For a little island, Iceland has a lot of personality. Anyone who visits Reykjavik will definitely experience our distinctive character. From our elvish passion to a toilet for punk, we can make sure your trip to Iceland is unforgettable!
Your Friend in Reykjavik knows many secret gems in our home city, and we want to share a few unique locations that may not be in the typical guidebook or map.
Opened by Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, this museum commemorating Iceland’s punk scene is literally a toilet. A public underground bathroom was converted to pay tribute to the anarchy that began in Iceland in the late 1970s. Whether you love or hate punk, you’ll probably think this appropriate. A visit to each stall is a journey through Iceland’s music history, from a punk perspective. This may be a tiny museum, but every inch is covered with news clippings, photographs, and memorabilia. And to finish off the experience, Icelandic punk provides the soundtrack.
It may seem odd for a small hill to be sitting on the harbor area, but that’s art. Icelandic artist Ólöf Nordal created Þúfa as a little haven with a fantastic view. And a touch of Icelandic culture and history. You can walk the pathway he shaped around and up the eight meters to the top to find out. Not only will you get gorgeous pictures of the coastline and the cityscape, but there’s a shed. It’s a fishing shed, traditionally used to dry fish, which harkens to our cultural and culinary ties to the ocean.
EVE Online Monument
If you look at this art installation, your imagination may run to modern sculptures making a statement about life, modernity, or the future. It sort of does. These three stone monoliths are a tribute to an online game created in Reykjavik. The names of registered players as of March 2014 are etched in the base, and there is a time capsule of sorts in a laptop buried under it. But you don’t have to know the game to appreciate its stark beauty.
Many Icelanders (half of us, by some accounts) believe in elves. But if you want to really get to know elves, you may want to spend a few hours in school. Elf School. Here, there are lectures where an expert explains where they live, how they look, and even what their culture and traditions are. Afterward, you may be able to locate the Hidden people, but you will have learned how and why elves are so important in Iceland.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum
Yes, phallological as in penises. And while you may wonder about this scientific study of phalluses, this museum does offer an interesting perspective of the wildlife of Iceland. It has over 200 penises, in whole or in part, representing almost every land and sea mammal you could find in Iceland. From multiple types of whales to seals and, well, man, as well as collections from other parts of the world. Not to limit themselves to the actual body part, you can also view artistic representations as well as “practical utensils” that you just have to see for yourself when you visit Reykjavik.
Kolaportið Flea Market
Not quite weird, but definitely quirky, you can immerse yourself in Icelandic life at the Kolaportið Flea Market. There’s the food section where you can try our local delicacies such as fermented shark or discover how much we truly like licorice. Then there are all the second-hand books and vinyl albums, local artwork and handicrafts, and other bric-a-brac that could be undiscovered treasures or excellent souvenirs of your Reykjavik visit.
The Raven’s Nest / Recycled House
You may not be familiar with the works of filmmaker Hrafn Gunnlaugsson, but a visit to his house in Reykjavik may be worthwhile. For years, he has been collecting scrap and creating works of art, albeit a little haphazardly, on his property. Apparently, if he’s home, he’ll show you around, but there’s plenty to see, from the huge eyeball to what looks like possibly a Viking standing guard.
Whales of Iceland
Whale watching is a popular activity for visitors and locals alike in Iceland, but if you want to get up close and personal to some of the world’s largest mammals, you’ll want to visit the Whales of Iceland. Here you can interact with 23 man-made, life-sized models of the whales that roam Iceland’s waters. This includes an 82-foot-long blue whale. Seeing a whale from a boat or the shore is one thing, experiencing the magnitude of how tiny we are compared to these gentle giants is another!
Some may think it is macabre, but visiting a cemetery, especially one that is centuries old, offers unique insights into a country, its history, and its culture. Although technically a cemetery since 1838, Hólavallagarður Cemetery has been a burial site since the Viking era. Many famous Icelandic personalities are buried here, and there are also memorials to sailors lost at sea. This area is also a veritable forest, so it has an enchanting aura about it.
If you want more information about any of these places, feel free to ask us!. Also, these are only a few of the many unique sights you can have a lot of fun at — if you want more, join us on one of our walking tours. Or, if you have something specific in mind, talk to us about a private tour!