25 Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Ireland : Photo by Natã Romualdo

The capital city of Iceland is a vibrant urban centre that is culturally vibrant and the perfect place to explore natural wonders people dream of visiting for the rest of their lives.

Like every cool place, Reykjavik is constantly reinventing itself as you can see in the Grandi Area by the Old Harbour.

The fish packing factories here are now sharply constructed visitor attractions, and artistic murals cover the walls. Additionally, modern Nordic restaurants are now open.

The waterfront was chosen as the location of the festival, Harpa, a monument to the 21st century Reykjavik with an enchanting façade designed by Olafur Eliasson.

You can relax in Reykjavik’s warm and welcoming ambience or venture out to see the incredible volcanic wonders of the Golden Circle and see whales in the Faxa Bay in the summer.

If you are planning to travel to Reykjavic then we would recommend you to take the Reykjavic City Card which would really be helpful to save money for your trip.

Let’s look at the top activities to see and do during your time in Reykjavik:

25 Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

1. Hallgrimskirkja

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland : Photo by Sebastian Palomino

A parish church as well as Iceland’s national church, Hallgrimskirkja is an ever-present part of the Reykjavik skyline.

The idea was conceived in the early 1940s by Gudjon Samuelsson The church was 41 year-olds in construction before it was officially dedicated in the year 1986. The 74.5-metre tower is columns that cascade down that are designed to reflect Iceland’s landscapes of basalt, making the impression of an aircraft taking off.

In front of it is the statue of Leif Eriksson, the Norse Explorer who was credited as one of the very first European to step foot on American soil in the middle of the 11th century.

One of the sights to behold inside is a huge organ that is 15 metres high and 25 tons created by Johannes Klais, the German organist Johannes Klais.

For ISK 1000, you can climb the tower to enjoy stunning views over the capital.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

 2. National Museum of Iceland

To keep abreast of Iceland’s 1200 years of human development, there’s only one destination to visit.

The National Museum of Iceland has collections that have been gathered in 1863 and then moved to its present, boring building in the year 1950. It’s hard to imagine the amazing things that can be found waiting to be discovered inside, spread across two floors.

The most sought-after artifact is the Valthjofsstadur Door from the 13th century.

The relief of the pine tree is reminiscent of the tale of Yvain the knight of the Lion in a Medieval Arthurian romance.

This is among the interesting artifacts that are part of the ongoing Making of a Nation exhibition that has more than 1,000 photos and 2,000 objects starting with a longboat and concluding with a modern airport.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

3. Harpa

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland: Photo by Jason Krieger on Unsplash

A striking modern landmark in Reykjavik, Harpa is the concert hall and conference centre situated on the shores of Old Harbour. Old Harbour.

The project began in 2007 and concluded in 2011, following an extended period caused by financial crises.

Harpa was developed for The Danish company Henning Larsen Architects, and its distinctive façade which was inspired by Iceland’s famous basalt rock is the creation by Olafur Eliasson.

Harpa is the home of both Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera and also has an active calendar of events such as the hip Sonar Reykjavik in March.

On a typical day, visitors could visit the café, restaurant or shop, then go to a free show and then watch the 15-minute 360deg documentary on Iceland’s natural wonders inside Iceland Expo Pavilion. Iceland Expo Pavilion.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

4. Arbaejarsafn

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Source

Arbaejarsafn was established at an old farm in the year 1957 to save a little portion of the past of Reykjavik amid the rapid construction going on throughout the city at that time.

The museum’s buildings are largely original and date back to the 19th century.

There’s a blacksmith’s home and a stable. There’s also the cottage of a labourer, with an exhibit on life during the Great Depression, a general store, a drilling machine used for mining gold, and more.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

5. Settlement Exhibition

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland -
Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Source

Reykjavik could not have been a Nordic capital without an open-air museum in the style of Skansen that sheds an understanding of the traditions, work habits and family life of the previous generations.

A fascinating archaeological site located situated on Adalstraeti within Reykjavik 101, the Settlement Exhibition has preserved the remnants of one of Iceland’s most ancient homes.

The hall dates back to this period of the Settlement Age, sometime in the 10th century. the wall next to it is older, dating from before 871. The ruin can be identified precisely because of the eruption of 870 near Torfajokull that left a thin layer of tephra that extended as much as Greenland.

