Just a short 5 minute trip from the harbor in Reykjavik, Viðey Island is a tiny little paradise, an oasis of quiet and calm. Everything in Iceland is quiet but Viðey is especially so: you can hear the bumblebees buzzing past your ears, the rustle of the wilflowers in the breeze, your thoughts become magnified and clear.
Aren't Icelandic horses beautiful? I could look at them all day.
There are two art installations on the island. One, by Richard Serra, is a series of basalt columns called Milestones, arranged strategically around the island. Serra’s pillars are intended to frame certain views of Viðey and Reykjavík in the distance. They invite visitors to venture and peer between the pillars like frames, with the island itself as the art. The other, Imagine Peace, by Yoko Ono is a column of light that is only visible later in the year, when it's dark enough to appreciate it.
If the island looks deserted, it felt like that too. Not in a creepy, we-are-alone-in-this-world way but in a magical, this-is-our-own-slice-of-perfect way. There are trails througout and, since most people still to the more traveled paths, we had some whole parts of the place to ourselves. From trails, you can climb down to any of the little beaches, where we found sea urchin shells, cod skeletons and millions of perfectly polished black lava rocks.
There is one ferry that just sort of pops back and forth from Reykjavik all day. Our return trip was pretty crowded so we were left behind for a few minutes on the docks. The water was this magnificent aquamarine, translucent enough to see seaweed and jellfish hovering right below the surface.
If you are planning to visit (and you should!):
-Check out the Viðey Island website for ferry times. I suggest taking the ferry from the old harbor, both for better views and a more convenient pick-up/drop-off.
-Bring snacks and water! There is a restaurant on the island but it's quite pricey.
-Be adventurous! Like most things in Iceland, you can feel free to proceed around the island at your own risk. You can dake a quick walk or an all-day hike as we did. You can also rent a bike or take a horse ride!