Are you looking for the best things to do in Reykjavik, Iceland? From exploring this cosmopolitan city on foot to visiting some of the most iconic sites, and relaxing in hot springs. Our guide to the best Reykjavik attractions will help you to plan your trip and decide what to do in Reykjavik!
Iceland is a land of fire and ice, where volcanoes meet glaciers and hot springs bubble up amidst sub-zero temperatures. Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a lively city with a unique character all its own.
During our first visit to Iceland, we absolutely fell in love with the Viking capital. We visited during the winter and spent a few days exploring Reykjavik before heading off on a road trip along the south coast.
Reykjavik may be a small city, but it’s packed with amazing things to do. And of course, no visit to Reykjavik would be complete without sampling some of the delicious local cuisine!
While there are so many amazing places to see in Iceland, we highly recommend allowing a few days to explore Reykjavik into your Iceland itinerary. Below we’ve detailed 10 must-experience activities in Reykjavik, including how to get there, the cost, and recommended tours to book.
Let’s dive right in…
Here are 10 incredible things to do in Reykjavik for your next visit to Iceland!
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Map of Things to do in Reykjavik
The map below lists the exact location of each of these Reykjavik attractions, as well as, the best places to eat and drink in Reykjavik, and where to stay in Reykjavik. Click on the map below to view it in full screen and save to your own Google Maps.
Top 10 Things to do in Reykjavik
Please Note: All costs and opening times detailed below are correct at the time of writing. Please use the links provided to check the most up-to-date information.
#1 | View the City from on Top of Hallgrimskirkja Church
Taking a ride to the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church is one of the must-do places to visit in Reykjavik. Not only will you be able to take in stunning views of the city, but you’ll also learn a bit about the history of this iconic landmark.
Built in the 1940s and standing at a whopping 244 ft tall, Hallgrimskirkja is the largest church in Iceland and features a unique design that was inspired by Icelandic nature.
After taking the elevator to the top, visitors can stroll around the observation deck and take in 360-degree views of Reykjavik. On a clear day, you may even be able to see all the way to Mt. Esja – one of Iceland’s most popular hiking destinations!
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm daily (hours may differ seasonally and may be closed during religious events)
Entrance fee: The church is free to visit, however, to visit the tower it costs Ikr 1200 for adults and Ikr 200 for children.
Recommended Tour: Reykjavik City Walking Tour
#2 | Visit Harpa Concert Hall
Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Harpa Concert Hall is one of Reykjavík’s most iconic buildings. The concert hall is home to the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera, and regularly hosts a variety of international performers.
Even if watching opera doesn’t rock your boat, the stunning glass facade and unique design is unlike anything else you’ll see in the city. And if you wander around the harbourside of the building, you’ll find a cute little yellow lighthouse commanding the harbour, which makes a great photo spot.
Inside there is an art gallery, shops, a bar, and two restaurants to enjoy a nice meal or pre-performance drink.
For those opera fans, you can catch a performance by some of Iceland’s most talented musicians. Whether you’re a classical music enthusiast, or just looking for something new to experience, a visit to Harpa is sure to be enjoyable.
With its unique architecture and stunning ocean views, Harpa is definitely worth a visit. And if you’re lucky enough to catch a performance, you’re in for a treat!
Location: Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Opening hours: Varies depending on the performance schedule. The restaurant and bar is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.
Entrance fee: Free. Performances are ticketed.
Recommended Tour: Reykjavik Walking Tour with a Viking
#3 | Bathe in the Sky Lagoon
Looking for a unique bathing experience? Then you need to add the Sky Lagoon to your Iceland bucket list! Not to be confused with the famous Blue Lagoon, the Sky Lagoon is the more ‘grown up’ version.
Located in Reykjavik city, this hot spring spa experience is a geothermal bathing lagoon offering stunning views over the harbour and oceanfront.
Sky Lagoon offers a signature Seven-Step Ritual that combines the use of steam, water, heat, and fresh air to heal and relax and rejuvenate you – It’s like a natural hot spring and luxury spa experience, all wrapped up into one.
After donning a provided bathing suit, you’ll take a dip in the lagoon’s warm waters while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Relax and unwind as the mineral-rich geothermal waters soothe your muscles and calm your mind.
Enjoy a signature body scrub and exfoliate your skin from head to toe before heading to the steam room to complete your Sky Lagoon experience.
After your relaxing experience, you can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant or grab a drink from the bar before heading back to your hotel. With its breathtaking views and luxurious amenities, the Sky Lagoon is the perfect place to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of Reykjavik city life.
Opening hours: 10 am to 11 pm (opening hours may vary seasonally)
Entrance fee: Packages from ISK 7,990
Tickets: Book your entry tickets here and skip the line!
