In a country where the sun sets at four in the afternoon in winter, you have to be able to enjoy a good sunset. As a local Reykjavík citizen, I’ve got some favourite scenic spots in the capital area to go see the sunset and contemplate life’s mysteries. There are plenty of great spots in Reykjavík, some of them maybe even prettier than the ones I’ve chosen but these are my favourites. Some are popular but others are secluded and you’ll likely get the chance to have the moment for yourself, or at least not have to share it with too many others. And don’t worry, you are absolutely free to Instagram these spots at your own leisure.
At the very end of the Seltjarnarnes peninsula, you will come across a lighthouse surrounded by flat landscapes and a rocky shore with countless birds and spectacular views. This area is called Grótta, and it has a clear view of the iconic Esja Mountain, the town of Akranes in the distance, and on clear days you can even spot Snæfellsnes glacier. Behind you lies a huge, grassy landscape and a golf course. This spot is especially popular during the winter, mainly because Reykjavík’s citizens can escape the light pollution to see some northern lights dancing in the sky.
Not far south from Grótta, to the west of the city centre, along the coastline lies a street called Ægisíða. A local favourite place for evening walks and bike rides, Ægisíða sports grassy, unkempt fields and a black beach. its unpolished beauty is what makes it such a soothing spot to focus your thoughts. The best part, for those of us looking for that perfect Instagram shot, are the sunsets. When the sky is clear enough, absolutely everything in sight turns bright orange, from the vast sea to the cosy houses behind you.
3. Smalahæð Hill
On the other side of the capital area, is the town of Kópavogur. On the outskirts of town is the recently urbanized hill of Rjúpnahæð, and at the end of Austurkór Street you’ll find one of the best views of the entire city area. There’s nothing like looking over the rocky hillside marked by the heavy Ice Age glacier that sat on top of it thousands of years ago. Not very far from here is lake Vífilsstaðavatn, one of the hidden gems of nature within the city limits.
2. Ásland Hill
One of my favourite places to go enjoy a soothing view is the top of Ásland hill, overlooking the seaside town of Hafnarfjörður. It’s lovely in the summer when the area is covered with purple lupines, as well as in the winter, covered in ice and snow. The view of the city is incomparable and if you’re up for a lovely evening stroll in nature after getting your sunset fill, then head down Kaldárselsvegur in the opposite direction from the sea all the way to Lake Hvaleyrarvatn. You might even spot some horses along the way.
Picking the top spot is a hard one, but arguably there is nothing as soothing for the busy mind as the hill on top of Seljahverfi in Breiðholt. I might be biased since I’ve lived in Seljahverfi all my life but once you go there I’m positive you will agree with my choice. This place has got it all; plenty of dainty and colourful flora, huge grassy fields behind you and a gorgeous view of the entire city that becomes submerged in a jaw-dropping sunset on decent days. It’s easy to walk up the hill, and the laziest of us can even drive up there directly so there’s absolutely no excuse for you not to go and take a few Instagram photos to make your friends at home envy your trip!