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    THE HEART OF ICELAND: ROAD TRIPPING THROUGH REYKJAVIK

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    Road Trip in Reykjavik: 8 places to visit

    As the holidays approach, the heart yearns for some time off to get away from the hassles and chores of daily life. It hopes to wander somewhere to let off steam. If you wish to do the same, it is time to go for an experience unlike any other. Travel to Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice. A Nordic island country, Iceland is famous for its surreal contrasts – from being home to some of Europe’s massive glaciers to hosting lava-spewing volcanoes. Can’t wait to wait this land of extreme contrasts? What better way to begin your journey than by visiting Reykjavik – the capital and heart of Iceland.

    If you are visiting from within Iceland, a domestic flight will easily land you at the Reykjavik Airport from where you can proceed with your journey of exploring in and around the city. However, if you are coming in from abroad, the Reykjavik Airport might not be directly accessible due to its constraint of mostly being open to domestic flights. With an international flight, you can land at Keflavik Airport near Reykjavik. After this, you can begin your road trip journey to Reykjavik (and beyond!), simply 45 minutes away by bus or coach.

    With Iceland’s beauty and magnificence, you simply do not want to miss any moment. Therefore, opting for a road trip is one of the best choices you can make to explore Iceland. With your belongings tagging along, there is no need to spend half your time traveling back and forth between your hotel and nearby landmarks. A road trip in Iceland offers ease, as well as memories you will continue to cherish forever.

    Popular Reykjavik Rental Car Locations

    Driving Itinerary Distance Driving Time
    Airport to Reykjavik Art Museum 1.7 miles 9 minutes
    Reykjavik Art Museum to Harpa 0.45 miles 4 minutes
    Harpa to Settlement Exhibition 0.5 miles 5 minutes
    Settlement Exhibition to Culture House 0.5 miles 4 minutes
    Culture House to Seltjarnarnes Peninsula 0.7 miles 7 minutes
    Seltjarnarnes Peninsula to Heiðmörk Nature Reserve 12.5 miles 32 minutes
    Heiðmörk Nature Reserve to Harbor Village 11.2 miles 30 minutes
    Harbor Village to Lágafellslaug 12.9 miles 22 minutes
    Totals: 40.45 Miles 1 h 13 minutes


    Beginning at Reykjavik, rent a car and initiate your road trip in and around Reykjavik


    1. Reykjavik Art Museum

    Reykjavik Art Museum Reykjavik Art Museum

    If you wish to truly explore Reykjavik in all its might, what better place would there be to start exploration than Old Reykjavik? Your first stop, the Reykjavik Art Museum stands as the largest visual art institution in Iceland. Consisting of three buildings, each primarily representative of a specific artist, the Museum continues to attract visitors from far and wide. For those who like sculptures and drawings, Asmundarsafn is the building to visit. Exhibiting the early works of Asmundur Sveinsson, the building also stands out because it was a former home of the artist in earlier times. Built by himself, the architecture is a fusion of Arabian and Mediterranean tastes.

    The Kjarvalsstadir building, on the other hand, shows glimpses of the 12 century with works from newer artists, as well as Iceland’s beloved painter Kjarval. Capturing the country’s romantic vibe and mystique in all its glory, the works of Kjarval have done wonders in painting the image of Iceland (pun intended).

    If you are visiting with children however, they might not be interested in earlier paintings or sculptures. For them and other art-lovers, the newest addition to the Museum is in the form of the last renovated Hafnarhus building. Home to the comic-style artworks of Erro, the artwork is liked by all. While the existence of a courtyard and special vicinity for events is a big plus for entertainment purposes!

    Duration:1-2 hours
    Website: Reykjavik Art Museum

    Next stop: 4 minutes


    2. Reykjavik Art Museum to Harpa

    Harpa Solfar

    Merely 3 minutes ride away from the Reykjavik Art Museum is the Harpa arts center. If you wish to witness aesthetic architecture, this is certainly the place to go. Built with gorgeous convex and concave glass panes, the building shimmers in the distance, beckoning everyone to enter.

    Home to the Icelandic Opera, the concert hall and culture center of Harpa are snapshots into the history and culture of the area. Whether you are in time for an entertainment show, or simply want to look around, you are more than welcome to. If you are lucky, you might just be visiting in time for the 30-min guided tours of the Harpa. For 1500kr, it is a definite bargain for the experience of a lifetime.

    Next stop: 5 minutes


    3. Harpa to Settlement Exhibition

    Discover Reykjavik Discover Reykjavik

    Another wonder in Old Reykjavik, the Settlement Exhibition is bound to become a favorite for history-lovers and tech-enthusiasts alike. History and Tech seem like a weird combination, doesn’t it? This exhibition brings them together rather graciously.

    In 2001/2002, a Viking longhouse was unearthed from this site. Further refined for the ease of visitors, the area was then made open to the public after numerous technological advancements. The artifacts found to give a creative insight into earlier Icelandic life. The ruins, however, have apparatus such as high-tech displays to show how things might have looked earlier.

