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Reykjavik

Country: Iceland
Population:122,141
Time Zone:UTC0
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Tjornin Pond
Whether it's frozen to perfection like a frosted mirror or dressed in the dazzling shades of summer, Tjörnin pond is enchanting in any season and one of Reykjavík's most photographed attractions.
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Harpa Concert & Conference Centre
Harpa is one of Reykjavik‘s greatest and distinguished landmarks. It is a cultural and social centre in the heart of the city and features stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean. Harpa is an enchanting destination for intrigued travellers and its grand-scale award-winning architecture has attracted 4 million guests since its opening, May 4, 2011.
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Videy Island
An island, where art, history and nature lie just beyond the city shore. The combination of stunning views, historical ruins and contemporary art pieces make Viðey island something special. Just a short boat-ride takes you to another world, to be explored in your own time. From nesting birds and panoramic views, to Yoko Ono's famous 'Imagine Peace Tower' and Richard Serra's 'Milestones', you'll discover an oasis of peace, beauty and history. Close to shore, but a world away.
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Hallgrimskirkja Church
Hallgrímskirkja church is Reykjavík's main landmark and its tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. It was designed by the late Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, who was often inspired in his endeavours by the fascinating shapes and forms created when lava cools into basalt rock. Construction of the church began in 1945 and ended in 1986, with the tower completed long before the rest of the building. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings completed in 1974 and the nave consecrated in 1986.
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Aurora Reykjavik
Come and see what the Northern Lights are all about at Iceland's first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center. We are a Northern Lights Center and Iceland's first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center. People can learn about, enjoy the beauty and facts about the Northern Lights. We use multimedia along with touch and play methods to explain it all. We are located downtown in Reykjavík, at the Old Harbour, next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Víkin Maritime Museum.
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The Sun Voyager
Reykjavík is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with water-front paths stretching around the entire peninsula. There are many beautiful places to stop and admire the scenery on these coastal paths, which are very popular with joggers and cyclists, however there is one well-photographed spot which has the added charm of being home to the striking Sun Voyager - a massive steel sculpture by Jón Gunnar Arnason which may resemble a Viking ship, but in fact, a dream boat and ode to the sun.
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Caves and Glacier
Due to its position on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Its unique geological conditions make for some awe-inspiring rock formations, both beneath the surface as well as above it. Various tube caves—formed by magma flowing underneath the earth's surface after lava has solidified overhead—can safely be explored through guided excursions year-round. For safety reasons, different caves are explored during different seasons. The most commonly visited caves are the Gjábakkahellir Cave near Þingvellir National Park in the summer months, and the Leiðarendi Cave in the Bláfjöll area in wintertime.
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National Museum of Iceland
Whether your visit to Iceland is for business or pleasure, making time for a trip to the National Museum will leave you fully enlightened about the making of the Icelandic nation and its history. The museum offers a variety of fascinating exhibitions and one permanent display illustrating lavishly the story of Iceland’s past, from the medieval days of Viking settlements to current contemporary culture. The main exhibition has over 2,000 artefacts discovered in various parts of the country. In pride of place amongst the museum’s many treasures is the Valthjófsstadur door, featuring elaborate medieval engravings depicting scenes from the legendary 12th century knight’s tale Le Chevalier au Lion.
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Iceland by Bicycle
Travelling around Iceland on two wheels is both challenging and rewarding. There is no better way to experience the beauty of Iceland than from the saddle of your bicycle. But the weather is unpredictable and the distances you'll need to cover can be long. Many bike enthusiasts come to Iceland to cycle the Ring Road, the well-known highway number 1, that runs around the country. Others choose more difficult paths into the highlands, such as the beautiful trail across Kjölur. Such paths are only suitable for experienced cyclists. If you intend to travel into the highlands, be prepared to face gravel roads, as most of the roads in the Icelandic highlands are not paved. You should not travel alone in the Icelandic interior. In some cases, you can expect unbridged rivers. Do not attempt to cross them without taking proper safety measures. Fully equipped bikes with shock absorbers are a good idea as well. Outside of urban areas, bike paths are uncommon, and cyclists will usually have to share the road with motor driven vehicles.
