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Things to do in Reykjavik

Things to do in  Reykjavik

Welcome to Reykjavik

Iceland's colorful capital mixes Viking and maritime history with a hip arts scene, sleek design, and wild nightlife, while also serving as a jumping-off point for outdoor adventures into the country's rugged landscapes. With modern restaurants serving Icelandic cuisine in medieval buildings, must-see sights such as the waterfront Harpa Concert Hall, and opportunities for puffin and whale watching, it's easy to spend all your time in the city—but you'd be remiss to skip what lies beyond. Head out to the country and you’ll be rewarded with pristine waterfalls, volcanic black-sand beaches, and warm geothermal pools set in lava fields.

Top 10 attractions in Reykjavik

#1
Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

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To understand why Iceland's Blue Lagoon is so popular, just imagine bathing in steaming milky-blue waters, sipping a cocktail at a swim-up bar, and looking out over an otherworldly landscape of jagged peaks and black lava fields. This geothermal pool, the most visited of Iceland's many such oases, boasts mineral-rich waters, a luxurious spa, and a magnificent setting, all just minutes from Reykjavik.More
#2
Great Geysir (Great Geyser)

Great Geysir (Great Geyser)

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The world's original geyser, the Great Geysir (Great Geyser) is the source of the English word after which all other geysers are named. Geysir literally means "gusher" in Icelandic, and this natural phenomenon in the Haukadalur geothermal region has been active for more than 10,000 years; records of hot springs activity in the region date back to 1294.More
#3
Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park

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Thingvellir National Park is a remarkable volcanic landscape of gorges, waterfalls, lakes, and more, and is a favorite stop on Iceland’s Golden Circle Tour. Plus, the park offers endless recreation opportunities, from hiking and camping to snorkeling, diving, and fishing.More
#4
Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls)

Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls)

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Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is a massive waterfall on the river Hvita in western Iceland. The falls are considered one of Iceland's most treasured natural wonders, with a name inspired by the phenomenon when glacial sediment in the water turns the falls golden in the sunlight.More
#5
Skógafoss

Skógafoss

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Stretching 82 feet (25 meters) across the Skógá River, into which its teeming waters plunge 197 feet (60 meters) from a rocky cliff, Skógafoss clocks in as one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls. Its clouds of spray regularly create vivid rainbows—often double rainbows—across the waters. The waterfall is also an important site for local folklore.More
#6
Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

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A slim cascade of water slicing through the air and pooling in the Seljalands River below, Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most photogenic waterfalls. Because the falls’ chute of water is so narrow, visitors can also step behind Seljalandsfoss for a unique vantage point.More
#7
Vatnajokull National Park

Vatnajokull National Park

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Established in 2008 by combining Iceland’s former Jokulsargljufur and Skaftafell National Parks, Vatnajokull National Park is one of Europe’s largest national parks. It presents incredibly diverse and dramatic scenery including glacial plateaus, active volcanoes, towering ice caps, black-sand beaches, and terrain that is bubbling with geothermal activity. The park is dominated by the Vatnajokull glacier, Europe’s third-largest glacier, and contains Iceland’s highest mountain (Oraefajokull) and deepest lake (Jokulsarlon).More
#8
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

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Perched on the cusp of Europe’s largest glacier and separated from the Atlantic Ocean by just a narrow isthmus, the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is the largest, deepest, and arguably most magnificent of Iceland’s many glacial lakes. Here, icebergs bob in glittering water framed by jagged peaks, rugged lava fields, and black-sand beaches.More
#9
Golden Circle (Gullni Hringurinn)

Golden Circle (Gullni Hringurinn)

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There’s a lot to see in Iceland, and the grand Golden Circle (Gullni Hringurinn) is your ticket to easily hitting multiple popular sights, especially if you only have one day to venture outside Reykjavik. Departing from the city, Golden Circle tours showcase a number of Iceland’s main attractions and natural wonders—think geysers, waterfalls, lava fields, volcanic craters, and Icelandic horses. There are few other places in Europe where you can see so much topographical variety on one short trip.More
#10
Harpa (Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre)

Harpa (Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre)

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Set on the waterfront, the striking Harpa (Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre), home to both the Icelandic Opera and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, is one of Reykjavik’s most prominent landmarks. Designed by world-renowned Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and Danish firm, Henning Larsen Architects, the building’s glass facade features honeycombed panels that change colors as they reflect the sky and the ocean.More

