Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is located in the southwestern part of the country, positioned at 64.1470° N, 21.9408° W. It lies along the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay and is situated at an elevation of 15-25 meters (49-82 feet) above sea level. Reykjavik has a rich history, with its origins dating back to around 870 AD when it was founded as a farmstead by Norse chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson. Its strategic location along the coast, abundant geothermal activity and access to the ocean made it an ideal spot for settlement. The primary language spoken in Reykjavik is Icelandic, which has changed relatively little since the settlement over 1100 years ago. Reykjavik operates in the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) timezone, with no daylight saving time adjustments. This standardized timezone simplifies international communication, transportation and trade for Iceland, despite its remote location in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a city filled with cultural and historical treasures and its attractions offer a diverse range of experiences for visitors. Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran church known for its distinctive 74.5-meter (244 feet) concrete tower, reminiscent of volcanic pipes. Visitors can attend services, take an elevator to the tower's observation deck for 360° views of the city and admire the Leifur Eiríksson statue outside. The Sun Voyager is a striking stainless steel sculpture resembling a Viking ship, located along the Reykjavik seaside with views across Faxaflói Bay. Perlan Museum, located atop Öskjuhlíð Hill, features a distinctive glass dome offering panoramic city views. Árbæjarsafn is an open-air museum that recreates an old Icelandic village from the 19th-20th centuries. As Iceland's premier art museum, it features exhibitions tracing artistic development from the 19th-century onward. Visitors can appreciate a wide range of artworks by local and international artists, making it a significant cultural landmark in downtown Reykjavik.
Listed below are the things to do in Reykjavík, Iceland.
- Hallgrímskirkja. Hallgrímskirkja is a prominent Lutheran church and Reykjavík landmark, renowned for its striking 74.5-meter (244 feet) concrete tower resembling volcanic pipes. Visitors can attend services, take an elevator up the tower for 360° city views and see the Leifur Eiríksson statue out front. Located downtown, the church is easily accessible via several Strætó bus routes. Admission is free, with paid access to the tower observation deck. As an active parish, services may limit access at times.
- Sun Voyager Sculpture. The Sun Voyager is a gleaming stainless steel sculpture of a Viking ship, located on the Reykjavik seaside with views across Faxaflói Bay. Designed by Jón Gunnar Árnason and unveiled in 1990, it is an ode to the sun. Visitors enjoy sunset views with Mount Esja behind it and photograph its recognizable form. Easily accessible on Sæbraut Road near Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrímskirkja church via walking, biking or buses, the Sun Voyager offers free admission and public space to admire Iceland’s capital.
- Harpa Concert Hall. Harpa Concert Hall is a glass structure on Reykjavík’s harbor, designed by Henning Larsen Architects and artist Ólafur Elíasson. Visitors can attend concerts, dine at on-site restaurants, browse Icelandic design shops, take a guided architecture tour or freely explore the scenic lobby. Easily reached by 45-minute Flybus from Keflavík Airport, Harpa offers visitors a hub of Icelandic culture and design in the capital’s heart.
- Perlan Museum. Perlan Museum is a distinctive glass dome structure situated atop Öskjuhlíð Hill offering city views. Highlights include walking through a man-made ice cave, experiencing the northern lights in a state-of-the-art planetarium, viewing a towering bird cliff replica, learning about volcanoes and glaciers and more. Easily reached from downtown Reykjavik by bus, car or taxi, Perlan Museum brings Iceland’s dramatic beauty to life indoors for visitors of all ages.
- Whales of Iceland. Whales of Iceland is a one-of-a-kind whale museum located in downtown Reykjavik, featuring 23 life-size cetacean models suspended from the ceiling. The museum brings these giants of the deep to life. Just 2.42 km ( 1.5 miles) from the city center and accessible by bus, Whales of Iceland offers an engaging experience for visitors of all ages to learn about and connect with Iceland's remarkable marine life.
- Aurora Reykjavik. Aurora Reykjavik is Iceland’s premier Northern Lights Center located in downtown Reykjavik, visitors to the science and magic behind the auroras. Capture own photos or pose in the “aurora photo booth”. Easily accessed on foot or by bus from the city center, Aurora Reykjavik brings the wonder of Iceland’s celestial light shows to life indoors for curious travelers seeking an illuminating experience before chasing the real thing in the night sky.
- Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum. Árbæjarsafn is an immersive open-air museum located just outside Reykjavik, recreating an old Icelandic village. Over 20 historical buildings dating from the 19th-20th century have been relocated here, spanning farmhouses, churches, shops and more. The furnished interiors and daily life exhibits, visitors can gain insight into Iceland's past rural traditions and transition toward modernity.
- Reykjavik Art Museum. The Reykjavik Art Museum is Iceland's largest visual art institution, spanning three buildings in the capital. Hafnarhús for contemporary art, Kjarvalsstaðir showcasing famous Icelandic artists and Ásmundarsafn dedicated to sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson. Visitors can explore avant-garde installations, paintings and sculptures across the venues conveniently located downtown.
- National Gallery of Iceland. The National Gallery of Iceland is the country’s premier art museum located in downtown Reykjavik. Tracing artistic development from the 19th-century onward, exhibitions feature seminal paintings, sculptures and installations by leading local figures alongside emerging talent and global names. The National Gallery offers visitors an overview of Iceland’s cultural landscape across diverse mediums, events and amenities like a research library, cafe and restored works.
- Settlement Exhibition. The Settlement Exhibition, an archaeological museum in downtown Reykjavik, revolves around a 10th-century Viking longhouse and other ruins found beneath the city dating back to 871 AD, plus or minus 2 years. Combining interactive technology and unearthed artifacts, the museum recreates settlement-era Reykjavik. Visitors can observe the partial longhouse remains through a glass floor, view bone combs and iron hand tools, explore multimedia displays depicting Viking life and take audio or guided tours
Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavik, located at Hallgrímstorg 1, 101 Reykjavík. The church height is 74.5 meters (244 ft). Hallgrímskirkja is a Reykjavík landmark that is visible throughout the city. The church was designed in the expressionist style by Icelandic state architect Guðjón Samúelsson and named after the renowned 17th-century clergyman and poet Hallgrímur Pétursson, known for his Passion Hymns. Construction on the church began in 1945 and lasted 41 years, with the crypt consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings completed in 1974 and the nave consecrated in 1986.
There are several things a visitor can do when visiting Hallgrímskirkja. Visitors can attend services listed on Hallgrímskirkja's website, ranging from regular Sunday worship to holiday services, weddings, funerals and concerts featuring choir and organ performances. Visitors can also view the Leifur Eiríksson statue in front of the church, depicting the Icelandic explorer credited as the first European to discover North America. The church is within walking distance to several other Reykjavík attractions like Harpa Concert Hall and the Old Harbor area.
Hallgrímskirkja is centrally located in downtown Reykjavík, making it easy to access by various modes of public transportation. The church is about 1 km (0.6 miles) east of Reykjavík’s Old Harbor area and 1 km (0.6 miles) north of Laugavegur, the main shopping street. Many Strætó city buses stop nearby, including routes 14, 15, 17 and 19. The nearest bus stop is Hallgrímskirkja, located directly in front of the church entrance. Visitors can also take bus routes 1, 3, 6, 13 or 14 to Hlemmur bus station and walk approximately 10 minutes or 1 km (0.6 miles) through downtown to reach the church.
Entrance to Hallgrímskirkja church itself is free and open to the public. To access the tower observation deck, there is an admission fee of 1,000 ISK (€6, $7, £6) for adults and 100 ISK (€1, $1, $1) for children ages 7-16. There are reduced rates for students, seniors 65+ and groups of 20 or more. Children under age 7 can access the tower observation deck for free when accompanied by an adult. Keep in mind that Hallgrímskirkja is still an active parish church holding regular services and events, so access may be limited at certain times.
2. Sun Voyager Sculpture
The Sun Voyager sculpture, also known as Sólfar in Icelandic, is a stainless steel sculpture in the shape of a Viking ship located on the road Sæbraut, right by the seaside in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. It is designed by Jón Gunnar Árnason and unveiled in 1990, the sculpture serves as an ode to the sun, facing north across Faxaflói Bay with the majestic Mount Esja as a backdrop. The Sun Voyager sculpture beautifully reflects the sun and the surrounding landscapes of the sea, sky and mountains.
One of the best things to do there is to time a visit for a sunset, when the interplay of light and shadows on the stainless steel can be breathtaking. Visitors also enjoy photographing the sculpture with the spectacular backdrop of the sun setting over Mount Esja and Faxaflói Bay behind it. In addition to individual and family photo opportunities, the Sun Voyager is a favorite spot for wedding photos, engagement photo shoots and graduation pictures due to its instantly recognizable form and scenic coastal location.
The Sun Voyager sculpture is located right next to the main road Sæbraut in central Reykjavik, about a 12 minute walk or 3 km (2 miles) from Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre and 15 minutes or 3.5 km (2 miles) walking from Hallgrímskirkja church. It is easily accessible by foot, bike, taxi and tour bus. Several Strætó city bus lines stop nearby including routes 1, 3, 6, 11 and 12 at the Höfðatorg bus stop, just 350 meters or a 4 minute walk away.
There is no admission fee to see the Sun Voyager sculpture. Visitors can walk right up to the sculpture and surrounding area at any time as it is located in a public space along the seaside promenade. The entire Reykjavik waterfront area is open and easily accessible to enjoy views of the sculpture with the backdrop behind it.
3. Harpa Concert Hall
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is located at Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is one of Reykjavík's most iconic and striking landmarks, situated by the picturesque harbor in the heart of the city center. It is designed by Henning Larsen Architects and artist Ólafur Elíasson, the glass facade concert hall opened in 2011 and has since won numerous architecture awards. Harpa features concert halls with state-of-the-art acoustics, conference spaces, restaurants, shops and an expansive lobby with harbor views that serves as a lively public gathering space.
Visitors to Harpa Concert Hall can attend a wide variety of music, theater, dance and cultural performances across the venue's four halls – Eldborg, Silfurberg, Norðurljós and Kaldalón. The calendar includes concerts by the resident Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera, along with festivals, conferences, meetings and more. Visitors can also dine at one of Harpa's on-site restaurants, browse the shops featuring Icelandic design or take a guided tour to learn about the iconic architecture and design features. The lobby is open to the public as a lively gathering space with scenic views, where visitors can attend free events like choir performances, watch the CIRCULEIGHT light art installation or let children explore the Hljóðhimnar sound experience.