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Tales from Iceland
Tales from Iceland Video Museum introduce a numerous short but very informative cinematic features about a multitude of Icelandic topics. Iceland’s musicians, fisherman, landscape, history, recent events and many other topics all get their due share. We have created something unique that will enlighten and delight you, your family and your group. Each feature lasts 3 - 4 minutes and covers one topic. All features have matching show times, so you have about twenty seconds to walk to another cinema screen with another fascinating topic. There is no distinct order and you will spend about one and a half hour watching all the movies. The museum occupies two floors in a house called Austurbær which is located downtown Reykjavík.
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Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis, more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon created when particles emitted by the sun interact with the atmosphere in the Earth's magnetic field. This releases energy, causing peculiar luminous green streaks across the skies. On clear winter nights, sightseeing trips are organized around this spectacular—though fickle—natural phenomenon. The ideal location for sightings varies and excursion leaders are skilled in "hunting" the lights, finding locations where conditions are best for seeing them on any given night. There are no guarantees that you will see the Northern Lights during your stay, but in most cases, sightings are immediately improved outside populated areas, especially away from the light-pollution of the capital. A number of hotels in the countryside offer special Northern Lights wake-up service.
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Arbaer Open Air Museum
Reykjavik's open air museum, where you can stroll through the past and experience the way we lived. Fun, fascinating and full of surprises, this living museum takes you on a journey through time. Reykjavík's early history is preserved in a series of lovingly-restored homes, where you'll encounter costumed guides, grazing animals and traditional crafts. Exhibitions, demonstrations and tours reveal how Reykjavík came to life, from a few scattered farms to a vibrant capital city.
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Ice Climbing and Hiking on Glaciers
When making a trip to Iceland, it is hard not to pay special attention to the country's namesake—namely, its 4,500 square miles of glacier. Ice climbing on the glaciers is practiced year-round and takes place mainly on the Sólheimajökull and Svínafellsjökull glaciers in the south of Iceland, to which day trips are offered from Reykjavík (and Skaftafell). Hiking trips are also available onto the Snæfellsjökull glacier in the west and the Vatnajökull glacier in the east. Without exception, glacier walking or climbing should not be done without the accompaniment of a trained guide. Glacier walking tours can often be combined with other tours such as jeep safaris and boating on a glacier lagoon.
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Perlan Museum
Perlan Museum - Wonders of Iceland is one of the largest and most ambitious exhibition project in Reykjavík in recent years. The museum is situated in one of Reykjavík's most impressive buildings, Perlan, and will be a must-visit for any tourist - not only for the world-class museum, but also for its amazing panoramic views of Reykjavík, great architecture and excellent restaurant, café and gift shop.
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Sightseeing helicopter tours
Iceland's diverse landscape is at its most breathtaking when viewed from above, which makes aerial sightseeing tours by plane or helicopter an awe inspiring experiences. Many of Iceland's most beautiful locations are in remote areas, where the rugged terrain can be difficult to traverse. Flying allows you to reach hard-to-access places with limited effort, and gives you an opportunity to experience nature from a new perspective. And if you are in to skiing, there are pristine areas ripe for Heli skiing in many areas. Take your skiing to new heights by reaching untouched slopes via helicopter. This unforgettable experience is an epic adventure, combining powder skiing with an exhilarating air journey and incredible views.
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Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
In Southeast Iceland, you'll find a glacier lagoon filled with icebergs. This ice lagoon has become one of Iceland's most popular attractions due to its stunning beauty. The lagoon is called Jökulsárlón, or 'Glacier's-River-Lagoon'. Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's natural crown jewels, and we've even started calling the nearby black beach our Diamond Beach, as the ice chunks lying on it resemble diamonds glistening in the sun. Thousands of people are drawn to Jökulsárlón all year round. An incredible amount of photographs capture the lagoon's stunning beauty, and it has even become one of Iceland's most popular filming location!
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Kerid Volcanic Crater Lake
With distinctive red volcanic rock slopes, measuring 170 meters wide, 270 meters in circumference and 55 meters deep, Kerid crater lake is a 3,000 year old volcanic crater lake in South Iceland on the Golden Circle route. The actual lake itself is relatively shallow, between 7 and 14 metres, depending on rainfall and other factors, but as a result of minerals from the surrounding soil, the water is a unique and strikingly vivid aquamarine shade of blue. Take an easy hike around Kerid crater and enjoy the spectacular view! Although there are other crater lakes in the area, Kerið is famous for being one of the lakes with the most caldera still intact. A unique factor about this crater is that it is (only) about 3000 years old, so is about half as old as the geological features that surround it! There’s an easy hike around the rim of the crater, so you can get really close if you like! Alternatively, there is a ladder down to the lake.
