Are you planning a trip to the land of fire and ice? If so, you simply can’t miss out on the vibrant city of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Here are some of the most fun, scenic, and unique things to do in Reykjavik. This city, brimming with Nordic charm, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and a lively cultural scene that will captivate any traveler.
Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, is a gateway to Iceland’s volcanic landscapes, geysers, and hot springs. It’s a destination in its own right. From its colorful houses that line the streets, to the stunning views from the Hallgrímskirkja church, and the warm, inviting waters of the Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik is a city that offers a wide variety of things to do that will leave you spellbound.
But what truly sets Reykjavik apart is its people. The Icelanders, with their warm hospitality, fascinating sagas, and intriguing traditions, make the city even more appealing.
With so much to see and do, and the plentiful activities nearby, Reykjavik is a place every traveler ought to explore. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Reykjavik.
Ready to explore all the coolest things to do in Reykjavik? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this Nordic vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Reykjavik places to visit.
Are you looking for iconic landmarks? Or would you prefer to explore the city’s hidden gems? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Reykjavik can satisfy your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Reykjavik that you should know about.
This is one of the best things to do in Reykjavik, hands down. Standing tall in the heart of Reykjavik, the Hallgrímskirkja church is an architectural marvel that you simply can’t miss. This Lutheran church, the largest in Iceland, is a testament to the country’s unique blend of tradition and modernity. Its design, inspired by the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape, is a sight to behold.
Inside, you’ll find an equally impressive sight: a massive pipe organ that stands at an astounding 15 meters tall. But the real treat awaits you at the top of the church. A swift elevator ride will take you up to the observation deck, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Reykjavik’s colorful rooftops, the surrounding mountains, and the sparkling waters of the bay. It’s one of the coolest activities in Reykjavik.
A visit to the Hallgrímskirkja is a must when in Reykjavik. It’s a symbol of the city, a beacon that can be seen from miles around, and a place that offers a unique perspective on this enchanting Nordic capital. With so much charm and personality, Hallgrimskirkja is one of the top places to visit in Reykjavik.
Looking to visit one of the best places in Reykjavik? The Old Harbour area should be high on your list. This vibrant district, once a bustling industrial area, has been transformed into one of the city’s most popular spots.
The Old Harbour is a hub of activity, with something for everyone. For the foodies, there’s a fantastic selection of restaurants and cafes, serving everything from traditional Icelandic dishes to international cuisine. For the shoppers, there are numerous boutiques offering Icelandic design items, handmade crafts, and unique souvenirs.
But the Old Harbour is the departure point for various sea adventures. From here, you can embark on a whale watching tour, go puffin spotting, or even take a boat trip to the nearby islands. These are some of the coolest Reykjavik things to do.
In essence, the Old Harbour is more than just a district; it’s a microcosm of what Reykjavik has to offer. It’s a place where you can eat, shop, explore, and immerse yourself in the local culture, making a visit to it one of the top things to do in Reykjavik that you won’t soon forget.
Those interested in delving into the country’s rich history will love this top thing to do in Reykjavik. The National Museum of Iceland is one of the best places in Reykjavik to visit. This comprehensive museum offers a fascinating journey through Iceland’s history, from its settlement in the 9th century to the present day.
The museum’s permanent exhibition, “The Making of a Nation”, showcases a vast collection of artifacts, including medieval weapons, religious artifacts, and everyday items. Each exhibit tells a story, shedding light on the lives of the people who have called this island home over the centuries.
One of the museum’s highlights is the Valþjófsstaður door, a beautifully carved wooden church door from the 13th century. It’s one of the most significant pieces of early Icelandic art.
A visit to the National Museum of Iceland is a journey through time. It’s one of the most interesting things to do in Reykjavik and a must-see for any history enthusiast.
When it comes to Reykjavik attractions, the Blue Lagoon is undoubtedly one of the most famous. Although it’s located outside the city, it’s easily accessible and well worth the trip.
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa set in a lava field, known for its milky-blue seawater, which is naturally heated to a comfortable 37-39°C. The mineral-rich water, combined with the silica mud, is believed to have healing properties, particularly for skin conditions.
Here, you can relax in the warm waters, apply a silica mud mask, or even enjoy a massage in the water. There’s also a sauna, a steam room, and a restaurant on-site, making it a perfect place for a day of relaxation and pampering.
Visiting the Blue Lagoon is more than just a spa experience; it’s a chance to immerse yourself in Iceland’s unique geothermal landscape. It’s one of the coolest things to do in Reykjavik and a must for any Iceland itinerary.
As far as things to do in Reykjavik go, this activity is among the most fun! If you’re wondering what to do in Reykjavik, a stroll down Laugavegur Shopping Street is a must. This bustling street, located in the heart of the city, is the main shopping and dining hub in Reykjavik.
Laugavegur is home to a wide variety of shops, from high-end boutiques and local design stores to second-hand shops and souvenir stores. You’ll find everything here from the latest fashion, unique Icelandic design items, or a quirky souvenir to take home.
