The Best 10k Running Routes in Central Reykjavik

It's just fantastic to get to know places by running. Here are my favourite 10k running routes in central Reykjavik, in case you're bringing your running shoes to Iceland.

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Nína Þorkelsdóttir

28. June 2017

When I first moved to the city centre, I was worried that it was going to be difficult to find decent running routes. After I had settled down, I quickly found out that my doubts about running in downtown Reykjavik were just mere bigotry. 

I decided to share with you four of my favourite 10k running routes. If you think 10k is a little bit too much, check out my article about the best 5k running routes in downtown Reykjavik. 

1. Hallgrímskirkja – Harpa – Öskjuhlíð

A map showing an idea of a 10k running route in Reykjavik.

This is the route I usually run when I'm doing 10k. The best thing about it is that you will see some top attractions en route and you get to run by both the north shore and the south shore of Reykjavik.

This route can easily be adjusted for shorter or longer runs. If you want to challenge yourself a little bit more, you can run up Öskjuhlíð hill all the way to Perlan (the strange glass-dome building on top of the hill) and then run down on the other side. This will add at least one kilometer to your route and a rather strenuous run uphill. 

Attractions you'll see en route:

  • The Sun Voyager (Sólfarið) which is a famous sculpture by the ocean. 
  • Harpa Concert Hall
  • The Pond (Tjörnin) which is a lake in downtown Reykjavik. 
  • Bessastaðir (The President's Residency). You'll see it from afar when you're running along the south shore. 
  • Nauthólsvík Beach (a geothermally heated beach on the south shore). 
  • Öskjuhlið hill (a forested hill where you might spot some rabbits).

The Sun Voyager Sculpture in Reykjavik. The Sun Voyager. Wonderguide/iStock. 

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik. Harpa Concert Hall. Wonderguide/iStock. 

2. Hallgrímskirkja – Öskjuhlíð – Fossvogur

A map showing an idea of a 10k running route in Reykjavik.

This is a back-and-forth route, starting at Hallgrímskirkja Church. You'll run through the forests of Öskjuhlíð hill, along Fossvogur Bay, over a bridge that crosses a large street. Run a bit further into the Fossvogur area and then turn around.

I like to run this route when it's windy, because the Fossvogur area is usually quite calm. If you hate running back and forth, you might prefer the first route on the list but I nevertheless recommend that you give this one a try. You'll be running through trees and forested areas for the most of the time and the pedestrian/cycling path, that stretches from Öskjuhlíð hill to Fossvogur, is ideal for runners. No annoying traffic lights during that stretch!

There aren't a lot of attractions you can see on the way but the bay is nice and so is the forest in Öskjuhlíð. 

Attractions you'll see en route:

  • Öskjuhlíð hill. 

Perlan in Oskjuhlid and steam rising from a nearby geyser. Perlan, seen from Öskjuhlíð hill. You won't see it that close though. Wonderguide/iStock. 

3. Hallgrímskirkja – Harpa – The Old Harbour 

A map showing an idea of a 10k running route in Reykjavik.

You'll get to see loads of attractions during this route. Since most of it is a back-and-forth route, you'll get to see these attractions twice! 

First you run from Hallgrímskirkja, down Snorrabraut street and all the way to Sæbraut street down by the sea. Run past the Sun Voyager and Harpa Concert Hall and then continue towards the Old Harbour (run by the oceanside, not along the streets). 

After you've reached the tip of the spit (called Örfirisey), you turn around and run back to Hallgrímskirkja Church. I recommend running late in the evening during the summer for splendid views of the midnight sun. 

Attractions you'll see en route:

  • The Sun Voyager
  • Harpa Concert Hall
  • The Old Harbour

Ships at the old harbour of Reykjavik. Beautiful colours by the Old Harbour. Wonderguide/iStock. 

4. Hallgrímskirkja – Sæbraut – Laugardalur

A map showing an idea of a 10k running route in Reykjavik.

This is a great running route for those who want to explore the eastern part of Reykjavik. The highlight of the route is running through Laugardalur, which is a green recreational area, and the Grasagarður Botanical Garden

There is a very nice path along the seaside but there's a large street beside it so the car traffic can be noisy at times. That inconvenience can be avoided by listening to music while you are running.  

When you turn into Laugardalur, you'll have to run on regular sidewalks through a residential area. Go past the Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool, pass the Laugardalur Campsite and then thread your way through the green areas. 

The second half of the route isn't very fun but the running path is quite good. You finish your run by sprinting over Miklatún Field, where you can see some people playing frisbee-golf and catch a glimpse of some beautiful sculptures. 

Attractions you'll see en route:

Videy Island and Mt. Esja covered in snow. A beautiful view over Videy Island and Mt. Esja. Wonderguide/iStock. 

The old Thvottalaugar in Laugardalur. Þvottalaugarnar in Laugardalur. Flickr/Börkur Sigurbjörnsson.