Trip ideas

Ways to Beat the Crowds in Reykjavik

Ways to Beat the Crowds in Reykjavik

Top Spots for Culture Lovers in Reykjavik

Top Spots for Culture Lovers in Reykjavik

Top activities in Reykjavik

Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Including Admission & Kerid Volcanic Crater
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Golden Circle, Volcano Crater & Blue Lagoon Small Group Tour
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Golden Circle & Glacier Snowmobiling Day Trip from Reykjavik
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Reykjavik Food Walk - Local Foodie Adventure in Iceland
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Inside the Volcano: Small Group Thrihnukagigur Hike and Tour from Reykjavik
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Golden Circle, Kerid Volcanic Crater, and Blue Lagoon Day Trip from Reykjavik
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Reykjavik

star-5
Great informative tour!
Mark_M, Jul 2022
Walking tour of Reykjavik city
If this is your first time to Reykjavik, this tour is a must to see the city’s architecture, sites, and soak in Reykjavik.
star-5
Reached the summit!
Rebecca_V, Jun 2022
2hr Twin Peaks ATV Adventure from Reykjavik
A great way to see nature and have a good time as well.
star-5
Super day
Jolita_J, Jun 2022
Golden Circle, Volcano Crater & Blue Lagoon Small Group Tour
And I was very lucky we had good whether for to see crater, waterfall and etc.
star-5
Great experience with VIATOR
loripalka, May 2022
Keflavik International Airport Private Transfer
He was very professional and had lots of information about things to see and visit while we were in Reykjavik.
star-5
You will love it
Margaret_M, May 2022
Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Day Tour with Kerid Crater from Reykjavik
The geothermal pool was amazing and the waterfall just wow.
star-5
A great way to learn about Iceland.
Benet_B, Apr 2022
Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour - Icelandic Traditional Food
A great way to see a little of Reykjavik and feel you have an insight on the city.
star-5
We got lucky!
Trina_N, Mar 2022
Northern Lights Yacht Cruise
We booked this trip on our first night in Reykjavik to give us best opportunity to see the Northern lights.
star-5
Wonderful day trip with great guide!
Marie_W, Mar 2022
Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Day Tour with Kerid Crater from Reykjavik
I’m usually not a huge fan of touristic guided tours but if you have little time in Reykjavik and would still love to see most of the landmarks I would definitely recommend this tour.
star-5
Great day - Magnus was great
Lewis_P, Feb 2022
Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Including Admission & Kerid Volcanic Crater
Professionally ran tour to the main tourist attractions near Reykjavik.
star-5
Excellent Day Trup
Steven_R, Jun 2022
Golden Circle Classic Day Trip from Reykjavik
The falls were the best I’ve ever seen.
star-5
Sights to take your breath away
Lydia_D, Jun 2022
Small-group Glacier Lagoon (Jokulsarlon) Day Trip from Reykjavík
We had several other stops to waterfalls, an ancient church and glacial lakes.
star-4
Once in a lifetime experience
Kathy_D, Jun 2022
South Iceland Glaciers, Waterfalls and Black Sand Beach Day Tour from Reykjavik
The black sand beach, glacier and both waterfalls were gorgeous.
star-5
Great Way to see Reykavik, especially in poor weather or if you have poor mobility
Amy_F, Jun 2022
Reykjavik City Sightseeing by Minibus
For me, this was a perfect way to get to see Reykjavik; I was able to see large portions of the city despite the fact that I cannot walk far, nor can I push my chair up the hills of the city.
star-5
The highlight of my trip to Iceland
Niamh_W, Apr 2022
Small-Group Reykjavik RIB Whale Watching Cruise
We were lucky enough to see porpoise, white beaked dolphins and humpbacks (and of course lots of birds), but even if we hadn't seen any cetaceans, the boat trip itself was fun enough and the views looking back onto the mainland were just beautiful (we got really lucky with the weather too).
star-5
Excellent walk, knowledgeable guide
Nicola_M, Apr 2022
Walking tour of Reykjavik city
Luca followed up after the walk with his suggestions of where to eat, other places to see and if he sees the Northern Lights would let us know.
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Stay on time to get extra stops
Georgina_D, Apr 2022
Golden Circle, Kerid Volcanic Crater, and Blue Lagoon Day Trip from Reykjavik
Food is very expensive in Iceland and the cafes at the main locations get really busy which reduces the time you have to see the geography.
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SOUTH COAST AND MORE
Wilma_H, Apr 2022
South Coast Adventure with Glacier Hike Full-Day Tour
Stops at the black sand beach and a couple of waterfalls one with a food vender made this day speed by.
star-5
Such a fun experience!
Rachael_B, Apr 2022
2hr Twin Peaks ATV Adventure from Reykjavik
Also loved being able to go up the mountain and because it wasn’t a cloudy day, we were able to see the full of Reykjavik.
star-4
Great customer service
Trina_N, Mar 2022
Golden Circle Day Tour Including Blue Lagoon Admission from Reykjavik
We did manage to fill our days with activities in Reykjavik, definitely worth having a plan b in your back pocket if you are visiting in winter months.
star-4
Tour cancelled
Holly_B, Mar 2022
Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik
They were beautiful but only there for a few seconds and a little underwhelming (I think because we were in the main centre) however still beautiful all the same and I am so grateful we got to see them.
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All about Reykjavik

