A Layover in Iceland

On our way to London, we took advantage of the Icelandair stopover option, which lets you extend a short changeover at the Reykjavik airport into a stay of up to 7 days for no extra airfare. We took two full days, spending the first day in Reykjavik, then taking a Golden Circle bus tour on the second day.

Iceland Air
Iceland Air — No-charge layovers!

Our overnight flight landed very early, so we dropped our bags at the hotel and headed out to explore drizzly Reykjavik in a haze of jetlag. Impossible to miss almost anywhere in the city is Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland. It took 41 years to build, with construction starting in 1945 and ending in 1986.

Hallgrímskirkja
Hallgrímskirkja

It cost 900 ISK (about $9) to go up the tower in an elevator, where we were rewarded with photogenic views of otherwise low-rise Reykjavik.

This is the view west from the top of Hallgrímskirkja. Our hotel, Hotel Odinsve, was located pretty much dead center in this photo.

View of Reykjavik from Hallgrímskirkja
View of Reykjavik from Hallgrímskirkja

The interior of the Hallgrimskirkja church is as striking as the exterior.

Hallgrimskirkj interior
Hallgrimskirkj interior

I like the functional, simple architecture of buildings around Reykjavik that somehow still retain a lot of character.

A Reyjavik house
A Reyjavik house

A typical little sidestreet in Reykjavik. Neat, orderly, and colourful with just a touch of graffiti here and there.

A Reykjavik sidestreet

A nice shot by Josie of some typical Reykjavik buildings, with the Hallgrímskirkja lurking the background.

Reykjavik Street
Reykjavik Street

There is lots of art scattered around Reykjavik, including murals and sculptures. Icelanders are creative, as any music fan is well aware.

Reykjavik Art
Reykjavik Art

We wandered inside the Harpa, an enormous concert hall on the waterfront. Tourists like us were taking photos of every inch while people in black tie dress prepared for a show.

The Harpa
The Harpa

The Draken Harald Hårfagre is the largest replica Viking ship that’s been constructed in modern times. Here it was anchored near the Harpa, partway through a journey from Norway to North America. It will hit Newfoundland around June 1 and then be in Toronto in time for July 1st.

The Draken Harald Hårfagre
The Draken Harald Hårfagre

After more wandering, we enjoyed a meal at the laid-back Kex Hostel, which has amazing food and a good vibe. It was a bit hard to find but worth the journey. The Viking Stout was stellar.

Kex Hostel Bar
Kex Hostel Bar