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Thingvellir
In the last few decades, research has made it clear that Þingvellir is a natural wonder on a international scale, with the geologic history and the biosystem of Lake Þingvallavatn forming a unique entity, a magnificent showcase. Being able to witness the evolution and formation of new species in a place like Lake Þingvallavatn is of immense value. The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust.
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Geysir
A favorite stop along the Golden Circle is the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The newly opened Geysir Center offers exhibits and informative presentations year round. Geysir Hot Spring Area is one of the most popular tourist stop in Iceland. The geothermal field is believed to have a surface area of approximately 3 km². Most of the springs are aligned along a 100m wide strip of land running in the same direction as the tectonic lines in the area, from south to southwest. The strip is 500m long and culminates near what once was the seat of the lords of Haukadalur. The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although the geyser is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans and along with the geyser in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, Geyser is the most famous geyser in the world.
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Gullfoss Waterfall
A ride along the Golden Circle in the south of Iceland reveals the breathtaking Gullfoss Waterfall. There you traverse a narrow path that provides close-up views of the massive, two-tiered waterfall below. In winter the view is spectacular when the waterfall freezes over into undulating waves of glistening ice. On sunny days you are treated to thousands of rainbows, a natural reaction with the clouds of spray from the tumbling falls.Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Iceland and part of the Golden Circle. The waterfall is by many considered one of the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. You can find the waterfall in the upper part of the Hvita river. The water cascades down in two stages, one 11 m (36 ft) high, and the other 21 m (69 ft), into the 2,5 km (1.6 mi) long crevasse below. This crevasse was created at the end of the Ice Age by catastrophic flood waves and is lengthened by 25 cm (9.8 in) a year by the constant erosion from the water.If you visit Gullfoss during winter time, please be careful, since the narrow path can freeze over. We strongly recommend that you stay within the path.
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The Blue Lagoon Iceland
A visit to the Blue Lagoon Iceland geothermal spa is an important part of your stay in Iceland.Guests renew their relationship with nature, soak up the scenic beauty and enjoy breathing the clean, fresh air while relaxing in the warm geothermal seawater. It is no surprise that the readers of “Conde Nast Traveller” voted Blue Lagoon as the best spa worldwide and voted one of 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic. For ten consecutive years Blue Lagoon has been awarded the Blue Flag environmental recognition granted to natural beaches and marinas. The water’s temperature is 37-39°C / 98-102°F. The lagoon holds nine million liters of geothermal seawater. Regular sampling shows that “common” bacteria do not thrive in this ecosystem, thus additional cleansers such as chlorine are not needed.
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Svartifoss Waterfall
A short walk into Skaftafell National Park in South Iceland provides visitors with a breathtaking view of Svartifoss (Black Falls). Ice-cold meltwater from the Svinafellsjokull glacier feeds the famous Svartifoss waterfall. The waterfall tumbles down 20 metres (80ft) over a cliff which is bordered on both sides by tall black basalt columns, resembling pipes of a giant organ, which is where the waterfall gets its name. This wonder of natural architecture inspired the design for Iceland’s National Theatre and the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik. The hexagonal columns form inside a lava flow which then cools extremely slowly, giving rise to crystallization. Similar well-known lava formations are seen at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and on the island of Staffa in Scotland.
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Svartifoss Waterfall
A short walk into Skaftafell National Park in South Iceland provides visitors with a breathtaking view of Svartifoss (Black Falls). Ice-cold meltwater from the Svinafellsjokull glacier feeds the famous Svartifoss waterfall. The waterfall tumbles down 20 metres (80ft) over a cliff which is bordered on both sides by tall black basalt columns, resembling pipes of a giant organ, which is where the waterfall gets its name. This wonder of natural architecture inspired the design for Iceland’s National Theatre and the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik. The hexagonal columns form inside a lava flow which then cools extremely slowly, giving rise to crystallization. Similar well-known lava formations are seen at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and on the island of Staffa in Scotland.
