Top 10 Things To Do in Reykjavik Iceland
When you’re planning your trip to Reykjavik, you don’t want to miss any of the best spots around town. You’ll want to reserve tables at the most delicious restaurants, make plans to go to the coolest bars, get tickets to the best museums and book the most exciting tours.
Your time in Reykjavik will be jam-packed with fun, adventure, and relaxation. You’ll never find yourself short of interesting things to do.
What are some of the top things to do in Reykjavik, Iceland? Find out in this fun-filled guide.
Why Visit Reykjavik?
Located on the west coast of Iceland, Reykjavik is the both the nation’s largest city and the capital. This city is bustling with history, culture and life. Reykjavik and its surrounding areas are full of fun and excitement for all ages and types of travelers.
Explore some of the top activities that Reykjavik, Iceland has to offer.
10 Best Things to Do in Reykjavik, Iceland
When you’re on holiday in Reykjavik, you want to make the most of your time.
If you are looking for the top 10 things to do in Reykjavik, you have lucked out. We have compiled the ultimate Reykjavik guide that will help you make the most of your trip to this bustling city.
Be prepared for fun, adventure, and lots of food as you explore all that Iceland’s wonderful capital has to offer. Grab your passport and your notebook. Let the planning begin.
1. Enjoy the Nightlife in Reykjavik
The nightlife experience in Reykjavik is quite unlike any other.
Unlike the extravagant nightclubs you may expect, the late-night venues in Reykjavik are a mix of bars, dance floors and cafes. These venues are a bit more laid back but equally as fun.
People rarely stay put when they go out for the night. Bar-crawling is very popular in Reykjavik. Going from venue to venue allows you to meet new people and experience new scenes.
Whether you’re sipping soda or Brennivín, you’ll surely have a great time during your night out on the town. Check out some of these cool bars and cafes that will keep the night on fire, all night long.
Kaffibarinn is one of the oldest bars in Reykjavik. Even though this bar has become more and more popular among the tourists, it is a favorite spot of local hipsters.
Húrra is a bar that is known for its musical excellence. From concerts to karaoke nights, this venues is always buzzing with energetic beats.
Club Kiki is the only gay bar in Reykjavik and prides itself as the “queerest club in Reykjavik.” This bar has great music and cheap drinks. All are welcome here!
This high end bar is frequented by socialites and celebrities from Reykjavik. Not much music is played in this bar as dancing isn’t common. Many people use this venue to drink, smoke and chat.
Throw on a tie or some heels for a trip to B5. B5 is a ritzy venue that is perfect for an extravagant night out on the town. Prepare for nothing less than a VIP experience in this glamourous club.
2. Explore the Natural Wonders of Reykjavik
Iceland is full of natural beauty and outdoorsy experiences. When visiting Reykjavik, you’ll never be short of an adventure. The geothermal activity of Iceland is responsible for the creation for many wonderful geographic structures.
Even though the Northern Lights tend to steal the show in the winter, there are plenty of outdoors activities to do during the other seasons of the year.
Let’s explore some of the wonderful options that Reykjavik has to offer.
Geothermal Activity Areas
Geothermal activity is energy caused by the movement of heat just below the earth’s surface. Examples of this would be volcanoes, geysers and hot springs.
Hot springs are certainly a popular spot for Icelandic visitors. From the Blue Lagoon to the Laugardalslaug swimming pool, you can swim in these warm bodies of water all year round.
Whales are one of the largest critters native to Reykjavik. Luckily, Hekla includes whale watching on one of their best day excursions out of Reykjavik.
Of the coast of Iceland, you can see all sorts of whales. You can catch a glimpse of blue whales, sperm whales, minke whales, killer whales and more.
While there are not many mountains or volcanoes that are close to Reykjavik, there are plenty of hiking trails. Some favorites are Móskarðshnjúkar, Reykjadalur, Mt. Vífilsfell, Mt. Esja and Glymur Waterfall.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Iceland may be chilly, but when you throw on a wetsuit, a whole new world is opened.
Experience life underwater in Reykjavik. You can explore underwater glaciers and fissures. The weak current and absolute visibility make for the perfect conditions for exploration.
3. Snack Your Way Around Reykjavik
When you visit Reykjavík, there are a few dishes that you must try. One of the best ways to get to know a city is through its cuisine, so prepare your palate for lots of lobster soup, lamb, langoustine, horse and Icelandic rye bread. Since Reykjavik is on the coast, seafood is very, very popular.
Before you arrive, pick a few restaurants that you’d like to try so that you can make reservations in advance if need be. These restaurants are the best that Reykjavik has to offer.
This farm-to-table restaurant cooks delicious meals with produce from local farmers. You can choose to order off of a traditional menu or you may choose to dine at the chef’s table. At Grillmarkadurinn, the two owners are the chefs. Your dinner will be made by caring hands.
