Four of the Best Places to See the Sunset in Reykjavik
If you're lucky enough to experience clear skies during your visit to Reykjavik, then make the most of the good weather by pausing to watch the sunset. The time varies considerably according to the time of year, from mid-afternoon in the depths of winter to midnight at the height of summer. Regardless of when you plan to visit, keep an eye on the weather forecast and pencil in one or more of these sunset spots, sure to be a highlight of your Reykjavik vacation.
As sunset panoramas go, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better spot than on Perlan's observation deck. All of Reykjavik and its surroundings stretch before you. Gaze over the rooftops as you pick out landmark churches such as Hateigskirkja with its double twin spires and beyond, the pink-tinted snow that caps Mount Esja. Not only do you have an uninterrupted 360° view of the city from up here, but the warm glow also reflects off the glass panels of its domed roof.
Moreover, you can also enjoy the changing light from Perlan's 5th-floor bar and restaurant. When you look at it like that, you might say you get three sunsets for the price of one, which surely makes this the best place to see the sunset in Reykjavik.
2. The Waterfront Overlooking Faxaflói Bay
Reykjavik's northern shore provides uninterrupted views of Faxaflói Bay, making this another shoo-in for our list. There are a number of options if this is your pick. Starting to the west, look out over the Old Harbour, where you'll see the sunset over the colourful collection of boats, or walk out to Þúfa, where you can use this grassy hillock to achieve some extra height.
Alternatively, stroll east along the waterfront until you reach Harpa Concert Hall, where the sun's glow catches the irregularly shaped panels of its striking façade. Ingólfsgarður Lighthouse, tucked behind it, is similarly satisfying and often overlooked. The Sun Voyager is another popular spot, as its glinting aluminium is ideal for reflecting the palette of vibrant oranges and reds that colour the sky.
3. Grótta Island Lighthouse
A favourite with DIY aurora hunters, this landmark lighthouse to the west of Reykjavik is a popular sunset spot, too. Check the tide times before setting out, but often, its orientation is perfect for watching the sun sink below the horizon.
As an added bonus, if you're a photographer keen to play around with silhouette shots, the form of the lighthouse will enhance your composition, as will the rocky foreshore.
As you stare out at the ocean, this place feels remote, yet it's only a few minutes' drive back to the city once it's totally dark. Wrap up warm to protect you against a chill wind, and carry a torch to help you safely navigate your way back.
During peak season, you might choose to head to the outskirts of the city, particularly if you have a rental car. Sunsets are always great when the water mirrors the sky, so this overlooked seaside location is worth checking out, even if the immediate surroundings are a little industrial.
Find yourself a spot on the little sandy beach beside Skarfaklettur (Cormorants Rock). From here, you have a view out towards Viðey Island. In winter, the weekend ferry schedule conveniently enables travellers to pop over to the island to see Iceland's oldest stone building and the Imagine Peace Memorial before heading back to port on the mainland in time to watch the sun go down.
The Best Places to See the Sunset in Reykjavík
Of course, if you plan to stay for a few days, you could try several of our best places to see the sunset in Reykjavík. There's no need to limit yourself to one sunset during your stay. Why not start at the top of our list with Perlan and work your way down?
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