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Myvatn Nature Baths
Enjoy a relaxing visit to Myvatn Nature Bath. Located in the heart of north-east Iceland about 105 kilometres (65 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, Lake Mývatn and its surroundings are one of Europe's greatest natural treasures. A designated nature reserve, Mývatn is an area of fragile beauty where tourist services have been developed in such a way as to cause as little disruption as possible to what is a unique and highly delicate ecosystem. Opened in June 2004 Mývatn Nature Baths is the latest addition to the region's many visitor attractions. Drawing on a centuries-old tradition, the tastefully designed complex offers bathers a completely natural experience that begins with a relaxing dip in clouds of steam rising up from a fissure deep in the earth's surface, and ends with a luxurious swim in a pool of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 2,500 metres. Containing a unique blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms, the warm soothing water of Myvatn Nature Bath benefit both skin and spirit alike.
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Hverir
At the foothills of this spectacular volcanic mountain is an expanse of hot springs called Hveraröndor Hverir that are known for their changing variety. You may also find a number of fumaroles, mud pools and mud pots that all seem to be boiling with relentless energy. The pass Námaskarð is strategically located at a short distance from the Krafla volcano system as well as other interesting geological spots like Búrfellshraun and the desert Mývatsöræfi. Námaskarð earns its notoriety chiefly because of its sulphurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Though you will scarcely find any pure water spring in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colorful minerals defies all comparisons. The gigantic size of the mud craters is what makes you go 'wow' at the sight of them. The other thing that is sure to strike you about Námaskarð is the sheer lack of vegetation. However, if you give a thought to the high temperature range, it does not appear an impossibility altogether. The constant emission of the fumes has made the ground utterly sterile and acidic, unfit to sustain any floras and faunas.
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Skriduklaustur
Skriðuklaustur is an ancient manor estate in Fljótsdalur. From 1493 - 1552 a monastery operated there. In the years 2002 - 2012 an extensive archaeological excavation took place on the cloister ruins which are now open to visitors. The writer Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889 - 1975) bought Skriðklaustur in 1939 and built a large house there designed by the German architect Fritz Höger. The writer moved to Reykjavík in 1948 and donated Skriðuklaustur to the Icelandic nation. In 2000 the institute of Gunnar Gunnarsson resumed operation in Skriðuklaustur as a centre of culture and history. In the summertime, Skriðuklaustur comes alive with various exhibitions, cultural happenings and guided tours for visitors around the writer's house and the archaeological site.
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Voek Baths
Plunge into Iceland’s purest hot spring water, bath in floating pools out on the lake. Vök Baths is a new destination opened in summer 2019 by lake Urriðavatn, just northwest from Egilsstaðir, in Eastern Iceland. It features the first floating pools in Iceland. Located in Eastern Iceland, still one of the most untouched places on the island, Vök Baths offer a new bathing experience and the perfect stop for travellers to rest and rejuvenate by the crystal clear waters of Urriðavatn lake along their journeys. The 75-degrees warm water streams from hot springs deep under the lake. Years ago, during the long arctic winters, the locals noticed that the lake ice always melted in the same place. The name, Vök, is the Icelandic word for these melted ice holes.
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East Iceland Heritage Museum
The East is the only part of Iceland where you will find wild reindeer. They contribute to the unique nature and are strongly connected to the region’s history and culture. The focus of the exhibition is on the reindeer's nature, characteristics and survival, as well as reindeer hunting and how reindeer products have been used in fashion design and handcraft. On display are items from the historical old rural community of East Iceland that lasted until the mid-20th century. Some items relate their practical roles in everyday life, while others bear witness to the fact that life was not only about basic survival but also about creating beautiful things for decoration and pleasure.
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Fardagafoss
Fardagafoss is a waterfall located just outside of Egilsstaðir on the route towards Seyðisfjörður town. It winds its way up the mountainside of Fjarðarheiði heath. The ascent from the parking area (located only 6 km from Egilsstaðir) to the waterfall takes about half an hour and on the way you will see another waterfall in a beautiful gorge and great views over the surrounding area. There used to be a cave behind the waterfall and legend said that if you entered the cave and made a wish it would come true. Now that the cave has collapsed it is well worth the try to just make a wish by the waterfall.