Contact: +354 571-7777
Sjavargrillid, or “Seafood Grill,” is one of the hottest dining spots in Reykjavik. This restaurant is chic and cozy and offers a wide variety of seafood dishes. Be sure to make a reservation so that you and your party get the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful restaurant.
Contact: +354 571 1100
If you’re looking for the best hot dog in Reykjavik, you should stop by one of Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur’s five convenient locations. This hot dog stand is thought to have the best hot dogs in all of Europe and has been operating for over 80 years.
Contact: +354 511 1566
The “Seabarin” is famous seafood restaurant in Reykjavik that specializes in fish on a stick. Their fish is served grilled on a spear with fresh vegetables and potatoes. This dive provides sea-shack vibes with food that will satisfy any fishy cravings.
Contact: +354 553 1500
The Fiskmarkaðurinn, or the “Fish Market,” is another fishy favorite that serves their seafood family style and on shareable plates. With a minimum party size of two, this restaurant is perfect for a date night or a family affair. This lovely little restaurant offers an array of sushi and desserts, in addition to their traditional Icelandic platters.
Contact: +354 578 8877
4. Visit Thought-Provoking Museums
Museums are a great way to learn more about a city or country’s history and culture. They also serve as an interesting way to spend the day indoors when the weather does not cooperate for your outdoor plans.
Since Iceland can get pretty chilly in the winter, museums offer great entertainment that allows you to stay warm. Explore some of the most interesting spots in all of Reykjavik.
Perlan is one of the most amazing museums in all of Iceland. This museum offers a Northern Lights planetarium, a Reykjavik observation deck, an underwater exhibit and interactive exhibits relating to the geologic components of Iceland.
Bring the family to Perlan to learn about volcanoes, geothermal energy, tectonic plates, earthquakes and more. Perlan even has a man made ice cave that was made from 350 tons of snow. This museum offers the ultimate Icelandic adventure.
Price: Prices vary by visitor age and package. All pricing information can be found here.
Contact: +354 566 9000
National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum of Iceland tells the history of the great nation, going back its origins in the Medieval days with the viking settlements.
This museum will never grow old because it only has one exhibit that is permanent. It contains a couple thousand artifacts that encompass centuries upon centuries of history. The rest of the exhibits come and go, so there is always something fresh and new.
Price: Adults US$8.24; Children under 18 are free
Contact:+354 530 2200
The Settlement Exhibition
This amazing museum was built around the ruins of a viking longhouse. The Settlement Exhibition displays a variety of artifacts and exhibits that tells the story of the development of Reykjavik from the time of the vikings through present day.
The year “871±2” is an important number for this museum. 871 listed as the year that Reykjavik was founded because it is believed that it coincides with the eruption of a volcano. The volcano is thought to have erupted in 871 with a two year window of error in either direction.
Price: Adults US$14.00; Children under 18 are free
Contact: +354 411 6370
Arbaer Open Air Museum
The Arbaer Open Air Museum is an old church and farmhouse that now serve as a museum. This beautiful venue is often rented out for baptisms, weddings and other private ceremonies.
Price: Adults US$14.00; Children under 18 are free
Contact: +354 411 6300
Reykjavik Maritime Museum
This museum, located close to the harbour, showcases how Reykjavik’s history has largely depended on the fish industry. It was renovated in 2018 to reflect how the fisheries have developed with Reykjavik over the past 150 years.
Price: Adults US$14.00; Children under 18 are free
Contact:+354 411 6300
5. Hike the Laugavegur Trail
The Laugavegur Trail is said to be one of the best hiking trails in the whole world. This hiking trail takes you through mountains, volcanoes, hot springs and glaciers. You will experiences all of Iceland’s most beautiful landscapes on this trek.
This terrain is said to be challenging enough to push you to your limits, yet safe enough for a solo traveler. The Laugavegur Trail is only open from June to August due to weather and takes about three to five days to hike, from one end to another. You can take a bus back to the starting point.
Many tour companies offer all inclusive tour packages. You can join a tour for a one day run for a segment of the trail of a five day hike of the entire trail. Hiking the entire trail with a tour group will run you at least US$1300.
While guided tours may be a bit pricier, it is certainly reassuring to have a trailmaster and group of people on the journey with you. It is also nice to make new friends along the way.
6. Experience the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are arguably among nature’s most beautiful phenomena. Where better to see them than Reykjavik?
Reykjavik and its surrounding areas offer many amazing spots to view the Aurora borealis. You can chase the lights on your own or you can take a guided tour. Many people recommend watching the Northern Lights while bathing in the Blue Lagoon or from the shore beside the Grotta Lighthouse.
Hekla offers the best ATV tour of the Northern Lights. Your tour guide will take you on an adventure to search for the best view of the majestic Northern Lights.
Contact: +45 7199 6622
7. Visit the Hallgrimskirkja Church
If you want to really see Reykjavik, climbing the tower of the Hallgrimskirkja Church is a must. The top of this Evangelical-Lutheran church’s tower provides and 360 view of Iceland’s capital. This view is absolutely not to be missed.