Harpa Concert Hall is conveniently located in central Reykjavík. It can be reached in just 45 minutes by Flybus shuttle from Keflavík International Airport, which stops at the BSÍ bus terminal 2.3 km (1.4 miles) away. The venue is also easily accessible by public bus, with Strætó routes running to the Lækjartorg transport hub just minutes away by foot. General admission to enter and explore the public areas of Harpa Concert Hall is free, including the main lobby and facade featuring views over Reykjavík's Old Harbor. Special group rates are offered. Access to performances, conferences and private events in the venue's halls and spaces requires a purchased ticket, with prices varying by event.
4. Perlan Museum
Perlan Museum is located at Öskjuhlíð hill in Reykjavík, Iceland. It is situated on top of hot water storage tanks, the unique glass dome structure houses the Wonders of Iceland museum featuring interactive exhibitions that showcase Iceland's glaciers, ice caves, volcanoes, nature and wildlife using innovative technology. Major highlights include a man-made ice cave, planetarium show on the northern lights, bird cliff replica, forces of nature displays and more across multiple floors. There is also a cafe, restaurant, shops and a 360 degree observation deck with panoramic views over Reykjavík at the top.
Visitors to Perlan Museum can journey through the various Wonders of Iceland exhibitions to explore Iceland's dramatic natural landscapes and phenomena. There is also an exhibition on volcanoes and earthquakes, a replica of the towering Látrabjarg puffin bird cliffs, an augmented reality area to discover marine life and displays covering topics like water and geothermal energy. Visitors can experience Iceland's nature through the state-of-the-art planetarium showcasing the northern lights, enjoy views from the 360 degree observation deck, dine at the restaurant or cafe, browse Icelandic design shops and children can play at areas like the Hljóðhimnar sound experience.
Perlan Museum is located on Öskjuhlíð hill in Reykjavík, about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) east of downtown. It can be reached from the city center in just 10 minutes by car, taxi or Ridesharing service. Reykjavík's public bus number 18 stops at the base of Öskjuhlíð hill, just a short walk to the museum entrance. Tourists can also take the Hop On Hop Off bus making a stop here. General admission to Perlan Museum costs 2,900 ISK (€20,$21,£17) for adults, 1,450 ISK (€10,$10,£8) for children ages 6-15 and free for kids under 6. This provides access to the full Wonders of Iceland museum, ice cave, planetarium, observation deck and more. Special rates are offered for students, seniors 65+ and disabled visitors. The museum is open daily from 9am to 10pm.
5. Whales of Iceland
Whales of Iceland is located at Fiskislóð 23-25, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is the largest whale museum in Europe, featuring 23 life-size models of the whale species found in Icelandic waters. It has two floors and brings whales to life through art, science and technology. There is also a cafe, gift shop and private event spaces within the museum. The goal of Whales of Iceland is to educate people about whales and marine life while conservation efforts.
Visitors to Whales of Iceland can explore the museum's extensive whale exhibition, observing the incredible life-size models up close. The models are extremely detailed, featuring the unique markings and characteristics of actual whales that have been encountered off Iceland's shores. Interactive information stations allow visitors to explore whale anatomy, listen to their vocalizations and discover facts. Daily guided tours provide more in-depth information. There are also audio guides available in 16 languages. Visitors can watch informational whale videos in the onsite theater, enjoy ocean views while dining at the cafe, browse Icelandic design gifts in the shop and attend special events.
Whales of Iceland is conveniently located just 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) from downtown Reykjavik and 2.5 km (1.6 miles) from the BSÍ bus terminal. It can easily be reached in 5 minutes by car or taxi from the city center. Strætó bus route 14 stops 250 meters away at Fiskislóð. Tourists arriving via Flybus Airport shuttle or rental car have the option of free parking available outside the museum.
General admission to Whales of Iceland is 3,900 ISK (€26, $27, £22) for adults, 1,950 ISK (€13,$14,£11) for children ages 7-15 and free for kids under 7. Special rates are offered for student, senior, disabled visitors and tour groups. The museum also sells a multipass valid for 10 entries within 2 years priced at 9,900 ISK (€66,$69,£56) for individuals and 14,900 ISK (€98,$103,£84) for families. Guided tour options and annual membership plans are additionally available to purchase. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm all year, excluding Christmas Day.
6. Aurora Reykjavik
Aurora Reykjavik is Iceland's first and only Northern Lights Center, located at Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík. The innovative exhibition center allows visitors to explore the science, mythology and history behind the auroras through interactive displays and technology. The centerpiece is a high-tech theater with a giant screen showcasing stunning timelapse and video footage of the northern lights in Iceland, set to music and projected in 4K quality to fully engage the visitors. There is also a photo booth and northern lights photography area to assist visitors with capturing their own photos.
Visitors to Aurora Reykjavik can walk through the interactive exhibition to uncover secrets and stories about the northern lights from different cultures around the world. There are hands-on displays explaining the scientific causes of the auroras. The center also features a movie theater continuously screening magnificent auroral displays in Iceland for a breathtaking audiovisual experience. Visitors can visit the northern lights photography area to learn how to properly adjust camera settings and position themselves to try capturing the northern lights. There is also a fun “aurora photo booth” allowing you to pose for pictures amidst backdrops of the northern lights. The venue further offers daily guided tours and multilingual audio guides of the exhibition.
Aurora Reykjavik is centrally located in downtown Reykjavik, just a 14 minute, 1.3 km (0.8 mile) walk from the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. It is easily accessible on foot, from the Hlemmur bus station serving many Strætó bus routes. The BSÍ bus terminal is a quick 5 minute drive or 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles) away. There is street parking outside the building as well as larger parking areas like the Tryggvagata Garage from the exhibition center's entrance.
General admission to Aurora Reykjavik is 1,600 ISK (€11,$11,£9) for adults, 1,000 ISK (€7,$7,£6) for children ages 6-18 and 1,400 ISK (€9,$10,£8) for seniors and students with valid ID. Children under 6 years old enter for free. The ticket grants visitors access to the full interactive exhibition center, theater, northern lights photo booth, guided tours and all amenities. Special rates are offered for groups of 20 people or more. The venue is open daily from 9am until 9pm with the last entry at 8pm.
7. Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum
Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum is located at Kistuhylur 4, 110 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is an open-air museum situated on the outskirts of Reykjavik featuring over 20 historic buildings that have been relocated and reconstructed to recreate an old Icelandic village. The museum spans within the buildings dating from the 19th and 20th centuries when Iceland was transitioning from the traditional rural society to a more modern way of living. Costumed guides add to the immersive experience. Árbæjarsafn aims to provide insight into how Icelanders lived and worked in past centuries through this “living museum”.
Visitors to Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum can explore over 20 historic buildings spread across the museum's grounds. Inside many of the houses, barns, churches, shops and workshops are period furnishings, equipment and items that provide a glimpse into traditional Icelandic life. There are staff dressed in historical costumes stationed around the site to answer questions. Visitors can also attend daily guided tours to learn more details about the different buildings and Icelandic history. Special events like concerts, craft demonstrations, reenactments and activities for kids are additionally held. There is a museum shop selling handicrafts and souvenirs. Visitors can further relax at the on-site cafe housed in one of the old farm buildings.
Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum is located around 8 km (5 miles) outside of central Reykjavik, in the neighborhood of Árbær. It can easily be reached in 15 minutes by car or taxi. Another option is to take Strætó public bus number 12 or 24 from Hlemmur bus station in downtown Reykjavik and get off at the Höfðabakki stop, which is a short 5 minute walk from the museum entrance. There is free parking available at the museum for those arriving by rental car or campervan. General admission to Árbæjarsafn Open Air Museum is 2,150 ISK (€14,$15,£12) for adults. There is no cost for children and youth under 18. Reduced rates are offered to senior visitors over 67 and students with valid identification cards. Entry is free for disabled visitors and their assistants. Guided tours offered daily at 1pm in English and Icelandic can additionally be joined by regular museum ticket holders at no extra charge.
8. Reykjavik Art Museum
The Reykjavik Art Museum is located at Tryggvagata 17 in downtown Reykjavik. Founded in 1973, it is the largest visual art institution in Iceland, comprising three buildings. Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir and Ásmundarsafn. Hafnarhús is the museum's institute for contemporary art, exhibiting cutting-edge works in six galleries. Kjarvalsstaðir features paintings and sculpture focused on renowned Icelandic artists like Jóhannes S. Kjarval. Ásmundarsafn is dedicated to sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson. Across its venues, the museum aims to present diverse exhibitions and serve as a platform for emerging local artists alongside established names. Its collection holds over 5,000 works.
Visitors to the Reykjavik Art Museum can explore contemporary art exhibitions across the three buildings. At Hafnarhús, guests can discover avant-garde installations, videos, paintings and sculptures by international and Icelandic artists. Kjarvalsstaðir allows visitors to admire key works by Jóhannes S. Kjarval and others that shaped Iceland's art scene. Ásmundarsafn features a sculpture garden and the former home and studio of sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson. The museum also offers guided tours providing background on the art and architecture. Visitors can relax at the cafe in Kjarvalsstaðir and browse gifts inspired by Icelandic art and design at the museum shops. Talks, lectures, family programs and special events are additionally held.
The Reykjavik Art Museum's three buildings are conveniently located in central Reykjavik. Hafnarhús is downtown by the Old Harbor, just 1.1 km from Harpa Concert Hall. Kjarvalsstaðir lies next to Klambratún Park, 2.3 km 1.4 miles) away. Ásmundarsafn is 3 km east at Sigtún. The BSÍ bus station is only 1.6 km from Hafnarhús. Strætó buses 1, 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14 stop at Hafnarhús and Kjarvalsstaðir, while buses 2, 5, 14, 15, 17 serve Ásmundarsafn. There is street parking at Hafnarhús and Kjarvalsstaðir and free lots at Ásmundarsafn.
General admission to Reykjavik Art Museum is 2,220 ISK (€15,$16,£13) for adults, 1,370 ISK (€9,$10,£8) for college students and free for children under 18. Entry tickets are valid for 24 hours across all three venues. Guided tours for large groups are available at extra cost. Reduced rates are offered for seniors, people with disabilities and students. Shops, restaurants and special exhibitions may have additional fees. Hours are generally 10am – 5pm daily, with extended evening hours on Thursdays.
