23 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Reykjavik & Best Photo Spots

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Iceland is a beautiful country, but so many people skip Reykjavik or don’t think of it as a beautiful city. But it is! Reykjavik is insanely cool, with fantastic modern architecture and great natural wonders nearby. Here are my picks for the most Instagrammable places in Reykjavik so you can find the best photo spots in the city.

 

Read: Definitive Iceland Packing List: What to Pack for Iceland for Women & Men

 

 

The Most Instagrammable Places in Reykjavik

In no particular order…

 

 

1. Harpa

 

Harpa is the beautiful concert venue located next to the Old Harbor. Sitting next to the water, the glass panels can change their look dramatically depending on the surrounding light and weather.

 

 

I love the pictures that I took of Harpa from far away, but I also love all the photos of Harpa that I’ve seen taken from the inside! The panels are inspired by the basalt columns found elsewhere in Iceland. Between their beautiful colors and shapes, there are so many different ideas you can come up with for great photography.

 

Harpa is included on the Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. I didn’t go on this one, but I’ve gone on tons of these kinds of tours in Porto, Belfast, Copenhagen, Philadelphia, etc. I love them because they help you get an instant orientation in a city. When I do them, I usually try to go on my frist day somewhere so that I can do exploring on my own once I know the city better.

 

>>Check tour reviews and availability.<<

 

Location: Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

2. The Old Harbor

 

Most pictures of the Old Harbor have Harpa in the background, but that’s not the only way to shoot it. You can get some great shots of the boat, the small yellow lighthouse, and the other parts of the harbor. Walk around and see what you can find!

 

>>This is another site included on the Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Click here to check tour reviews and availability.<<

 

 

Location: Sculpture & Shore Walk, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

3. Hallgrimskirkja

 

Probably the most important landmark in the city, you can’t really come and get pictures of Reykjavik without snapping some of Hallgrimskirkja. There are so many different angles and spots to photograph it from, that you can really play with framing the church. For my picture above, I got the “classic” picture with the statue of Leif Erikson in front.

 

 

There are so many great drone shots of the church, too. If you do bring your drone to Iceland, just make sure to follow local drone laws.

 

>>This is another site included on the Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Click here to check tour reviews and availability.<<

 

Location: Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

4. Hallgrimskirkja Observation Deck

 

When you come to take photos of Hallgrimskirkja, you’re not done just because you’ve gotten some pictures outside. You need to come in as well! I adore the stark white interiors of the church, but its really the views from the observation tower that are worth the trip in.

 

 

You can go into the church for free, but visiting the tower is 1000 ISK for adults and 100 ISK for children. (About $8.20 USD and $0.82 USD respectively). Check the church’s website for their up-to-date schedule.

 

Location: Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

5. Reykjavik’s Colorful Houses

 

Reykjavik is full of so many beautiful, colorful houses! Spend time just wandering through the residential streets to see what you find. I’ve tagged the address of this specific street below, but you don’t need to just stick to this street! You can find them all over the city.

 

Remember when photographing residential areas not to go on people’s stoops, stairs, into their doorways, etc. You need to shoot from public property only. Be kind, polite, and get your shots as quickly as possible so you don’t disturb people’s private lives.

 

Location: Grettisgata 72, Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

6. Tjörninn (The Pond)

 

Tjörninn is the small pond in the middle of Reykjavik. It’s naturally occurring, so the buildings on the edge have been purposefully built around it. My favorite shots of Tjörninn include the beautiful Fríkirkjan church on the water’s edge, but there are also cool shots of Reykjavik City Hall which was built over the lake.

 

 

Give yourself time to photograph the geese and duck that live on the lake. I got kind of obsessed with them and came back with probably fifty goose pictures.

 

>>This is another site included on the Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Click here to check tour reviews and availability.<<

 

 

Location: Tjarnargata 11, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

7. Sun Voyager

 

There are so many cool ways to photograph Sun Voyager, the beautiful sculpture reminiscent of a Viking longship that sits on the bay. Some of my favorite pictures of the Sun Voyager include ones with people to show its gigantic scale, and pictures taken at sunrise and sunset when the pink and orange light makes the sculpture look like it’s on fire.

 

This sculpture is included on the Reykjavik City Walking Tourwhich also includes Hallgrímskirkja, Tjörnin Pond, and Harpa from this list.

 

>>Check tour reviews and availability.<<

 

 

Location: Rekagrandi 14, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

8. Þúfa

 

Pronounced Thoofa, Þúfa is an art installation on the cape near the Old Harbor. Meant to be a place of peace and meditation, it’s also a great spot for photography. You can get shots of the installation itself, including the fish-drying hut at the top, or you can walk to the top for pictures of Harpa and the bay.

 

Location: Norðurslóð, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

9. Perlan

 

Perlan has an interesting shape since it was built from leftover hot water tanks. Today it has a planetarium, a restaurant, and an observation deck. Because of the buildings unique architecture, there are many interesting opportunities for architectural photography enthusiasts here.

 

 

Don’t skip a visit to the observation deck, where you can get stunning panoramic views all the way across the bay. There’s also a photo exhibit here, so if you love appreciating the works of great photographers, give yourself extra time to stop by the exhibit.

