Our friends from that website RunninginIceland.com sure love running. They wrote this fun article about the benefits and joys of running in Reykjavík and sent it our way. And we thought: many of our readers will enjoy this! Let’s “run” it! So here it is, without further ado, an article about five great things about running in Reykjavík:
Beautiful scenery, great running paths, and plenty of fresh air—running in Iceland’s capital is definitely a treat.
1. The extensive path system
Reykjavík and the surrounding areas have many extensive running and biking paths. Wherever you find yourself, you can be sure that some great ones will be right at your doorstep… and new ones are being made every year. The paths generally take you away from the traffic and the city hustle and bustle—you’ll find many of the best, most scenic ones near the coastline, on the north and south side of the city.
The city’s running paths are mostly well connected. For example, you can run from the centre of town along the south coast of Reykjavík, around Elliðaárdalur in the east part, and then over to the north side of Reykjavík along the ocean—well over 20 kilometres—only crossing the road once! The “long run” map on our site shows part of this route.
2. Swimming pools
Icelanders love their swimming pools! There are no less than sixteen swimming pools in the greater-Reykjavík area. Many runners start their runs from the local pool—and soaking in the hot tub after a run is a long standing tradition with Icelandic runners. Recently, many swimming pools have set up cold tubs as well, which are gaining popularity among runners who believe that dipping into ice cold water helps sore muscles and accelerates recovery. Also, the hot tub feels even better after 30-seconds in the freezing cold!
Note that many swimming pools offer maps that show nearby running routes.
3. Close to nature
Even while in the city centre, you do not have to run far to get away and enjoy some nature. Fossvogur is one of Reykjavík runners’ favourite running areas; a small valley with a creek running through it that will expose you to both woodland and grassland. Öskjuhlíð hill, where Perlan sits, is another popular outdoor area, covered in trees, with many hidden running paths. Another local favourite is the beautiful Elliðaárdalur, with its green nature, a river and a small waterfall which in our opinion is one of the city’s gems. See our map of a 10K circle which takes you around Elliðaárdalur and Víðidalur as well.
Mt. Esja is only fifteen minutes outside of the city with great hiking trails, and even closer lies Heiðmörk, which is the absolute dreamland of Reykjavík trail runners.
4. The stunning views
Those of us who live in Reykjavík sometimes take it for granted, but the views offered by many of the routes are simply stunning.
Enjoy observing Esja and the surrounding mountains while running along the ocean on the north side of the city. The south side of Reykjavík also offers gorgeous ocean views. Keep heading west and you’ll eventually reach Grótta, with its fairy-tale lighthouse, and in the east lies the green Elliðaárdalur and the soothing river that runs through it.
If you want to enjoy the other Reykjavík sights, a great way to see the city is in your running shoes. Since Reykjavík is not a big city the main sights can easily be explored in a one-hour running tour. To help you along the way, we made 5K and a 10K circles that take you past many of Reykjavík’s most popular attractions, including Harpa, City Hall, Alþingi, Hallgrímskirkja and the Sólfar sculpture. Read more here.
5. Perfect running conditions—most of the time!
The weather in Reykjavík is optimal for running, at in the summertime! It’s never too hot and never too cold, as the temperature almost always stays between 10-20°C. The winters aren’t too cold either—the temperature rarely drops far below zero. There is of course more chance of heavy wind, rain or snow during the winter months, but that only makes finishing the run a more rewarding experience.
The long days of summer also make Reykjavík a very attractive city for runners. Try going out for a run late in the evening with the midnight sun aglow, it’s an experience you won’t forget.
This is a guest article by the folks who “run” a website called Running In Iceland. For more information on running in Iceland, visit www.runninginiceland.com.