Sun Voyager (Sólfar) picture
Lu?s Henrique Boucault/Getty Images

Key Info

Sculpture & Shore Walk

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.6scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

You'll find many sculptures scattered throughout Reykjavik, but for panoramic vistas and a look at one of the city's most iconic pieces, walk along the waterfront to the Sun Voyager (known locally as Sólfar). This steel sculpture, which was designed by Jon Gunnar Arnason, mimics a Viking ship and pays homage to the sun. Its location also boasts picturesque views of Mount Esja, a sprawling mountain filled with hiking trails.

Though you'll likely spend more time walking to and from the Sun Voyager (located about a mile from the city center) than snapping photos of it, recent visitors said the sculpture is a must see, especially on a clear day at sunrise or sunset. Harpa is also situated nearby, making this a great attraction to visit before or after wandering around the concert venue.

The Sun Voyager is one of several sights you can view while walking or jogging the Sculpture and Shore Walk by the harbor. It is free to visit 24 hours a day, but no amenities are available on-site, so plan accordingly. The best way to reach the Sun Voyager is to walk from downtown Reykjavik. To learn more about this can't-miss work of art, check out Visit Reykjavík's Sun Voyager page.

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Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
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#1 Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

The aurora borealis (or northern lights) can be an almost eerie sight: Picture emerald green swirls coloring the otherwise darkened sky. But scientists have a boring explanation for this phenomenal natural light show – "collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the Earth's atmosphere," according to the Northern Lights Centre. Still, it's a pretty breathtaking sight, and if you're visiting Reykjavik in winter, you might want to stake out some time for northern lights gazing.

Although you can see the lights from Reykjavik, you'll increase your chances of viewing them outside of the city. Previous travelers recommend taking a tour with local companies like BusTravel Iceland or Reykjavik Excursions. (But keep in mind that the aurora borealis requires a perfect cocktail of climate conditions in order to show – so you're not guaranteed to see the elusive display of lights even if you book a tour.) If you'd rather hunt for this natural phenomenon on your own, time your visit between September and mid-April.

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