9. National Gallery of Iceland
The National Gallery of Iceland is located at Fríkirkjuvegur 7 in downtown Reykjavik. Founded in 1884, it is a renowned art museum and the country's largest visual arts institution. It spans across 3 buildings, the National Gallery holds Iceland's most extensive collection of Icelandic art spanning from the 19th-century to contemporary works. The collection comprises over 14,000 pieces including paintings, sculptures, installations and more by seminal Icelandic artists like Jóhannes S. Kjarval and Ásmundur Sveinsson, alongside international names. Exhibitions explore different artistic movements and styles. The museum also hosts events, has a research library, restoration lab, museum shop and cafe.
Visitors to the National Gallery of Iceland can explore an array of exhibitions showcasing different Icelandic and international art across the museum's multiple buildings. The main building hosts 4 exhibit halls featuring painting, sculpture, mixed media and installations. Visitors can admire key works tracing Iceland's art history and development alongside avant-garde contemporary pieces. Temporary shows also offer unique perspectives. Guests can further attend talks, gallery tours and creative workshops, browse the gift shop and library collections or relax at the cafe with city views. Guided tours provide deeper insight into the art and architecture. There are activities for kids as well.
The National Gallery of Iceland is centrally located in downtown Reykjavik, just 350 meters from Tjörnin pond and 900 meters (0.55 miles) from Hallgrimskirkja church. The BSÍ bus station is 1.9 kilometers away. Those arriving by rental car or campervan can use street parking or garages like Hafnartorg, while the Strætó bus stops closest are Hlemmur and Lækjartorg. Key routes are bus 1, 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14. The museum can also be reached via walking, biking or taxi from accommodations in the city center in just 5-10 minutes.
General admission to the National Gallery of Iceland is 2,000 ISK (€13,$14,£11) for adults, 1,000 ISK (€7,$7,£6) for senior citizens and free for those under 18. Special guided tours are available at extra cost. Visitors can also purchase a Reykjavik City Card granting free access to the National Gallery plus other attractions or get the Reykjavik Art Museum ticket covering the National Gallery and associated museums. The National Gallery is open daily 10am-5pm, closed Mondays October-April.
10. Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement Exhibition, also known as Reykjavik 871±2, is located at Aðalstræti 16, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is an archaeological museum built around the ruins of a Viking-age longhouse dating back to around 871 AD. The museum combines archaeology and interactive technology to bring Reykjavík's Viking history to life. Key attractions include the partial boundary wall remnant, artifacts like bone combs and iron tools, multimedia displays depicting settlement-era Reykjavík and more. The “871±2” in the name refers to the estimated date of the longhouse, with a possible margin of error of two years, determined using tephra dating.
Visitors to the Settlement Exhibition can observe the Viking longhouse ruins through a glass floor and learn about the lives of Reykjavik's first settlers. Interactive multimedia displays utilize augmented reality to reconstruct settlement-era Reykjavík, explaining how the longhouse and surrounding area would have looked. Guests can view and examine artifacts found on-site, like bone combs and iron hand tools, to understand daily Viking life. There are also video presentations and touch screens delving into topics like the Landnám tephra dating system. Visitors can take an audio tour available in several languages. Guided tours provide extra detail. The museum has a gift shop, activity area for kids focused on archaeology and special exhibitions related to Iceland's settlement.
The Settlement Exhibition is centrally located in downtown Reykjavík, just 350 meters from Tjörnin pond. It sits adjacent to Reykjavik City Hall on Aðalstræti street. Many Strætó bus routes including 1, 3, 6, 11, 12, 13 stop along nearby roads Lækjargata and Vonarstræti. The museum can easily be reached by foot from accommodations in the city center in around 10 minutes. There is street parking outside, while public garages like Lækjargata are also nearby. Tour buses often stop out front. The museum is wheelchair accessible.
General admission to the Settlement Exhibition is 2,740 ISK (€18,$19,£16) for adults, 1,760 ISK (€12,$12,£10) for students with valid ID cards and free for children under 18. Special guided tours are available at extra cost. Reykjavik City Card holders enter for free. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with extended hours and guided tours in summer. Special rates for groups and tour operators are offered. Audio guides are included with admission. The gift shop, exhibitions and kids' activity area have free entry.
11. Saga Museum
The Saga Museum is located at Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is an immersive Viking museum featuring life-size figures and scenes depicting key moments in Iceland’s history, from the first settlers in the 9th-century to the 16th-century. The innovative museum brings Iceland's legendary sagas and medieval history to life. Visitors walk through exhibition halls surrounded by realistic wax figures, accompanied by an audio guide available in 7 languages. Dioramas recreate events like the Viking settlement era, the conversion to Christianity, the destructive Black Death and more.
Visitors to the Saga Museum can take an audio-guided tour through the museum's extensive Viking exhibition. The life-size dioramas allow visitors to imagine standing alongside the early Icelandic settlers, witnessing historic events and gaining insight into their daily life. There is also a costume studio where visitors can dress up in traditional Viking outfits and weapons to take photos. The museum further houses a theater screening short films on its construction and history, along with a gift shop selling Icelandic handicrafts and souvenirs. Guided tours provide additional commentary.
The Saga Museum is conveniently located in central Reykjavik, just 1.6 km (1 mile) from the downtown area and major sites like the Harpa Concert Hall. It sits by the Old Harbor in the Grandi neighborhood. The museum can easily be reached in just 5 minutes via car or taxi from downtown. Reykjavik's Strætó bus route 14 stops just 250 meters away on Fiskislóð street. Many visitors arrive via tour bus, with operators often including a stop at the museum. Tourists staying near the BSÍ bus terminal 2.9 km (1.8 miles) away can take the Flybus airport shuttle.
General admission to the Saga Museum is 2,900 ISK (€19,$20,£16) for adults, 1,100 ISK (€7,$8,£6) for children ages 6-14 and free for kids under 6. Special discounted rates are offered for students, seniors over 67 and visitors with disabilities. The ticket grants access to the full museum experience including the audio guide. Guided tours are available at an additional cost. The museum also sells annual membership plans. The Saga Museum is open year-round, with summer hours from 10am – 6pm and winter hours from 12pm – 5pm. It is closed only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
12. Laugardalur Park
Laugardalur Park is located at Laugardalur, 104 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is Reykjavik's largest and most popular recreation area situated about 3 km (1.9 miles) east of the city center. Laugardalur Valley features expansive lawns, trees, walking trails, sports facilities, geothermal springs and birdlife. It is a hub for sports and houses landmarks like Laugardalslaug swimming complex, Laugardalshöll sports arena, a skating rink, soccer stadium, campgrounds, spas and the Family Park and Zoo. The park also encompasses the Botanical Gardens with over 5000 subarctic plant species and greenhouses. It has a various cafes and restaurants throughout, Laugardalur Park provides both locals and visitors with endless options for outdoor activities and relaxation.
Visitors to Laugardalur Park can enjoy a variety of recreational facilities and attractions. The park contains an extensive network of walking and cycling paths that connect to other parts of Reykjavik. Visitors can relax on the sprawling lawns, go for a swim at Laugardalslaug thermal pool, watch sports games at Laugardalshöll arena, skate at the ice rink or camp overnight at the campgrounds. The park also houses the Family Park and Zoo featuring farm animals, arctic foxes, reindeer, seals and more that visitors can observe and feed. Those wanting to admire gardens can explore the Botanical Gardens showcasing over 5000 subarctic plants and greenhouses. Birdwatching opportunities also abound throughout the valley. The park further hosts events like concerts, festivals and races.
Laugardalur Park stretches across Laugardalur Valley starting about 3 km (1.9 miles) east of downtown Reykjavik. It can easily be reached from the city center in 10 minutes by car, taxi or ridesharing services. Reykjavik’s public buses 2, 5, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 stop at various points along the park’s edge at bus stops like Laugardalslaug and Laugardalshöll. The BSÍ bus terminal is only a 7 minute drive or 3 km(1.9 miles) away. Those arriving by rental car or campervan can park at lots dotted throughout the park.
As a public park, there is no admission fee to enter Laugardalur Park itself and explore its walking trails, lawns and natural scenery. However, some recreational facilities within the park charge fees, like Laugardalslaug thermal pool at 1,100 ISK (€7,$8,£6) for adult entry. Various events hosted at the park may additionally have ticket fees. Otherwise, the bulk of park access and outdoor areas are free for visitors to enjoy.
13. Tjörnin Pond
Tjörnin Pond, also known as Reykjavik Pond, is located right in the heart of downtown Reykjavik between City Hall and the Parliament building. It comprises several connected shallow water bodies rather than one single lake, with an average depth. Its parklands and proximity to many attractions have made it a popular spot for residents and visitors alike.
Visitors can stroll around Tjörnin Pond’s perimeter on paved pathways to admire views of the ducks, Arctic terns, swans, geese and other bird species that call it home. When the water freezes over in winter, the pond becomes a wonderful natural ice rink for skating. Visitors can also relax in the adjacent Hljómskálagarður park, containing trails for jogging or biking past eye-catching sculptures. On the pond's eastern bank lies the picturesque Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík church, where tourists can pause to take photos with Tjörnin as a backdrop. Visitors can dine along the lake at one of many nearby cafés or restaurants while gazing at the pond.
Tjörnin Pond is located right in central Reykjavik, just 350 meters (0.2 miles) from landmarks like Hallgrímskirkja church and 900 meters (0.55 miles) from BSÍ bus station. It sits between Tjarnargata and Vonarstræti streets by City Hall, adjacent to downtown’s main shopping street Laugavegur. Many Strætó bus routes including 1, 3, 6, 11, 12, 13 stop along Tjarnargata. Tourists can also easily walk from nearby accommodations, with the pond only a 10 minute stroll from most hotels or guesthouses in the capital’s core.
As a public park area, there is no admission fee to access Tjörnin Pond itself or walk along its surroundings. Visitors can explore the paths, lawns and views of the pond at no cost year-round. During the winter months when the lake is frozen over for ice skating, there may be a small rental fee for skates. Entry to enjoy the scenery, wildlife and adjacent green spaces is completely free for tourists spending time in central Reykjavik.
14. Viðey Island
Viðey Island is located just 1.7 km (1 mile) north of Reykjavík, Iceland's capital city. It is situated in Kollafjörður Bay and is accessible via a quick 20-minute ferry ride from Skarfabakki Harbour, which lies 5 km (3 miles) east of Reykjavík's city center. Once inhabited and home to a 12th-century monastery, the island is now uninhabited with only a few buildings remaining, including the notable Viðey House (Viðeyjarstofa) built in 1755. It is known for its natural scenery and views back towards Reykjavík, Viðey Island features walking trails, birdlife, artwork installations like Yoko Ono's “Imagine Peace Tower” and the Viðey House now containing a cafe and Icelandic art displays.
