Many individuals often tend to play down Reykjavik utilizing it only as a jumping-off place for the popular Ring Road or Golden Circle. But Iceland’s resources city is worthy of at the very least a number of days to discover its lots of historic, social, and also energetic points to do. From road art to shallows and also the preference of the best hotdogs, there are a lot of points to do in Reykjavik. Plus, the town hall is so little that Reykjavik is incredibly walkable – making the most of just how much time you reach delight in tourist attractions.
Top points to do in Reykjavik
You can check out a UNESCO World Heritage Site, preference typical Icelandic food, or value Icelandic society at Reykjavik galleries. We did every one of this when we went to Reykjavik for the very first time. Reykjavik has sufficient to maintain you amused. This overview will certainly cover all the most effective points to do in Reykjavik.
1. Perlan Museum
For some factor, the Perlan Museum is not one of one of the most prominent points to do in Reykjavik. Don’t allowed 2023 be the year that you lose out also. This remarkable glass structure is an enormous dome and also rests hill in a park setup simply outside the town hall. The gallery is a nature Exploratorium. You can discover more regarding Icelandic nature and also scientific research with innovation and also interactive displays. Iceland has lots of one-of-a-kind all-natural tourist attractions and also sensations, so this is a leading tourist attraction for your checklist. Guests can delight in a monitoring deck, an interior ice cavern, and also a planetarium program.
When you’ve completed discovering, there’s additionally friendliness to kick back. The Perlan Museum is additionally residence to a rotating dining establishment and also elegant alcoholic drink bar. The advanced dome has every little thing- what’s not to like? Grab your entry ticket below!
2. Icelandic Phallological Museum
The Icelandic Phallological Museum is among one of the most strange points to do in Reykjavik. Yes, you check out the name appropriately. This is a whole gallery committed to ‘penises and penile parts’. The Phallological Museum is remarkably academic, though; the sampling originates from numerous Icelandic land and also sea animals, consisting of whales. The gallery is an organic exhibition and also attracts attention as a result of its one-of-a-kind emphasis.
Allow at the very least a hr or 2 to check out the Icelandic Phallological Museum. There more than 200 penises and also penile components on display screen, provided in glass columns, wall surface systems, and also little sampling containers. There’s also a legendary animals area as a little bit of additional enjoyable. Located in main Reykjavik, the Phallological Museum is among one of the most enjoyable points to do in Reykjavik. It is an excellent tourist attraction if you elegant some light-hearted amusement.
3. Flyover Iceland
Flyover Iceland is reasonably brand-new to the Reykjavik tourist attractions scene. The 4D experience is an amazing means to essentially fly over Iceland and also blends visitors away on a thirty-minute trip of Iceland’s most renowned tourist attractions. For those with minimal time in Iceland, Flyover Iceland is a wonderful means to experience tourist attractions that you can just access on extensive journey. The 4D experience consider all your detects, with wind, haze, fragrances, and also seat movement – with 3D visuals throughout. The round display is 20 meters, so you can get ready for supreme sights.
Located in Downtown Reykjavik, Flyover Iceland is incredibly simple to accessibility and also element right into your plan. And, if you desire an interior tourist attraction, an immersive, 4D ‘flight’ is a wonderful means to heat up. Grab Your ticket currently.
Shopping in Reykjavik is among one of the most enjoyable points for Icelandic site visitors to do, yet additionally incredibly sensible. Even the best-laid strategies can fail, and also the very same opts for loading cozy clothing. Picking up a convenient woolly layer is a fantastic point to do in Reykjavik, and also you’ll thank on your own later on. Icelandic woollen has 2 sorts of hair, providing it a soft internal layer and also a coarser waterproof external layer. Read much more: 5 Winter Layering Tips to Dress for Extreme Cold Weather
So, where can you locate the most effective stores? Downtown and also main Reykjavik is residence to much of the city’s major buying roads, where you’ll find woolen clothing stores galore. The Wool Shop, Icewear Magasin Austurstraeti, Thorvaldsen Bazar, and also the Nordic Store are the most effective stores to acquire woolly layers. Souvenir stores often tend to market smaller sized products like handwear covers and also hats also. Keep your eye out for additional shielding merino layers in addition to typical woollen also.
