7 romantic spots for a date in Reykjavík

By Mosha Lundström Halbert

Whether you're looking to break the ice or marking an anniversary in style, here's where to go

Forget Paris for a moment, and all its relentless 'City of Love' tourist traps — Reykjavik, with its mysterious and mischievous undertones, might just be the 'City of True Romance', albeit with a decidedly Scandi spin. Indeed, with its dimly-lit downtown boites full of beautiful people, moving cultural institutions and easy access to surrounding natural wonders, it’s not difficult to find a suitable spot to set the scene for a scintillating affair.


From a spontaneous swipe-right first date, to a repeat rendezvous, or even a bucket-list anniversary trip, here are some immersive and rather seductive spots to help sparks fly. We can’t promise a perfect match, but we do promise you’ll enjoy yourself.

Sip and nibble at Uppi wine bar

Looking to slip away somewhere discreet for date night? Saunter into this speakeasy. Uppi is a newish lounge and wine bar concept comes courtesy of the team behind the critically-acclaimed Fiskmarkadurinn restaurant. And once the clock strikes 4pm, this hidden gem begins serving up the city’s most delectable charcuterie – a great sharing option. Luxuriate over slices of ribeye with a glass of full-bodied vintage red or Icelandic salmon sashimi with a mineral-rich white pairing. If private quarters and a well-curated wine list are a must then this is the spot for you.

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Swoon over the singers at Harpa Concert Hall

From Björk to Sigur Rós, when some of Iceland’s most world renowned musical talents perform locally, it will most likely be at this Olafur Eliasson-designed triumph of Nordic arts. Get dressed up in something bodycon and perhaps slick your hair back securely – the dramatic entrance to Harpa is known as one of the windiest in town – to meet your date for pre-concert dinner or drinks at Hnoss restaurant on the first floor. Between the elegant food, the glittering surrounds and the moving, epic performances on display, you’ll be swept away by the grandeur of it all.

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Explore the sculptures of Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden & Museum

Enjoy the mythical mid-century works of Iceland’s most prolific sculptor in this imposing and eclectic setting, which opened in 1923. With both indoor exhibits and al fresco pieces in the gated garden (which is free to enter and open year round), the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden & Museum is a lovely way to lose yourselves in the arts for the afternoon while taking in his impressive oeuvre. And maybe share a memorable first kiss by one of the celebrated bronze casts.

Listasafn Einars Jónssonar, Hallgrímstorgi 3

Play games with each other at Kellir Golf Club

Are quirky outings more your thing? Don your best preppy attire and sneak away to the outskirts of town to Keilir Golf Course in Hafnarfjörður. Built in and around an abandoned zoo, the front nine is carved out of a lava field, while the back nine is placed on a small peninsula at the entrance into the harbour, with swoon-worthy views of the Snaefellsjokull glacier and the Alftanes peninsula. After a round, put your clubs away and stay awhile for apres-golf cocktails.

Steinholt 1 220, Hafnarfjordur

Watch an indie flick at Bió Paradis

There is something utterly charming and full-proof about the tradition of movie date nights. But instead of a loud blockbuster and bad candy at the mall, why not catch a flick at Bíó Paradís, Iceland’s first and only art-house cinema? Functioning as a nonprofit organisation run by the country’s filmmaking guild, this downtown institution appeals to cinephiles and novices alike with its thoughtful assortment of crowd pleasers from both Icelandic and international auteurs, complete with English subtitles. Get tickets for their beloved Friday Night Party screenings and arrive early (or stay late) to linger at their well-stocked bar area, decked out with memorable movie posters. And you can have some pinot noir with your popcorn — drinks are allowed inside screening rooms too.

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Bíó Paradís, Iceland’s first and only art-house cinema

Bíó Paradís, Iceland’s first and only art-house cinema. Photo: Bíó Paradís

Devour a fiery feast at Sumac Bar & Grill

If you’re craving good lighting, a cool crowd that often includes celebs and a delicious dinner, look no further than this popular and damn near perfect downtown restaurant. Allow Chef and owner Thráinn Freyr Vigfússon and Chef Tómas Jóhannssont to whip you up Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-infused Icelandic fare such as a grilled lamb and pistachio “baklava” that have won the approval of even Gordon Ramsay (a regular), and the Michelin guide. If you’re looking for a short and sweet encounter, grab a seat by the bar, order a Reyka mule, and try the meze menu, prepared right in front of you in the adjacent open kitchen. You’ll both be enraptured by the culinary tour de force on offer at Sumac.

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Enjoy the view from the top at Petersen Svítan

Come rain, shine, or even blizzard, this spacious rooftop lounge is the place to enjoy retro cocktails such as Sidecars and Gimlets under the midnight sun. Make a date of it on Thursday night, when the DJ sets are at their grooviest and the dress code is decidedly Scandi glam. The terrific city and sea views, not to mention lively people watching, will certainly help fuel conversation. As will the lore: the bar sits atop Gamla Bíó, Iceland’s first cinema, and this was once the proprietor’s personal penthouse suite, with the indoor section restored to 1920s-era gilded splendor.

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Petersen Svítan offers terrific city and sea views

Petersen Svítan offers terrific city and sea views.