Visitors to Viðey Island can explore the island by foot along a network of walking trails, go birdwatching and potentially see puffins and 30 other bird species that breed there seasonally, view artwork like the “Imagine Peace Tower” and Richard Serra's “Milestones” sculpture, tour the historic Viðey House to see displays of renowned Icelandic art and learn about the island's history, have a meal or coffee at the Viðey House's cafe, attend cultural events hosted on the island and take in the peaceful natural including sights of downtown Reykjavík across the bay. Viðey Island offers a getaway from Reykjavík where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and history.
The only public access to Viðey Island is via the Viðey Ferry, which departs from Skarfabakki Harbour located 5 km (3 miles) east of downtown Reykjavík. The scheduled ferry ride to Viðey Island takes 20 minutes. From mid-May through August, daily ferry departures run at least hourly between 10.15 AM and 5.30 PM. From September to mid-May, the ferry only operates on weekends, with 3 sailings per day on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Viðey Island ferry ticket price covers landing access and general admission to explore the island's trails, nature and outdoor artworks. Entry to the historic Viðey House displaying Icelandic art is free. Special events, the Viðey House's cafe and guided tours around the island may carry additional fees.
15. Imagine Peace Tower
The Imagine Peace Tower is located on the island of Viðey, just off the coast of Reykjavík, Iceland. It is an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko Ono in 2007 in memory of her late husband John Lennon to symbolize their continuing campaign for world peace. The monument features the words “Imagine Peace” inscribed in 24 languages around a tall circular wishing well, illuminated by powerful lights that project a pillar of light into the sky. The light pillar creates a beacon that can be seen from downtown Reykjavík. It is powered entirely by geothermal energy from Iceland's renewable resources.
Visitors can view the Imagine Peace Tower by taking the ferry to Viðey Island from Skarfabakki Harbour in Reykjavík. The tower is lit during the seasons it operates, allowing visitors to observe the light shining up into the sky. Visitors can visually take in the monument and contemplate its message of peace. Visitors can also walk around the tower reading the “Imagine Peace” inscription in different languages. Many people make wishes or reflect on peace while visiting. Special events also occur on Lennon's birthday and other dates when the public can gather, like for the lighting ceremony. Visitors to the island can see other artwork and appreciate nature.
The Imagine Peace Tower is located on Viðey Island, just 1.7 km (1 mile) north of downtown Reykjavík in Kollafjörður Bay. Visitors must take a 20-minute ferry ride to get to Viðey Island and the monument. Ferries to Viðey depart from Skarfabakki Harbour, 5 km (3 miles) east of the city center. The Elding ferry company offers year-round service to Viðey Island. During summer from May 15th through August 31st, daily ferry trips run at least hourly.
The Imagine Peace Tower has no admission fee. Visitors simply pay the Viðey ferry ticket fare, which is around 1,300 ISK (€9,$10,£8) roundtrip for adults and 650 ISK (€4,$5,£3) for children each way. Once on Viðey Island, the monument can be accessed at no extra cost. Special events on Lennon's birthday and dates when Yoko Ono visits to light the tower may have additional fees if applicable.
16. Leif Eriksson Statue
The Leif Eriksson Statue is located at the top of Skólavörðustígur street in central Reykjavik, in front of the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church. It was designed by American sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder and given as a gift from the United States to the people of Iceland to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Iceland's parliament, the Alþingi, founded in 930 AD. The statue and its granite pillar are meant to symbolize Leif Eriksson's voyage from Iceland to North America around 1000 AD, landing in present-day Canada and becoming one of the first Europeans to reach the continent, nearly 500 years before Columbus.
Tourists can walk right up to the statue's granite base to admire the level of detail put into the figure's clothing, beard, tools and stern facial expression. The statue offers panoramic views overlooking Reykjavik from its hilltop perch in front of Hallgrímskirkja church, making it a popular spot to take in sights of the harbor and surrounding mountains. Many visitors choose to have meals or drinks at nearby cafés and restaurants along Skólavörðustígur street while enjoying views of the iconic landmark. The statue is also a site visited on walking tours of the city.
The Leif Eriksson Statue sits atop Skólavörðuholt hill right in central Reykjavik, just 350 meters from Tjörnin Pond and 900 meters from Harpa Concert Hall. It is located at the intersection of Skólavörðustígur street and Njarðargata street. The statue can easily be reached by foot from downtown accommodations in just 10 minutes, with the BSÍ bus station 1.9 kilometers away. Key Strætó bus routes like 1, 3, 6, 13 stop along Skólavörðustígur street next to the statue. As the Leif Eriksson Statue is an outdoor sculpture located in a public area, there is no cost to view or take photos with this Reykjavik landmark. Visitors can freely access and walk right up to the statue at any time. Nearby attractions like Hallgrímskirkja church may charge admission fees to enter, but the statue's hilltop viewing area and the Skólavörðustígur pathway surrounding it are completely free to enjoy.
17. FlyOver Iceland
FlyOver Iceland is located at Fiskislóð 43, 101 Reykjavík. It is Iceland's premier flying ride experience and visitors will hang suspended, feet dangling, before a spherical screen while the film whisks them away across landscapes including waterfalls, glaciers, northern lights and more. FlyOver Iceland brings some of the country's but remote sights to the capital city. Visitors to FlyOver Iceland can enjoy a 4D flying ride across Iceland's most stunning scenery. Flyers will glide over glaciers, dive down thundering waterfalls, sweep across the Highlands and float amongst the northern lights. Before the ride, guests can also enjoy two multimedia pre-shows exploring Iceland's nature and history with a Viking storyteller and wise troll. There is additionally a cafe, gift shop and photo opportunities.
FlyOver Iceland is conveniently located in central Reykjavik's Grandi Harbor neighborhood, just a 12 minute, 1.5 km (0.9 mile) walk from downtown attractions like Harpa Concert Hall. It sits on Fiskislóð street near the Old Harbor. Those arriving via rental car or campervan can use nearby street parking. The Strætó bus number 14 stops 250 meters away on Fiskislóð. Many visitors also arrive by tour bus, as most operators include a FlyOver Iceland stop. The surrounding Grandi area with shops, museums and restaurants is also very walkable.
General admission to FlyOver Iceland is 5,800 ISK (€38,$40,£33) for adults when purchased online in advance. Special rates are 4,350 ISK (€29,$30,£25) for children ages 12 and under. Tickets bought same-day on location are 6,400 ISK (€42,$44,£36) for adults and 4,800 ISK (€32,$33,£27) for kids. Additional ride products like dual flight passes are also offered. Visitors can save further by booking online early, using promo codes or choosing annual passes.
18. Icelandic Opera House
The Icelandic Opera House, also known as Íslenska óperan, is located at Austurbakki 2 in the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Founded in 1980, it is Iceland’s premier opera company and the country’s only professional opera organization. The Icelandic Opera puts on high-quality productions of both traditional and contemporary operas. It features renowned Icelandic artists as well as international guest performers. The company moved into the state-of-the-art Harpa Concert Hall in 2011, which houses two halls specifically designed for opera and hosts over 85 performances per season. The Icelandic Opera aims to make opera accessible to all and engage new audiences.
Visitors to the Icelandic Opera House can attend a wide variety of operas and concerts showcasing talented classical singers, musicians and performers on the Harpa Concert Hall’s magnificent opera stage. The season includes famous operas like La Traviata alongside new Icelandic works and monthly lunchtime concerts open to the public. Guests can also take behind-the-scenes tours, enjoy pre-performance talks, attend opera workshops, watch open rehearsals or participate in the Opera House’s educational programs for schools. The lobby features displays on the company’s history.
The Icelandic Opera House is conveniently located inside Harpa Concert Hall on Reykjavik’s harbor, from downtown attractions like Laugavegur shopping streetand from BSÍ bus station. The opera facilities sit on the second floor of Harpa. Those arriving by rental car or campervan can use Harpa’s underground parking garage. Key Strætó bus routes including 14, 15, 17, 19 stop right by Harpa Concert Hall beside Ráðhúsið City Hall on Tjarnargata road. Many visitors also arrive via tour bus or walk from nearby hotels.
Ticket prices to attend Icelandic Opera productions and events vary depending on the performance, with seats ranging from 2,900 ISK to 14,900 ISK (€19-€98,$20-$104,£17-£85). Special student, senior and group rates are offered. Monthly lunchtime concerts in the Norðurljós hall are free and open to the public. Behind-the-scenes tours cost 2,000 ISK (€13,$14,£11). Experiencing Iceland’s premier opera company inside the Harpa Concert Hall makes for a world-class night out during any Reykjavik visit.
19. The Pearl Rotating Restaurant
The Pearl is located at Öskjuhlíð hill, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is situated atop six hot water storage tanks, it is a revolving restaurant and landmark building with a glass dome structure providing 360-degree views over Reykjavik and the surrounding mountains and sea. Under the dome lies one of Iceland's finest restaurants, recently rated among the world's ten best revolving restaurants. As visitors dine, the restaurant floor slowly rotates to offer ever-changing panoramas – a full rotation takes about two hours.
Visitors to The Pearl can dine at the revolving restaurant while taking in views over Reykjavik as their scenery transforms. The restaurant combines seasonal Icelandic ingredients with international influences under the direction of famous Icelandic chefs. The menu evolves over the year from summer à la carte to autumn game buffets and traditional Christmas dishes. Dining at The Pearl is a special experience focused on high-quality cuisine and sweeping vistas. Visitors can also enjoy panoramas from the observation deck, relax at the café, browse Icelandic design gifts at the shop or attend events in versatile spaces.
The Pearl is conveniently located on Öskjuhlíð hill in Reykjavik, just 1.5 km (0.9 miles) east of the city center and major landmarks like Hallgrímskirkja church. It can easily be reached in 5 minutes by car, taxi or ridesharing service from downtown accommodations. Reykjavik’s public buses 12, 24 stop at the Höfðabakki terminus right by The Pearl. Tourists can also take a pleasant 30-minute walk through the hillside park. Free on-site parking is available for those arriving by rental car or campervan.
There is no admission fee to enter The Pearl building and access its observation deck, shop or café. However, the revolving restaurant requires reservations and has an à la carte menu with main courses ranging from 5,900 ISK to 8,900 ISK (€39-€59,$41-$62,£34-£51). The 4-course chef's menu is priced at 11,900 ISK (€79,$14,£68). Children’s menus and dishes start at 1,990 ISK (€13,$14,£11). Special seasonal menus like the Christmas buffet carry separate pricing.
