Everyone who comes to Iceland is pretty keen make the most of their time here, and whether that means a week of carefree holiday meandering or a laser-guided approach to finding the best stuff, a couple of insider tips are always useful. In this fast-changing city, new places spring up from week to week, begging the questions: which pool has the best hot pot for your first morning here? Where’s the best Icelandic art at? And what’s the best road trip to see some of this amazing nature we’ve heard so much about?
Norðurströnd/Grótta, 170 Seltjarnarnes
Located on the very end of the Greater Reykjavík peninsula, Grótta is a beautiful vantage point that’s home to a lighthouse with a tidal pedestrian causeway. There are views out over the ocean, and sometimes all the way to Snæfellsnes. There’s a tucked-away little hot pot to bathe your feet—if you can find it—and despite being in the city, the area hasn’t really been developed. There are swamps, a bird spotting sanctuary, and a windswept black beach. It’s a wonderfully preserved part of nature with minimal light pollution, so it’s also a great spot for checking out the aurora.
For something more secluded, take a walk along Sæbraut, past the Sun Voyager sculpture, and keep going to the outcropping known as Laugarnes. There’s a sculpture garden there, and tucked-away picnic benches with views across to Viðey Island and Mount Esja.
Öskjuhlíð & Ægisíða
Reykjavík, Vesturbær and Seltjarnarnes all sit on a long peninsula that has a footpath pretty much around the whole thing. Starting at Öskjuhlíð—the forested hill topped by the Perlan visitor centre—you can walk or cycle past the manmade beach of Nauthólsvík to Ægisíða for an unencumbered sunset or aurora-spotting view.
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