What are the best things to do in Reykjavik (map + tips)
Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, is one of the best places to see in Iceland and you can easy spend some days in the city.
Reykjavik has a wealth of museums and galleries to explore. The National Museum of Iceland showcases the country’s history, from the Viking settlement to modern times. The Reykjavik Art Museum is home to a diverse collection of contemporary art, while the Saga Museum offers an immersive experience of Iceland’s medieval past.
Another must-see attraction is the Hallgrímskirkja, a towering church that is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. From the top of its bell tower, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city and beyond.
In this article, we will suggest some places to visit in Reykjavik, and also answer some questions about the capital of Iceland. Furthermore, we suggest the best hotels to stay in Reykjavik and advise some good restaurants.
Reykjavik is also the perfect place to start your 7-day Iceland itinerary. If you happen to be here in winter you might want to check our articles about winter driving in Iceland and what to wear in Iceland from Octobre to April. We don’t wan’t you to be cold in Reykjavik 🙂
There are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik, and here are some of the top attractions to check out. Have a look at our map.
Hallgrimskirkja is a must-see attraction in Reykjavik. This iconic church is the largest in Iceland and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the church tower for a stunning panoramic view of Reykjavik. The church’s unique architecture is also worth admiring.
The entrance to the tower costs 1200 ISK ($8,5) for adults and 200 ISK ($1,5) for children (7-16y). They also have an elevator.
Opening hours Hallgrimskirkja:
Valid from 18th. May – 31. st August
Church: 09:00 – 20:00
Tower: 09:00 – 19:45
Valid from 18th. May – 31. st August
Church: 09:00 – 20:00
Tower: 09:00 – 19:45
On the official website of the Hallgrimskirkja you can find all events and some more info about worship, music, etc…
Discover the Harpa Concert Hall
The Harpa Concert Hall is another must-see in Reykjavik. This modern architectural masterpiece is located on the Reykjavik waterfront. The building’s glass facade reflects the surrounding landscape, making it a popular spot for photos. Inside, visitors can attend concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural events.
On the fourth floor, you can find a restaurant, La Primavera. More info about which events are taking place can be found on the Harpa Concert Hall website.
Take a walk down Laugavegur and Rainbow Street
Laugavegur is Reykjavik’s main shopping street and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. It’s a great place to explore and soak up the city’s atmosphere. Visitors can also find street art and murals along the way. It’s one of the oldest streets in Reykjavik
The street starts in the east at Kringlumýrbraut, near the mall Kringlan and runs west to Bankastræti, which leads into the downtown area. In total, it’s about 1 mile long.
Rainbow Street is the other main street that leads to the Hallgrimskirkja church. You will also find shops and restaurants on this street.
If you prefer a guide, you can take a city tour with a local guide. This is the most popular Reykjavik city walking tour. It’s better to book in advance.
Visit the Reykjavik Art Museum
The Reykjavik Art Museum is a great place to learn about Icelandic art and culture. The museum has three locations in the city, each with its own unique exhibits. Visitors can see a wide range of art, from classic Icelandic paintings to contemporary installations.
The three locations are Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, and Ásmundarsafn. Opening hours and events can be found on the website of the Reykjavik Art Museum.
Visit the National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum of Iceland is a great place to learn about the country’s history and culture. The museum’s exhibitions showcase Iceland’s Viking past, medieval literature, and art. Visitors can see artifacts from the Viking Age, including weapons, tools, and jewelry.
The museum also has a collection of paintings and sculptures by Icelandic artists. Guided tours are available, and the museum has a gift shop where visitors can buy souvenirs.
Opening hours: daily except Mondays from 10:00 – 17:00
Check the National Museum of Iceland’s website for info about events and have a look at their online store.
Visit the Icelandic Phallological Museum
The Icelandic Phallological Museum is a unique museum that showcases a collection of penises from various animals, including whales, seals, and humans. The museum also has a collection of phallic art and folklore.
