When you hear of Iceland, perhaps the first picture that comes to mind is outlined by snow, ice and harsh winds. However, you will find that this country has much more to offer. This island in the Arctic is actually a land full of fiords, geysers, volcanoes, spectacular waterfalls and breathtaking landscapes. It’s a country where you can admire the Aurora Borealis, sail close to the whales and visit unique attractions!
Reykjavik, the capital of the country, is a town combining the traditional with Scandinavian elements. It is populated by two-thirds of Iceland’s total inhabitants, has a very interesting architecture with low-lying, brightly colored buildings, harmoniously aligned on the streets.
Here you will find plenty of great tourist attractions, such as the Hallgrimskirkja church, the most famous and controversial building in the country, which can be seen from all over the city. In the capital of Iceland, however, you have the opportunity to do and see truly special things, unlike anywhere else in the world.
Here are 5 things you can do in Reykjavik:
Relax in the world’s coldest beach.
On the southern shores of the city you will find a beach called Nauthólsvík with yellow sands, like most beaches in the rest of the world. What makes this private beach unique, however, is its location 62 degrees north, making it the most northern beach in the world.
Being the farthest beach in the north, it is also the coldest. During the sunny summer days, when the temperatures are about 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, the locals gather here to relax, the most courageous of them venturing into the sea, but the place is still quite cold even in July and August.
Visit The Phallus Museum. This unique museum boasts a collection of over 280 phalluses from all mammals in Iceland, from small mice to whales. A phallus of Homo sapiens is also included in the controversial exhibition. As a humorous note, this museum is also considered to be the world center of phallological studies.
The museum was inaugurated in 1974 by the historian Sigurður Hjartarson, who initially composed the collection using a bull exhibit and several other exhibits from some whale specimens.
Walk among the huge whales at the “Whales of Iceland” exposition. The Whales of Iceland was opened in 2015 with the primary objective of educating people around the world of whales and dolphins, and is a great place to visit for both adults and children. It contains highly detailed patterns of 23 whale species living in the oceans throughout Iceland, as well as a collection of whale skeletons and interactive educational materials. It is a unique experience that will reveal to you a new and exciting world.
Try the Icelandic food Svið! Among the least common things to do in Reykjavik is to try out Svið, which is a recipe consisting of half a boiled sheep’s head. You can take the bus from the airport to reach the city center, and you will find the interesting dish at the BSI bus terminal.
Eat fermented sharks! The meat comes from a shark species that, if consumed fresh, is poisonous. However, after the shark is killed and the meat is buried in the sand for 12 weeks, with heavy stones on top to press the fluids to come out completely, it becomes edible.
This preparation can be found in the city’s old market, which opens on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 until 17:00. If you are having trouble finding the dish, just ask any local person about “Hákarl”.
These are just some of the exciting and special things you can experience in the capital of Iceland. The city, however, offers its visitors many more unique experiences, and we guarantee you’ll fall in love with it as soon as you get here!