#4 | Visit the Sun Voyager Sculpture
While wandering around Reykjavik city, be sure to stop by Reykjavik Harbour to see the Sun Voyager sculpture by Jón Gunnar Ánarson.
This incredible piece of art is located on Reykjavik’s waterfront and is quickly becoming one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. The Sun Voyager is described as the dream boat, an ode to the sun. The sculpture represents a Viking ship that’s sailing off into the sunset and symbolises the promise of new undiscovered territories.
Visitors can also enjoy views of the surrounding mountains and the ocean from the Sun Voyager sculpture as the sun sets. It’s the perfect place to grab a photo, and it’s also a popular spot for weddings.
Location: Sæbraut, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Opening hours: 24/7
Entrance fee: Free
#5 | Go Hunting for Northern Lights
Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is arguably one of the most incredible natural phenomena in the world. And what better place to see them than in Iceland – where you can snap a photo of the lights with stunning landscapes and dramatic scenery in the foreground.
To get the best view of the Northern Lights, you’ll have to head outside Reykjavik, away from the light pollution caused by city lights. The best time to see the Northern Lights is from October to March.
There are a number of tour companies in Reykjavik that offer trips specifically for this purpose, where you’ll be accompanied by a seasoned spotter, who knows the best location and weather conditions to find them.
These tours typically take place in the evening, when the sky is dark enough to see the lights. Some operate large bus tours with hoards of other tourists, but we recommend this Jeep tour for a smaller group experience. You could also see the Northern Lights from the comfort of a luxury yacht!
During your tour, you’ll likely be able to see other incredible sights like glaciers, waterfalls, and volcanoes. And of course, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take photos of the Northern Lights (be sure to bring a tripod)!
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, then seeing the Northern Lights is a must. It’s an experience you’ll never forget and one that you’ll be telling your friends about for years to come.
Location: There are various tour operators around Reykjavik. Tours usually include free pick-up from your hotel.
Opening hours: Tours operate in the evening between October and April (weather depending).
Recommended Tour: Super Jeep Northern Lights Tours
#6 | Experience Perlan – Wonders of Iceland
If you want to enjoy a truly unique dining experience, then you need to head to Perlan. This one-of-a-kind experience in Reykjavik is located underneath a large glass dome, with an observation deck that offers stunning views 360-degree views of the surrounding city.
There are several interactive exhibitions on offer at Perlan, all of which are dedicated to building awareness of Iceland’s beautiful and fragile environment.
There’s an Ice Cave that simulates a real glacial Ice Cave, where you can learn about the impacts of global warming on Iceland’s glaciers.
There’s also an exhibition featuring an insight into one of Iceland’s largest volcanic eruptions in history, as well as an interactive look at the Northern Lights from different perspectives.
After you’ve finished taking in the Wonders of Iceland, head to Perlan Restaurant to grab a bite to eat while enjoying the stunning views over Reykjavik city.
Location: 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
Opening hours: Exhibits are open from 9 am to 9 pm daily
Entrance fee: From 4,690 ISK per person
Tickets: Book your entry tickets here and skip the line up!
#7 | See the Whales of Iceland Exhibit
If you love sea creatures, then you need to add the Whales of Iceland Exhibit to your list of what to do in Reykjavik. This exhibit is the largest Whale Museum in Europe featuring life-size models of all of the different types of whales that can be found in Icelandic waters.
The educational exhibit features interactive displays, including a touch screen where you can learn more about the different types of whales.
The best part? The exhibit is located right next to the ocean, so you might even be able to see some real whales while you’re there! In fact, you can combine your visit with a whale-watching tour!
Location: Fiskislóð 23-25, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Opening hours: This exhibit is open daily all year round (except Christmas Day), from 10 am to 5 pm.
Entrance fee: Admission to the exhibit costs about 3,400 ISK ($26 USD) per adult
Tickets: Book your entry tickets here and skip the line!
#8 | Experience Reykjavik Nightlife
What Reykjavik lacks in size, it makes up for in personality, and the city is known for its vibrant nightlife scene. In fact, the city has a number of great clubs and bars that are worth checking out during your visit.
One of the most popular places to go out at night is Kaffibarinn, a small but lively bar located in the heart of Reykjavik. This bar is always crowded, so be prepared to elbow your way to the bar.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back night out, then head to Lebowski Bar. This bar is themed after the film The Big Lebowski and features a wide variety of beers and cocktails. The bar also has a number of classic arcade games, so you can enjoy a little bit of nostalgia while you drink.
No matter what your preference, Reykjavik nightlife has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quiet bar to enjoy a few drinks or a lively establishment where you can dance the night away, you’ll find it in Reykjavik.