Visitors can learn about the cultural significance of the phallus in Icelandic folklore and mythology. The museum is not suitable for children, and visitors should be aware that the exhibits are graphic.
You can have lunch in The Phallic Café 🙂
It’s open every day, from 10 am to 7 pm. The admission is 2750 ISK ($19,5)
Visit the Reykjavik Flea Market
The Reykjavik Flea Market is a great place to sample local foods and drinks. The market is only open on weekends and offers a variety of Icelandic foods, including fermented shark. Visitors can also find local crafts and souvenirs.
The Sun Voyager
One of the top things to do in Reykjavik is visit The Sun Voyager. That is a popular sculpture located in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is a striking, modern interpretation of a Viking ship, made entirely of stainless steel. The sculpture, created by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason, was unveiled in 1990 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Iceland’s independence.
It has since become a beloved landmark and a symbol of hope and freedom. Visitors can view the sculpture up close and take in the stunning views of the surrounding sea and mountains.
This is the exact location of the sculpture. On the official website of the Sun Voyager, you find more info about this dreamboat. You can visit the Sun Voyager at any time, there is no admission. You can walk along the waterfront and enjoy the views of the bay and surrounding mountains.
The Whales of Iceland Museum
The Whales of Iceland Museum is a unique and educational museum located in Reykjavik, Iceland. The museum features life-size models of various whale species found in Icelandic waters, including the massive blue whale and the elusive narwhal.
Visitors can learn about the biology and behavior of these magnificent creatures through interactive exhibits and informative displays. The museum also offers a virtual reality experience, allowing visitors to dive into the ocean and swim alongside whales in their natural habitat.
The Whales of Iceland Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in marine life and conservation.
Buy your tickets in advance on this website. The museum is open daily all year round from 10:00 – 17:00. Except on Christmas Day.
You can also combine the Whales of Iceland Museum with a whale watching tour. The whale watching tour will take about 2h-3h. You could do the tour in the morning and visit the Whales of Iceland Museaum afterwards. Get your combi-ticket in advance for both experiences.
Perlan Museum, Wonders of Iceland
The Perlan Museum, Wonders of Iceland is a state-of-the-art museum located in Reykjavik, Iceland. The museum offers a unique and immersive experience that showcases the natural wonders of Iceland, including glaciers, volcanoes, and the Northern Lights.
Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, including a man-made ice cave, and learn about Iceland’s geological history and environmental issues.
The Perla Museum also features a planetarium that projects stunning visuals of the night sky and offers educational programs for all ages.
You can reach the museum by The Hop -on Hop -off bus. Buy your tickets for the bus here. Choose 24h or 48h to discover all the highlights of Reykjavik.
You have different options when buying your tickets for the Perlan Museum. You can choose whether the Aurora show and Observation Deck are included or not.
Where to stay in Reykjavik?
If you’re looking for a budget option, Kex Hostel might be the place. This hostel is located in a former biscuit factory and offers a unique and affordable option for travelers. It has dormitory-style rooms, private rooms, and a communal kitchen and lounge.
A bit more expensive is Hotel Borg. This historic hotel is located in the heart of Reykjavik and offers luxurious accommodations with a classic Art Deco design. The rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated, with modern amenities. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, and spa, and is highly rated for its service, location, and comfort.
Questions about Reykjavik
The best way to get around Reykjavik is on foot or by bike. The city is very walkable and has many bike paths. There are taxis available, but they can be expensive
The best time of year to visit Reykjavik is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is mild and the days are long. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds.
Some local foods to try in Reykjavik include lamb, fish, and skyr (a type of Icelandic yogurt). You should also try some of Iceland’s unique snacks, such as dried fish and licorice.
Reykjavik has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many bars, clubs, and live music venues. The city is known for its late-night partying, so be prepared to stay out until the early hours of the morning.
Some cultural experiences to have in Reykjavik include visiting the Icelandic Opera, attending a concert or show at Harpa, and exploring the city’s many art galleries and museums. You should also try to experience some of Iceland’s traditional music and dance.