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Things to do in Reykjavik

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is an ideal vacation destination for travelers looking for a unique experience in a stunning natural setting. It is the world’s northernmost capital, located on the south coast of Iceland, and is filled with vibrant culture, friendly locals, and amazing natural attractions. Reykjavik is known for its breathtakingly beautiful landscape, its exciting nightlife, and its cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is also home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, including geysers, hot springs, volcanoes, and stunning glaciers. Visitors to Reykjavik can enjoy the city's many attractions, including the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church, the Harpa Concert Hall, the National Museum of Iceland, and the Perlan glass dome. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as whale watching, horseback riding, and glacier hiking. Reykjavik also has a thriving music scene, with countless bars, clubs, and live music venues. Reykjavik is also a great destination for those looking to experience the unique culture of Iceland. There are numerous cultural events and activities to take part in, such as the annual Reykjavik Arts Festival, the Reykjavik Food Festival, and the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the country’s history and culture, with a variety of museums and galleries to visit. In addition, Reykjavik is home to some of the world’s best restaurants and cafes, making it a great place to explore the local cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a unique

Our most recommended things to do in Reykjavik

Iceland: Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik

1. Iceland: Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik

Embark on an evening trip to see the Aurora Borealis. Hear fascinating facts about them from your guides, visit the Aurora Museum, and search to see the lights firsthand. Depart the bright lights of Reykjavík city center to see the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis. Also known as the “Northern Lights,” it is one of the most spectacular shows during winter months. Head for wherever meteorologists have predicted the lights will be at their best. To get stunning views of the sky you will aim for areas with no artificial light. Hear explanations of how the Aurora Borealis is caused as a result of the gaseous particles in the earth’s atmosphere colliding with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. Benefit from an itinerary that includes stops for you to go outside and take photographs. The locations visited differ from day to day, but you will head in the direction with the most chance of seeing Mother Nature at work. As the tour is weather-dependent, and sightings are not guaranteed, you are also invited to join another Northern Lights tour free of charge if the lights don’t appear.  Explore the Northern Lights in the Aurora Museum. The Northern Lights tour includes a complimentary ticket for a self-guided visit to the museum in Reykjavik, valid on the day you join the tour, from the time you receive confirmation that the tour is on.

Reykjavik: Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater

2. Reykjavik: Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater

See the best of southwest Iceland on an 8-hour Golden Circle tour by bus from Reykjavik. Visit the spectacular Geysir area, and go to the cascades of Gullfoss Waterfall. Discover where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet in Þingvellir National Park. Travel to the geothermal area of Geysir. Marvel as the active hot spring of Strokkur spouts steaming water 30 meters into the air every 8 minutes. Continue to one of Iceland’s most iconic features at the Gullfoss Waterfall (“Golden Falls“). Feel the spray of the waters of the glacial River Hvítá as it plummets down into a 32-meter deep crevice. Next, enter Þingvellir National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimeters per year. Þingvellir was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural value in 2004, and is the site of a stunning rift valley and the Rock of Law, the first Viking parliament. Marvel at the volcanic crater at Lake Kerið, and pass through the Icelandic farms of the south on your drive around the Golden Circle, before returning to your original starting point in Reykjavik.

Keflavik Airport (KEF): Bus Transfer to/from Reykjavik

3. Keflavik Airport (KEF): Bus Transfer to/from Reykjavik

Enjoy a safe and reliable airport transfer between Reykjavik Keflavik Airport (KEF) and your accommodation in Reykjavik or BSI Bus Terminal. Travel stress-free knowing that your seat on the bus is guaranteed and that you will not have to wait long for the service. Benefit from air-conditioned vehicles that are regularly maintained to high hygienic standards. Choose a one-way service to or from the airport and feel safe knowing that your service is reliable and secure. Save yourself the hassle of navigating the public transportation system before or after a long journey. Due to an environmental standpoint, the City of Reykjavik does not allow larger coaches on many of its streets. Therefore, during your transfer, you might have to change from a larger to a smaller bus at the BSI Bus terminal. The staff will make sure you feel confident and provide you all the information on the spot. Do not worry about waiting too long - the buses are scheduled to depart 30-45 minutes after each flight for your convenience. The only thing left to do will be to relax and enjoy the views from the comfort of your seat.

