From the harbour, Pósthússtræti leads south past the bars and restaurants of Tryggvagata, Hafnarstræti and Austurstræti to Vonarstræti and Tjörnin, invariably translated into English as “the lake” or “the pond”. Tjörn and its genitive form of tjarnar are actually old Viking words, still used in northern English and Scottish dialects as “tarn” to denote a mountain lake.
Originally formed by a lagoon inside the reef that once occupied the spot where Hafnarstræti now runs, this sizeable body of water, roughly a couple of square kilometres in size, is populated by forty to fifty bird species – including the notorious arctic tern, known for its dive-bombing attacks on passers-by, and found at the lake’s quieter southern end. The precise numbers of the lake’s bird population are charted on noticeboards stationed at several points along the bank.
Ice-skating on Lake Tjörnin
During the winter months, Lake Tjörnin becomes a hot spot for locals who take advantage of the frozen lake to ice-skate. A magical experience that is somewhat a tradition for residents of Reykjavik. Bizarrely, football matches have also been known to take part on the ice.
Tjörnin Lake, Reykjavik © iStock / Keong Da Great
Bird-watching at Lake Tjörnin
One for wildlife enthusiasts, Tjörnin is home to more than 40 bird species including the Arctic Tern and Greylag Goose. Many travel to Iceland to tick off their sightings of the rarer birds and to enjoy the fishing-village vibes the city lake has to offer. Locals have made a tradition out of feeding the birds, who happily flock to their human friends for bread.
Tjörnin Lake © Cn0ra / iStock
Culture and significant Buildings
The lake is surrounded by a pretty mix of Scandinavian style architecture combined with more modern constructions. Impressive buildings to look out for include the City Hall and Frikirkjan i Reykjavik, also known as the Free Church.
Featured Image, Tjörnin Lake © Dbrskinner / iStock