Then it was covered in layers of ice. This can be read as a kind of naturally occurring calendar.

The ruin is accompanied by explanations of Viking techniques of building through models and interactive displays which provide insight into the way of life during the time.

Along the sides of the dig, there are excavated artifacts such as glass beads, axe heads from as far as India and replicas of beds for settlers and weapons, as well as the first Scandinavian Tafl games on a board.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

6. Videy Island

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Source

In the Kollfjordur just a few hundred yards to the water’s edge of the town is the tiny islet of Videy.

Its Elding ferry service is regularly scheduled to provide crossings to Videy and is a must-see for its historic architecture as well as its modern-day society.

It is possible to explore Iceland’s trails on foot or via bicycle, in search to find one of the largest churches in Iceland as well as Videy House is the first building in Iceland constructed from stone.

The stark heathland of the island is modern structures like Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower light installation.

Between the 9th of October (Lennon’s birthday) and the 8th of December (the anniversary of his passing), It’s hard to resist noticing this glowing column from the mainland.

From its stone base that resembles a drum, the beam can reach up to four kilometres on clear nights.

Richard Serra’s artwork on the environment, Milestones is on the west-facing side of Videy and consists of a series of basalt columns which refer to Iceland’s geography and geology.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

7. Reykjavik Maritime Museum

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland -
Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Source

The building was built in 1947. freezing factory located in the city’s Old Harbour was converted into Reykjavik’s Maritime Museum in 2005. The old fish-processing hall has a superb exhibition about the history of sailing in Iceland, with a specially-constructed wooden pier that has seawater flowing beneath.

The pier can be reached through the deck that was reconstructed that was the MV Gullfoss, a ferry operating between Iceland, Denmark and Scotland during the 20th century.

The exhibit “From poverty to abundance” explores the transformative impact of technological advancements on Iceland’s industry of fishing throughout the latter half of the century.

Outside, the ICGV Odinn is the coast guard vessel that participated in the three “Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK during the 60s and 70s.

Onboard you will see a trawl warp cutter used to cut down fishing nets from UK Trawlers who are in Icelandic waters.

8. Saga Museum

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland -
Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Source

The next-door neighbour next to Maritime Museum in the Grandi area is a waxwork exhibit that brings famous people from Iceland’s past to life.

With the aid of an audio guide in multiple languages The museum recollects more than a millennium worth of Icelandic time.

It outlines all the difficulties such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and diseases that might be a part of the island’s settlement beginning in the 9th century AD. The thing that sets Saga Museum above the rest of waxwork exhibitions is that what sets Saga Museum above the typical waxwork exhibit is the level of talent and dedication involved in every tableau.

The clothing, weapons, furniture, tools and jewellery were all created using techniques that date back to the past.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

9. Street Art

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Photo by Anderson Guerra:

Wall Poetry As cool as ever, Reykjavik has had an active graffiti scene since the 90s, but in the past few years, it has been given an entirely new dimension.

Amazing murals are now decorating the facades of the buildings Old Harbour and Grandi, as a result of a partnership between The Iceland Airwaves music festival and the Berlin-based Urban Nation art initiative.

Named “Wall Poetry” These murals were either in the spirit of individual songs performed by musicians like Mercury Rev, John Grant or Gus Gus or are real collaborations between street artists and musicians. They bring back an era gone by where art and visuals were integral to albums.

Wall Poetry is also just the beginning of the iceberg when it comes to commissions for street art. It is located in Reykjavik and elsewhere. There are also large-scale photographic works created by Guido Van Helten and fanciful works from Sara Riel injecting wonder into the cityscape.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland


Top things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Top things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Northern Lights Planeterium Show at Perlan

At the top of Oskjuhlid hill, The Perlan building is among Reykjavik’s most instantly recognized landmarks. In 1991, a set of six circular hot water tanks were integrated into a stunning new structure that was topped by an oblique dome.

The first museum in the building was opened in the summer and Perlan is expanding its exhibitions and attractions throughout the year. The main attraction is the Glaciers and Ice exhibition, which will see you put on your winter clothing and stroll through a 100-meter Ice cave, looking through its cracks and discovering the millennia-old volcanic ash that is a part of the walls.