From Reykjavik: South of Iceland Full-Day Trip

4. From Reykjavik: South of Iceland Full-Day Trip

Spend the day exploring the dramatic landscapes of the south of Iceland along with its coastline on a full-day sightseeing tour from Reykjavik. Along the way, discover a variety of rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and glaciers. Following a pickup from listed hotels or guesthouses by bus in central Reykjavík, travel to the gorgeous waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. At the waterfall at Seljalandsfoss, walk behind the cascades and feel the spray on your face. Continue to Skógafoss to marvel at the 60-meter drop. Pass the black sand beaches of the southern coast and enjoy the power of the sea. Visit the glacier snout of Sólheimajökull to see an outlet glacier of Mýrdalsjökull. Admire the ever-changing feat of nature up-close. Then, look at the basalt sea stacks at Reynisfjara, Iceland’s southernmost village just south of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, before returning to Reykjavik.

From Reykjavik: Blue Lagoon Admission with Transfers

5. From Reykjavik: Blue Lagoon Admission with Transfers

Enjoy a safe and reliable transfer between Reykjavík City Centre and the world-famous Blue Lagoon, while also getting the opportunity of selecting between the Comfort Package or the Premium Package. Experience the tranquility of the unique Geothermal Milky Blue Sea waters, considered by many to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an unmissable part of your Iceland Holiday. There are frequent departures to and from Reykjavik allowing you to explore on your own time. The Blue Lagoon was formed in 1976 during an operation at the nearby geothermal power plant. In the years that followed, people began to bathe in the water and apply the silica mud to their skin. It’s known for its restorative qualities and health benefits. The Blue Lagoon is surrounded by a mossy lava field, offering incredible scenery, with state-of-the-art facilities and an other-worldly atmosphere. Choose between two different packages available and take some time to relax. Afterward, return to Reykjavík. Your return ticket is flexible/open and can be used for all departures from the Blue Lagoon.

Reykjavik: Sky Lagoon Entrance Pass With 7-Step Spa Ritual

6. Reykjavik: Sky Lagoon Entrance Pass With 7-Step Spa Ritual

Get a Sky Lagoon pass and immerse yourself in the warmth of an oceanside geothermal lagoon, where the dramatic North Atlantic Ocean stretches out before you. Take your relaxation deeper with a unique 7-step spa ritual included in the pass. Choose between the Sky Pass or Pure Pass. With the Sky Pass, benefit from private changing facilities and shower cabins with signature botanical body products. With the Pure Pass, you will use shared changing and showering facilities. Connect with Icelandic traditions and relax your mind, body, and soul. Complete the 7-step ritual to fully immerse yourself in Icelandic bathing traditions. Step 1: Slow down and relax in the lagoon Step 2: Cool down with the cold plunge Step 3: Relax and enjoy the views in the sauna Step 4: Refresh in a cold fog-mist Step 5: Invigorate and exfoliate with a rejuvenating body scrub Step 6: Chill out in the steam room Step 7: Shower and relax in the lagoon After the experience, you can enliven your taste buds at Sky Café and Smakk Bar. Discover and connect with the local flavors of the region.

Reykjavik: Entry Ticket to FlyOver Iceland Experience

7. Reykjavik: Entry Ticket to FlyOver Iceland Experience

Go on an exhilarating journey over the world’s most spectacular scenery — from the American West to the Canadian Rockies and across some of Iceland’s most iconic sites — all without leaving Reykjavík with entry tickets to FlyOver Iceland. Using advanced technology, FlyOver captured thrilling, authentic footage of real locations so you can experience those places as they truly are. Hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-meter spherical screen while special effects — including wind, mist, and scents — combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience. The flight ride is extended with pre-shows, which set the stage for the main attraction and are a memorable experience in their own right. Here, you'll get an insider’s look at the fascinating areas, people, and locations featured in the films, bringing each rider deeper into the FlyOver experience. Located in Reykjavík’s Grandi neighborhood, FlyOver Iceland is easily accessible by foot, car, or bus, and features parking on-site. Inside, there’s a retail area selling local artisan items and souvenirs, as well as Kaffi Grandi, which serves a variety of warm beverages and local fare. Elevators are available and FlyOver Iceland can accommodate wheelchair users.

