But Reykjavik has so much to offer. I've spend at least 4 to 5 days in the city each time I visit and I always find plenty of culturally interesting and active adventures as well as gourmet delights. These are some of my favorite little-known activities in Reykjavik. Check it out and next time you head for the land of fire and ice, save some time for these.
1. 871 +/- 2: The Settlement Exhibition, is a curious name for a museum. But it makes sense, considering that’s Iceland’s approximate settlement date. Located on the exact spot where they found the ruins of a 10th century longhouse, this archeological museum stands beside a major hotel. If you steer clear of archeologic museums, be warned that this one is hardly chock full of dull exhibits. It’s quite interactive with holographic-type images and sounds of the time, from knife making to cowbells.
2. Not far away along the quay, the Reykjavik Art Museum - Harbor House features the pop oeuvre of noted Icelandic artist, Erro. But the museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibits that are quite innovative. (This is one of the three Reykjavik Art Museums in the city and each is worth visiting for the pastiche of often colorful abstract works as well as inspired landscapes on display.
3. Nearby is a warehouse that’s home to the Saturday morning flea market. It’s bric-a-brac laden but it’s the food court that’s worth visiting. Often, you can sample some of the typical food items found in every Icelander’s home, including potato bread, rugbraud (malt bread), dried catfish and the infamous fermented shark meat. I was warned to avoid the latter but accidentally sampled a small cube that was offered to me on a toothpick. After finding it tasteless after initially chewing it, the full power of the ammonia-laden meat became overwhelming.
4. I’m not necessarily a big fan of visiting cemeteries but Reykjavik’s is reminiscent of a botanical garden. The 19th century Holavalla Cemetery is dense with foliage and ancient gnarled trees towering over ornate headstones.
6. Take a long pleasant walk or a short cab ride to get to the Reykjavik Botanic Garden located in the Laugardalur area. There you can wander twisty paths and inspect the plants that come from all over the world, including New Zealand and Asia. It’s interesting to see so many trees here in a country where tall evergreens are a rarity. Housed in a greenhouse laden with flora, Cafe Flora — a perfect lunch spot — is aptly named.