I don’t always do things in the right order and Reykjavik would be no different. While many would choose to orient themselves with a city tour either by bus or walking when they first arrive, I would do the walking tour of Reykjavik on my last day in the city with I ♥ Reykjavik. I didn’t have a choice really, the only space I could find was on the Monday as the tours are popular and fill quickly. So while I have posted a few Iceland photos and stories, the ultimate Reykjavik/Iceland blog resource is I Heart Reykjavik . Auður is a local blogger and once I found her blog, I quickly consumed her posts to prepare for my last-minute Iceland weekend. When I saw that she led a daily walking tour, I immediately signed up for the open slot on the Monday, my last day in the city.
The tour would start at 10 a.m. (in all weather) and last about 2 hours, the cost was approximately $40 given the fx rate at the time. The meeting point was “the big church”, Hallgrimskirkja at the top of the hill across from one of the shopping streets. There would be 12 of us (her max group size) from different parts of the world. Given the early start, many had just come from the airport and were doing the tour to keep awake adjusting to the local time before their hotel check-in.
I was happy that just after 10 a.m., it looked like the sun might finally make an appearance after a weekend plagued with rain and clouds. This is what the sunrise over Hallgrimskirkja looked like – just lovely. I would return later to go to the top observation area for photos of the city from above.
Auður explained that she grew up in the neighborhood and still lives nearby, I immediately felt like I met a friend showing me (and 12 others) her town – pointing out the hidden spots, explaining the history and letting us know a few secrets too. We walked across from the church to the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden and Museum (I would have missed it had I not been on this tour).
I knew the gorgeous sunrise was too good to last as the rains started (lightly at first) so umbrellas up, we explored the colorful side streets near the church. Learning about the history definitely added to my experience as I had wandered for four days wondering about this, that and the other. We were an inquisitive bunch asking lots of questions.
Street Art was easy to find along the walk downtown just as it had been on my first stroll through the downtown.
Since you start at the top of the hill at the church, the rest of the Reykjavik walking tour is downhill. After a quick coffee break in the bookstore, we finally reached the bottom, across from the waterfront’s newest attraction – the concert hall.
Continuing toward Austurvöllur square, across from Hotel Borg where I was staying, our tour ended with the local government buildings surrounding us with the church in the corner (photo from a few days prior as nicer than the cloudy rain version from tour).
Auður provided a really nice tour of Reykjavik, she really does love her city and is eager to share it with visitors. I had to laugh when she said after one tour, a couple surprised her and asked her to come with them around Iceland as their personal tour guide so she did! Such personalized service!
The I Heart Reykjavik walking tour was not included in the concierge recommendation, although it totally should be! This tour proved that bloggers are often the best tour guides when they are blogging about what they love most – no large company can provide the address to the secret restaurants – the no sign pizza spot or coffee in a local artists home! Only a local insider knows that and you should too! I’d definitely recommend the Reykjavik walking tour with I ♥ Reykjavik either at the beginning, middle or end of your visit to Reykjavik.