Walk with a Viking – Reykjavik city walking tour

After a 2-day delay in leaving East Greenland due to a broken helicopter, I managed to arrive into Reykjavik in time to team up with Your Friend in Reykjavik for another of their city walking tours.

Last year, I had a great time on both the Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour and the Icelandic Mythical Walk, so I was keen to join in again – this time taking a Walk with a Viking.

Foodie Tour (top) and Mythical Walking Tour (bottom) from Your Friend in Reykjavik
I enjoyed the Food Lovers Tour (top) and Icelandic Mythical Walk (bottom) with Your Friend in Reykjavik last year

It turned out that Stefan (from the Mythical walk last year) was our Viking, and I was happily reunited with him at Ingolfstorg Square to began our exploration of the history of Reykjavik and Iceland in general.

Walking with a Viking in Ingolfstorg Square, Reykjavik
Stefan telling us the origin of the name “Reykjavik” at Ingolfstorg Square

Stefan has a great way of diving into historical stories, with loads of interesting information and anecdotes. For example, did you know that Iceland has the oldest running parliament in the world? Can you guess which year the first Alþingi (Icelandic parliament) was established (no, not the date on the current parliament building)?

Outside the Alþingi - Icelandic Parliament - on the Walk with a Viking Tour with Your Friend in Reykjavik
The Alþingi – site for the “Pots and Pans” revolution in Iceland

Do you know what the people were upset about during the “Pots and Pans” Revolution” of 2009? The protests in front of the Alþingi were the largest ever held in Iceland.

Do you know who invaded Iceland during WWII? It’s probably not who you think!

Our viking - Stefan - in storytelling mode - Reykjavik, Iceland
Stefan in storytelling mode

Who is this dude? Why does he have a statue? And what is so special about the tree in the background?

statue of Skúli Magnússon in Reykjavik, Iceland

I’m not going to tell you 😀 But I really encourage you to do the tour while you are in Reykjavik to find out!

Stefan also talked quite a bit about the architecture of Iceland, from the prolific use of the basalt column motif in iconic buildings such as the Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrímskirkja

Basaltic columnar jointing motif at Harpa concert centre and Hallgrímskirkja - Reykjavik, Iceland
Basaltic columnar jointing is a common geological feature in Iceland and its motif is very prevalent in the design of the Harpa Concert Hall and also Hallgrímskirkja (at the far end of the street, bottom right)

to why the exterior walls of many buildings are covered in corrugated iron.

School in Reykjavik
The school Stefan attended is sheeted in corrugated iron – very common in Iceland

He also touched on the mythology of Iceland as we re-visited the Elf Rock I was introduced to last year (though obviously you’d want to do the Icelandic Mythical Walk if this was your particular interest)

An Elf Rock

and strolled past several other points of significance in the downtown Reykjavik area – with Stefan keeping the stories and anecdotes coming all the while.

Various sites along the Walk with a Viking Tour with Your Friend in Reykjavik, Iceland

Recommendation

The Walk with a Viking tour from Your Friend in Reykjavik is a great way to kick off your trip to Iceland and learn a little about the history of this fascinating island and its capital city. It is also a great way to pick up tips on where to eat and hang out, and ask questions of a local about anything at all to do with Iceland and Icelandic culture.

Cost: 5,000ISK (~USD$40)

Time: ~2 hours

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