Laugavegur is a great place to sample Icelandic cuisine, with a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and bars offering everything from traditional dishes to international fare.
In addition, Laugavegur is known for its vibrant nightlife. As the sun sets, the street comes alive with locals and tourists alike, making it one of the best places to go in Reykjavik for a night out.
In short, Laugavegur Shopping Street is a place where you can shop, eat, and experience the local culture, all in one place. As such, I recommend this thing to do in Reykjavik to everyone I meet.
Yearning for a getaway like no other? This thing to do in Reykjavik has got you covered. The Harpa Concert Hall is a remarkable addition to Reykjavik attractions. Nestled by the old harbour, this architectural marvel serves as a cultural beacon in the city, drawing in locals and tourists alike with its captivating modern design.
Harpa’s distinctive geometric glass facade mirrors the light, casting a spectrum of colors that captivate the eye. The design, inspired by Iceland’s basalt landscape, allows natural light to flood the interior. As such, it creates a mesmerizing interplay of light and shadow.
Within its walls, Harpa houses several concert halls and conference spaces. It proudly serves as the home of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera. The venue hosts a diverse range of events, from classical concerts and operas to contemporary pop concerts and stand-up comedy shows.
Even without a ticket to a show, Harpa invites exploration. Guided tours offer insight into the building’s design, while the on-site restaurant provides a culinary treat. The stunning architecture, coupled with views of the harbour and the city, make it a sight to behold.
The Harpa Concert Hall is more than an architectural marvel; it’s a vibrant symbol of Reykjavik’s thriving cultural scene, reflecting the city’s deep appreciation for art and music. Is this one of the best things to do in Reykjavik? You bet!
Experience Iceland in style at this unique place to visit in Reykjavik. The Perlan is undoubtedly one of the best places in Reykjavik to visit. This unique building, located on the Öskjuhlíð hill, offers some of the best panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.
Perlan is known for its distinctive architecture, featuring a glass dome sitting atop six large hot water tanks. Inside the dome, you’ll find a revolving restaurant that offers a 360-degree view of Reykjavik as you dine.
The Perlan home to a range of exhibitions, including a planetarium and the Wonders of Iceland exhibition, which features a man-made ice cave, a northern lights show, and displays about Iceland’s geology and wildlife.
Reykjavik is a place where you can learn, dine, and marvel at the beauty of this Nordic capital, making it one of the coolest Reykjavik things to do.
For art enthusiasts, the Reykjavik Art Museum stands as a premier destination among Reykjavik places to visit. Holding the title as Iceland’s largest visual art institution, it boasts an impressive collection of contemporary and modern art, spread across three unique locations: Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, and Ásmundarsafn.
Hafnarhús, nestled in the downtown harbour area, serves as a platform for contemporary art, showcasing works by both national and international artists. It also houses the creations of Erró, one of Iceland’s most prominent contemporary artists.
Kjarvalsstaðir pays homage to one of Iceland’s most cherished painters, Jóhannes S. Kjarval. The museum displays his works alongside other modern and contemporary art pieces, all within a building celebrated as a gem of Icelandic architecture and surrounded by a picturesque public park.
Ásmundarsafn, a tribute to the sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson, is set within a distinctive building designed by the artist himself. The museum is encircled by a sculpture garden, exhibiting many of Sveinsson’s works.
The Reykjavik Art Museum doesn’t just display art; it encapsulates the spirit of Iceland’s vibrant art scene. For any art lover, a stop at this museum is one of the best things to do in Reykjavik that is sure to be a vacation highlight.
A visit to Reykjavik wouldn’t be complete without a leisurely stroll around Tjörnin, the city’s charming downtown pond. This tranquil body of water, surrounded by parks and historic buildings, offers a peaceful retreat right in the heart of the city.
Tjörnin is a haven for birdwatchers, as it’s home to a variety of bird species, including ducks, swans, and geese. The city even heats the pond during winter to ensure it remains a suitable habitat for the birds. Don’t forget to bring some bread to feed the ducks – it’s a popular activity for both locals and tourists.
Surrounding the pond, you’ll find some of Reykjavik’s most notable buildings, including the Reykjavik City Hall and the National Gallery of Iceland. There are also several sculptures and monuments around Tjörnin, adding to its cultural appeal.
Taking a walk around Tjörnin, whether it’s a sunny summer day or a snowy winter afternoon, is one of the best places to go in Reykjavik. It’s a place where you can enjoy nature, admire art, and immerse yourself in the city’s serene atmosphere. There’s so much to see at Tjörnin, that it’s no wonder this is among the most fun things to do in Reykjavik.
Attractions in Reykjavik come in all shapes and sizes, but this one is among the best! One of the unique places in Reykjavik is the Sun Voyager sculpture. This striking piece of art, located by the sea in the heart of the city, is one of Reykjavik’s most photographed landmarks.
Designed by Icelandic artist Jón Gunnar Árnason, the Sun Voyager is a dreamboat, an ode to the sun, and a symbol of hope, progress, and freedom. Its sleek, stainless steel structure, resembling a Viking ship, beautifully reflects the sunlight. The boat definitely stands out against the backdrop of the sea and the mountains.
