Reykjavik Tourism: Best of Reykjavik
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What to do
Where to stay
Where to eat
Trip ideas from our community
A parent’s guide for bringing teens to Reykjavik
- Perlan3,191An excellent first stop to get the lay of the land, literally. Iceland is a unique geographic island, and volcanoes and glaciers and geysers have shaped both the land and the people. The Perlan building itself is an architectural gem, and the virtual lava show and (real) ice cave will be a hit with anyone who blows hot and cold. Grab a bite at the glass-domed restaurant for great views of the city.
- Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur5,591Probably the most famous eatery in Iceland is the modest hot dog cart that has been serving up wieners since 1937. Don’t be alarmed by the line, it moves fast. Dogs are made with lamb meat, and are best with crispy onions. Who doesn’t love a good dog?
- Hallgrimskirkja22,942This stunning church on the hill can be seen from anywhere in Reykjavik. It’s the largest church in Iceland, and source of pride for Icelanders. Pay the extra fee to go up the tower for the best views of the city, and it’s OK to pretend you’re a Norse god in Valhalla.
- Laugardalslaug1,164Iceland sits directly on top of the meeting of two tectonic plates, creating more than 200 volcanoes and making earthquakes a common occurrence. The plus side? Cheap geothermal energy, and thus amazing public geothermal pools. Jump between hot, hotter and freezing pools, enjoy the sauna and waterslides along with the locals. Kids under 16 are free.
- Sun Voyager8,965This impressive sculpture, reminiscent of the bones of a Viking ship, is worth a visit. It’s a modern work by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason. It’s been described as an “ode to the sun” and the artist says he wanted to convey the “promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.” It’s free to visit, and the setting on the waterfront is unmatched. It’s particularly impressive at night, when it’s lit up.
- Lauga-as176For authentic Icelandic cuisine, especially seafood. The lobster soup is always a hit, and when we visited the special was minke whale. But they also have burgers and chicken nuggets for those not looking for adventures in dining.
- Icelandic Riding175The Icelandic horse is a source of national pride. Icelandic law prevents the breed from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return. The breed is hardy and small (more like a pony) and they have an extra gait (the “tolt”) that is unique (most horses just have the walk, trot, canter/gallop) and makes for smooth riding. Take a riding tour and get to see some of the unique scenery from horseback.
- Vera Food Court12The Icelandic horse is a source of national pride. Icelandic law prevents the breed from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return. The breed is hardy and small (more like a pony) and they have an extra gait (the “tolt”) that is unique (most horses just have the walk, trot, canter/gallop) and makes for smooth riding. Take a riding tour and get to see some of the unique scenery from horseback.
- Blue Lagoon19,691Before you hit the airport to depart, stop by Iceland’s most famous spa destination, the Blue Lagoon. It is not a natural hot springs, but instead was created from the runoff from a nearby geothermal power plant. Still, it’s worth the trip to enjoy the luxurious spa environment and have a hot soak. Applying the white silica clay to your face is great for the skin and makes a nearly required photo for Instagram. The restaurant serves up healthy gourmet fare in a sleek modern atmosphere.
Explore Reykjavik by interest
Get a piece of the action
Reykjavik after dark
If you're feeling fancy-ish
Day trips to write home about
Find a patch of grass
A taste of Iceland
Take a quick dip
Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Reykjavik
In the words of those who've been there before ...
What is the best way to get there?
Keflavik International Airport is located 31 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Reykjavik, in the town of Keflavik. Shuttle buses run from the airport to downtown Reykjavik.
Do I need a visa?
Check the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration to find out whether or not you need a visa.
When is the best time to visit?
Early Fall to Winter: Reykjavik weather is always changeable so make sure you bring warm clothing any time of year. Average Summer temperatures are around 68-77° Fahrenheit (20–25° Celsius.) Summer is peak tourist season but by early September the biggest crowds are gone. Winter and Spring, which bring the Northern Lights, is also appealing and, despite its latitude, Reykjavik temperatures are mild, with averages being around 14° Fahrenheit (−10° Celsius).
A compact city, Reykjavik is ideal for exploring on foot.
Bicycles can be rented from tour operators and where there are no dedicated bike lanes guests can ride on the sidewalk. Though, pedestrians have right of way.
Strætó, Reykjavik’s public bus system is clean and reliable. If you are planning to use it a lot, get a multi-day pass. If you need to change buses to reach your destination, ask for a transfer ticket (skiptimiði).
Taxis are the most expensive way of getting around Reykjavik, but if you need one, call or wait at a taxi rank: the main ranks are in front of Hallgrimskirkja and Harpa Concert Hall.
There is no Uber or Lyft service in Iceland but home-grown carpooling site Samferda lets you request for rides or passengers for your journey around Iceland.
Zolo is a dockless electric scooter sharing scheme which offers rental via its smartphone app.
Are there local customs I should know?
- Reykjavik is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:
- We recommend checking out these popular tours when looking for something to do in Reykjavik:
- If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Reykjavik between December and February, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between June and August.