Harpa Concert Hall is without a doubt one of the most iconic landmarks in Reykjavik city. The architectural wonder attracts a significant number of locals and tourist every year. It’s located by the harbor on Austurbakki street, just a couple blocks from downtown. This is a one of a kind stop on your Reykjavik sightseeing adventure. Harpa Concert Hall opened in 2011 to the world; it was the result of an extensive collaboration between Danish and Icelandic architects. Harpa Concert Hall houses The Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera, but it also holds different events in the city. This building is considered an amalgamation of harmony between art, culture, and business in Iceland.
Harpa Concert Hall is an impressive construction of about 28,000 m² that was without a doubt inspired by Icelandic nature and essence. From the basalt rocks used to build the facade to a steel structure holding a glass shell that truly emulates the Northern Lights, you see influences of Icelandic nature everywhere. This is especially true for those starless skies which darken winter nights in town. This building is not only known to be an architectural masterpiece. It has also become a place where people can get together on a daily basis. Whether it’s to meet up for a cup of coffee or even to have a night out and enjoy a cozy dinner at one of its two restaurants. Harpa offers guests different stores such as gift shops, a bookstore, a tour information desk and some boutiques in the lobby area.
The Venue and Architecture
This building also offers rooms to hold conferences, business meetings, social events and so much more. You would be impressed by the number of people this venue can hold. Around 3,500 people can enjoy the benefits of this unique building. Imagine attending a concert, fashion show or business meeting, while viewing the ocean and the beautiful mountains. Some say that due to its strategic location between America and Europe, it has allowed Harpa Concert Hall to become one of the most important business destinations today.
Harpa Concert Hall will absolutely captivate your senses due to its unique glass design that reflects nature’s colors in daylight and at night. On special occasions, you will see striking light sequences on the glass panels. It has a dichroic glass LED technology that allows different colors and intensities which was specially developed for this building. Harpa has been awarded some of the most important prices such as the Mies van der Rohe. As recognition of its innovative architecture and for the contribution to society as the best public space in Reykjavik.
Harpa Concert Hall Tours and Events
If you wish to explore and learn more about Harpa and Icelandic culture, you should really take part in a guided tour. You will have the chance to visit some parts of the building that are not usually open to guests. Also, the guides will reveal some interesting facts about the construction of this building and maybe share some anecdotes along the way. For those into photography, this could be your opportunity to take some stunning shots from those tricky angles that only the guides would know. Tours take approximately 30 minutes, and the tickets are available at the Harpa‘s box office. They cost 1,500 ISK.
Remember that the resident artists of Harpa Concert Hall offer a great program that you can check out and enjoy during your visit. Let’s begin with one of the most remarkable ones. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra is one of the finest institutions in Iceland and often receives acclaim at diverse international events since its founding in 1950. It also performs weekly concerts at Harpa Concert Hall from September to June every year.
The Icelandic Opera, on the other hand, offers a bold and varied repertory which includes classics such as La Bohéme in 2012 or Carmen in 2013. It also featured the Icelandic work Ragnheiður in 2014. If you enjoy musicals, this is a must see due to its relevance as part of the island’s cultural scene. And last but not least we have “The Reykjavik Big Band“. It’s one of the most famous bands in Iceland and has been active since 1992. For those lovers of live music, this is your opportunity to experience the best jazz in Iceland. Modern, lively and intense beats will surely captivate your senses.
Other Shows at Harpa Concert Hall
There are also a few shows performing all year round at Harpa Concert Hall. “How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes” is an unusual comedy show. It teaches tourists about Icelandic traditions, but in an amusing and unusual way. This show was originally in Icelandic, but due to its huge success, they decided to have shows in English. If you’d like to learn about Icelandic culture but also want to have a good time, why not book a seat to see “Icelandic Sagas the Greatest Hits”? In the show, two local actors go over about 40 Icelandic sagas in a mix of comedy and history but in a very friendly setting. This is one of my favorite entertainment options by far, and it is a must for my fellow travelers. There are also a few recommended sites you could visit near Harpa Concert Hall. The Reykjavík Art Museum and Kolaportið flea market to start with. And of course, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsu for the best hot dogs in town.
Reykjavik Sightseeing: Harpa Concert Hall
Harpa Concert Hall is definitely more than just a building. It holds culture, magic and local identity within its walls and facades. I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit one of Reykjavik’s most precious jewels. The experience of visiting Harpa will be like no other. Visit Iceland today!