Currency
Icelandic Króna (ISK)
Time Zone
GMT (UTC 0)
Country Code
+354
Language(s)
Icelandic

A local’s pocket guide to Reykjavik

Friðjón Júlíusson

Friðjón was brought up in downtown Reykjavik and has lived in and around there ever since. You might run into him in a hot tub at one of the city’s many outdoor swimming pools.

The first thing you should do in Reykjavik is...

unwind after a long flight at the local swimming pool. Every neighborhood has their own but you can’t go wrong with Laugardalslaug.

A perfect Saturday in Reykjavik...

starts with delicious cinnamon buns from Brauð & Co for breakfast, a walk down Laugavegur street, and a visit to the pond outside Reykjavik City Hall to feed the ducks.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Perlan, a glass dome built on top of old hot water tanks. Visit the museum, grab a coffee, and enjoy the 360-degree view of the city.

To discover the "real" Reykjavik...

explore the Old West Side of downtown Reykjavik and don’t miss the old Hólavallakirkjugarður graveyard.

For the best view of the city...

go to the Hallgrímskirkja church. You can also use it as a landmark to find your way if you get lost in Reykjavik.

One thing people get wrong...

is trusting the weather. Conditions change fast in Iceland, so don’t be fooled even if the weather looks beautiful when you’re heading out.

People Also Ask

What is Reykjavik best known for?

Reykjavik is known as the world’s northernmost capital city. Iceland’s pint-sized capital is also known for its colorful streets, innovative design, creative people, and wild nightlife scene. Most visitors to Iceland spend at least a day or two in Reykjavik as it is the gateway to the rest of the country.

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What is there to do in Reykjavik?

Reykjavik makes a great base for exploring Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes, but there’s plenty to do in town. Visit Hallgrim's Church (Hallgrímskirkjao) for a birds-eye view, stroll the Harpa concert hall, and learn Icelandic history at the National Museum of History. At night, try local cuisine and check out the nightlife.

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Can you see the northern lights in Reykjavik?

Yes. It is possible to see the northern lights in Reykjavik, but don’t count on it. The northern lights are elusive and there's no guarantee you'll see them. In Reykjavik, you’ll have a better chance if you leave the city and its light pollution—many aurora-focused tours depart Reykjavik.

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Do they speak English in Iceland?

Yes. English is widely spoken in Iceland. Generally, you should have no problems speaking only English and not knowing any Icelandic. However, if you are traveling to more remote parts of the country, you may find that people (especially older Icelanders) are not quite as comfortable speaking English.

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What kind of activities can you do in Iceland?

First-time visitors to Iceland usually drive or take a tour around the Golden Circle route along the south coast, which takes you to Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. Then there’s glacier walks, Icelandic horseback riding, geothermal hot springs, volcanoes, lava tubes, and northern lights spotting.

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Is Reykjavik expensive?

Yes. Reykjavik is expensive. The biggest hit to your wallet comes from hotels and eating and drinking. Iceland’s greatest attraction is nature and that doesn’t cost anything. Save money getting around by booking combination tours that combine activities. In Reykjavik, buy a pass that includes admission to multiple attractions.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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What are the top things to do in Reykjavik?
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