Just make sure you have a valid ID, as most clubs and bars will not allow entry without one. Also, be aware that many places do not accept credit cards, so it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand.
If you’re looking for a truly unique nightlife experience, then you need to check out Reykjavik after dark!
#9 | Try Traditional Icelandic Cuisine
If it’s your first time visiting Iceland, then you’ll want to try something truly unique, like trying traditional Icelandic cuisine.
Icelandic cuisine is unlike anything else in the world, and it’s worth trying if you have the stomach. Some of the most exotic Icelandic dishes include fermented shark, boiled sheep’s head, or Harðfiskur (fish jerky).
If you’re not feeling quite so adventurous, then don’t worry – there are plenty of other traditional dishes to choose from, such as Icelandic Lamb Stew, or Langoustine. Don’t forget to try Skyr (Icelandic yoghurt), and the Icelandic Rye bread (rúgbrauð) must be the best bread I’ve ever tried!
You can find traditional Icelandic cuisine at a number of different restaurants around Reykjavik, but we highly recommend Kol Restaurant or Old Iceland. For a fine-dining experience, head to Sjávargrillið or Michelin-starred Dill Restaurant.
So, if you’re looking to try something new, be sure to add tasting traditional Icelandic cuisine to your Iceland bucket list!
Recommended Tour: 3 Hour Reykjavik Foodie Walking Tour
#10 | Experience FlyOver Iceland
FlyOver Iceland is one of the most popular Reykjavik attractions, and it’s definitely worth adding to your list of things to do.
This unique attraction takes you on a virtual reality tour of Iceland, allowing you to see some of the country’s most iconic landmarks from a bird’s eye view. It’s a must-do if you have limited time to spend in Iceland and won’t get to see all the sites you normally would on a full 7 day Iceland road trip.
During the tour, you’ll sit in a special chair that is suspended in the air and simulates the feeling of flight. You’ll be whisked off into the air and surrounded by a giant screen that shows stunning aerial footage of Iceland.
The whole experience lasts about 30 minutes, and it’s an amazing way to see some of the most beautiful places in Iceland.
Location: Fiskislóð 43, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Opening hours: Open every day from 11 am to 8 pm.
Entrance fee: Tickets from 4,900 ISK ($38 USD) per person.
Tickets: Book your entry tickets here and skip the line!
More Things to Do in Reykjavik
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of things to do in Reykjavik. There are actually loads of attractions to visit in 1, 2 or 3 days that you have to spend in the city. Here’s a list of some other popular activities in Reykjavik that you might be interested in:
- Take a wander down rainbow street
- Jump on a day tour of the Golden Circle
- Pick up a coffee from Reykjavik Roasters
- Ride a snowmobile on a glacier
- Spend an after hiking an active volcano
- Check out Reykjavik Street art scene around the Old Harbour and Grandi
- Take a day trip to Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufell Waterfall
- Ride cute Icelandic horses around a volcanic landscape
- Take a trip to Viðey Island
- Visit Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach
- Go exploring inside a real Ice Cave
- Learn about ancient Icelandic customs and way of life at Árbæjarsafn
- Go on a whale-watching tour
- Explore the Reykjavik Maritime Museum and the Saga Museum
- Descend into an underground lava tunnel
- Check out the National Museum of Iceland
- Take a wander around Tjörnin pond
- Wade in the milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon
Have we missed something? Do you have any other recommendations on top things to do in Reykjavik, Iceland? Let our readers know in the comments below.
Ready to Book Your Trip to Reykjavik?
Iceland truly is an amazing country, and Reykjavik is such a cool city to soak up the Icelandic culture, enjoy the cosmopolitan vibe, taste incredible Icelandic fare, and experience all the best things to do in Reykjavik.
If visiting Iceland at least once in your lifetime is not already on your travel bucket list, it’s probably time to review said bucket list! It’s one of our absolute favourite places in the world (though, admittedly we do have a lot of favourites!). But we have no doubt you’ll fall in love with the land of fire and ice, as much as we have.
Before embarking on your Iceland adventure, be sure to check out what’s going on in Reykjavik by visiting the official Iceland tourism website. And don’t forget to check out our other Iceland travel blog articles for handy tips and tricks to plan your own trip:
Read More About Iceland:
- The Ultimate Iceland Bucket List
- What to Know Before Your First Visit to Iceland
- Iceland 7 Day Itinerary: The Golden Circle & South Coast Route
- Top Things to do in Iceland in March
- What to Pack for Iceland in Winter (for Women & Men)
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About the Author:
Amanda Twine is the founder and creator of Bucket List Seekers – a luxury travel blog sharing informative travel guides, food guides, hotel reviews, itineraries, and tips about how to make luxury travel more affordable.