city; it resembled more like the snow globe I had received as a gift from a time long ago. Icelandic architecture exhibits a more Nordic cottage vibe than its Scandinavian counterparts Denmark and Sweden. This architectural goldmine, home to two major landmarks that are just as enchanting in person as they are in photographs, took our breaths away.


EAT

Uppsalir

Address | Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, Aðalstræti, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone | +354 514 6000

A modest, low-key gastropub located right inside the Hotel Centrum that offers delicious and traditional Icelandic bites. Portions are very generous!

Mink whale carpaccio, fried haddock fish and chips and mussels in beer broth along with dried fish sticks.

Our sushi platter. So so good, not to mention fresh. 

Fiskmarkaðurinn


Address | Aðalstræti 12, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone | +354 578 8877

Literally known as the Fish Market, Fiskmarkaðurinn is more of an upscale seafood restaurant with exceptional food quality and prices to match. Definitely try to make a reservation beforehand during peak season; otherwise, come on through and be prepared to be spend. 

Fjalakötturinn

Address | Aðalstræti, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone | +354 514 6000

Another gem located within the Hotel Centrum, Fjalakötturinn serves up some high-end Icelandic cuisine with an emphasis on seasonality and local ingredients (mostly seafood as well). Diners can choose between a la carte options or opt for a multi-course experience curated by the chef. 

Te and Kaffi is an Iceland-based coffee chain. The hot chocolate is divine. 

Te & Kaffi

Address | Austurstræti 18, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone | +354 527 2884

The daily soup served at Stofan Cafe, hearty but very delicately flavored. 

Stofan Café

Address | Aðalstræti, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone |  +354 567 1881


SEE

Hallgrímskirkja

Address | Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Opened | 1986
Architectural style | Expressionist architecture
Parish | Reykjavik
Architect | Guðjón Samúelsson

The Hallgrímskirkja, a Lutheran Parish church build in 1986, is a well-known Icelandic landmark. It is the largest church in Iceland at 73 meters high and is a marvelous example of Expressionist architecture. Inside the church lies a huge cathedral complete with a vast but minimalist pipe organ constructed by German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn. 

HARPA

Address | 2,, Austurbakki, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Height | 141′
Cost | 164 million EUR
Architect | Olafur Eliasson
Architecture firms | Batteriið Architects, Henning Larsen Architects
 

 

The moment we arrived at the Harpa, I couldn’t keep my jaw affixed. It was such a spectacular sight to behold. You’ll immediately notice that the exterior is primarily build out of distinctly colored glass panels, which reflects the Icelandic sky harmoniously. As the following images demonstrate, Harpa’s interior architecture is nothing short of breathtaking either. Turns out, Harpa is a creative collaboration between Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects and Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, who is also responsible for the Rainbow Panorama at Aros Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark. 


SLEEP

Hotel centrum

Address | Adalstraeti 16, Grjótagata, Reykjavik, Iceland
Phone | +354 514 6000

Hotel Reykjavík Centrum is a historic hotel that is equal parts charming and modern. It is located on Aðalstræti, one of Reykjavík’s oldest streets, in a newly renovated building, the oldest part of which was built in 1764. 

BLACK PEARL LUXE APARTMENTS

Address | Tryggvagata, 18, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone | +354 527 9600

The Black Pearl is a luxury hotel property comprised of 10 apartment suites. Each apartment suite is decorated and designed to accommodate couples to a family of 4-6, perfect for a romantic get-away or quality time with family. Or even a chic bachelor/bachelorette party! It does come at a higher price tag than a typical hotel stay that comes with a full-service staff who can help curate your itinerary, dry-cleaning and every other amenity you can imagine. 


And that concludes my beginners guide into Reykjavik, Iceland. How well did I do? Did I miss some prime hotspots and locations you would have preferred to see? (Yes, I am well aware of the missing Blue Lagoon. Tough to fit in when you have only 72 hours!). Would love to hear from you guys in the comments below!