Reykjavík Museum Walk
Art lovers can keep busy in what is still called Reykjavík's "eastern" quarter—even though it is now geographically in the west and center, as the city has been expanding to the east. This tour takes you to the main museum and art gallery and, through Þingholt, to one of the most picturesque residential parts of the city.
Start on the 210-foot stair-stepped gray tower of Hallgrímskirkja. The church tower offers Reykjavík's highest vantage point, with a fantastic panoramic view of the city. Take Njarðargata downhill toward the park to Sóleyjargata, turn right, and cross the street into Hljómskálagarðurinn Park. Follow the path past the Tjörnin Pond with the fountain on your right. Continue until you reach busy Hringbraut street. On your left is the main campus of the Háskóli Íslands, University of Iceland,, founded in 1911. Next to the museum's east side, the Félagsstofnun Stúdenta, the Student Union, has an excellent international bookshop. Cross Hringbraut at the lights, and on your right you'll see the concrete Þjóðminjasafn, the National Museum. It houses Viking artifacts, national costumes, weaving, and more.
After a stop in the museum, head north along Suðurgata, which leads from the nearby traffic circle. Just before the cemetery on your left, turn right onto Skothúsvegur and follow it over the bridge onto Fríkirkjuvegur. Bertel Thorvaldsen's rendering of Adonis, guards the corner of the grounds of the ornate Reykjavík Youth and Recreational Council, across Njarðargata from the president's offices. Next to the Youth and Recreational Council is the Listasafn Íslands, where you can find Ásgrímur Jónsson's stunningly huge Mt. Hekla—perhaps the best painting of an Icelandic landscape. The coffee shop inside is a pleasant place to end your walk.
It takes about an hour to complete this walk, but make sure you allocate extra time to visit the National Museum and Art Gallery.
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