5. Catch an online job at the bookshop bar none
Rublan Bokakaffi could appear like a simple bookshop by day. Still, during the night it changes right into a surging real-time songs place. The bar changes from coffee-making to pint-pulling and also alcoholic drink blending. Guests align before shelfs along the mezzanine flooring to peer over the barriers at the executing band and also the reduced flooring ends up being a dancing flooring. Rublan Bokakaffi is the ideal area to experience Reykjavik’s eccentric night life. Where additionally could you vocalize ‘Sweet Caroline’ and also ‘Wonder Wall’ alongside duplicates of encyclopedias and also globe background publications?
If you prevent jump along the popular Laugavegur road, Dillon’s Whiskey Bar, Bravo, and also Rublan Bokakaffi are 3 amazing quits. We advise integrating a check out to Rublan Bokakaffi with these various other 2 bars for the very best experience of Icelandic night life.
6. Sky Lagoon
Sky Lagoon is among the most recent tourist attractions in Iceland, opening up at the beginning of 2022. Sky Lagoon is a ten-minute eliminate of the town hall, yet it is close sufficient that we are including it in this overview. The all-natural thermal bathrooms are warmed by below ground thermal springs. They include a remarkable infinity swimming pool forgeting the Atlantic Ocean 75 meters listed below. The Sky Lagoon is a lot closer to Reykjavik and also even more all-natural than the Blue Lagoon (we’ll reach that later on). The shallows is reduced right into seaside high cliffs, and also the water is clear aside from the heavy steam. You can acquire a beverage from bench and also invest hrs unwinding in the warmth.
Aside from the shallows itself, you can schedule on your own in for a seven-step medical spa routine. This includes time in the shallows, a dip in a cool treatment swimming pool, a sauna forgeting the sea, a cool haze experience, a cleaning scrub, a cozy heavy steam experience, and also a last shower. For those desiring a much more extensive experience, the seven-step routine transforms the Sky Lagoon right into a full-day tourist attraction.
Reaching the Sky Lagoon is a breeze if you drive, and also there’s a lot of car park onsite. If not, you can acquire a shuttle bus flight directly from Reykjavik town hall.
7. Go on a whale-watching trip
Going whale seeing is among the most effective wild pet experiences and also wildlife-related points to do in Reykjavik. Whale-seeing scenic tours can quickly be reserved from the old harbor. They variety from much more costly experiences on smaller sized RIB watercrafts and also even more affordable alternatives on bigger traveler watercrafts. Depending on the period, you can see humpback, blue, great sperm, and also minke whales. If you are fortunate, you could find whales also.
June to August are the most effective months for detecting whales in Iceland, yet March to June are fantastic for detecting whales, especially from Reykjavik. If you are going to outside the whale seeing period, at the very least check out the Whales of Iceland gallery. The gallery showcases the area’s whales making use of life-sized displays, interesting screens, and also interactive experiences. Reykjavik is among the globe’s ideal places for detecting cetaceans, so maximize your check out despite the period. This is a wonderful trip for Whale Watching.
8. Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is most likely an acquainted tourist attraction for you. The shallows is Iceland’s beloved and also draws in numerous visitors a year. The milklike white thermal waters are warmed by run-off from the close-by geothermal plant. They have actually come to be celebrated by attractive social networks photos. Like the Sky Lagoon, the Blue Lagoon isn’t precisely in Reykjavik. However, it is so close-by and also popular that we are including it in this overview. It is quickly included in your Reykjavik plan at simply 45 mins from the town hall by vehicle or shuttle.
Check out our complete overview on going to the Blue Lagoon that includes referrals, what to anticipate, and also ticket costs.
The shallows has lots of bridges, concealed seating locations, and also breathtaking perspectives. You can invest hrs checking out the shallows, particularly when it obtains unclear and also additional steamy on chilly days. You can experiment with various all-natural facemasks or get a beverage at the shallows bar when you aren’t checking out the shallows format. It is simple to see why the Blue Lagoon is so popular; simply image on your own taking in thermal waters with a face mask and also gewurztraminer.
