Legend has it that a Norwegian fugitive threw a wooden pole overboard when he reached a new coast. According to the beliefs of the time, the gods would guide the tree to the place where the new settlement should be located. The pole ended up on the shore of a smoking bay, and hence the name to the city of Reykjavik. During our four-day getaway to Iceland we passed a day in Reykjavik Discovering this fascinating city. Are you joining us to discover the northernmost capital in the world?
Breakfast at Sandholt Bakery
If you do not have breakfast included in your hotel, Sandholt Bakery is an ideal place to take strength for the day. The Sandholt bakery began in 1920 and has been run by five generations of Sandholt family bakers. It is an entire institution in Reykjavik and is in the most commercial street of the city, at number 36 of Laugavegur. In addition to delicious breads, pastries and cakes it also offers light meals, so it is also a good option for a snack or for a light meal. The Sandholt Bakery opens from Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. In the photo: hot chocolate (550 crowns) and cake of the day (850 crowns).
Laugavegur shopping street
It is the main commercial artery of Reykjavik and one of the oldest streets in the city. Formerly it was where the city's public laundry was located, which was obviously a thermal spring. Hence the origin of Laugavegur (road to the laundry). With all the trajín, little by little they began to open more and more shops there until they reach today, where we find a street full of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.
Visit the Kolaportid market
It is the largest market in Iceland and the ideal place to buy both second-hand items and typical Icelandic food products. Also, if you want to buy the typical Icelandic wool sweaters here you can find them authentic and at a good price. The Kolaportid market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm and is in Tryggvagötu, 19.
Parish church and national sanctuary of Iceland was built between 1945 and 1986 and takes the name of the Icelandic poet and pastor Hallgrímur Pétursson. The architect was inspired by Icelandic orography, specifically in basalt columns, such as those we can see in Reynisfjara. In the main square we are welcomed by the statue of Leif Eriksson, the Viking explorer who set foot in North America over the year 1000. The highlight of the church is the bell tower with its 73 meters high. From the top we can have a beautiful panoramic view of Reykjavik. Ascent to the top of the tower with the elevator costs 900 crowns. The church can be visited free of charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (May 9 to 21 to September). Keep in mind that access to the tower closes a quarter of an hour earlier. Hallgrímskirkja is at 101 Hallgrímstorg Street.
Where to eat in Reykjavik: Apotek restaurant
Reykjavik is reputed to be an expensive city, especially at lunchtime, but it has its tricks. Good restaurants usually have a lunch menu, and that allows you to try Icelandic cuisine at a good price. We ate at the Apotek restaurant, a category restaurant located at the confluence of Austurvöllur square and Austurstræti street. The Apotek restaurant has a midday menu for 2990 crowns (two courses, starter-main or main-dessert) or 3790 crowns if you choose the three dishes. In the midday menu you can try the delicious Icelandic lamb. As a starter, they offer a common minke whale (Minke whale), a very popular dish among tourists although very badly seen by Icelanders due to the cruel way of hunting the animal. Our advice is that you opt for lamb and dessert and we assure you that you will not be hungry. It is advisable to go to eat before 1pm or book a table. The Apotek restaurant is on Austurstræti street, 16.
Free guided tour in Reykjavik
A great way to get to know the city better and, especially, the culture and character of the Icelanders is to make this free tour that is supported by the voluntary donations of the participants. The guided tour begins in the Town Hall square and takes us through the most interesting points of Reykjavík's center such as the Grjótþorpid neighborhood and the Tjörnin between several stops. The tour lasts about two hours and is done twice a day: at 10 am and 2 pm. You have to book through its website.
Discover the origins of Reykjavik in the museum 871 ± 2
In the center of the city, and two small houses away from the tourist office, is this small museum with a strange name: 871 + 2. This number is the year in which it is believed that one of the houses of the first settlers of Iceland was built, whose remains can be seen in the museum. Around the remains of the Viking long house the central exhibition of the museum is structured, which deals with the colonization of Iceland. It allows you to learn who the first settlers were and how they adapted to their environment through a series of very enjoyable multimedia elements in Icelandic and English (and there is free audio guide in Spanish). The Viking house has one of the largest bonfires that have been found in archaeological excavations on the island, so it is believed that it belonged to a colonization leader. Perhaps Ingólfur Arnarson himself, the "Norwegian fugitive" mentioned at the beginning and considered a pioneer of the colonization of Iceland. It is interesting to walk through the exhibition and see reconstructions of the house and learn details of the life of the first settlers. For example: they hunted both a type of penguin, the giant alca, which eventually became extinct.