I've lived in Reykjavík for the past two years and still have so many places and activities to discover. My partner and I decided to join one of the Reykjavík Outventure's tour, the treasure hunt- style one, and we had so much fun!
I have to admit that we were very lucky with the weather, it was not only sunny but warm (as warm as it can get at 64o north on an island in the middle of the ocean).
But when visiting Reykjavík, be ready for all kind of weathers. You know what they say: there is no bad weather, but bad clothing.
The instructions we got was to meet at Perlan (the Pearl). We met with one of our guides, Jóhann, and he handed us a tablet, explained everything we needed to know about the app we were going to use and gave us all the equipment we would need.
Perlan is not only beautiful but functional, as a glass dome sits atop the city’s reservoirs in six huge tanks, each with the capacity to hold over 4 million liters of geothermal hot water. Ingimunður Sveinsson designed the building. There are temporary exhibitions inside and the views from the rooftop are amazing: the whole capital area and further.
Photo: Perlan view from the south side.
Photo: Perlan view in the night, above Reykjavík.
We said bye to Jóhann and started to play the game. The treasure hunt-style tour is ideal to discover a new place while having fun.
And the best thing is that we could do so at our own rythm, no need to rush to follow a group. There were places in the map we had to visit and once there, one challenge would show up for us.
The first stop was the rooftop of Perlan and its amazing views!
Photo: Selfie with Jóhann, ready to start the tour!
You can check Perlan's website here: https://perlan.is/
We followed the trail and the challenges on the way. I'm not going to reveal them as I think it's more fun if you don't know what to expect but I'll give you a hint:
there's no need to be shy, as you will have to interact with other people and surroundings.
Next stop: the Icelandic Phallological Museum.
As a biologist, I have to say there is an amazing collection of penises belonging to many species of mammals: from whales to minks, they have hundreds of preserved phallic specimens and reproductions. It is possible to learn about Icelandic folklore related to male genitalia and some other curiosities.
This museum is definitely something different and at least, interesting.
Check them out: http://phallus.is/en/
By the time we got out of the museum we had been walking for one hour or so and starting to feel a bit hungry, the next stop couldn't have been better:
the famous Icelandic bakery Brauð & co.
Their colorful facade is easy to recognize and when getting closer, you can smell their freshly baked pastries and bread, we got to choose one each.
Photo: Brauð & co at Frakkastígur.
If you look at the picture above, you can see how close the bakery is to the next stop: Hallgrímskirkja, definitely the most famous and visible landmark in Reykjavík.
So the app led us there and Leifur Eríksson statue (Leif Erikson in US) was awaiting us in front of the church, in a ready-to-figth but cool attitude.
Apparently, Leifur Eiríksson’s statue was not erected in front of Hallgrímskirkja, but rather the other way around.
While the statue of Leifur Eiríksson was presented as a gift from the US to Iceland in the year 1930, it was not until the summer of 1932 that it had been erected in its current location.
Hallgrimskirkja's construction only started in 1945.
Photo: Leifur Eríksson statue in front of Hallgrímskirkja. Photo credit: National Geographic
The church is for sure one of the most photographed landmarks in Reykjavík. It's possible to spot it from practically anywhere in the city.
But when getting closer, it gets more and more impressive. At 74.5 meters high, it's among the tallest structures in the country.
Its concrete columns remind me to volcanic landscapes, basaltic columns like in Reynisfjara (the famous black sand beach), glaciers and Icelandic rugged landscapes.
The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson. It's a Lutheran church, the officially established Christian church in Iceland.
We took some pictures with Leifur and the church and went to check the inside, simple but beautiful and it looks like an upside down viking boat!
Photo: Inside Hallgrímskirkja. Photo credit: Dan Raven @Flickr
To know more about the concerts and events happening inside Hallgrímskirkja:
The best thing about this tour is that every time you think you could eat, you will! We walked down Skólavörðustígur to discover Ostabúðin (the cheese store), a hidden gem where we were invited to taste Icelandic cheeses and marinated meats, accompanied by home-made butter and bread.
In this tour there is time for everything: also shopping! We followed the map until one of the North 66 stores downtown. This is the most famous Icelandic outdoor clothing and gear brand. And if it works here, it has to work pretty much everywhere, you can get any kind of weather in one day here: wind, rain, snow, fog...
So we checked what they had new and got offered 15% discount with Reykjavík Outventure.
Here is the website with their catalog: https://www.66north.com/us/
Two hours of walking, eating, laughing, filming and taking selfies were gone, and we were close to exhausted, time for a beer (or four)!
We arrived to our final destination: Salt Kitchen & Bar, where Sveinn was waiting for us, ready to tell us all about Icelandic beers and how they're brewed, we got to taste four of them, accompainying a delicious dish of ling and a dessert.
To book a table or discover their menu: https://saltkitchenandbar.is/
Photo: End of the tour at Salt Kitchen & Bar, beer tasting and food.
Sveinn dropped us back home happy and full, and afterwards we got a video with all the pictures and clips we took while using the app: great memories!
Thank you guys for an awesome afternoon.