9. Parliament House
Reykjavik may be best understood for its all-natural tourist attractions, yet it is additionally residence to a lot of political background. You can check out the residence of the Icelandic parliament throughout your remain, taking a 45-60 min led trip of the structure absolutely free. Guests find out about the background of Iceland, the parliament, and also the job and also feature of the federal government.
The Icelandic Parliament as soon as rested near Silfra, the crevice that notes the divide in between the European and also North American structural plates. However currently, the parliament beings in the facility of Reykjavik in a ‘modest’, possibly much warmer, 19th-century home. You can quickly reach it walking from Reykjavik town hall in mins. Plus, it is among one of the most affordable points to do in Reykjavik.
10. The National Gallery of Iceland
The National Gallery of Iceland is a soaring title, and also if you like art galleries, the Reykjavik National Gallery deserves an area on your order of business. The gallery displays art from Icelandic and also global musicians throughout the 19th and also 20th centuries. As well as beneficial irreversible collections, the gallery has momentary events that show topical art work and also motifs. It is a charitable dimension and also absolutely maintains you amused for a hr or even more.
The National Gallery remains in midtown Reykjavik, not much from Reykjavik City Hall and also the Parliament House. It is well fit to art fanatics and also even more basic site visitors simply interested regarding the gallery. And with such a main place, it is a fantastic interior tourist attraction for your plan.
11. Take a Downtown Reykjavik strolling trip
Reykjavik is an extremely walkable city, and also you don’t need to stroll it alone. In truth, led strolling scenic tours are amongst the most effective points to do in Reykjavik. Most strolling scenic tours last around 2 hrs and also take you around all the significant main and also midtown Reykjavik websites. The trip stops to offer details regarding each tourist attraction, Icelandic society, and also Reykjavik’s background. Prices are reduced, and also some led scenic tours are absolutely cost-free. Walking scenic tours are additionally a wonderful means to acquaint on your own with a brand-new city.
You will certainly probably come by Hallgrimskirkja, Rainbow Street, Reykjavik road art, and also the Sun Voyager sculpture. Each trip differs, so locate one that ideal matches you and also your passions. This is the strolling trip we advise.
12. Spot the Northern Lights
Who doesn’t intend to find the north lights? The lights are among one of the most well known natural marvels on the planet and also among one of the most in-demand points to do in Reykjavik. You could find the lights simply walking midtown Reykjavik night. Alternatively, you can download and install an application that informs you regarding aurora borealis forecasts for that evening. You can after that go out of the town hall to wait and also attempt to find the lights with much less light contamination. Grotta Island Lighthouse is among the most effective places outside the town hall if you intend to await the lights.
If you favor to place your experience in specialist hands, publication among the incredibly prominent north lights going after scenic tours that get started from Reykjavik town hall. These scenic tours blend you away on a cross-country chase, offering you warm delicious chocolate as you wait. Many of these scenic tours provide a complimentary 2nd trip if you fall short to see the lights on your very first trip.
13. Visit Harpa Concert Hall
Harpa Concert Hall is one more remarkable glass structure situated along the harbor front. It is the heart of symphonic music society in Reykjavik and also is residence to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic Opera, and also Reykjavik Big Band. You’ll locate a limitless timetable of shows, efficiencies, and also also the periodic songs celebration, so it deserves examining to see if anything passions you while going to. And also if there isn’t, Harpa Concert Hall is sensational to check out simply to appreciate the outside style.
Harpa Concert Hall is much less than a fifteen-minute stroll from the town hall and also lies close by the Phallological Museum and also Ingolfsgardur Lighthouse. It is among the most effective points to do in Reykjavik if you intend to schedule an occasion or appreciate the fascinating style.
14. Reykjavik Maritime Museum
Speaking of harborside tourist attractions, Reykjavik Maritime Museum is a wonderful Reykjavik tourist attraction to find out more regarding Iceland’s connection with the sea. The gallery itself is embeded in a previous fish manufacturing facility. It displays the regional angling market and also the background and also growth of angling in Iceland. As such a separated country with such aggressive problems, angling was an unsafe venture with high risks – basically feeding a country with a couple of endure people.