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Storurd
One of East Iceland's most illustrious spots is the Stórurð ("The Giant Boulders"). Stórurð lies below the small glacier west of Dyrfjöll mountains. It consists of gigantic tuff boulders, charming meadows and attractive ponds. This wonderful scene can be reached in 2.5 hours on foot from Vatnsskarð pass. To enjoy Dyrfjöll and Stórurð a whole day plan is highly recommended. Hikers start from the facilities cabin in Vatnsskarð to crossroads south of Mjóadalsvarp. Hikers are always advised to go by the staked trails. In Stórurð you will find the box with visitors’ logbook and stamp. Few other trails lead back from Stórurð. You can walk towards Vatnsskarðsvegur or you can go to Njarðvík. The best time of year to hike to Stórurð is from the middle of July to the middle of September.
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Beauly Priory Ruin
Located in the village of Beauly, the ruined church of a Valliscaulian priory, is one of three founded by the order in 1230. Part of the building was later rebuilt. It became a Cistercian home around 1510. The church was roofless in 1633, the stone is said to have been used by Cromwell to build a fort in Inverness in 1650.
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Wardlaw Mausoleum
Wardlaw Mausoleum is in Wardlaw Graveyard at the top of Wardlaw Road in Kirkhill, 8 miles west of Inverness. It was built in 1634 as the burial place for the Lovat Frasers on the end of the original parish church. The roof of the mausoleum was raised and a tower added in 1722 by the then Lord Lovat, the ‘Old Fox’ of the Jacobite Rebellion who was later buried in the crypt. It was used by the Lovats until the early 19th century. The building then fell into disrepair until the 1990’s when the Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust was formed to rescue it. This led to a restoration project with Historic Scotland and Lottery funding. The mausoleum is listed as Grade ‘A’ by Historic Scotland, the highest level of importance.
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Corrimony Chambered Cairn
Built some 4,000 years ago, Corrimony Cairn is a passage grave of the Clava type dating from the 3rd Millenium BC. Built by neolithic farmers, skilled in working stone, they were the first people to domesticate animals, till the land and clear the forests for farming, their society was cooperative.
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Hugh Miller Museum & Birthplace Cottage
Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. Discover the story of one of Scotland’s most important 19th-century figures in this fascinating interactive museum. A fossil hunter, folklorist, Christian, stonemason, geologist, newspaper editor and social justice campaigner, Hugh Miller left a huge legacy of knowledge in his works.
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Fortrose Cathedral
Immediately to the south east of Fortrose's narrow High Street is the surprisingly spacious Cathedral Square, home to the red stone remains of Fortrose Cathedral. The site was chosen for a new Cathedral of Ross by Bishop Robert to replace the Church of St Peter in nearby Rosemarkie. This followed permission granted in 1236 by Pope Gregory IX, reaffirmed in the 1250s by Pope Alexander IV. The cathedral was probably finished by 1300 as a fairly simple structure some 185ft long and 25ft wide. The 1400s saw additions made in the form of a south aisle and chapel, plus a tower.
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The Castle Gallery
The Castle Gallery was described by The Independent newspaper as “one of the best reasons to visit Inverness” Exhibitions of original contemporary fine and applied art include figurative, landscape and abstract work by artists from Scotland and throughout Britain. There are constantly changing exhibitions featuring contemporary paintings, sculpture, original hand-made prints, crafts and designer jewellery, working closely with artists to ensure the finest possible selection of works from both established artists and emerging talent.
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Eden Court Theatre
Eden Court Theatre is truly a superb venue, it offers all types of performing arts from opera to popular music, concerts, ballet, modern dance, drama and it has two film studios for cinema.
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Highland Aviation Museum
Exhibits from complete aircraft to nose sections, the Museum’s unique attraction is that visitors can climb in many of the cockpits. This is a rare experience, from the cramped cockpit of the Lightning, a jet-fighter capable of twice the speed of sound, to the spacious 54ft front section of Nimrod the submarine hunter
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The Highlanders Museum
The Highlanders' Museum is home to the largest number of military artefacts outside London. The Museum tells the story of the Highland Regiments from just after the Battle of Culloden up to the present day. The Museum is based within Fort George which is still a working military barracks and is currently home to 3 SCOTS. During the Summer months, the Museum offers guided tours to our visitors in order to maximize their experience. We also host a number of school and university trips at the Museum with a number of activities available including workshops, tours and Museum trails. Visitors can also enjoy a bit of dolphin spotting or bird watching from the ramparts of the Fort.
