The Old Harbor in Reykjavik
Text by: April Harpa Smáradóttir
I, like probably everybody else, have been growing very fond of our old harbour for the past few years. It’s hard to resist to wander around within it’s charming villages. There we have little boats rugging next to old, colorful sheds that have been turned into shops, restaurants and other growing businesses. It’s nice to walk around by the sea with a view of Mount Esja far in the back. The area has been growing fast for the past few years, and to a good direction too. The area was first built between 1913-1917 but lately it seems like everyone has decided to join powers on making a good area even better. There are a lot of activities around, good restaurants and sites worth exploring too. Here are few of my favourite highlights of the old harbour.
I would also like to note that we visit the old harbour on our awesome Reykjavik Food Walk. The guide takes us around for a little part of the area with storytelling before sitting down at one of the most famous restaurants by the harbour for a delicious, Icelandic cuisine! Yum!
You might also like: See how Reykjavik has changed from 1976 until now!
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Sjóminjasafnið (The Reykjavik Maritime Museum)
Don’t know about guys, but I love stories on how it use do be. Iceland was basically built on fishing so you can imagine the stories!! Harsh Atlantic weather and poor conditions raised many skilled sailors and it’s here where you can get to know everything about it!
Opening hours: 11:00-19:00. Closed on Mondays.
This super cozy coffeehouse shed has been sitting by the old harbour since 1935. First, it used to be a truck which they converted to a food shed. I think most Reykjavik locals have some kind of a bittersweet memory of their parents taking them there at some point in earlier years. The atmosphere in there is filled with history and charisma, which truly leaves you wondering about how everything used to be before. I highly recommend that you make your way to Kaffivagnin and soak up their old harbour spirit while fiesting on their delicious menu! They even have a nice little porch outside where you can enjoy the view on nice summer days.
The Cinema of Fire and Lights
Just recently discovered this little gem within the sheds in village 2. In here you can “experience” three of our main elements that make Iceland, Iceland. Fire, Ice and the Northern Lights. Have a little time to spare? Visit for a cheeky little movie on volcanoes that have erupted here or a marvelous northern lights show!
Visit their web page here
Visit this ice cream parlor. I can’t stress this enough: Visit this Ice Cream Parlor!!
Situated right in front the Maritime museum, this HEAVEN offers you all kinds of ice cream flavours that only makes you want to have an ice cream for break fest, lunch and dinner just to have a taste of it all. Yes, its vegan friendly and yes, it super affordable. They also make gelato and sorbets and home made ice cream cones. Holy mother… I might go and get one right meow.
Marine Activities: Puffin and Whale watching tours
One does not simply visit Iceland without checking out them puffins or those giant whales that are lurking around the island. Many tour operators offer daily departures on affordable prices right at the harbour so don’t let this activity slip pass! There are also other activities such as fishing and other non-ocean related activities such as rental bikes and scooters.
The old harbour is a very joyful and colorful area. It’s also extremely romantic, specially in the evening time, with all those light bulbs hanging around and with the ocean right there. Sometimes in the summertime, it doesn’t feel like a quarter of Reykjavik anymore (I generally don’t think Reykjavik is a romantic city like Rome or Paris) but strolling there with someone special for a dinner mission feels like you’re in another world. Many of the best seafood restaurants are there, such as Kopar and Sægreifinn so make sure to reserve one of your Reykjavik nights for a dinner at the old harbour!