Destinations Europe

Street Art And Architecture In Reykjavik Iceland

Street Art Reykjavik

On our recent trip to Iceland, we stayed in the capital city Reykjavik for a few days and were amazed at the wonderful street art and unique architecture.

In the past, street art was a more chaotic affair in the city but since a crackdown and a potential fine most street art are now created with the permission of the home or building owners. Sometimes it is also commissioned by a festival or organisation. Once such project is Wall Poetry, 10 musicians and 10 street artists working together on song interpretations on the buildings around the city.

Reykjavik Street Art 1

Reykjavik Street Art 2

Reykjavik Street Art 4

Reykjavik Street Art 3

As well as the amazing street art, Reykjavik has other artistic points of interest too such as the beautiful Hallgrímskirkja church, the Sea Voyager statue, the Harpa concert hall and the statue of the unknown official.

HALLGRIMSKIRKJ

Hallgrimskirkj, the largest church in Iceland

Hallgrímskirkj is the largest church in Iceland and is the main landmark as it’s elevated position can be seen from most places in the city. It was designed by Guðjón Samuel in 1937, and his inspiration was the shapes of lava when it cools in basalt rock. You can go to the top of the church and see the fantastic view over the city too.

The Harpa

The Harpa concert hall

Harpa the concert hall on the marina is a beautiful building inside and out. Its award-winning architecture by Olafur Eliasson, as well as the amazing concerts held there, have attracted more than 4 million people since it’s opening in 2011.

Harpa Window

The view from the Harpa

The building features a distinctive coloured glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland. It also has two restaurants and a cool cocktail bar on the top floor with a great view of the marina.

Sun Voyager - Solfar

The Sun Voyager – Solfar

A short walk from Harpa is the statue of the Sun Voyager – called Solfar. This steel sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason is thought to resemble a Viking ship, but is, in fact, is a dream boat and ode to the sun. A few minutes walk from Harpa along the seafront, take a stroll here to admire this work of art. The artist’s intention was to give the city something to inspire dreams and hopes.

Statue of the unknown official

Statue of the unknown official

The statue of the unknown official or unknown bureaucrat, by Magnus Tomasson situated near the city hall and Tjörnin pond is a humorous take on the monotony of the faceless working bureaucrat. It is positioned there as it is thought many city officials and council people would pass it on their way to work.

There are many more sculptures dotted around the city as well as the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden that we didn’t have a chance to go in. Reykjavik does modern art particularly well and some of the noteworthy modern art galleries include the 18 gallery for modern art, the Týsgallerí gallery and the Reykjavik art museum which has three venues in the city. If you are a lover of art and architecture Reykjavik is a must visit on your trip to Iceland.

Have you ever been to Iceland? Are you a lover of art and architecture like us?

Street Art and Architecture in Reykjavik, Iceland

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  • Punita Malhotra
    April 15, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Very unusual statue of the unknown official. and fascinating street art. One more striking than the other.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 15, 2017 at 7:25 am

      We stumbled across the statue, there is surprising amount of artwork around the small city.

  • Aarti
    April 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Excellently captured pictures! … Might take a tip or 2 from this post for my upcoming reykjavik travel in October.. :)…

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 15, 2017 at 9:32 am

      I’m sure you’ll love it. Make sure you book certain things like the Blue Lagoon as they get sold out for weeks in advance.

  • Iza Abao
    April 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    These are amazing street/urban art. I am impressed with artists who created them. The art is also suitable to the building or surface. The glass of the Harpa hall looks like a disco ball. It is amazing!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

      The Harpa is an amazing building, the stairs inside reminded a bit of a M. C. Escher picture.

  • Mimi & Mitch
    April 15, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    The sun voyager is pretty epic! Love it! We really can’t wait to visit Iceland, it seem to be a very visited spot for the past 2 years and wow that Hallgrimskirkj church is beautiful!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 16, 2017 at 8:29 am

      The design of the church is really similar to the volcanic basalt rock stack formations you can find around Iceland.

  • Mike - The Brew Diaries
    April 16, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Awesome art work and architecture! I like Hallgrimskirkj (largest church in Iceland) in particular. The design is so unique. Do you happen to have photos inside the church?

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

      The church is quite impressive, the inside of the church is quite simple compared to the outside

  • Rhonda Albom
    April 16, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I am a huge fan of street art and I thought it was going to be the street art that I would love the most on this post, but the architecture is incredible. That church is so beautiful, and the city artwork, wow.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 16, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Our favourite building was the Harpa on the harbourside. It was a great design and open all day, great views from the bar too.

  • Gokul Raj
    April 16, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Beautiful murals all over the place. Wow…that church though. Such a badass architecture.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 16, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      It is an impressive design.

  • Vicki Louise
    April 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve read so many posts about Iceland, but I had no idea about the street art scene until this one! Thank you for sharing a different side of Reykjavik and some of the incredible artwork that is there.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 16, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      There are little pieces of art all over the city, we weren’t really aware of it until our visit,

  • Reshma
    April 18, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    I had read a lot about Reykjavik but never knew that this city is a place for street art. I just love street art and another reason for me to add to visit Iceland! Loved their idea behind that statue. And the church is marvellous!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 19, 2017 at 9:51 am

      The church was impressive but our favourite was the Harpa concert hall.

  • Megan Jerrard
    April 19, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Totally agree that Reykjavik does modern art particularly well – we enjoyed spending a whole day dedicated to wandering the streets without a map, getting lost among the side streets and alleys, stumbling across street art, colorful buildings and quirky architecture and sculptures. Was a really fun day exploring!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 19, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Glad we had time to wander the streets too. We are going back in the summer.