The sculpture is not only a feast for the eyes but also a source of inspiration. It invites viewers to embark on a journey of imagination, to dream and to hope. It’s a place where you can take a moment to reflect, enjoy the stunning views, and perhaps even watch a beautiful Icelandic sunset.
Visiting the Sun Voyager is more than just viewing a sculpture; it’s an experience that encapsulates the spirit of Reykjavik and the dreams of its people. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Reykjavik.
If you’re interested in the Viking history of Iceland, the Settlement Exhibition is one of the best places in Reykjavik. This museum offers insight into the life of the first settlers who arrived in Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries.
The exhibition is built around the remains of a Viking longhouse from the Settlement Age. The ruins, discovered in 2001 during construction work in downtown Reykjavik, have been carefully preserved and are now on display in their original location.
Through interactive displays and artifacts, the exhibition tells the story of the first settlers, their daily life, culture, and the environment they lived in. It’s a place where history comes to life, offering a glimpse into the past that shaped this Nordic nation.
The Settlement Exhibition is one of the unique things to do in Reykjavik that offers a journey back in time.
For a taste of traditional Icelandic life, the Árbær Open Air Museum is among the coolest things to do in Reykjavik. This charming museum, located on the outskirts of the city, offers a journey back in time to the Reykjavik of old.
The museum is made up of more than 20 buildings, each representing a different aspect of Icelandic history. You’ll find a traditional turf house, a church, a school, and a variety of workshops where you can see traditional crafts in action.
During the summer months, the museum comes to life with actors dressed in period costumes, demonstrating the daily chores and activities of the past. You can watch as they bake bread, spin wool, and work in the blacksmith’s forge.
A visit to the Árbær Open Air Museum is an immersive experience that offers a glimpse into the past. It’s one of the best places to go in Reykjavik for anyone interested in Icelandic culture and history.
Looking for more content on the top things to do in Reykjavik? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Reykjavik:
Iceland’s international Keflavík Airport is about an hour away from downtown Reykjavik. You can rent a car, book an airport transfer into the city, or use a taxi service.
The city has a public bus system called Strætó. A single ticket costs about 350 ISK ($2 USD). Taxis are also available, but you need to book them on the phone or from taxi stands in key downtown locations.
How many days are needed in Reykjavik?
The number of days needed in Reykjavik depends on what you want to see and do. For a basic exploration of the city’s main attractions, 2-3 days can be sufficient. This would allow you to visit key sites like Hallgrímskirkja, Harpa Concert Hall, the Sun Voyager sculpture, and explore the vibrant downtown area with its shops, cafes, and museums.
However, if you want to experience more of Reykjavik and the surrounding area, consider extending your stay to 5-7 days. This would give you time to take day trips to nearby natural wonders like the Golden Circle. This includes the Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall, and Þingvellir National Park. You could also explore the South Coast, visit the Blue Lagoon, or even take a tour to see the Northern Lights if you’re visiting in the winter months.
Reykjavik serves as a gateway to Iceland’s incredible landscapes. As such, many visitors use the city as a base for exploring other parts of the country. If you plan to venture further, such as driving the Ring Road to see glaciers, volcanoes, fjords, and other natural wonders, you might want to plan a longer trip of 10-14 days.
In summary, a short stay of 2-3 days will allow you to see Reykjavik’s highlights. However, extending your visit will enable you to explore more of the city’s surroundings and Iceland’s unique landscapes.
Accommodation in Reykjavik can be expensive due to its small size and central location. However, there are various hotels available to suit different budgets.
Reykjavík is best known for its vibrant arts scene, unique architecture, and geothermal pools. It’s also the gateway to Iceland’s stunning natural wonders, including the Northern Lights, geysers, and glaciers.
Tourists visiting Reykjavík Iceland often embark on adventures to explore the country’s stunning natural wonders, from the mesmerizing Northern Lights and majestic glaciers to the geothermal Blue Lagoon. In the capital, Reykjavík, they immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting museums, sampling Icelandic cuisine, and experiencing the city’s vibrant arts scene and nightlife.
Absolutely! Reykjavik is a treasure trove of culture, art, and history. As such, it offers a unique blend of cosmopolitan charm and natural beauty. From its vibrant nightlife and world-class dining to its proximity to Iceland’s stunning landscapes, Reykjavik is a destination that captivates and inspires, making it well worth a visit.
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, offers a variety of attractions for tourists. From exploring the city’s unique architecture and vibrant nightlife to experiencing its traditional cuisine and rich history, there’s something for everyone. However, to truly appreciate the beauty of Iceland, it’s recommended to venture outside the city and explore the countryside. Don’t forget to protect yourself with travel insurance and always carry it with you.
Remember, Iceland is an expensive destination, especially when it comes to food. One way to save money is to cook your own meals if your accommodation has a kitchen. Also, consider getting a Reykjavik City Card for free or discounted access to local museums and attractions.