The top floor is an interactive journey through Iceland’s glaciers. It also has 360-degree views of the famous Vatnajokull. The fourth floor has an observation deck that is equipped with telescopes and information panels. You can view a glacier, the Atlantic mountains, and volcanoes.

If you are not able to explore the Northern Lights or maybe you are travel off season to Reykjavik then we would recommend you to take the Perlan Northern Lights Planitarium Show which is absolutely worth its money and no doubt it should be included in the top things to do in Reykjavik Iceland.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

11. Tjornin

Reykjavik is the most beautiful with this pond situated at the heart of the city. The banks of Tjornin’s green are painted houses and rows of bushes, trees and flowerbeds.

It’s an idyllic setting for a stroll during the warmer seasons, or to ice skate in winter. The northern shore is home to City Hall and a wry Monument to the Unknown Bureaucrat created by the artist Magnus Tomasson.

The lower portion depicts a man in an office suit carrying an oversized briefcase, while the upper half is a chunk of unsculpted stone. It is just a few steps away from The Supreme Court, the Frikirkjan I Reykjavik church as well as the National Theatre as well as several museums, including the Living Art Museum, the National Gallery of Iceland and the National Museum.

One peculiarity of Tjornin is the resident population of geese, ducks and swans. They are there all year long because of the mild warming of the earth’s geothermal heat.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

12. Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach

Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach Cold-water swimming is something from a nightmare, yet it’s been fixed in Iceland’s history since the days of settlement one thousand years ago.

In 2001, a secure swimming area was created through the construction of sea walls that create a lagoon right to the south of both airports and the University. With its beautiful golden sand Nautholsvik, Geothermal Beach is a stunning golden sand beach Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach is replenished by the sea and is home to its geothermal waters which means that its temperature is a couple of degrees higher than that of the open ocean.

It could be a cool 19degC temperature in summer. In winter, based on the level of the tide the water level can range from just below freezing to 10 degrees. If you’re willing to take on there’s a common hot tub that is heated by a vent, and steam rooms just a few steps away.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

13. Hafnarhus

Hafnarhus The most expansive of the three sites to house the Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarhus was a former office for fishing and a warehouse located on the harbour. It was converted into an art gallery in the year 2000.

You can visit here for avant-garde or creative temporary exhibitions from the most prominent artists of modern art. At the time this article was written in 2018, there were several exhibitions of the art of today in Denmark and a summary of contemporary art from Iceland and an exhibit of the sculptor and the installation artist Pall Haukur.

If you go, there’s a permanent exhibit of The Icelandic pop artist Erro who donated an enormous portion of his work at the time of his donation to the museum.

Recommended Read: Best Places to Visit in Europe in December

14. Volcano House

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

Volcano House Since Eyjafjallajokull erupted in 2010 and released ash into the atmosphere, Iceland’s volcanoes, as well as seismic activity, have drawn international interest.

The attraction is open all days from 9:00 until 22:00 and offers a no-cost display of Iceland’s thrilling volcanoes and geology, featuring examples of pumice, ash obsidian, lava and pumice of Eyjafjallajokull, Hekla and Grimsvotn.

If you spot an element of retro in the interior design, it’s because it’s styled in 1973 which was the year of the eruption of the Heimaey off the south coast. You can pay ISK 1990 to enjoy a documentary that is well-crafted about the eruption, as well as one on the Eyjafjallajokull, and Fimmvorduhals eruptions in the year 2010.

You can also take the Fagradalsfjall Volcano Hike with Geologist which could also be an ideal option for you if you are fond of exploring Volcanoes.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

15 The Sun Voyager

The Sun Voyager This stainless steel abstract sculpture of a ship is the most popular photo-op photo since it was built in the year 1990 in celebration of this city’s anniversary of 200 years.

The construction is located on an undeveloped headland that was constructed by a man just off of the Saebraut road. It is surprising that, despite the title that the ship is pointing towards the north, over the bay, and up to the Esjan mountain.

It was originally designed to greet the sunset to the West of the city. The Sun Voyager’s creator is Jon Gunnar Arnason who was close to death career when he finished this work of contemplation. He would not live to see it revealed.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

16. Einar Jonsson Museum

Einar Jonsson Museum If you had to come up with an acclaimed list of Icelandic artists, the 20th-century artist Einar Jonsson would rank at or at the top.