20. Hafnarfjörður town
Hafnarfjörður town is located south of Reykjavík in Iceland. It has a population of around 26,000, it is Iceland’s third largest municipality and considered a suburb of the capital city. Hafnarfjörður, meaning “harbor fjord”, is situated on the shore overlooking Faxaflói Bay. The town center features a harbor lined with colored wooden warehouses along with lava rock formations dotting the landscape. Visitors are drawn by its vistas, geothermal springs perfect for swimming, historic Viking Village with a restaurant and the highest concentration of Iceland’s hidden folk creatures called huldufólk.
Visitors to Hafnarfjörður can explore the harbor and warehouses, browse the downtown area's shops and cafés and street art and sculptures around town. Key attractions include taking a dip in swimming pools like Suðurbæjarlaug, dining on traditional Icelandic fare at Fjörukráin restaurant inside the Viking Village hotel, joining guided “Hidden World” walking tours in search of elf homes, hiking up the volcano Mt. Baula, wandering Hellisgerði Park and its tiny elf garden, catching concerts at Hafnarborg cultural center and learning about the town's history at the Hafnarfjörður Museum. Annual events like the Viking Festival, Independence Day celebrations and New Year's bonfire also draw visitors.
Hafnarfjörður lies just 10 km (6 miles) south of Reykjavík, a quick 15-minute drive or 25-minute bus ride from the capital area along Route 40. Visitors can take the Strætó public bus number 1 or 2 from downtown Reykjavik, which drops off right in the heart of Hafnarfjörður. Those arriving via rental car or campervan can easily access the town center and find available street parking or lots. The BSÍ bus station in Reykjavik is only 14 km (9 miles) away. The town of Hafnarfjörður itself is free to enter and explore. Some attractions within the town may charge admission fees, such as geothermal swimming pools at around 800 ISK (€5,$5,£4) for adults. The Viking Village restaurant offers meals starting around 3,000 ISK (€20,$5,£17).
21. Höfði House
Höfði House is located at Borgartún 1, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland. It was built in 1909 and a two-story timber house that once served as the residence for the French consul in Iceland, Jean-Paul Brillouin. It was designed in the Art Nouveau style mixed with Nordic Romanticism, the distinguished white house overlooks Faxaflói Bay. It has a remarkable history, having hosted esteemed visitors like Winston Churchill and Marlene Dietrich. Höfði is most famous for hosting the 1986 summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev that signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
As Höfði House is still actively used for official governmental functions, the interior is not open for public tours. Visitors can explore the exterior architecture and admire the building's scenic harborfront setting. One of the best views is from across the bay at Harpa Concert Hall. Many also enjoy photographing the house, with the best vantage points being from the shoreline path passing in front. Visitors can reflect on the history that took place here, such as the pivotal 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit, while gazing over the bay. Interpretive signs detailing Höfði's background are located outside.
Höfði House is centrally located in downtown Reykjavik along the waterfront at the end of Borgartún street, from Harpa Concert Hall and 1.1 km (1.7 miles) from Hallgrímskirkja Church. It sits adjacent to the Faxaflói Bay on a tiny peninsula. Visitors can easily walk there from many hotels in 10-15 minutes. Key Strætó bus routes including 14, 15 and 19 stop 500 meters away at Ráðhúsið City Hall. Limited street parking spaces line the side road Skúlagata.
As Höfði House serves as an active governmental building rather than a museum or attraction, there is no standard admission fee to enter. Visitors can freely explore the exterior and surroundings at no cost. The house is only accessible to those attending official functions or receptions hosted by the government, which do not allow general public entry.
22. Handknitting Association
The Handknitting Association of Iceland (Handprjónasamband Íslands) is located in Borgartún 31, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland. It is an organization founded in November 1977 by a group of people, mainly women, with the aim to increase their income by knitting and selling sweaters and other garments made from the unique wool of Icelandic sheep. All products sold at the Handknitting Association are handmade in Iceland by members of the organization. They offer a wide selection of traditional Icelandic sweaters, known as lopapeysa, as well as other woolen goods like hats, gloves, scarves etc. The quality and authenticity is ensured, as their motto says “Buy directly from the people who make them”.
Visitors to the Handknitting Association can shop for high-quality, authentic Icelandic woolen goods handmade by members of the association. Their store on Skólavörðustígur street offers a wide variety of traditional Icelandic sweaters in different patterns and designs. Other products include hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and more, all knit from Icelandic sheep wool. Visitors can watch demonstrations from Handknitting Association members who knit products on-site. Friendly staff provide information about Icelandic knitting traditions and the stories behind the different sweater patterns. The store also sells Icelandic wool yarn and knitting supplies for visitors wanting to try their hand at knitting their own Icelandic sweater. There is also a small museum exhibition in the back with historic knitting equipment and information on Iceland's knitting heritage.
The Handknitting Association is walking distance from downtown landmarks like Hallgrímskirkja church and the Harpa Concert Hall. Driving from Keflavík International Airport takes around 50 km (31 miles). There is street parking available near the store, as well as several public parking garages within 1 km (0.6 miles). Multiple bus lines including #14 stop along Skólavörðustígur street. The closest bus terminal is Lækjartorg which is 350 meters (0.2 miles) away. There is no admission fee to enter the Handknitting Association store and view the knitting demonstrations. Visitors can browse and shop freely without paying an entrance cost. Prices for individual items like sweaters, hats and gloves are comparable to other Icelandic souvenir shops. Purchasing their high-quality woolen goods handmade by local Icelandic knitters directly supports the artisans.
23. Reykjavik Maritime Museum
Reykjavik Maritime Museum is located at Grandagarður 8, 101 in Reykjavík's Old Harbor, Iceland. Formally called Víkin Maritime Museum, it opened in 2005 and is now one of five museum sites belonging to Reykjavik City Museum. The museum gives insight into Iceland's fishing history and marine culture through interactive exhibitions and preserved ships at the harbor. Key highlights include the Óðinn coast guard vessel and an aquarium displaying Iceland's marine life. Visitors can also see the old harbor area being restored to its 1950s appearance when it was a hub for fishermen and sailors.
Visitors to Reykjavik Maritime Museum can explore two floors of interactive exhibitions focusing on various aspects of Iceland's fishing industry, marine environment and sailing heritage. Guests can board the Óðinn ship and view its technology up-close while learning about the Icelandic Coast Guard's important rescue operations. There is also an aquarium area displaying different fish species found in Icelandic waters, with information on their ecosystems. The museum further offers guided tours, touch tanks, children's activities, temporary displays in the old machine workshop and a gift shop. Cafés along the revitalized harbor also provide places for visitors to relax.
Reykjavik Maritime Museum sits directly on the harbor front Grandagarður road in central Reykjavik, just 350 meters from Harpa Concert Hall. The BSÍ bus station is 1.4 kilometers away. Many Strætó bus routes including 14, 15 and 17 stop right by the museum beside Ráðhúsið City Hall on Tjarnargata road. Limited street parking is available on surrounding roads. Those arriving by rental car, rideshares or tour buses will find the most convenient parking 450 meters away in public garages like Tryggvagata 17.
General admission to Reykjavik Maritime Museum is 1,600 ISK (€10,$11,£9) for adults, 800 ISK (€5,$6,£4) for students and senior citizens. Children under 18 enter free. This ticket grants access to the permanent and temporary exhibitions, aquarium, touch tanks and activities. Entry to the museum's Óðinn vessel is an additional 1,100 ISK (€7,$8,£6) for adults and 550 ISK (€3,$4,£3) for kids. Joint museum and Óðinn tickets are available. Guided tours cost 2,000 ISK (€13,$14,£11). Special rates for groups and Reykjavik City Card holders are offered.
24. Kolaportið Flea Market
Kolaportið Flea Market is Iceland's largest indoor flea market, located in central Reykjavík at Tryggvagata 19, 101 Reykjavík. It is inside a huge warehouse building near the Old Harbour, about a 10-minute walk from downtown landmarks like Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrímskirkja church. Kolaportið is open only on weekends from 11am-5pm, as well as occasionally on public holidays. The market features over 100 vendors selling all varieties of new and used goods, making it a top destination for locals and visitors alike. Stalls sell second-hand items like vintage clothing, books, records, DVDs and antiques. There is also a large selection of handmade Icelandic wool sweaters, gloves and hats from local artisans. An area called “Krásir” offers handmade jewelry, artwork, candles, soaps and more. The rear section features Icelandic delicacies like fermented shark, dried fish, liquorice and pastries.
Visitors to Kolaportið Flea Market can browse through over 100 vendor stalls selling a diverse range of new and used goods all under one roof. Flip through stacks of old vinyl records, books, magazines and DVDs in the quest to discover an unexpected treasure. Check out antique furniture, brass instruments, military surplus gear and other rare collectibles. Watch as local artisans demonstrate knitting techniques while you shop for handmade wool hats and gloves. Meet the artists and craftspeople in the “Krásir” section selling jewelry, candles, artwork and more.
Kolaportið Flea Market is located downtown with landmarks like Harpa Concert Hall. Driving from Keflavík International Airport takes approximately 49 km (30 miles). There is street parking available near Kolaportið, as well as public parking garages within 350 meters (0.2 miles). The closest bus stop is just 100 meters (328 feet) away, with multiple bus lines that stop along Tryggvagata street. These include bus #14, #3, #4, #6 and #12. The nearest bus terminal, Lækjartorg, is just 350 meters (0.2 miles) away.
There is no admission fee to enter Kolaportið Flea Market. Visitors can browse freely through the vendor stalls without needing to pay an entrance cost. However, visitors should expect to pay if they wish to purchase any of the wide variety of goods for sale from food items to wool sweaters to antique furniture. Typical prices for handmade Icelandic products sold at Kolaportið are often lower than downtown souvenir shops.
What are the best museums to visit in Reykjavík?
Listed below are the best museums to visit in Reykjavík.
- National Museum of Iceland. The National Museum of Iceland (Þjóðminjasafn Íslands) is located at Suðurgata 41 in central Reykjavik. It spread across three floors in an imposing building beside the university, the museum brings Iceland's past to life through its extensive collection of artifacts. Visitors can see embroidered textiles, carved drinking horns and reconstructions of Viking-age boats and homes. The top floor also hosts rotating temporary exhibitions focused on different aspects of Icelandic cultural heritage, from the island's vibrant design scene to the evolution of trends in photography. After exploring over 1,100 years of history, guests can relax at the on-site café or museum shop offering books on Iceland's rich traditions.
