Reykjavík’s old harbor, built between 1913 and 1917, has seen quite the transformation in recent years, morphing from a mainly functional area dominated by ships and their fishermen to a lively, modern tourism area that’s almost a new city district of its own. The sparkling, award-winning Harpa concert hall and conference center has dominated the area since it opened in 2011, and several restaurants and cafés, along with offices, now line the harbor promenade, interspersed with the occasional cultural spot such as the fascinating Reykjavík Maritime Museum. The boats, trawlers, and whaling ships are still there, of course, and remain a big part of the atmosphere, but they’re today joined by a number of tourist boats offering whale-watching and puffin tours.
Tall ships are often stationed in Reykjavik Harbor, although this one was quite a sight. The Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a square-rigged sailing ship, was docked there on a summer afternoon when I watched a shipman climbed across the bow's rigging to adjust its flag.