Midnight sun with birds

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Seltjarnarnes, 5km west of central Reykjavík, is a coastal area that feels a world away. The offshore island of Grótta boasts a red-and-white lighthouse and is a haven for birdwatching, with 106 visiting species. It is accessible at low tide, but is closed May to mid-July to protect nests. Get here along the pretty coastal path, popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists.

Waves rush in to the lava-strewn beach, the air has that salt-sea tang, fish-drying racks sit by the shore and Arctic terns scream overhead. There are also super views across the fjord to Mt Esja (909m).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Reykjavík attractions

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1.69 MILES

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3. Reykjavík Maritime Museum

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4. Whales of Iceland

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5. Landakotskirkja

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6. Old Harbour

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7. i8

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Displays works by some of the country’s top modern artists, many of whom show overseas as well.

8. Volcano House

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This modern theatre with a hands-on lava exhibit in the foyer screens a 55-minute pair of films in English (hourly) about the Vestmannaeyjar volcanoes and…