This church is dedicated to a national renowned poet, Hallgrímur Pétursson. It is famous for its regular art exhibitions and beautiful organs. Music brings this beautiful, old church to life.
Price: Entry is free; Climbing the tower is $8.24 for adults, $.82 for kids aged 7-16 and free for ages 6 and under
Contact: +354 510 1000
8. Viðey Island
Viðey Island is a small island full of art, ruins and history, located about five kilometers off the coast off the coast of Reykjavik. This little island is no longer anybody’s home, but it once was inhabited by a group of monks.
The most well-known artwork on Viðey Island was created by Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon. Her piece, the Imagine Peace Tower, was dedicated to her late husband and their shared dream of world peace.
This island also has a cemetary that serves as the final resting place for many notable figures that played significant roles throughout the history of Reykjavik.
There are a few ferries that make trips to Viðey Island.
Price: Adults US$12.78; Children Ages 7-17 US$6.39
Contact: +354 411-6360 / +354 533-5055
9. Check out the Grotta Lighthouse
The Grotta Lighthouse is one of the oldest recorded landmarks around Reykjavik
This lighthouse, from the mid-sixteenth century, is located on a little peninsula that juts out of the side of the nation, just south of Reykjavik.
Getting to this location takes a bit of walking, but those who have made the trek say that the hike was worth it. The Grotta Lighthouse is said to provide one of the most beautiful views of the Northern Lights.
You can walk to the Grotta Lighthouse from downtown Reykjavik in less than an hour. For less walking, take Bus 11 from Downtown to Lindargotu Road (which costs about US$4). From the bus stop, you only have to walk about five minutes to the lighthouse.
The best time to visit the Grotta Lighthouse is during low tide so that you can walk across the sandy bank and up to the lighthouse for a closer look.
Contact: +354 595 9100
10. Visit the Harpa Concert and Conference Hall
The Harpa Concert and Conference Hall was designed by a Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson. It is the home venue of the Icelandic Symphonic Orchestra. Visitors praise this lovely building for its beauty both on the inside and out.
One of the most famous events that is held at the Harpa Concert and Conference Hall is Sónar Reykjavík, an electronic music festival.
Prices for this venue depend on the event that you plan to attend.
Contact: +354 528 5000
What to Know Before Visiting Reykjavik
Now that you know all of the most fun things to do in Reykjavik, there are a few things to consider when planning your trip.
- Plan your activities according the season that your visiting in.
- Be mindful of the weather and weather advisories.
- If you’re renting a car, get insurance. (You’ll likely be doing some off-roading and adventuring).
- Exchange money before your trip.
- Do not leave tips/gratuity at restaurants, cafes, bars, etc. It is rude.
You are already for your trip to Iceland!
Top Tips for Planning your Trip to Reykjavik
While spontaneity can make for an exciting adventure, you’re going to want to plan a few basics for you trip to Reykjavik.
Are you ready? Let’s start planning.
Book Your Flight
First, book your flight with Hekla to get the best deals on airfare. Whether you’re flying first class or coach, you’ll want to snag your seat as far in advance as possible so that you can start booking the rest of your trip.
Solo or Tour
Next, decide whether you’re going to be traveling with a tour group or solo. If you decide to go with a tour group, let Hekla can do this for you. If you decide to go solo, you can go ahead and start planning your trip.
Plan Your Trip
Finally, decide where you will stay, how you will spend your days, and where your “must visit” spots are. Book, book, book and start counting down the days until your departure.
The Best Tours of Reykjavik, Iceland
While traveling by yourself or with you pals is a blast, traveling with a tour group will give you different perspectives to new cities. Tours can certainly expose you to new people and experiences with which you would not have otherwise come in contact.
Since there are many types of travelers, Hekla offers a variety of tours to accommodate different preferences and travel styles.
You can choose from excursions, group tours, student tours and more.
Hekla has been showing visitors around Northern Europe for nearly three decades. From the most popular destinations to the locals’ favorite spots, we will give you an Icelandic experience like no other.
More Iceland Travel Guides
Iceland is a nation full of beauty and adventure: the perfect combination for your next holiday. Why limit stay in Reykjavik when you’ve got the whole country to explore?
Check out some of the other wonderful destinations that Iceland has to offer:
Iceland’s Golden Circle: How to Plan Your Visit
Book your flight and pack your bags. Iceland is calling your name.
Visit Reykjavik for Adventurous and Fun-Filled Things To Do
You’ll never run out of things to do when you’re visiting Reykjavik, Iceland. From hiking to snacking and visiting museums to watching the Northern Lights, the memories you make in Reykjavik will last a lifetime.
Hekla wants to take you to Iceland. Explore all that Reykjavik and its surrounding areas have to offer with one of our expert tour guides on your next holiday.