On fine-weather days, the tiny uninhabited island of Viðey makes a wonderful day trip. Just 1km north of Reykjavík’s Sundahöfn Harbour, it feels a world away. Well-preserved historic buildings, surprising modern art, an abandoned village and great birdwatching add to its remote spell. The only sounds are the wind, the waves and the golden bumblebees buzzing among the tufted vetch and hawkweed.
Little Viðey was settled around 900 and was farmed until the 1950s. It was home to a powerful monastery from 1225, but in 1539 it was wiped out by Danish soldiers during the Reformation. In the 18th and 19th century several significant Icelandic leaders lived here.