 

>>This is another site included on the Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Click here to check tour reviews and availability.<<

 

 

Location: Varmahlid 1, Oskjuhlid, Reykjavik 105, Iceland

 

 

10. The Blue Lagoon

 

While at the Blue Lagoon, your number one responsibility is to simply relax. (And possibly pick up some of the mud to take home as a souvenir from Iceland). But if you want to grab some great Instagram pics while you’re here, you can!

 

 

I took most of my pictures with my Nikon before returning it to my locker, but you could also bring a Go Pro or other waterproof camera.

 

Book your Blue Lagoon Transfer ahead of time. You can leave from Reykjavik or Keflavik airport. Note that you’ll need to book a transfer for both directions separately.

 

>>Click Here to Book Your Blue Lagoon Transfer<<

 

 

Location: Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland

 

 

11. Reykjavik Roasters

 

I love cute coffee shops! Even though I don’t really drink coffee, I work from so many coffee shops around the world that I really appreciate beautiful ones. Reykjavik Roasters has two locations, both of which are simple and sleek, with just a touch of vintage comfort. I’ve listed both locations below (they have a third one on the way).

 

Locations: Kárastígur 1 OR Brautarholt 2, Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

12. Kol Restaurants

 

A highly rated seafood restaurant with a rustic-meets-mod interior, Kol is a great place to go in Reykjavik whether you’re looking to fill your stomach or your grid. Located near Hallgrimskirkja, it’s a great place to drop by for a craft cocktail after photographing the church at golden hour.

 

Location: Skólavörðustígur 40, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

13. Thingvellir

I’m a little obsessed with Thingvellir, the UNESCO World Heritage site that is both the site of the historic Viking Parliament and the place where the North American and European continental plates are pulling apart. That’s way too much history and geography for this history fan to wrap my mind around, even after visiting.

 

There are so many cool spots to take photos of Thingvellir National Park (I put some of my favorite pictures that I took from my visit in my Reykjavik photo essay). You really should just give yourself time to see what you come up with while you’re there.

 

I visited as part of an organized Golden Circle Tour that included Gullfoss and Geysir (more on that below).

 

>>Click here to check prices and availability.<<

 

Location: Thingvellir National Park

 

 

14. Bergsson Mathus

 

A well-known Reykjavik brunch spot, Bergsson is also a great place to find vegan food in Reykjavik. Though I personally love it for its simple charm, and its cozy basement location. Not fancy or over-the-top, Bergsson is the perfect place if you’re looking for a modest and lovely place to eat and ‘gram.

 

Location: Templarasund 3, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

 

15. Lebowski Bar

 

Lebowski Bar claims that the movie The Big Lebowski inspired an entire lifestyle. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it did inspire me to drink about a thousand White Russians in college. Though I don’t make them as good as Lebowski Bar, which has a menu of over twenty White Russian varieties!

 

Featuring burgers and milkshakes, you’ll need to snap a pic of the American-dier-styled bar.

Location: Laugavegur 20a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

16. Reykjavik’s Street Art

 

Reykjavik’s street art has amped up to eleven in the past few years, with quite a few beautiful (and gigantic) murals to see and photograph. Use this street art map to find the ones you think are the most interesting to you!

 

Location: Use this map for the locations of the best street art in Reykjavik

 

 

17. Grótta Island Lighthouse

 

One of the best things about visiting coastal cities and towns is visiting the beautiful seaside lighthouses. In Reykjavik, the best one is about twenty minutes away from downtown (basically Grotta is in the suburbs of Reykjavik).

 

 

If you decide you want to come out and visit, this post covers how to get there.

 

Location: Grótta Island Lighthouse, Iceland, Seltjarnarnes, Iceland

 

 

18. Geysir

 

Geysir is a beautiful geyser on the Golden Circle. Watching Geysir erupt, retreat, and erupt again was thrilling! I visited as part of an organized Golden Circle Tour that included Gullfoss and Thingvellir.

 

>>Click here to check prices and availability.<<

 

 

Location: Geysir, Iceland

 

 

19. Cafe Babalu

 

This colorful, cluttered cafe is my pick for the most Instagrammable cafe in Reykjavik. Its clutter is what makes it so charming. It just oozes coziness with a pinch of shabby-chic.

 

 

Don’t miss checking out the Star Wars themed toilet and the beautiful green staircase!

 

Location: Café Babalú, Skólavörðustígur 22, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

 

20. Gullfoss

 

Gullfoss isn’t the only waterfall I’ve seen in Iceland, but it was my first so I will never forget it. Besides appreciating just how magnificent and beautiful it was, I was freezing! Dress appropriately with lots of layers, or you’ll feel like you spent half your time at the top wishing you were warm inside like I did.

 

I visited Gullfoss as part of an organized Golden Circle Tour that included Geysir and Thingvellir.

 

>>Click here to check prices and availability.<<

 

Location: Gullfoss Falls, Iceland

 

21. Icelandic Horses

 

While in Iceland, you simply must meet some Icelandic horses. They are super chill and have the sweetest, shaggiest fur coats. I met a group of four and now I stan Icelandic horses forever.