The Reykjavik Maritime Museum is among one of the most interesting maritime galleries on the planet, partially as a result of the old need of angling for Icelandic survival. Its displays are just as remarkable and also consist of a 900-ton coastline guard ship called Odinn.
15. National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum of Iceland is among the most effective historic points to do in Iceland. It displays artefacts from the Settlement Age to the 20th century making use of a variety of irreversible and also momentary events. You can see all kind of old items, from precious jewelry to old style and also art work. Guests are led with Icelandic background from the earliest outdated duration of people to the modern.
The gallery expenses around $17 to get in, yet the quantity of details and also top quality of displays validates the rate. It is a wonderful interior tourist attraction also – so maintain it in mind in instance the climate transforms specifically awful. The National Museum of Iceland lies in midtown Reykjavik and also is a simple stroll from the town hall.
16. Arbaer Open Air Museum
Arbaer Open Air Museum is one of the best things to do in Reykjavik to discover Icelandic history. The museum is most famed for its settlement exhibition, which includes old houses and farms. Some buildings feature traditional grass roofs and are beautiful examples of early Icelandic architecture. Guests are guided around the museum by guides in traditional costumes and can spot grazing animals along the way. Once, Reykjavik looked much like the settlement exhibition, so it feels like a step back in time.
The museum is on the city’s outskirts, a twelve-minute drive or twenty-minute bus ride from Reykjavik city center. It is near the urban waterfall Kermoafoss and a WWII Artillery Bunker which are well worth combining with a visit.
17. Sun Voyager
The Sun Voyager is a vast steel sculpture set along Saebraut overlooking the sea. The 1990-built artwork represents a boat and is a beautiful artistic ode to Reykjavik’s relationship with the sea and fishing. You’ll find it on plenty of postcards and will likely stop by the Sun Voyager sculpture on a guided walking tour.
The Sun Voyager is free to visit and is best combined with a walk along the Sculpture & Shore Walk. The coastal path overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and dramatic mountains on the other side of the bay. In the morning, it is busy with joggers and dog walkers and is a great place to embrace the urban Icelandic lifestyle. At just a twenty-minute walk from the city center, visiting the Sun Voyager is a quick and easy thing to do in Reykjavik.
18. Try an Icelandic hot dog
Icelandic food can be weird and wonderful, but hot dogs are definitely a familiar dish. Why are hot dogs so popular in Iceland, you might wonder. Well, primarily because of the massive sheep population in Iceland. Lamb hot dogs are excellent street food and have a much sweeter and richer taste. If you want the best hot dog in Reykjavik, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur – a hot dog stand that has been running since 1937.
Are you feeling inspired to try more Icelandic food? Then book a food tour or just let your taste buds guide you around Reykjavik’s most traditional cafes and restaurants. Reykjavik has plenty of options for those with luxury taste and is home to multiple Michelin-starred eateries.
19. Saga Museum
The Saga Museum is immersive history at its finest. Guests get to join in the action and dress in Viking clothes before embarking through realistic replica scenes depicting early Icelandic history. For families looking for an engaging way to learn about Icelandic history, the Saga Museum is an excellent choice. It is informative enough to suit fun-loving adults, which is a win-win.
The museum is located approximately a ten-minute walk from the city center. It is near the Bakkastigur street art, Aurora Reykjavik museum, Reykjavik Maritime Museum, Lava Show, Whales of Iceland, and Flyover Iceland.
20. Visit the Magic Ice Bar
The Magic Ice Bar is part bar, art gallery, and icy wonderland. It is a magical spot to enjoy a freezing cold cocktail and embrace the adventurous soul of Reykjavik. Guests head downstairs from a general souvenir shop to the bar’s reception. Here, you pay an entrance fee, receive a welcome drink voucher, and get dressed up in massive thermal ponchos – it is a sub-zero bar, after all.