- Reykjavik Art Museum. The Reykjavik Art Museum (Listasafn Reykjavíkur), headquartered at Tryggvagata 17, is dedicated to modern and contemporary art from Iceland and around the world. It comprises three galleries dotted around the city, each with focuses. The main Hafnarhús branch is located downtown in a former harbor warehouse that was renovated into a spacious, well-lit exhibition space. The Kjarvalsstaðir gallery lies in a park setting and revolves around the unique landscape paintings of influential Icelandic artist Jóhannes S. Kjarval. Finally, the Ásmundarsafn highlights the abstract sculptures and designs of Ásmundur Sveinsson.
- The Settlement Exhibition. The Settlement Exhibition (Landnámssýningin) offers a window into Reykjavik's origins at its location on Aðalstræti 16 in the heart of the city. Multimedia displays using projectors, audio effects and screens imaginatively recreate scenes of the era, allowing visitors to virtually “meet” early Viking characters like a chieftain first inhabiting the longhouse site. The centerpiece remains the archaeological remnants of the original longhouse itself. Spotlit under the floor, artifacts like animal bones, iron slag and soil layers provide tangible insights into how Iceland's first residents worked, ate and lived over 1,100 years ago.
- Whales of Iceland. Whales of Iceland is located at Fiskislóð 23-25 in Reykjavik's Grandi harbor area, about a 15-minute walk from the city center. As Europe's largest whale exhibition, it features life-sized models of the 23 whale species found in Icelandic waters, including belugas, narwhals, sperm whales, orcas and the massive blue whale. Each model has been hand-painted by experts to accurately depict the whales' appearance in their natural habitat. Visitors can wander through the museum's halls alongside the giants of the deep while using a complimentary audio guide available in over 12 languages to learn about whale behavior, biology, conservation and Iceland's whaling history.
- Saga Museum. The Saga Museum is located at Grandagarður 2 in central Reykjavik, about a 30-minute walk or short bus ride from downtown. Seventeen exhibits chronologically depict key events and characters like the early chieftains Ingólfur Arnarson and Aud the Deep-Minded, the conversion from Norse paganism to Christianity and the establishment of Iceland's parliamentary body, the Alþingi, in 930 AD. Visitors tour at their own pace with an engaging audio guide available in 7 languages. Costumes can be borrowed to transform into a shield-maiden or Viking warrior for photos.
What are the best things to do in Reykjavík With kids?
Listed below are the best things to do in Reykjavík with Kids.
- Whales of Iceland. Whales of Iceland is an interactive whale museum located at Fiskislóð 23-25, 101 Reykjavik. This attraction lets visitors of all ages learn about whales and marine life in Iceland through lifelike models and multimedia exhibits. The museum's highlights are the massive life-size models of a long blue whale and long orca suspended from the ceiling. Visitors can walk through the models and even slide through the mouth of the giant blue whale. Interactive screens provide information on the biology and conservation of various whale species.
- Perlan Museum. The Perlan Museum is situated at Öskjuhlíð, 105 Reykjavik. Dedicated to Icelandic nature and culture, this family-friendly museum offers interactive exhibits spanning glaciers, volcanoes, oceans, ice caves and more. Highlights include an indoor ice cave, a simulated journey through Iceland's different geographical regions and a planetarium. The Perlan also has an outdoor observation deck providing panoramic views over Reykjavik.
- Laugardalur Park. Laugardalur Park in central Reykjavik offers plenty of recreational opportunities spanning open areas, playgrounds, botanical gardens, a zoo, cafe, skating rink and swimming complex. Kids enjoy feeding the ducks and geese on the lake, playing on playground equipment designed by artists, exploring the Family Park forest trail and visiting farm animals at the small zoo. Other family highlights include paddling kayaks and swan pedal boats during summer.
- Reykjavik City Card. Reykjavik's top family-friendly attractions, the Reykjavik City Card helps parents save money. This sightseeing pass includes free admission to sites like the Whales of Iceland museum, Perlan Museum, Árbæjarsafn open air museum, Reykjavik Zoo and more. The card also includes all public transportation use in the greater Reykjavik capital region, along with various discounts. Pricing options span 24, 48 and 72 hour durations. When planning a busy itinerary covering multiple attractions, the Reykjavik City Card reduces costs for the whole family.
What are the best activities for a business traveler in Reykjavík?
Listed below are the best activities for a business traveler in Reykjavík.
- Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is located at Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík. As Reykjavik's premier venue for concerts, conferences and events, Harpa features multiple halls, meeting rooms and auditoriums equipped with cutting-edge AV technology and seating capacities ranging from 195 to 1,800 attendees. Harpa provides an inspiring backdrop for productive meetings and events. It has 28,000 square meters of flexible event space including the main Eldborg Concert Hall, the Silfurberg hall, the Norðurljós hall and the Kaldalón hall. Catering services and an experienced event management team ensure seamless conferences, exhibitions, galas and more.
- Blue Lagoon Business Meeting Package. The iconic Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is located at Norðurljósavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, just outside Reykjavik. It offers special business meeting packages combining productive conferences with spa experiences. These corporate event services include a private meeting room overlooking the Blue Lagoon’s stunning lava fields, AV equipment/WiFi, personalized catering, access to the warm mineral-rich waters and Blue Lagoon skin care amenities. Additional features like in-water massages, a guided lava walk and transfers to/from Reykjavik can be arranged.
- Grand Hotel Reykjavik. Grand Hotel Reykjavik located at Sigtún 38, 105 Reykjavík has flexible conference and event space in downtown Reykjavik suited for productive business functions. Choose from 11 meeting areas accommodating groups from 10 to 800 people, with high-tech AV equipment and dedicated conference planning services available. Grand Hotel Reykjavik features spacious, soundproofed halls bathed in natural light ideal for seminars, board meetings, conferences, gala dinners and more. The hotel also houses the Grand Brasserie restaurant preparing creative Icelandic cuisine using local ingredients.
- Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Nature. Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura at Nauthólsvegur 52, 102 Reykjavík is a convenient business event venue located just 15 minutes from downtown. Surrounded by nature, it provides a refreshing atmosphere for focused corporate functions. Choose from 6 flexible meeting rooms accommodating groups of 6 to 150 attendees. All feature natural daylight, blackout options, built-in screens and video conferencing capabilities. Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura also offers two boardrooms for intimate meetings. After productive conferences conclude, unwind at the on-site geothermal pool, spa, gym or Northern Lights bar. Northern Lights tours can also be arranged through the hotel for unforgettable networking under the Aurora Borealis.
Where is Reykjavík?
Reykjavik is located in southwestern Iceland at 64.1470° N, 21.9408° W. As Iceland's capital and largest city, Reykjavik is situated on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay. The city center itself sits at an elevation of 15-25 meters (49-82 feet) above sea level. In terms of distance from Oslo, Norway's capital, Reykjavik lies about 1,751 km (1,089 miles) straight west of Oslo by air. By road, the driving distance is roughly 2,057 km (1,279 miles) between the two capital cities. The fastest and most direct public transportation option is to fly – direct flights from Oslo Airport to Reykjavik Airport take around 3 hours. Travelers can take the combination of trains and ferries which takes around 2 days each way with multiple connections. Reykjavik is located entirely west of the prime meridian on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, unlike most of Europe.
What is the history of Reykjavík?
Reykjavik was founded as a farmstead by Norse chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson around 870 AD. Its location along the southwest coast with access to the ocean and plenty of geothermal activity made it an ideal spot for settlement. According to legend, Ingólfur tossed his high seat pillars overboard and settled where they came ashore, bestowing the name Reykjavik (“Smoky Bay”) for the geothermal steam rising from the ground. The area grew slowly initially as a small farming and fishing village. By the 18th-century Reykjavik became a center of trade and manufacturing for Iceland. Major events in Reykjavik's emergence include receiving municipal rights from the Danish Crown as a market town in 1786. This spurred growth in the 19th-century with the abolition of trade monopolies, allowing open trade with foreign ships. Reykjavik took over from Thingvellir as the meeting place for Iceland's parliament, the Alþingi, in 1845. When Iceland gained sovereignty from Denmark in 1918, Reykjavik was the natural choice for the capital given its status as the country's largest and most important city. It has served as the capital since then.
What language is spoken in Reykjavík?
The language spoken in Reykjavik is Icelandic. Icelandic is the national language and is spoken by over 93% of Iceland's population as their native language. It is a North Germanic language descended from Old Norse. Icelandic has changed relatively little since settlement over 1100 years ago. Modern Icelanders can still read the medieval sagas and Eddas with ease. This linguistic conservatism makes Icelandic quite unique. English has an important secondary role, with 98% of Icelanders speaking it as a second language. English proficiency is very high given that English is mandatory in schools. Increased immigration has added minority languages like Polish, Lithuanian, Filipino and Thai that might be heard in Reykjavik.
What timezone is Reykjavík on?
Reykjavík is located in the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) timezone, which has no offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This means that when it is 12 noon in UTC, it is also 12 noon in Reykjavík. Iceland does not observe Daylight Saving Time or summer time changes, unlike most of Europe. Clocks remain on GMT or Western European Time year-round. The entire Iceland country follows the same GMT/UTC timezone all year, despite some western regions falling geographically into the UTC-1 offset. Keeping the capital Reykjavík synchronized with Europe was prioritized.
How many people live in Reykjavík?
The total population of Reykjavík as of 2023 is 117,440 people. There are 59,033 males and 58,406 females living in the city. The median age of residents in Reykjavík is 38 years old. There are 21,473 children under the age of 14 and 22,909 youths between the ages of 15-29. Reykjavík has 24,184 adults between the ages of 30-59 and 21,298 elderly residents aged 60 and above. There are currently about 6770 babies in Reykjavík, with 3297 of them being girls and 3471 being boys. There are 7042 young children between the ages of 5-9 living in the city. These are all based on the population breakdown.
What are the most interesting facts about Iceland and Reykjavík?
Listed below are the most interesting facts about Iceland and Reykjavík.
- Language. The main language spoken in Iceland and Reykjavík is Icelandic. Icelandic is a North Germanic language descended from Old Norse that has changed relatively little since settlement over 1100 years ago. Spoken Icelandic has no dialects. English has an important secondary role, with over 98% of Icelanders speaking it as well. Polish, Lithuanian, Thai and other immigrant languages can also be heard around Reykjavík.
- Currency. The Icelandic króna (ISK) is the official currency used in Reykjavík and all of Iceland. Banknotes come in denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 krónur. Coins represent 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 króna. The exchange rate is around 140 ISK to 1 US dollar and 110 ISK to 1 British pound. When providing Icelandic prices, use the ISK amount followed by approximate USD and GBP equivalents in parentheses.
