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4 Must-See Reykjavik Neighborhoods and How to Visit


4 Must-See Reykjavik Neighborhoods and How to Visit
Hi, I'm Karen!

Karen is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

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Hi, I'm Karen!

Karen is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

see more

The Icelandic capital is a conveniently small city—getting from one end of Reykjavik to the other takes no more than 20 minutes. Nevertheless, Reykjavik is still split into several distinct areas. Here are a few of its most interesting neighborhoods.

Miðbær

Top sights and sounds of Reykjavik.

Reykjavik’s downtown area is often referred to as 101 Reykjavik after its zip code, which was made famous by the novel and subsequent movie of the same name. This is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s best hotels, including the luxury 101 Hotel. It’s also home to Laugavegur (the city’s main shopping street), as well as many museums, restaurants, bars, and the city’s tallest building, Hallgrímskirkja Church

The Hallgrímskirkja Church is a major landmark in downtown Reykjavik. Photo: Brian Fulda / Viator

Vesturbær

Calm but cool, ideal for exploring.

Though much quieter, Vesturbær—or West Town—still has plenty of attractions to lure visitors west of the city center. Highlights include the Saga Museum, Maritime Museum, and Whales of Iceland. You’ll also find one of Reykjavik’s hippest areas, the Old Harbor (Grandi), which is home to a high concentration of restaurants and cafés. Whale watching tours typically depart from here.

Laugardalur

Museums and thermal waters.

To the east of the city center, Laugardalur (Hot Spring Valley) is home to Laugardalslaug, Reykjavik’s largest outdoor thermal pool, which you can swim in year-round. One of Reykjavik Art Museum’s three sites is also here—the Ásmundursafn site is dedicated to the works of the 20th-century Icelandic sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson.

The Árbær Open Air Museum is well worth a visit when in Iceland. Photo: Palmi Gudmundsson / Shutterstock

Árbær

Outdoor appeal, worth traveling for.

In the southeastern part of the city, Árbær is known for its natural surroundings. Árbær Open Air Museum, a village-like collection of buildings showcasing life in the early days of Reykjavik, can be found here. 

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