The bar is one of the most fun and unusual things to do in Reykjavik. You’ll find ice art across its walls, dramatic ice sculptures that include a big Viking boat, and ice tables and benches. Even the glasses are made of ice. Collecting your bright blue welcome drink from the bar, you can admire the art around the bar with a cocktail in hand.
The Magic Ice Bar is straightforward to reach. It is located just off the famous Rainbow Street in central Reykjavik. It is wise to book in advance, but there is usually space for walk-ins.
Best day trips from Reykjavik
Now that we’ve covered all the best things to do in Reykjavik let’s look at the best day trips from Reykjavik. Being based in the city center is not only fantastic for attractions on your doorstep; Reykjavik is a brilliant place for day trips.
You can rent a car and drive to some of these destinations or book guided tours from Reykjavik city center – the choice is yours.
Complete the Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is considered the ultimate road trip in Iceland and is a feasible day trip from Reykjavik. The route is approximately 190 miles and takes around three hours to drive. You can rent a car and drive it or book an organized tour. The route includes Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal park, Kerid Crater, and Langgacier glacier. This tour leaves right from Reykjavik and is one of the most popular.
Go horseback riding on an Icelandic horse
Icelandic horses are exceptional. They are one of the only breeds in the world with five gaits and the ability to tölt, which to non-equestrians looks a lot like a speed walk. You can book a horseback riding trek in many scenic places in Iceland, including on black sand beaches and volcanic landscapes.
Snorkel between the tectonic plates at Silfra
Feeling brave? Book a day trip to snorkel between the tectonic plates at Silfra. It has some of the most transparent waters in the world and dramatic views of the crack between the plates. You don a thermal underlayer and a (slightly ridiculous) dry suit to survive the cold.
Relax at hot springs and lagoons
The Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon aren’t the only lagoons and hot springs to enjoy around Reykjavik. You can also take a day trip to places like Hvammsvik Hot Springs, Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal Baths, and Laugarvatn Fontana.
Drive the South Coast
The Golden Circle is a great day trip from Reykjavik, and the South Coast is a close runner-up. Again, you can drive the route with a hire car or take a full-day guided tour. You’ll pass Selfoss waterfall, the Caves of Hella, LAVA Centre, Skogar Museum, Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, Halsanefshellir Cave, and a black sand beach at Vik. Vik is a great place to end your trip, and Reykjavik to Vik is five hour return drive.
Visit the Imagine Peace Monument
The Imagine Peace Monument was created by Yoko Ono as a memorial to John Lennon. The monument is located on an island just off Reykjavik’s coast, and you’ll need to catch the Videy ferry to get there. It is an adventurous day trip from Iceland if you are interested in John Lennon and architecture and want to get off the beaten track. This is a great tour to take.
Best foods to try in Reykjavik
This section is dedicated to the best foods you can try in Reykjavik. What more enjoyable way to appreciate a culture than through its cuisine? From stews to hot dogs, these are all the dishes for your must-taste list. We recommend jumping on a Food Tour to get the most out of the Icelandic cuisine experience.
Plokkfiskur – Fish stew
Fish stew is one of those all-year-round dishes that become favorites in winter. This hearty dish is made with freshly caught fish, mashed potatoes, and onions. It is a staple dish in Icelandic households.
Pylsur – Icelandic hot dogs
Hot dogs are popular Icelandic street food and, as we mentioned earlier, are mostly made up of lamb. Occasionally, meat is mixed with pork and beef. It is served in a bap with your sauce of choice.
Svið – Sheep’s head
As you may have guessed, this dish is not for the faint-hearted. You’ll have to be an adventurous eater to manage this one. The sheep’s head is typically boiled or smoked and is served whole – usually at banquets and special occasions.
Skyr – Yoghurt
Skyr yogurt is an excellent option if you want a more entry-level option. Skyr is technically a soft cheese, but it has the exact taste and consistency of yogurt and is consumed as such. It is similar to Greek yogurt and often comes in flavored pots or is served with berries.
Got some burning practical questions? These are the top FAQs for visiting Reykjavik, providing you with the essential information.
