Welcome to Iceland’s capital city!… Ok I know you have not made it here yet but if you are checking this post that is because you are planning on visiting us, don’t you? We know that a common fear travelers face is not knowing exactly what to do, visit or dismiss when visiting a foreign country. So many options you read on the internet and, gosh so little time! but fear not my beloved readers! Here are our top 10 things to do in Reykjavik to help you make up your mind!
Reykjavik, as mentioned before, is Iceland’s capital city with a population of 123.246 inhabitants. We might not be the largest city out there but sure we got plenty of options to offer those who wander through our streets. Reykjavik means “Smokey bay” due to the geothermal activity of the area. And as weird as it seems, our city does not have the low temperature range it should for its northern latitude. During the winter time, temperatures high average is 1ºC and in summer it ranges between 10-15ºC.
We have summarized what we consider the coolest options to check out while staying in the capital city, for both summer and winter time, in this top 10 things to do in Reykjavik post, all of them are different for everyone to enjoy. You can of course follow each one of them as a travel guide or just pick up your favorite ones!
We all love shopping that is basically a universal truth. And for those shopping lovers out there, we got one of the biggest shopping malls in Iceland with over seventy stores for you to rejoice!
- Smáralind Shopping mall: it is located in the Kópavogur district area of Reykjavik. Very easy to reach using the public transportation system.
- Kringlan Shopping Center: if Smáralind is just not enough for you, we welcome you to our second largest mall, it includes supermarkets, library, cinema and theaters. This one is closer to the downtown and the well-known Laugavegur street.
- Local shops: If you are looking for something is a local flavor, then Laugavegur street is your place. It is one of the oldest shopping streets in the city. Here you can find the latest Icelandic fashion trends. For flea markets, be sure to check the old harbor.
2. Eating Icelandic Food
Perhaps the most important human activity after shopping. You can get to discover the roots and traditions of a nation by its cuisine. Food and gastronomy in Iceland has a strong tradition in fishing and dairy products. Here you have the best restaurants in Reykjavik:
- Skyr: An Icelandic dairy product similar you a yogurt.
- Pylsur: Our famous hot dogs, made also with lamb meat giving it extra flavor!
- Svið, harðfiskur, Hákarl… we will leave them up to you…
3. Main Sightseeing in the city
Something we just could not miss in this top 10 things to do in Reykjavik article is of course, the main touristic attractions of the city:
- Hallgrímskirkja: Reykjavik’s famous concrete church that is visible from up to 20 km away. Do not miss the change to check the city from its heights!
- Tjörnin Lake: bird feeding is a popular past time. During the winter time, it gets frozen and people from the city love to ice skate here.
- Landakotskirkja: gothic Style Catholic cathedral.
- Austurvollur Square: Next to the Parliament of Iceland, nice place for a nice walk and historical remembering.
4. Whale Watching
Whale watching tours departs from Reykjavik Old Harbor from 1st of May to the 15th of August. Some of this tours also offer lunch or dinner, so be sure to check them out.
5. Puffin Watching
Puffins are basically Iceland’s most recognizable birds. You can get to see these cuties also by getting on a tour from the Old harbor. In this top 10 things to do in Reykjavik Article, we recommend you those tours that come with guide so you can learn a lot about this beautiful animal.
6. Nightlife: out and about
Reykjavik is a small city but it does not imply it is a boring one! For pubs and bars there are no entry fee so you can go on a beer tour easily.
- Kaffibarinn: cozy pub where many locals gather to have fun and some drinks
- Paloma: live music, so if you are interested in meeting locals and listening to some alternative music. This is the place to go!
- Kaldi Bar: wide selection of Icelandic tap beers.
In this top 10 things to do in Reykjavik section, we want you to learn everything you can about our culture. Reykjavik is full of exhibitions and museums well worth the visit:
- National museum of Iceland: from the earliest settlements to today’s modern Iceland.
- Arbaer Open Air Museum: historic walking area with original and high quality reproductions.
- Aurora Reykjavik: missed the northern lights? Come and check this exhibition!
8. Pools: it’s bathing time!
- Breiðholtslaug: it features three hot spots as well as sauna and steam bath, Icelandic style!
- Grafarvogslaug: pool complex with indoor and outdoor pool of warm water and steam room.
Top 10 things to do in Reykjavik
9. Music and Festivals
- Haarpa Concert Hall: amazing modern design building that holds concerts and well as exhibitions.
- Reykajvik holds many famous music festivals all throughout the year, be sure to check their calendar to find what is going on while in the city.
10. Helicopter ride
The ultimate experience. Be able to enjoy the amazing views you can get from the heights, the bay area, the mount Hekla and many more! An unforgettable experience.