- Timezone. Reykjavík is located in the Greenwich Mean Time or Western European Time zone all year round. Iceland does not observe daylight saving time. This standardized timezone makes international communication, transport and trade more convenient for Iceland despite its extreme geographic position in the North Atlantic Ocean.
- Power plugs. Iceland uses 230 volts at 50 Hz AC electricity. Icelandic plugs fit the European Type C and Type F plugs with two round pins. North American visitors will need an adapter and potentially a voltage converter for devices that don't handle 230 volt power. Checking device power input ratings helps determine if a converter is needed along with the plug adapter.
How many days are needed to see Reykjavík?
Visitiors should spend between 2 and 3 days in Reykjavík to see the key highlights and attractions of the city. In just 1 full day in Reykjavik, visitors can explore top sights like Hallgrimskirkja church, Harpa Concert Hall, the Sun Voyager sculpture, Laugavegur main shopping street and the Old Harbor area. 2 days provides a more relaxed visit to take in attractions like the National Museum, photography museum and a neighborhood like the Old Town, while allowing time for activities like whale watching or a food tour. The extra day also gives more of a feel for Reykjavik's culture and nightlife. Visitors can include a day trip to see landscapes like the Golden Circle geysers and waterfalls or South Coast black sand beaches that lie just outside the capital.
Is Reykjavík worth visiting?
Yes, Reykjavik is worth visiting. As Iceland's capital and largest city, Reykjavik serves as a good base to explore the country's famous natural landscapes. The city balances beauty like the Sun Voyager sculpture with Scandinavian flair. Whale watching and puffin tours also tap into Iceland's wildlife. The efficient trip planning, 1-2 days provides enough time to discover Reykjavik's highlights while saving ample time for the countryside's waterfalls, volcanoes and Northern Lights. Its museums, music and creativity showcase why Iceland punches above its weight culturally.
Is Reykjavík expensive to visit?
Yes, Reykjavik is considered an expensive destination for travelers. As Iceland's capital and largest city, costs for accommodation, dining, transportation, activities and more in Reykjavik tend to be higher compared to many other European cities. Reykjavik owes its high prices in part to Iceland being an isolated island nation that relies heavily on imports. High wages, taxes and standard of living also drive up costs. Budget-conscious travelers can still enjoy Reykjavik's highlights without breaking the bank completely. Visiting Iceland and Reykjavík during the shoulder season months brings lower prices on hotels and flights. Self-catering in a rental apartment or hostel with a kitchen saves considerably on dining expenses.
Is Reykjavík safe to visit?
Yes, Reykjavik is considered a safe city for tourists to visit. As Iceland's capital and only major metropolitan area, Reykjavik has very low crime and violence rates that make it one of the safest destinations in Iceland and Europe. Violent crime is rare, while petty crimes like pickpocketing or bag snatching can happen but remain uncommon. Standard safety precautions like being aware of your surroundings and not leaving valuables unattended apply, but risks are minimal. Emergency services, infrastructure quality and rule of law metrics also indicate Iceland ranks at the very top for safety. The main risks tourists do face involve underestimating the power of nature and getting caught unprepared in difficult weather or terrain when venturing into the countryside.
Is Reykjavík easy to visit with kids?
Yes, Reykjavík is very safe for kids and easy to explore on foot due to its small size. Sidewalks, buses and attractions accommodate strollers. Top attractions include the unusual zoo, whale watching from the Old Harbor, the Volcano Show and the Perlan museum with an indoor ice cave. Several museums cater well to kids through hands-on exhibits about Vikings, animals, science and more. Year-round swimming pools, parks, gardens and playgrounds provide outdoor options for play and relaxing.Events like the Winter Lights festival, children's concerts and cultural festivals also appeal to families. Reykjavík offers ample amenities, activities, culture and natural beauty to entertain kids for 2-3 days or as a start/end to a broader Iceland trip.
What is Reykjavík famous for?
Reykjavik is famous as a hub for Icelandic music and creative arts, having produced world-famous bands like Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Rós and solo artist Björk. The city is known for its youth culture, various music festivals happening year-round and nightlife fueled by creativity. Reykjavik also contains an array of museums and galleries that showcase Icelandic culture and heritage across topics ranging from history and settlement to contemporary art. The city serves as an easily accessible gateway for visitors to experience Iceland's natural landscapes. It offers a wide selection of tours and excursions to sights like glaciers, waterfalls, wonders and even the chance to see the Northern Lights.
Who are the most important people born in Reykjavík?
Listed below are the most important people born in Reykjavík.
- Bjarni Tryggvason. Bjarni Tryggvason was an Icelandic-Canadian engineer, pilot and astronaut, born in Reykjavik in 1945, emigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 19. Tryggvason joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1963 and later earned degrees in engineering and physics from the University of Western Ontario. After working as a research scientist and airline pilot, he was selected to train as an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency in 1992. On August 7, 1997 he achieved fame as the first Icelander in space, serving as a payload specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-85.
- Aníta Briem. Aníta Briem is an accomplished Icelandic actress, born in Reykjavik in 1982, took acting courses at Iceland's Academy of Arts and moved to London in 2005 to pursue an international career. She landed a lead role as Anne Boleyn on the Showtime series The Tudors (2007-2010). Further credits include Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) and the FX series The Bridge (2013-2014).
- Heida Reed. Heida Reed is a respected Icelandic actress known for her roles in British TV series. Heida Reed was born in Reykjavik in 1988 and studied at the Drama Centre London. She had a breakout role on the popular BBC period drama Poldark (2015-2019), playing Elizabeth Warleggan. Reed also appeared as Sam Day on Silent Witness (2013-2015). Film credits include One Day (2011) and the thriller Stella's Last Weekend (2018). In 2021, Reed starred in the acclaimed Icelandic crime drama series The Darkness – Rogue. Her nuanced acting earns praise as she continues working across British and Icelandic productions.
- Ingvar Sigurdsson. Ingvar Sigurdsson is a prolific, award-winning Icelandic actor. Ingvar Sigurdsson was born in Reykjavik in 1963 and graduated from Iceland's National Theatre in 1990. He has since performed in over 30 feature films and 40 plays. Acclaimed roles include the lead in Astridur (2007) and playing Jon in the Mountain Cry (2009), both of which won him Best Actor at the Edda Awards – Iceland's top film prize. International credits include Everest (2015), where he portrayed expedition leader Anatoli Boukreev and The Northman (2022). Sigurdsson's extensive career also includes writing, directing and producing. His commanding screen presence and gravitas demonstrate exceptional range across characters.
What to eat in Reykjavík?
Listed below are what you can eat in Reykjavík.
- Skyr. Skyr is a dairy product that has been an Icelandic staple since the 9th century Viking era. Similar to Greek yogurt but thicker and more tart, skyr is packed with protein and calcium and often described as tasting like a rich, creamy cheese, yet low in fat. It is naturally lactose-free. Skyr makes a nutritious breakfast paired with berries or fruit and granola or as a base for smoothies and milkshakes. Icelandic skyr tends to be less sweetened, allowing its tangy flavor to shine. Some of the best brands include MS, Siggi's and Isey. Skyr is considered the most popular Icelandic food to eat in Reykjavík.
- Harðfiskur. Harðfiskur is Icelandic wind-dried fish, most commonly cod. This staple food dates back centuries as a way to preserve fresh fish in Iceland's harsh environment for sustenance through long winters. To make harðfiskur, cod is gutted and flattened before undergoing an air-drying process enhanced by cold Arctic winds which dehydrates the lean white fish meat without salts or chemicals.
- Pylsur Hot Dog. The Icelandic hot dog or pylsur is an institution, with stands found around Reykjavík serving this popular snack. The iconic Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur stand near the harbor claims to be the birthplace of the “Ein með öllu” (one with everything) dressed hot dog. Toppings include crunchy fried onions, raw white onions, crispy shallots, remoulade, sweet brown mustard and ketchup. Lamb is the most common hot dog meat.
- Lamb & Seafood. As an isolated island, Iceland takes full advantage of its indigenous ingredients. Locally raised lamb and freshly caught seafood shine at Reykjavík restaurants. Signature lamb dishes include braised lamb shank, grilled rack of lamb, lamb soup and slátur – minced lamb meat sausage. Seafood specialties highlight regional bounty like arctic char, salmon, cod, haddock, scallops and langoustine lobster prepared simply to let clean, bright flavors sing. Menus change based on seasonal availability.
- Rúgbrauð Sandwich. The Icelandic rúgbrauð sandwich offers comfort through its contrasting textures and flavors. Rúgbrauð is a sweet, dark rye bread baked underground using geothermal heat instead of ovens. Slices of this almost black dense rye get layered with butter and sandwich fillings like ham, remoulade, herring, pickled beets or egg salad. The molasses-like bread remains slightly warm and soft inside. Tart pickles or beetroot and creamy fillings balance the sweet earthiness.
What are the best places to eat in Reykjavík?
Listed below are the best places to eat in Reykjavík.
- Grillmarkaðurinn. Grillmarkaðurinn is located at Lækjargata 2A, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. This grill restaurant features natural materials like volcanic stone, wood, leather and fish scales. Grillmarkaðurinn sources seasonal produce directly from local farmers and fishermen. Signature dishes include grilled meats like dry-aged ribeye, minke whale steak and lamb alongside seafood options. The tasting menu offers the best introduction with eight shared courses. Extensive wine and cocktail menus complement the food.
- Old Iceland. Old Iceland restaurant is located at Laugavegur 72, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Highlights from the menu include plokkfiskur (fish stew), rack of lamb, arctic char and the Iceland tasting platter with smoked salmon, lamb and more. Old Iceland uses seasonal ingredients from local producers and spices sourced right from Iceland's mountains.
- Messinn. Messinn restaurant is located at Lækjargata 6b, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. The menu centers on seafood caught fresh daily right from nearby waters. Signature dishes include pan-fried cod, oven-baked salmon, fish stew, mussels and a rotating daily special. Messinn also offers meat dishes like lamb shoulder and burgers. Desserts change seasonally as well. The restaurant has an extensive wine list and craft Icelandic beers to pair with the simple, well-executed seafood plates.
- Sjávargrillið. Seafood Grill is located at Skólavörðustígur 14, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. As the name indicates, this restaurant specializes in fresh Icelandic seafood. The daily catch might include pan-fried cod, seared salmon, monkfish, shellfish and more depending on availability. Signature preparations like lobster soup and fish kebabs showcase simple local ingredients. Beyond seafood, Seafood Grill offers lamb dishes and vegetarian options.