How to get to Reykjavik Iceland
International visitors fly to Reykjavik and land at the primary international airport Keflavik Airport. You can then rent a car, book a slot on a shuttle bus (Flybus is the most popular), and reach Reykjavik city center in around one hour.
If you are already in Iceland, you can take a road trip to Reykjavik or catch a domestic flight to Reykjavik Airport. Fancy something more adventurous? Take the ferry to Iceland from Denmark, which stops over at the Faroe Islands on the way. This is ideal if you have more time and want to combine Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Denmark into one holiday.
Getting around Reykjavik
Getting around Reykjavik is a dream. Just pack a good pair of walking shoes – Reykjavik is a very walkable city. Even if you are heading to the opposite side of the city, you can rent bikes or jump on one of the straeto buses. The bus system is well-connected, and services are very regular.
Best time to visit Reykjavik Iceland
Generally, the best time to visit Reykjavik Iceland is September or March – both are off-season, have slightly warmer temperatures, and are great for spotting the northern lights. However, when you should visit Reykjavik massively depends on what you want to do.
Much like the rest of Iceland, Reykjavik operates in seasons – so do you want the humpback whale season, the northern lights season, or the hiking season? Hopefully, now that you’ve figured out the best things to do in Reykjavik, you should have your list of must-do attractions. Keep those in mind for this section.
June to August is when Reykjavik experiences the midnight sun. Temperatures are at their warmest, hiking trails are open, and road-tripping the country is at its easiest with excellent ice-free roads. You’ll spot the whales of Iceland during this time and can take riding tours on Icelandic horses. September and October are when Reykjavik starts to get a little colder and darker, and these shoulder months are good for spotting the northern lights.
November to February are Reykjavik’s coldest and darkest months, and you’ll experience 24 hours of total darkness during this period. These months are prime northern lights-watching periods. March to May is another shoulder season, and apart from the Easter holidays, it tends to be a bit quieter, and daylight hours return to being fairly typical.
Accommodations in Reykjavik Iceland
So, now that you are inspired and informed about your trip to Reykjavik, where should you stay? These are our top recommendations.
Budget: Eric the Red Guesthouse
Eric the Red Guesthouse is a brilliant budget-friendly accommodation choice located right in Reykjavik’s center. The property is family-run and friendly. You can choose between rooms with shared bathrooms or ensuites; each room has its own kettle and tea-making facilities. The property’s complimentary breakfast buffet is a great way to save money – especially considering Iceland’s expensive food prices. There’s also a communal terrace, perfect for watching the night sky for any signs of the northern lights.
Mid-range: Kvosin Downtown
Kvosin Downtown is a contemporary four-star hotel next to Tjornin Lake and Reykjavik City Hall. The hotel offers a range of apartments, each featuring kitchenettes, espresso machines, a tv, and a wine bar. The decor is comfortable but tasteful and has an upscale but homely appeal.
Sold? You should be. Kvosin Downtown is a luxurious place to stay on a mid-range budget. Plus, the kitchen facilities mean you save on eating out, which quickly adds up in Iceland.
Luxury: The Reykjavik EDITION
The Reykjavik EDITION is a beautiful, luxurious place to stay in Reykjavik. The property is on the harbor front in central Reykjavik. Select rooms and suites feature views over the Atlantic Ocean. The range of rooms and suites caters to most tastes, whether you want floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean or a terrace to privately watch out for the northern lights.
The Reykjavik EDITION’s interior is dotted with flashy artwork and faux fur rugs. The hotel facilities include a 24-hour gym, spa with hot tubs, onsite bakery and cafe, restaurant, and two bars. It is an ideal luxury base to explore Iceland’s capital city.
Reykjavik is a brilliant place to visit and has thousands of things to do in and around the city center. You are guaranteed a packed itinerary, from the northern lights to fascinating Icelandic history, whale-watching tours, and endless foods to try. And, if by some miracle you find an extra day, there are plenty of brilliant day trip destinations accessible by rental car or shuttle. The capital city is an exciting city break, and we hope you have a wonderful time.
For more inspiration, you can check out this photo essay on experiencing fire and ice in Iceland and our guides on the best places to visit and things to do in Iceland.