    Alongside guided tours, there are interactive multimedia to keep you hooked to the Viking era in Iceland. Think your children on the road trip might not be interested? There is a children’s area too. You can simply drop them there and have your kind of learned fun while they have their fun.

    Duration: 2 hours

    Next stop: 4 minutes


    4. Settlement Exhibition to Culture House

    Discover Reykjavik Discover Reykjavik

    Do you know what the Great Auk was? A species of flightless Alcid which became extinct in the 19th century. They resembled an animal we commonly see today – a mixture of black and white birds that cannot fly. Can you guess what that bird is? The penguin of course. Interestingly, the Penguins we see today were named so because of their resemblance to the Great Auk.

    A skeleton of the extinct Great Auk can be seen at Culture House, among a variety of other extraordinary things. There are 14th-century manuscripts, contemporary art, and so much more to explore. Once you are done exploring, you must be feeling hungry from being on the road for so long, and the constant stops at attractions. Rest assured, for the Culture house tends to your hunger pangs with its café on the ground floor.

    Duration: 1-hour Website: Culture House

    Next stop: 7 minutes


    5. Culture House to Seltjarnarnes Peninsula

    Discover Reykjavik Discover Reykjavik

    For a beautiful end to an eventful day, make your way to Seltjarnarnes Peninsula. Walking down the paved paths, as the breeze caresses your face with the sea on one side and the glorious mountains on the other, everything seems surreal.

    You can choose to end the day by a refreshing walk down the path or go cycling here, especially if you are a cycling enthusiast. Watch the sunset while you dip your feet in the nearby geothermal pool and mark the end to Day 1 of exploring Reykjavik. Check in to a nearby hotel for a sound sleep.

    Duration: 1 hour

    Next stop: 32 minutes


    6. Seltjarnarnes Peninsula to Heiðmörk Nature Reserve

    Discover Reykjavik Discover Reykjavik

    As you awake the next morning, it is time for a fresh start to a lovely Day 2 of road-tripping in Reykjavik. Thus, head over for your morning hike to the Heiðmörk Nature Reserve. Hosting about 60 different species of birds, and over 26 tree species, the Reserve shines amongst other areas for its diversity and ruggedness.

    For adventure lovers, there are various excellent hiking trails to pursue. You can climb Mt. Helgafell or visit some of the extraordinary lave formations. On the other hand, if you feel like doing something a bit different, take your exploration on horseback via horse riding. If you want, there is also the opportunity to go fishing in any one of the nearby 3 beautiful lakes. Fish, catch and enjoy a freshly caught breakfast of Icelandic seafood.

    Duration: 30 minutes

    Next stop: 30 minutes


    7. Heiðmörk Nature Reserve to Harbor Village

    Discover Reykjavik Discover Reykjavik

    It has been one and a half day exploring Reykjavik, yet there hasn’t been much connection with the inviting locals. Thus, with a visit to Harbor Village, it is time to take in the local culture and customer by a one-on-one meeting with the locals.

    As you walk around the harbor, you will notice a number of restaurants. As you venture closer, the aroma of spices and authentic Islandic cuisine will fill the air. Hop in anyone for local signature dishes, or sit in the street cafes, sipping hot coffee and taking in the gorgeous view.

    Another experience you have not been introduced to throughout the trip is golfing. With the Keilir golf course nearby, it is time to test your talents of aiming the hole and getting your golf ball through. Play alone, or have a friendly match with your family members to see who knows how to hit the ball better.

    If you want to go holiday shopping for your loved ones, this is the best place to do so. With numerous boutiques, galleries, as well as jewelers, you can easily purchase something for your loved ones.

    Next stop: 22 minutes


    8. Harbor Village to Lágafellslaug

    Discover Reykjavik Discover Reykjavik

    To end the road trip, there is perhaps no better place than Lágafellslaug and surrounding areas. As you enter the Mountain Borough vicinity, you can begin with a continuation of your shopping venture by visiting the community of the Alafosskvos. Selling handmade woolen products since as early as 1896, the Alafoss store here has a wonderful collection of items to choose from. Apart from woolen goods, there are also handmade arts and crafts, as well as locally produced knives.

    For lovers of reading, there is another wonder hidden in the midst of Gljufrasteinn near here: the home of Halldor Laxness, Nobel prize laureate and Icelandic writer. On the other hand, if you are exhausted by the art viewings of the trip – it is time to end the road trip by some water time in the geothermal pools at Lagafellslaug. Hop on the water slides, dip your feet in the water, or if in the mood for ultimate relaxation – visit the sauna or steam bath.


    Visit Iceland with a car rental book at Auto Europe

    Family-Friendly Vehicles to Rent in IcelandIf you’d like other things to do in Reykjavik, and if you’d like to see how much you can save on your next trip by bundling your hotel reservation and car rental, give our travel specialists a call toll-free at 1-888-223-5555. We look forward to helping you plan the ultimate trip to Iceland, or wherever your travels take you.


    Other links to Reykjavik

    Explore the tourist attractions in the city of Reykjavik

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