- Íslenski Barinn. The Icelandic Bar is located at Ingólfsstræti 1a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. As Iceland's first gastropub, this venue pairs creative modern Icelandic cooking with a beer selection in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. The menu focuses on small plates good for sharing, with highlights like charcuterie, flatbreads, mussels, ceviche and an amazing lamb burger. Daily specials might feature whale, puffin or horse meat when available. Íslenski Barinn offers 14 beers on tap, mostly Icelandic craft brews, alongside a curated wine and cocktail list.
What are the best areas to stay in Reykjavík?
Listed below are the best areas to stay in Reykjavík.
- Reykjavik's compact city. Reykjavik's compact city center puts visitors steps from major attractions like Harpa Concert Hall, the Sun Voyager sculpture, Old Harbor, Laugavegur main shopping street and Hallgrimskirkja church. Boutique hotels, design-driven guesthouses and aparthotels dominate the accommodation options with locations around Austurvöllur square or along Laugavegur. Prices are higher, staying central allows experiencing Reykjavik's urban energy and avoids relying on public transportation.
- Laugardalur. Laugardalur valley offers a more residential vibe while remaining under 5 km from downtown. This area contains Reykjavik’s largest park which includes a botanical garden, family-friendly zoo and seals exhibit, ice rink, swimming complex and kid’s playgrounds. Laugardalur offers apartment rentals and budget hotels at more affordable rates than central Reykjavik, while the short distance makes sightseeing manageable via buses or taxis. It appeals to families and those seeking quiet alongside easy access to nature and amenities.
- Hafnarfjörður. The port town of Hafnarfjörður provides a fjordside alternative. It is known for its natural lava rock formations and revitalized harbor area dotted with cafes and shops, Hafnarfjörður makes a base for exploring the capital region. The town has its own attractions like the Viking Village museum bringing Icelandic heritage to life. Accommodation options range from harbor apartments to hotels to guesthouses. A 25 minute drive from downtown Reykjavik, the town rewards visitors with small town charm, dramatic seaside landscapes and lower prices.
- Kópavogur. Kópavogur, home to Iceland’s second largest population. Kópavogur allows easy access to Reykjavik’s offerings along with trails for hiking and cycling with views across the bay. Business travelers appreciate being near the Smárinn convention center and Kópavogur’s office parks. Accommodation ranges from design hotels to guest apartments catering towards longer stays.
- Grindavík. It is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula 45 minutes south of Reykjavik, the fishing town of Grindavík provides dramatic seascapes and proximity to geothermal areas, lava fields and the Blue Lagoon. This quieter area near Keflavik Airport suits those seeking epic nature as a backdrop while still accessing Reykjavik’s offerings on day trips. Simple guesthouses, rental cottages and campgrounds define the homebase options.
What are the best accommodations to stay in Reykjavík?
Listed below are the best accommodations to stay in Reykjavík.
- Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre. Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is located at Smidjustigur 4, 101 Reykjavik. This 4-star lifestyle hotel features modern rooms and is housed in a restored 1930s building that was formerly a furniture factory and music venue. It has an excellent central location just off Laugavegur main shopping street, within easy walking distance to attractions like Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrímskirkja church. On-site amenities include a restaurant and bar, 24-hour fitness center and free WiFi. Guest rooms blend minimalist Icelandic design with historic architectural details like exposed timber beams. Standard guest rooms average 270 square feet while one-bedroom suites offer extra space.
- Hotel Reykjavik Saga. Hotel Reykjavik Saga is located at Lækjargata 12, 101 Reykjavik. Opened in 2022, this elegant 4-star hotel lies in a historic building on a central pedestrian street adjacent to scenic Lake Tjörnin. The hotel is designed in a modern Nordic style with an on-site restaurant featuring Icelandic cuisine. Amenities include a gym, lounge, garden terrace and access for coaches. The 130 guest rooms range from standard double rooms to spacious deluxe rooms, all providing free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges and marble bathrooms with luxury toiletries.
- Black Pearl Reykjavik. The Black Pearl Reykjavik is located at Tryggvagata 18, 101 Reykjavik. This all-suite apartment hotel lies in a modern building painted black, just 350 yards from Old Reykjavik Harbor. The 21 elegant suites all include free WiFi, iPads, Nespresso machines, full kitchens and stylish contemporary decor with floor-to-ceiling windows. Suites range from junior suites to spacious 2-bedroom penthouses with harbor views. Amenities include free parking, concierge service and optional daily breakfast delivery.
- Sand Hotel. Sand Hotel is located at Laugavegur 34, 101 Reykjavik. This design-driven boutique hotel is set in a converted 1930s townhouse that was formerly home to a tailor's shop and bakery. It is located on Reykjavik's main shopping street, the hotel has just 22 rooms, allowing for personalized service. Guest rooms feature luxury amenities like rainfall showers, Nespresso machines, floor heating and quality linens. An on-site restaurant offers Nordic cuisine in a casual yet refined setting.
- Alda Hotel. Alda Hotel is located at Laugavegur 66-68, 101 Reykjavik. Located on the main shopping street, it offers views of the Hallgrímskirkja church. Facilities include a bar/lounge, complimentary breakfast buffet and access to a nearby gym. The 77 guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, free WiFi, rainfall showers and quality bedding. Suite options add extra space and seating areas. Alda receives excellent reviews for its central location, Scandi-chic style, friendly service and very comfortable beds.
How to get to Keflavik Airport?
There are several options to get from Keflavik International Airport to Reykjavik city center, which is around 49 km (30 miles) away. By bus, the most popular and affordable option is the FlyBus Airport Shuttle. Buses run frequently and the journey takes 45 minutes. FlyBus drops off passengers at the BSÍ bus terminal in Reykjavik. Another option is the Grayline Airport Shuttle with a single ticket priced around 1,950 ISK (€12, $15, £11). Grayline buses drop off at their own bus terminal in Reykjavik. There is also public bus #55 which is the cheapest option at 1,670 ISK (€11, $13, £10) but runs less frequently and reliably with a travel time of around one hour. For groups, a private minibus transfer can be cheaper than taxi but more expensive than the bus, typically costing around 10,000 ISK (€57, $75, £63) per person for a group of 4-8 people. Finally, renting a car allows visitors to explore more of Iceland and cars can be picked up right at Keflavik Airport.
How to get from Reykjavik to Akureyri in Iceland?
The driving distance between Reykjavík and Akureyri is about 387 km (240 miles). It takes around 5-6 hours to drive non-stop between the two cities. Visitors would take Route 1 or the Ring Road north out of Reykjavík, passing through towns like Borgarnes and Blönduós along the way before reaching Akureyri. Allow extra time for stops. Renting a car provides flexibility to explore sights along the route. The bus journey from Reykjavík to Akureyri takes 6-7 hours on average. Buses depart from Mjódd station in Reykjavík and arrive at Hof cultural center in central Akureyri. Popular bus companies like Strætó offer multiple daily departures year-round. Flying is the fastest way between the cities, taking only 45 minutes on direct Air Iceland Connect or IcelandAir flights. Visitors depart from the Reykjavík Domestic Airport (RKV) and arrive at Akureyri Airport (AEY).
Where to go shopping in Reykjavík?
Reykjavik offers several shopping destinations for visitors looking to browse international brands, check out Icelandic designs or simply spend a day indoor shopping. Firstly, the largest and most popular shopping mall is Kringlan and located on Kringlunni 4-12, 103 Reykjavík. It is only 10 minutes drive from downtown, Kringlan houses over 170 shops and 23 eateries. Shoppers will find all the major international brands like H&M, Zara, Massimo Dutti alongside popular Icelandic chains like 66°North outdoor gear. The two-story glass enclosed design filled with plants and benches makes browsing the shops an enjoyable experience. Entertainment options include a 12-screen cinema, arcade games and a public library. Secondly, is the Smáralind mall. It is located in the neighboring town of Kópavogur, it's only a quick 15 minutes drive from downtown Reykjavik. Shoppers will find popular international apparel brands like H&M, Mango and Ecco alongside specialty Icelandic design shops. Entertainment includes Iceland's largest movie theater with 18 screens. It has spacious parking and wide corridors, Smáralind offers a convenient and comfortable full day shopping experience. Lastly, the newly developed Hafnartorg area offers a unique outdoor/indoor shopping district right on Reykjavik's Old Harbor. The 30+ stores and restaurants blend international brands like Rituals cosmetics and Boss Hugo Boss tailored clothing with Icelandic wool, design and artisan food & beverages. Shop while enjoying harbor views or stop in one of the many cafes and restaurants with local cuisine.
What festivals or events are taking place in Reykjavík?
Listed below are the festivals or events that are taking place in Reykjavík.
- Iceland Airwaves Music Festival. Iceland Airwaves is Iceland's premier annual music festival held in downtown Reykjavik every November. Since the first festival in 1999, Airwaves has grown into one of the world's most unique showcases for new music across genres from indie rock, pop, hip hop, folk and electronica. Over 200 bands and artists from around the world perform at venues throughout Reykjavik over the 5 day event. Highlights include both intimate club shows and large concert hall performances from breakthrough acts and established bands alike. Past headliners have included The National, Wu-Tang Clan, Florence + The Machine and Mac DeMarco alongside Icelandic stars like Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Rós and Björk. Beyond the concerts, Airwaves offers daytime industry panels, films, art exhibitions and citywide parties that celebrate Iceland's creative spirit.
- Winter Lights Festival. The Winter Lights Festival is a popular event held every February that brightens Reykjavik's long winter nights. The core of the 5-day festival revolves around outdoor light installations and sculptures designed by Icelandic and international artists. Complementing the outdoor light exhibitions is an array of cultural events indoors. Museums and galleries host special exhibits related to light and energy. There are also concerts, dance performances and hands-on workshops for both kids and adults. Two signature events that happen during Winter Lights are Museum Night and Pool Night. On Museum Night, most of Reykjavik's museums stay open late into the evening with free admission, special programming and shuttle buses around the city.
- Culture Night. Culture Night is a beloved annual event held in Reykjavik every August as part of the National Day holiday weekend. On this day, Icelanders come together to celebrate the country's vibrant arts, culture and creativity with a jam-packed program of free events happening around the capital. Festivities kick off in the afternoon as the streets fill with performers, art vendors, food stalls and happy crowds. Outdoor concerts feature many of Iceland's top musical acts from pop stars to indie bands, folk groups and choirs. There are impromptu theater and dance shows on street corners, circus performers and even a parade of brass bands marching through the city. Art galleries and studios open their doors for exhibitions and hands-on workshops.
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