Reykjavík is the capital city of Iceland which is located in Europe. Reykjavík offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Harpa concert hall and conference center
- Hallgrímskirkja cathedral (and view of the city)
- Day trips to the golden circle
- The sun voyager
- Tjörnin lake and Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík church (reflection photography)
- Northern lights (with a bit of luck!)
- Icelandic fish and chips
Harpa is a stunning building, especially at night with it’s flashing lights, the facade represents the basalt landscape of Iceland. Harpa is the concert hall and conference center of Reykjavik. The design of the inside of the building is just as stunning as the outside. As Iceland is a cold country, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to warm up, it’s free to go inside Harpa and there are plenty of seats so this building is perfect for you to take a rest and warm up. I found the perfect place to photograph Harpa was directly in front of it using the artificial pond for a reflection.
Something else you must photograph which is close to Harpa is the Sun Voyager. The Sun Voyager is a steel boat sculpture and one of the important landmarks of Reykjavik.
A short walk from Harpa in the direction of the Hallgrímskirkja cathedral you’ll pass by Tjörnin lake and Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík church. This is an opportunity for you to make reflection photography.
Hallgrímskirkja cathedral is a unique and stunning structure. Many comments on my Instagram post have compared this cathedral to a space ship or space rocket! Hallgrímskirkja cathedral is a worthwhile 10 minute walk from downtown Reykjavik. You can ascend the tower which is 73 meters high and gives a stunning view of Reykjavik, the cost is about $8. Outside you’ll find a stall selling delicious Belgian waffles, perfect if you are in need of a sugar rush.
In Reykjavik you’ll see lots of colorful buildings made from corrugated iron. Corrugated iron was originally imported from England in the 19th century but I’m sure they import it from China now. After a serious fire caused damage to Reykjavik in the 20th century, a law was passed that buildings must be made of fire resistant material. As corrugated iron is light, strong, resistant and inexpensive this became the material of choice and is now part of the Icelandic culture. The colorful corrugated iron buildings are unique to Iceland and make excellent photos.
You have to be really lucky to see the natural wonder of the world, Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Reykjavik. I had been to Norway and Alaska and not seen them so when the forecast for Iceland was cloudy with low likelihood of seeing the lights the whole time I was there, I thought I would miss out for a third time. Fortunately on my final night the clouds disappeared and the lights came out, they first appeared white and changed to green and were very clear to the naked eye. The photo I took was with the lens open for 20 seconds so the green is slightly stronger than what I actually saw. There is a dark rock beach beside Harpa, this is the best place to photograph Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Reykjavik.
Another method you could use to see the northern lights is to stay in a hotel away from the city and lights and hope they show. There are also northern lights tours leaving from Reykjavik every night.
The drive from Reykjavik to Seltún takes about 1 hour and on the way you’ll pass Kleifarvatn Lake. Kleifarvatn Lake has 2-3 viewing points and if you are there on a clear day you’ll receive beautiful views (above). Around the corner from Kleifarvatn Lake you’ll arrive at Seltún geothermal area.