Things to do in

Reykjavik

You’ll warm up to Iceland’s capital with volcanic scenery, luxurious hot springs, and landmarks aplenty.

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Best things to do in Reykjavík

Reykjavík is a tiny city thousands of miles from anywhere, so why should you go? Well, for starters, there's the breathtaking volcanic scenery, revitalizing hot springs, and crowd-free (though no less impressive) landmarks. And the best thing is, that's not even the tip of the iceberg!

  • National Museum of Iceland

    1. National Museum of Iceland

    This journey through Iceland's history is easy to find from Tjörnin Pond, but if you must ask for directions, impress the natives by using its simple Icelandic name – Þjóðminjasafn!

  • Perlan

    2. Perlan

    Home to the Wonders of Iceland exhibition and an impressive artificial geyser, Perlan is a stunning glass dome crowned by one of the city's best restaurants. The views are just as good as the food!

  • Hallgrímskirkja

    3. Hallgrímskirkja

    Inspired by Iceland's volcanic rock formations, Hallgrímskirkja can be seen from almost anywhere in the city! Take the elevator to the top for Reykjavík's best city views.

  • Harpa - Reykjavík Concert Hall & Conference Center

    4. Harpa - Reykjavík Concert Hall & Conference Center

    Reykjavík's cultural heart beats inside this center. Harpa not only hosts some of Iceland's best shows, but has become a benchmark of Nordic design and architecture!

  • Blue Lagoon

    5. Blue Lagoon

    The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and health center, which is famous for its revitalizing treatments and facilities. If that sounds like too much fuss, visit the Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach instead!

  • Kolaportid Flea Market

    6. Kolaportid Flea Market

    By the old harbor you'll find Icelandic delicacies like fermented shark among the vintage clothes, vinyl, and usual flea market nicknacks. Come ready with cash to avoid the long ATM queues!

  • Elliðaárdalur Valley

    7. Elliðaárdalur Valley

    This recreational area on the edge of the city makes for one of Reykjavík's top excursions. The Elliðaár river runs through its lush flora, swarming with char, salmon, and trout!

Frequently asked questions about Reykjavik

What top attractions are a must-see in Reykjavik?

Planning Your Visit

  • Best time to visit?

    Reykjavík's endless summer days make it a fun place to visit between June and August, but if you want to see the Northern Lights, your best bet is to go in the winter. Bear in mind, however, that the otherworldly phenomenon (also known as the Aurora Borealis) is notoriously difficult to predict. If it's important that you see it, boost your chances by booking a longer holiday and keeping up-to-date with the daily forecasts.

  • How long to stay?

    Reykjavík has a lot of life in it for such a small city. How many days you need depends on what you want from your holiday. A weekend will be enough to see the city's sights, However, if you want to enjoy any of Iceland's scenic excursions, or immerse yourself in the capital's eccentric nightlife and music scene, a week might not be enough!

  • How expensive is it?

    Reykjavík, like most Nordic cities, has a reputation for being quite expensive and, for a city of its size, that's a fair assessment. Ultimately though, Reykjavík is no more expensive than London or Paris. Furthermore, you're unlikely to encounter hidden costs and can expect excellent value for money.

Good to know

  • Language
    Icelandic
  • Currency
    Icelandic Krona (ISK)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +354
  • Best time to visit
    Summer

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Reykjavik

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Reykjavik.

What should I do on my first trip to Reykjavik?

One of the best things to do in Reykjavik is simply walking through the city center and the waterfront area. It's here that you'll find some of the main landmarks of Reykjavik, such as Harpa Concert Hall, Sun Voyager sculpture, and Hallgrimskirkja church (be sure to go up the tower for the best views in Reykjavik!). There are also lots of interesting museums and fantastic attractions such as FlyOver Iceland or Whales of Iceland.

What are some hidden gems to see in Reykjavik?

One of the best local experiences in Reykjavik is going for a swim at one of the many geothermal pools. And while everyone knows the Blue Lagoon, there are also many communal pools with outdoor hot tubs, steam baths, or saunas (and, at a fraction of the cost). The nicest local pool in Reykjavik city center is Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, one of the oldest public baths in Iceland. Located in a beautifully restored historc building, this is definitely one of the best hidden gems of Reykjavik.

How much time should I spend in Reykjavik?

One day is enough for the main highlights of Reyjavik. However, if you want to visit a few museums and tourist attractions and go for a swim at one of the geothermal pools, plan at least 2 days in Reykjavik. In addition, there are lots of great tours such as whale watching or Northern Lights, so you could easily spend several days in Reykjavik and never get bored.

What food is Reykjavik known for?

If there is one meal that you have to try in Reykjavik, it's the Icelandic hot dog. Icelanders are absolutely fond of their hot dogs and believe they are the best in the world! What makes them special is that they are made with the best Icelandic lamb, pork, and beef meet. The best place to try a hot dog in Reykjavik is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand (literal translation - "best hot dogs in town"). If you are feeling more adventurous, you can also try traditional Icelandic foods like rotten shark or roasted sheep skull.

What is the best way to get around Reykjavik?

The best way to get around Reykjavik is on foot. All the main attractions in the city center are located within walking distance to each other. if you don't feel like walking, you can also take public buses or opt for a hop-on hop-off bus. For the most famous geothermal pools and other attractions outside the city center, you'll need a car or a shuttle bus.

What are the best months to visit Reykjavik?

Reykjavik can be visited the whole year round and there's always plenty to see and do in and around the city. In summer, you will experience endless days and midnight sun, and in winter - polar night and - with a bit of luck - Northern Lights. Reykjavik is also famous for its New Year's celebrations, with great parties and the most impressive firework displays.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Reykjavik? 

The best area to stay in Reykjavik is the city center, also known as 101 Reykjavik. It's here that you will find most of the city's attractions, best hotels, all kinds of shops, and a big variety of cafes, bars, and restaurants. Here you can find a complete guide to the best places to stay in Reykjavik.

Other Sightseeing Options in Reykjavik

Want to discover all there is to do in Reykjavik? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Reykjavik

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 38,089 reviews

Amazing tour. The guide and driver were excellent, as were each of the destinations. Gullfoss in particular was a highlight. Thank you Perla and Mikhail for an amazing day!

FANTASTIC. Great guide. Great tour. Great value. Was excellent sight seeing. Tour guide was wonderful, patient and kind. Lovely man.

Brilliant day out, very well organised, guide Gus very informative, great way to see and some of the must do sights and activities

On time and plesent journey to airport. Would recommend for the ease of booking and communication

I can only recommend the tour. Our tour guide was great and the sights breathtakingly beautiful.