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11 Interesting Things to Do in Reykjavik Iceland

Visiting Reykjavik? Don’t miss these things to do!

Iceland is a hot destination right now! You can easily get multi-day layovers from the US to Europe, and most likely you’ll be starting your Iceland trip in Reykjavik, the capital and largest city. If you’re visiting Reykjavik for a day or two or just passing through, here are our picks for things to do!

11 Best Things to Do in Reykjavik Iceland // localadventurer.com

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Last Updated: June 17, 2024

11 Interesting Things to Do in Reykjavik Iceland

1. Enjoy the Views from the Top of Hallgrimskirkja Church

The Hallgrimskirkja Church is a beautiful and unique landmark in Reykjavik. The architecture is inspired by the basalt column of the Svartifoss waterfall, and it also has one of the best views of the city. You can purchase a ticket in the gift shop (900 ISK or approximately 7 euros per person) to take the elevator to the top where you get that ubiquitous Reykjavik photo.

Local Tip: The elevator is small and only takes 6 people up at a time, so there’s usually a long line waiting. Jacob didn’t think it was worth the price and time, but I was happy to get the photos. If we had a do-over, only one of us would go up on behalf of the rest of the group.

See More: 10 Things No One Tells You About Visiting Iceland

Beautiful Aerial Shot of Reykjavik Iceland from the Hallgrimskirkja Church // localadventurer.com

2. Grab an Icelandic Hot Dog at BÆjarins Beztu Pylsur

This hot dog stand is known to sell the best hot dogs in Iceland (the name literally means “The Town’s Best”). CN Traveler says it’s the one dish you must eat in Iceland. If you eat here, they will probably also mention that this is Bill Clinton’s spot! Although you can get one the way you like it, their classic Icelandic dog comes with remoulade (a mayo-based sauce, mustard, ketchup, crunchy onions, and raw onions).

3. National Museum of Iceland →

Learn more about the history of Iceland at their National Museum. You’ll hear bits and pieces of it from tour guides and other locals, but this is the place to go to see it all. Get tickets here.

4. Blue Lagoon →

Blue Lagoon is easily the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It is actually outside of the city, but right next to the Reykjavik airport. Yes, it’s really touristy. Yes, it’s manmade. But you really don’t have anything quite like it anywhere else in the world.

Pro Tip: If you decide to go, make reservations as it fills up quickly! Also, go right when they open if you want to avoid the crowds. An hour after they opened, the lines were out the door.

5. The Pearl / Perlan Museum →

This five-story complex is full of attractions! Grab a meal, check out the museum, or enjoy the man-made geysers. The main attraction is the architecture.

perlan museum reykjavikPin

6. Visit the Kolaportid Flea Market

If you’re in town over the weekend, check out Kolaportid, Reykjavik’s Flea Market. You can find hand-knitted wool sweaters, local delicacies, and more. You can even try your hand at bargaining. Here’s a food tour option.

7. Check Out the Street Art

Reykjavik is home to a lot of unique and beautiful graffiti and street art. Lately, we’ve been on the hunt for the best murals wherever we travel. Take a stroll around town and see what you can discover.

Street Art in Reykjavik (11 Interesting Things to Do in Reykjavik Iceland) // localadventurer.com

8. Eat at Fish Market or Grill Market

These were the two restaurants where we got countless recommendations for a nicer dinner out. Chef Hrefna Sætran serves well-prepared and inventive dishes. I’m down for most experiences, but I’m not much of an adventurous eater. 😅 If you like to try different meats, Iceland has some unique dishes like puffin and minke whale. There are several restaurants that offer it, but Grillmarkaðurinn and Fiskmarkaðurinn are among the most popular.

9. Nightlife

People party hard in Reykjavik! Even after the club closes, the streets are full of drunk people looking for an after-party or trying to find their way home. We were preoccupied with photographing the Northern lights every night, but if we visit in the summer, we’ll go out. If you’ve partied in Reykjavik, let us know how it was!

10. Go Whale and Puffin Watching (June to August) →

If you’re going in late spring or summer, you have the chance to see humpback whales, minke whales, porpoises, and dolphins. Find whale watching tours here.

You can also spot different sea birds, including the puffins! Check out the puffin watching tours here.

Local Tip: The peak season is from June to August. Kollafjörður in Faxaflói bay is the closest to Reykjavik. A little further out is Breiðafjörður and Westman Islands, which is the largest puffin colony. Other regions to see them include West Fjords (Látrabjarg and Ísafjarðardjúp), South Coast (Ingólfshöfði, Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjall), and East Iceland (Fáskrúðsfjörður, Borgarfjörður).

where to see puffins in icelandPin

11. See the Northern Lights (September to Mid-April) →

If you’re in Iceland during winter, then you’re probably there to see the Northern Lights! There are a ton of tours in Reykjavik, but if you’re interested in looking for them on your own, don’t forget to check out our guide on how to catch the Northern Lights (it’s not as simple as you might think)! If it’s a good showing, you can even see them from town.

See More: How to Catch the Northern Lights

Bonus: Take a Tour or Rent a Car and Go on an Adventure →

When you visit Iceland, don’t limit yourself to Reykjavik. Fortunately, most tours leave from the city, so it’s not difficult to find one to explore different parts of Iceland. Some of the most popular tours are the Golden Circle tour, snowmobiling on a glacierSnorkeling Silfra, or exploring the Ice Caves (seasonal).

See More: 5 Epic Day Trips from Reykjavik Iceland You Can’t Miss

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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