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Top things to do in Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the capital of the magical country Iceland. In this post, I will highlight the top things to do in Reykjavik, when you are there.

The country of Iceland, inspite of it’s name, is so much more than just ice. Iceland, with its rugged landscapes and unspoilt countryside is nothing like anywhere else. It doesn’t matter if your idea of an holiday is to seek new adventures.

Or simply to relax in a romantic setting; Iceland has everything and Reykjavik is the gateway to everything Icelandic. Ideally I’ll recommend at least a week to explore Iceland to a reasonable degree. But to explore the things listed in this post, 3-4 days would be sufficient.

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) tour – Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is one of the most spectacular atmospheric phenomena and Iceland is one of the best places in the northern hemisphere to see them. The bright greenish light lighting up the sky at night is a sight to behold. This is one of the top things to do in Reyjavik and Iceland in general.

The only challenge can be the weather. On a cloudy night, you will not be able to see them. Also, they are more difficult to spot during summer due to the long days. I will always recommend to book a tour during the beginning of your stay such that if your tour gets cancelled due to bad weather, you will have a chance to go for it again the following night (for free!).

things to do in reykjavik, northern lights in iceland

Blue Lagoon – Imagine a hot pool with natural minerals in the middle of snow-capped mountains and valleys. Well, Blue Lagoon in Iceland is just that. Although a man-made pool, this pool is filled with natural geo-thermal water and natural minerals. This is meant to do wonders for your skin. It is a bit out of the city, so you’ll either need to book a private bus (normally one every hour) to take you there or you can rent your own car.

I will recommend spending about 2 hours in this place. Don’t forget to book your tickets online before you get there. If you are booking transfers, make sure you keep to the times that you book for. I’ll recommend booking this is on your way to or from the airport, as its between Reykjavik and the airport at Keflavik.

things to do in reykjavik, Blue Lagoon

Golden Circle – The Golden Circle consists of three key Icelandic attractions which are the Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area and the Gullfoss Waterfall. The national park is also a historic site because this was the site for Iceland’s parliament from the 10th to 18th centuries. You can still find the ruins today, along with Thingvellir Church and the ruins of some other old stone shelters.

What makes this site more cool is that it sits between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The Geysir geothermal area has a number of hot springs, including the giant Strokkur, which erupts about every five minutes. Finally, the Gullfoss is a mammoth waterfall that you cannot miss! It is spectacular in both winter and summer. I’ll recommend you book these tours in advance, unless you are driving yourself.

things to do in reykjavik, gulfoss falls

City of Reykjavik – If you are Reykjavik, it is only fair you make some time for the city itself. The city centre and harbour area are quite small. It can be covered by walking. The main attraction of this city is the Hallgrímskirkja church, which looks like something straight out of Viking folklore. It is 74.5m tall and can be seen from most places of the city. You can also buy a ticket to go the top of the church (in a lift) for some amazing bird’s eye views of the city.

In this city, you can also visit Harpa, which a concert hall and conference centre, and the Perlan, which looks like a futuristic glass dome but is actually a fine dining restaurant. There is also the Reykjavik Art Museum, the Maritime Museum, Sun Voyager (art installation by the shore) and a small natural geothermal beach called Nautholsvik.


Cheap flights to Reykjavik

OriginDeparture atReturn atFind tickets
London11 October 202213 October 2022Tickets from 50
Milan8 September 202213 September 2022Tickets from 83
Vilnius23 September 202227 September 2022Tickets from 84
Rome22 September 202224 September 2022Tickets from 94
Budapest8 November 202212 November 2022Tickets from 97

Food and Drink – Last, but not the least, make some time to try the Icelandic cuisine. Icelandic horse meat is one of the delicacies in Reykjavik but it may go out of stock during peak tourist seasons. Lamb is another very popular meat, especially lamb steaks. In addition, if you are feeling adventurous, you can also try sheep head, fermented shark, puffin and whale meat. There are plenty of high-quality vegetarian and vegan options in most restaurants. Finally, don’t forget to try the thick and creamy Icelandic yogurt Skyr for breakfast.

Best time to visit – Reykjavik is a fantastic gateway to Iceland and is recommended for a visit both during winter and summer months. There are plenty of things of things to in Reykjavik that will appeal to everyone, no matter what your interests.

things to do in reykjavik

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