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Urquhart Castle
Discover more than 1,000 years of stirring history centred on the Great Glen. The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on the shore of Loch Ness, has seen some of the most dramatic chapters in our nation’s story
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The Tomatin Distillery
We are a 4 star visitor attraction: a Highland Distillery Visitor Centre with a range of tours and award winning whiskies available. We have a shop in which you can purchase Tomatin merchandise and various expressions of Tomatin, including filling your own bottle from one of our cask strength distillery exclusive whiskies.
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Cultoon Stone Circle
A Standing Stone above Finlaggan. This structure and other standing stones on Islay probably pre-date the medieval ruins on the Council Isle by around two or three thousand years. Someone on Islay raised a question about whether any of Islay's standing stone groups have solar alignments, as can be read in an article about the Winter Solstice. I know of several sites on Islay which have been linked to various astronomical events. These include the stone circle at Cultoon, the standing stones at Ballinaby and the standing stone at Finlaggan.
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Saligo Bay
Nine Kilometres south of Sanaigmore Bay is Islay's most beautiful bay, according to many, called Saligo Bay. The bay is accessible through a gate halfway between Machir and Ballinaby farm west of Loch Gorm. For access cross the dunes with numerous rabbits and descend to reach the breathtaking beach. Saligo Bay offers one of the most beautiful light conditions according to some photographers and is a favourite spot for people to watch and photograph an Atlantic Sunset. North of Saligo Bay is a distinctive rock formation, locally known as the "Sleeping Giant". Cross the gate and from here it is only a short walk over the dunes directly west towards the sea to get access to Saligo Bay. Here wonderful sunsets and stunning light awaits you or just a memorable beach walk. The light on this part of Islay is exceptional and by some considered to be the best in the whole of Scotland! This beach is not safe for swimming due to strong currents!
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Loch Gruinart
Loch Gruinart is perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of Islay offering stunning views combined with unique wildlife, rare birds and thousands of geese in the wintertime. From the parking close to the bird hide a track takes the visitor through some sheltered woodland offering nice views over the loch, good birding opportunities and viewing platform. RSPB Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve lies to the north-west of Islay and covers some 1600ha. It is a special kind of nature reserve because it includes a working farm - in fact, the biggest in-hand farming operation on a nature reserve anywhere in the UK, and possibly in Europe. There is something to see year-round at the reserve. Some say the most spectacular time to visit is in October when internationally important numbers of barnacle and white-fronted geese return from Greenland for the winter. At the same time, brent geese and whooper swans fly in from Iceland and stop for a day or two's rest before heading onwards to Ireland. This is also a good time to see birds of prey - hen harriers, sparrow-hawks, merlin, peregrine and golden eagles. Redwings strip bare the berries on the rowan trees, flocks of small birds feed in the autumn stubbles, and choughs pull apart cowpats for dung-beetle larvae.
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Bruichladdich Distillery
Bruichladdich is living proof that the traditional whisky regions of Scotland make no sense. Built in 1881 when puffer-supplied coal was available as an alternative fuel to local peat, it is likely that Bruichladdich was specifically designed to produce the purest unpeated spirit possible. The great Alfred Barnard supports this view with a tantalising clue – the Laddie is the only distillery on Islay that he does not describe as drying its malt using peat in his fascinating exploration of the island’s distilleries in 1885
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The Museum of Islay Life
The Islay Museums Trust was formed in 1976 by the Islay Historic Works Group and the Natural History and Antiquarian Society of Islay. A Management Committee was formed of Trustees resident on the island and other interested islanders. The Museum building, the former Free Church of Port Charlotte, was purchased for a nominal sum in the same year and work was started on converting what was a dilapidated ruin. The aims of the Museum: To hold in trust collections reflecting the history of the island of Islay, for the advancement of the education of the general public, and to maintain and enhance those collections. The Museum holds around 2,000 objects over a wide range of subject areas. The Museum has developed a policy for the display of the collection, allowing the rotation of existing items in and out of storage, as well as providing space for short term displays linked to a particular theme, for example, the shipwrecks, the wee museum of childhood and Islay House upstairs and downstairs.