Blue Lagoon: Entry Ticket with Drink, Towel, and Mud Mask

8. Blue Lagoon: Entry Ticket with Drink, Towel, and Mud Mask

Enjoy the world-famous Blue Lagoon and with this ticket for the 'Comfort Package' which provides you access to the legendary waters along with a towel, and a silica mud mas. Experience the deep relaxation of sipping on a complimentary drink while you soak at the in-water bar. Walk along a 300-meter lava corridor to the entrance of the main complex. Experience the new dimensions of wellbeing that the Blue Lagoon offers. The complex encompasses 8,700 square meters of geothermal seawater and features a sauna, steam room, massage waterfall, swim-up bar, and masks Enjoy the mineral-rich warmth of the Blue Lagoon. Wander around, float in the healing waters, socialize or meditate - relax as you see fit. Your entrance includes a complimentary drink from the swim-up bar. Choose from juices, smoothies, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Use the included silica mud mask at the in-water mask bar and feel the radiance return to your skin as the silica - the lagoon’s iconic healing element - cleanses and strengthens you. Head back to the mask bar to purchase additional masks with the lagoon’s other treasures - algae, minerals, or lava.

Reykjavík: Whale Watching from a Luxury Yacht

9. Reykjavík: Whale Watching from a Luxury Yacht

Come aboard a luxurious yacht and see the incredible wealth of marine wildlife that lives in the waters just off the shores of Reykjavík City. See some of Iceland's majestic whales, dolphins, and porpoises on this whale-watching tour.  Your ship sets sail from Reykjavík's Old Harbor and sails among the small islands in the Faxaflói Bay, as well as along the coast of Reykjavík, providing you with fantastic views of the city as you search for the wildlife in the water. Spot minke and humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises. If you're lucky, you may even see a few orcas (also known as killer whales) as well as a wealth of other species. Make the most of three panoramic deck areas aboard the luxury yacht, moving about the decks to get the best views and take advantage of great photo opportunities. The outside decks are also partially covered, providing some shelter from wind and rain. The professional crew on board the Amelia Rose are very experienced in spotting whales and they are dedicated to making sure you leave with a smile.  Combine relaxation with education as you enjoy a personal and memorable experience. Amelia Rose is designed as an offshore vessel, making it better adapted to take on the turbulent waves of Iceland's waters, resulting in a smoother sail with less probability of passengers experiencing nausea or seasickness. There is no guarantee, however, that you will not get seasick.

Reykjavik: Sky Lagoon Admission with Transfer

10. Reykjavik: Sky Lagoon Admission with Transfer

Get to and from the Sky Lagoon easily with city center transfers from BSI terminal included. Immerse yourself in the new geothermal pool in Reykjavík. Sky Lagoon is a thermal spa inspired by both nature and local culture. The dramatic North Atlantic Ocean stretches out before you in the infinity pool with views over the Reykjanes Peninsula and the presidential residence at Bessastadir. Visit the turfhouse for a 7-step spa ritual, included in your entrance ticket. Enjoy an unmissable unique spa experience. Sky Lagoon really feels like a natural oasis, far removed from anything urban or even human. Cliff walls, grottoes, and coves are all designed to make the surroundings both beautiful and natural, and the dark textures highlight the Lagoon’s tranquility. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind luxury destination. Choose between the standard Pure Pass with shared changing facilities or upgrade to the Sky Pass which includes private changing facilities and the Sky signature body lotion. Alternatively you can choose the Sky Lagoon ticket which includes the 7 step spa ritual, use of towel, shared changing facilities, and pickup from Skarfabakki cruise port.

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Frequently asked questions about Reykjavik

What top attractions are a must-see in Reykjavik?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Reykjavik?

The best day trips and excursions from Reykjavik are:

Sky Lagoon

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 60,410 reviews

The office and cruise was very easy to find. Every member of staff was so welcoming and helpful The guide pointed out lights as they happened, offered tips to get the best from your camera, took photos of groups when asked, and answered any and all questions with enthusiasm and openness. 2 hours out on the water gave plenty of opportunity to get your fill of The Lights. The refreshments area inside offered refuge from bitter cold. Wonderful!

I really enjoyed this activity. In the beginning I thought it's too expensive but during the activity I felt it is worthy to do. Therefore all the staffs are very kind and helpful. I highly recommend snowmobile activity.

It was wel organized and not too crampy on the boat! Great staff, enough snacks and drinks for very reasonable prices, and we got to see a humpback whale!!

Very easy & efficient transfer. Staff were very helpful with any questions, great value for money.

Great excursion with super guide who was very knowledgeable