Since modelling clay is scarce and is scarce in Iceland, Jonsson worked mostly in plaster and due to its malleability, could have spent an entire decade working in a single piece. His work is filled with drama and depicts contemporary figures as well as mythological and historical Icelandic as well as Nordic heroes.

At the beginning of his career in 1909, his work performed something remarkable by donating all his work to the Icelandic State. A museum to house the works. Jonsson picked the spot situated on top of Skolavorduhaed as well as the style for the striking Eclecticist structure that was finished in 1923.

Jonsson was able to set up his studio and home there, and the area that he used as a park is now decorated with bronze castings of his most well-known works.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

17. Whales of Iceland

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

Whales Of Iceland To the list of family-friendly activities that have been sprouting in the harbour-side Grandi region, Whales of Iceland is focused on the 23 species of cetaceans that live in Iceland’s oceans. The museum is arranged with life-size models set in a symbiosis of environments that feature ambient lighting and sounds.

It is a joint venture between a whale-watching company as well as the Marine Research Institute of Iceland. The models of blue whales, sperm whales fin whales, humpback whales, minke orca, and dolphin species are impressive enough and come with details about their movements and behaviour routes.

There’s also a lot of technology at play such as an interactive station that can monitor whale movement in real-time and yes it is one of the top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland.

A whale watching tour could be an ideal options for you if you are exploring Reykjavic at your own pace.

18. Nightlife

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland – Photo by Maurício Mascaro:

Nightlife Reykjavik could be intimidating in its hipness, however, bars in the city are welcoming and warm even during winter. Alcohol prices can be expensive however for over two decades, it has also been hailed by many as being one of the top cities in the world to go out.

The nightclubs are restricted to 101, which is located in the city’s centre and are almost all private bars that have special themes and themes. The bar is even that pays an ode in honour of The Coen Brothers’ movie, the Big Lebowski. A lot of venues will have a stage to host live music. the only time you’ll have to pay for a cover fee is when a band is performing.

On Fridays and Saturdays, Reykjavik’s bars remain open until 05:00. the traditional method of going out is to have one or two drinks in one, and then move on to the next.

So if you are a party person then for you this is going to be one of the top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland.

Recommended Read: Best Places to Visit in Europe in February- Free Guide

19. Nordic House

Nordic House Vatsmyrin is just a 10-minute walk from the city centre of Reykjavik There there is the Nordic House which is an institution for a culture that was founded in 1968 to strengthen Iceland’s links and ties with the other Nordic nations.

What helps the Nordic House stand out is its style by the renowned Finnish Modernist designer Alvar Aalto. He conceived of his homes as a Gesamtkunstwerk (all-encompassing art form) and, together with his wife Elissa was in charge of the most exquisite details such as furnishings, furniture and fittings.

This is what happens in the Nordic House in Aalto, and in this elegant setting, there are exhibitions on Nordic design, peruse Aalto’s amazing library, browse the design shop, and enjoy a meal at the AALTO Bistro.

The head chef of this restaurant is Sveinn Kjartansson. He is a well-known chef in Iceland.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

20. Kjarvalsstadir

Kjarvalsstadir In the Nordic Modernist hall, Kjarvalsstadir is a different part of the Reykjavik Art Museum which was opened in 1973. It was opened following the death of one of Iceland’s most admired artists, Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval, named after him and featuring an ongoing exhibition of his works.

He is well-known for his landscapes. Kjarval could not be described by one style, however, most of his work is founded on Symbolism. He also turned to abstraction later throughout his work.

On display at Kjarvalsstadir are works of Erro and the sculpture artist Asmundur Sveinsson. Kjarvalsstadir also hosts up to 20 exhibitions a year to showcase established artists in contemporary and modern international art.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

21. Northern Lights

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland: Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Northern Lights Aurora Reykjavik is an information centre that will assist you in experiencing your experience of the Northern Lights in all their splendour. The Aurora Borealis, caused by electronically charged solar particles colliding with the upper air can be seen around Reykjavik during winter.