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Bowmore Round Church
The Round Church stands in a magnificent location at the head of the village of Bowmore's Main Street. From here it dominates the village and offers views down the centre of Main Street to Loch Indaal and beyond. It has been described as Islay's best known building, and, give or take a few distilleries, that is very probably true. The Round Church is the commonly used name for what is formally know as Kilarrow Parish Church. It was built between 1767 and 1769 by Daniel Campbell of Shawfield and Islay, who at the time owned Islay in its entirety. The following year work began on a planned village which greatly expanded the existing settlement of Bowmore. Campbell's development of Bowmore was not driven solely by altruistic motives. The new settlement was intended to generate increased rental income, and to allow the clearance of the area's main settlement of Kilarrow, near Bridgend. This in turn was intended to remove development from the area around Campbell's hereditary home, Islay House, and allow its gardens and grounds to be extended. A cynic might suggest that the development of the church was intended to help gain the acceptance of those being moved from Kilarrow to new planned village at Bowmore.
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Leith Hall Garden and Estate
Your visit to Leith Hall will be by guided tour, giving a fascinating insight into the changing aspirations, needs and tastes of the Leith-Hay family over the centuries. The house itself is quirky and curious, reflected in the worldwide collections on show.
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Braemar Castle
A forbidding exterior conceals 12 authentic rooms charmingly furnished as though the family has just stepped out. Dig deeper and discover a turbulent past which echoes the story of Scotland over the past 400 years. Built in 1628 by the Earl of Mar as his Highland Hunting Lodge, set alight by the notorious Black Colonel in 1689, used as a garrison for Hanoverian soldiers after the rebel Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden and for the past 200 years, home to the Chiefs of Clan Farquharson. Now lovingly tended by the community of Braemar and gradually being restored to its full splendour.
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Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, having been first leased in 1848. The Castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture and is classified by Historic Scotland as a category A listed building.
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Claggain Bay
This is a very sheltered part of Islay's east coast. The road towards Claggain Bay is wonderful and offers a wide variety of landscapes, views and great distilleries to visit. Here 3 major distilleries offer tours and a dram and are not to be missed when visiting Islay. After you pass the distillery of Ardbeg the road becomes smaller and passes some sheltered bays on the right where lots of seals bask in the sun. I have counted as much as 27 seals one time. A little further down the road, one of the most interesting historical sites on Islay can be visited. Kildalton church and Cross. The Kildalton cross is well preserved and of great detail and is one of the few remaining in Scotland. Built in the Iona tradition with Pictish, Irish, Northumbrian and Celtic motives. The cross is 2.7 metres tall and can be dated back as far as 800AD. A few miles down the road the most beautiful bay on Islay reveals itself: Claggain Bay. An idyllic and totally unspoilt sandy beach with colourful pebbles waits to be discovered. Lovely birds seek shelter here and the views towards Kintyre are stunning. Claggain Bay is probably one of the most beautiful bays in the whole of Scotland, at least in my opinion. If you park the car on a sunny day without wind and just sit around and watch the views and enjoy the wildlife in this quiet and remote part of islay you never want to leave Islay.
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Craigievar Castle
A fairy tale castle with guided tours telling the history of the castle and the families who lived here.
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Gordon Highlanders Museum
The Gordon Highlanders Museum is a ‘5-star Visit Scotland’ Tourist Attraction based in the west end of Aberdeen. It is committed to preserving and sharing the legacy of the world-famous Gordon Highlanders Regiment for future generations to enjoy, providing a wide range of unique experiences for all visitors, young and old. 2019 saw the opening of a fantastic new WW1 replica Trench exhibition which gives visitors the opportunity to wander through and explore what it might have been like for the soldiers serving in the trenches of World War 1. Within the Museum they operate a Tea room, gift shop and have excellent conference and hospitality facilities as well as being able to offer beautiful memorial gardens to their visitors. The building is a grade 2 listed building and was the former home of Sir George Reid the eminent North East Artist and President of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art.
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Johnston Gardens
A city garden with streams, waterfalls, ponds, rockeries and rustic bridge that help to make this one of the most charming areas in the city. The garden is planted with rhododendrons, spring bulbs, heathers and alpines; the ponds are full of irises, aylesbury, mallard and muscovy ducks.