 

 

You can try to find some on your own while you’re in Iceland, or you go horseback riding!  This Icelandic Horse Riding Tour in Lava Fields looks amazing with great reviews. I think I might have to go back to Reykjavik asap!

 

>>Click here to check prices and availability.<<

 

 

22. Whales in Faxaflói Bay

 

If you love whales and want a chance to photograph them at play, you can do what I did and go on a whale watching tour in Faxaflói Bay. I wrote an entire guide on what to know before you go whale watching in Reykjavik, so read it if you do decide to go out.

 

I went on a  3 Hour Whale Watching Excursionthough in the post I mention a few alternative types of whale watching tours you can choose. They have shorter ones and ones that go to the Golden Circle & Whale Watching Combined Tour.

 

>>Click here to check prices and availability.<<

 

 

23. Puffin  Island

 

If you’re obsessed with Puffins like I am, then you’ll be excited to know you can actually visit a place near Reykjavik known as Puffin Island! While it’s the island of Lundey that has earned this adorable nickname, you can visit both it and Akurey to see the puffins (and then put their cute mugs on Instagram, obviously).

 

The best way to see puffins in Reykjavik is to go on a Puffin Watching Boat Tourthough you can also go on a combined Half–Day Whales and Puffins Combo Tour if you love whales AND puffins. I mean, who doesn’t?

 

>>Click here to check prices and availability.<<

 

 

Tour Recommendations

Here’s a handy list of all the tours mentioned in this post:

 

 

Where to Stay in Reykjavik

 

Iceland - Reykjavik - Einholt Apartments

 

There are a lot of options for accommodations in Reykjavik, but it is definitely not a traditional budget destination! I’m including a recommendation for Reykjavik hotels and hostels for each of the following budget categories:

 

  • Budget: A room in a hostel, usually $35-50 USD per night for a dorm bed.
  • Mid-range: Around $75-100 USD per night
  • Luxury: Around $150 per night or more

 

 

Budget: Iceland is no budget destination, but the hostel dorms at Reykjavik Downtown HI Hostel are affordable and in a great location. You can stay in the mixed dormitory or women can book a room in the female-only dorm. Includes free wifi and the option to add breakfast.  Check the pricing, reviews, and availability here.

 

Mid-Range: For our trip to Reykjavik, we stayed at the self-catering Stay Apartments Einholt.  We loved having a self-catering room since we actually cooked half of our dinners and all of our breakfasts in our apartment to save money on the trip overall. We also loved the location. It’s close to downtown within easy walking distance to the main sites. The price was right in our budget for two people, too. Check the pricing, reviews, and availability here.

 

Luxury: For a real luxury experience in Reykjavik, stay at the four-star Exeter Hotel by Keahotels which is located right near the city’s most important sites. Rooms are super modern and beautifully done, with a cozy take on industrial chic. You can come back and relax in the hotel’s sauna and enjoy the on-site restaurant.  Check the pricing, reviews, and availability here.

 

 

5 Things You Need to Bring with You

 

Iceland - Skogar - Skogafoss Stephanie

 

I have an entire Iceland packing list for those looking for what to bring to Iceland, but here are the five items you absolutely can’t leave home without!

 

  • The Lonely Planet Iceland guidebook or the Rick Steves Iceland guidebook for your trip. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.
  • Tech-friendly gloves like these and warm wool socks to keep your fingers and toes toasty. Iceland gets cold! Even in summer, you want to have access to warm layers for particularly windy spots.
  • A Camera since Iceland is super photogenic. I used a mix of my Nikon D810 and my  Samsung8 smartphone.
  • Sunscreen since you’ll be outside a lot more than back home.
  • Backup Charging Bank so you can keep your cell phone charged for long day trips without access to an electrical outlet.

 

Read: Definitive Iceland Packing List: What to Pack for Iceland for Women & Men

 

 

Reykjavik Travel Resources

 

Iceland - Reykjavik - Stephanie Selfie

 

Here are my resources to help you plan your trip. Start with my Iceland packing list so you know what to bring with you year-round.

 

Next, check out my guide to Icelandic souvenirs, which also includes more awesome Reykjavik shopping tips, plus how to go whale watching in Reykjavik and Reykjavik safety tips.

 

Do you like to listen to information to help you plan your trip? If so, check out my interview about Iceland’s Thingvellir plus the list of my favorite travel podcasts.

 

If you’re looking to get inspired before your trip, check out my post on beautiful quotes about Iceland and 30 Reykjavik Pictures that Prove It’s Time to Visit Iceland.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

Never travel without a valid travel insurance policy, because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance when you’ll be doing any outdoor activities since accidents happen.

 

I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for three years, and I happily recommend them.  It’s especially important to get travel insurance when participating in outdoor activities or driving in foreign countries. Even in the cities, though, you’ll be happy when you’re able to replace your stuff if it’s lost or stolen.

 

 

Pin This Guide to the Best Reykjavik Photography Locations for Your Trip to Iceland

 

Most Instagrammable Places in Reykjavik

 

The Best Reykjavik Instagram Spots

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