Reykjavík is bustling with activities, from famous attractions to small hidden gems. And we have busted our balls, pushing ourselves to our physical limits—have you seen how many mountains we hiked?—to compile this list of what you need to do to experience Reykjavík to the fullest (and most authentic). So, here are the winners of our Best of Reykjavík 2021 Activities awards, all of which are recommended by our panel of locals. Although there is still a pandemic going on, all these places have been accessible and safe throughout the restrictions. So sanitise those hands, put on a mask and enjoy.
Tryggvagata 16, 101 Reykjavík
There is no way around it: i8 is still the best gallery in Iceland. Over the years, it’s given us works from internationally lauded art superstars like Ragnar Kjartansson, Elín Hansdóttir and Ólafur Elíasson, putting Icelandic art on the worldwide map and helping it stay there. Although it’s a commercial gallery, it’s not a stuffy, hoity-toity spot—expect to see conceptual cutting-edge museum-sized displays, rather than conservative and conventionally-appealing work. Best of all, there’s a sharp wit and sense of fun running through the gallery’s roster, in sharp contrast to the often po-faced offerings of the contemporary art scene.
Hverfisgata 4, 101 Reykjavík
Hverfisgallerí consistently impressed our panel with a roster of brilliant exhibitions by young artists like Helena Margrét Jónsdóttir and the incredibly talented Davíð Örn Halldórsson, among others. This gallery is (and we cannot emphasise this enough) ambitious. Stop by for the best and brightest of the scene.
Klapparstígur 16, 101 Reykjavík
For the past few years, Berg Contemporary has concretely established itself as the go-to spot for contemporary art in Reykjavík. Their large, beautifully renovated space is known for blurring the lines between the conceptual, the abstract, the art and the functional with their installations and exhibitions. That may sound complicated, but what we’re trying to say is pretty simple: Stop by.
Hamraborg 12, 200 Kópavogur
Possibly the most original location for a gallery, Y Gallery can be found in the notorious Hamraborg (trust us, ask any Icelander about it) parking lot, housed in an old gas station. The location is an experience in itself. You will find work by all of the best contemporary artists in Iceland there and get a feel for the suburbs at the same time. Sounds like a win-win to us.
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