Reykjavík is one of Europe’s smaller and saner capitals. If you’re more used to the traffic-clogged streets of other major european cities, the sense of space and calm here will come as a breath of fresh air.
Even in the heart of this Reykjavík, nature is always in evidence – there can be few other cities in the world, for example, where greylag geese regularly overfly the busy centre – and escaping the crowds and finding a spot of peace and tranquillity is relatively easy.
From the new Pocket Rough Guide to Reykjavík, here are a few of our favourite places to get away from it all.
Hop on the bus for the short ride to Hafnarfjörður, Reykjavík’s southern neighbour. In comparison with the capital, the streets here are all but empty of visitors.
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For just 1100kr you can ride the ferry to Viðey for great views of Reykjavík and the surrounding coastline. Viðey boasts some great hiking trails, too, offering a real chance to commune with nature in the city.
3. Reykjanes Peninsula
With your own transport, a drive around the southwestern point of the Reykjanes Peninsula, through the lava landscapes between Gríndavík and Hafnir, is especially rewarding.
The forested slopes of this city park south of the centre are the perfect place to escape the crowds. Pack a picnic and find your own shady glade among the trees.
5. South of Hallgrímskirkja
The streets south of Hallgrímskirkja, notably Njarðargata, Baldursgata and Óðinsgata, are relatively unexplored by visitors to the city. A stroll here is a chance to see residential Reykjavík.
6. Sun terraces, Sundhöllin
Sheltered from the wind, the outdoor terraces at the swimming pool here are a wonderful spot to catch the rays (in the buff) on a warm day – and they’re little known to visitors.
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