However, chance plays a significant part because, above all else, you’ll require a clear night. You can plan your vacation with the aurora forecasts that can be found on the internet. Beyond that, you’ll need to avoid the city for the sake of avoiding the light pollution that can be found on a boat, along the shore or out in the open countryside.

If everything goes according to plan and you’re in the right place, you’ll be given one of nature’s most spectacular sights, as the bands of swirling colours ranging from pale green, yellow, pink and blue drift across the sky.

Northern Light Bus Tour from Reykjavic would be an ideal option for you to try to explore the Northern Light in Iceland. But if you are looking for Guided Tour with Photo then this would be a better deal for you.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

22. Golden Circle

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland :Photo by Andrés Dallimonti on Unsplash

Thingvellir National Park Three of Iceland’s best natural wonders are located in this 300-kilometre loop that will take you from Reykjavik to Iceland’s southern highlands.

The first stop about an hour to the east of the city is the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, where there’s a canyon formed by the rupture between the Eurasian as well as the North American tectonic plates and is the site of the Althingi which is the oldest parliament that has ever existed, and was set in 930.

Gullfoss is a stunning double waterfall that is 32 meters high. In addition, the Haukadalur valley hosts hot springs, mud pots and geysers such as Strokkur that burst every 5-10 minutes. Guided tours typically depart from Reykjavik between 08:00-10:00 and 12:00-14.00 and return at the end of the night.

To have more freedom, you can rent a vehicle. For those who don’t like crowds, they can leave in the evening during the summer months, and take in these sights illuminated by the night sun before setting up camp at the Thingvellir National Park.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

23. Esjan

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Esjan : Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland :Photo by Toby Elliott on Unsplash

Jan For those who have only one chance to see Iceland’s beauty this 914-metre basalt the tuff peak is only 10 km away far from Iceland’s capital city. The city is framed from the sea Esjan is possible to do this with public transportation.

You can take the 15 to the Hlemmur bus station, the next stop in Haholt in Mosfellsbaer switch to the 57. It will drop you off at the centre for hiking at the base of the mountain. Several routes lead to the top, or down the slopes. they are marked for difficulty with an icon for boots, which ranges between one and three.

In the summer, you’ll be greeted in lush green meadows that are dappled with purple wildflowers. But when you’re on the summit, the final 200m is gruelling and is only suitable for experienced hikers. If you’re among those who reach the top, be sure you make sure to sign the guestbook.

Recommended Read: Best Places to Visit in Europe in April

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

24. Whale Watching as well as Puffin Cruises

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Whale watching and Puffin Cruise: Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland: Photo by ArtHouse Studio

Whale Watching and Puffin Tours Reykjavik is among the most popular locations in Iceland to spot whales since the city is situated in Fax Bay, a swarming place for an abundance of species in the summer. From April through September, there are more than twenty species of cetaceans are found in the bay.

However, the two most abundant species are the humpback and minke whales. Tours depart each day departing from Old Harbour mostly on small vessels with a personalized individual.

There’s a good chance to witness a humpback or minke whale breaching however, there’s much more to look out for: The majority of excursions will take you to Akurey the place that has large numbers of puffins.

The views of Reykjavik and the mountainous backdrop from the beach are breathtaking as are seals and white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises can be seen occasionally. Remember to bring your camera!

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

25. Horseback Riding Tours

Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland: Photo by Alexander Dummer

Horseback Riding Tour From Reykjavik It is believed that the Icelandic horse, which is the sole breed that is native to Iceland and is strictly controlled and it is prohibited to import horses after which once the Icelandic horse is exported, it’s forbidden to return.

It is recognized by its long, full mane, and pony-like size This breed has a long life span and suffers from a variety of ailments and is used for races or sheepherding as well as for plain old enjoyment. Horseback riding is more of a leisure activity.

There are at the very least 10 stables along the outer outskirts of Reykjavik offering one-time lessons, heathland-related hacks, or multi-day trips. Within the area, one can take a ride on the Golden Circle, explore the stratovolcano Hekla or walk through the wilderness of Snaefellsnes peninsula that lies on the West Coast.

Viking Horses, Laxness Horse Farm, Icelandic Riding and Ishestar Horse Riding Tours are just four of the organizations close by.

Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

Where to stay in Reykjavik Iceland


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Top Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland

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