33 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Reykjavik | 2024 (with Photos)

Lara Mega

Lara Mega - Head of Content

Last Updated: March 25, 2024

Hey there! I'm Lara, a travel enthusiast who loves exploring and discovering new experiences. I've curated a list of unique activities in Reykjavik that I can't wait for you to try out on your next adventure. Enjoy exploring this vibrant city to the fullest!

Fun and Unique Things to Do in Reykjavik

Did you know that Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, is the northernmost capital on the planet?

Offering a unique blend of natural wonders, historical significance, and vibrant culture, this city presents a captivating adventure for every visitor.

In this comprehensive guide, we will embark on a journey through the top 33 things to do in Reykjavik.

We will immerse ourselves in the city's rich history at the National Museum, witness the mesmerizing spectacle of the Northern Lights, and indulge in traditional Icelandic cuisine. Ready for an unforgettable exploration of Reykjavik? Let’s dive in!

Most Recommended Thing to Do


Top Choice Hotel

101 Hotel

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife


Best Time to Visit

Summer, for mild weather and midnight sun magic.

Average Temperature

Chilly with fluctuating weather throughout the year.

Transportation Options

Buses, taxis, bicycles, walking - transportation options in Reykjavik.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Reykjavik, Iceland is a charming city loaded with awe-inspiring sights and an abundance of culture. Start your day by taking a relaxing stroll along the waterfront promenade, breathing in the crisp Icelandic air and soaking in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and mountains in the distance. Continue your journey by exploring the vibrant downtown area, where you can indulge in delicious local cuisine at cozy cafes and trendy restaurants, or browse through the unique boutique shops and art galleries that line the streets, immersing yourself in the city's artistic atmosphere.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Warm clothing
  2. Waterproof jacket
  3. Hat and gloves
  4. Comfortable walking shoes
  5. Swimsuit for visiting geothermal pools
  6. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  7. Portable charger for your electronic devices
  8. Travel adapter for charging your devices
  9. Daypack for carrying essentials during the day
  10. Icelandic krona for local transactions.

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, offers a unique and picturesque travel experience. To make the most of your trip, remember to pack warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, hats, and gloves. The weather can be unpredictable, so it's essential to come prepared. Don't forget to bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring the city and its beautiful surroundings. With its many geothermal pools and hot springs, packing a swimsuit is a must. Capture all these moments with a camera or smartphone, and ensure you have a portable charger and travel adapter for your electronic devices. Finally, carry a daypack for your essentials and have some Icelandic krona for local transactions. Enjoy your personalized adventure in Reykjavik!

What Not to Miss

Blue Lagoon, Hallgrimskirkja Church, Reykjavik Whale Watching, Golden Circle, Harpa Concert Hall, National Museum of Iceland, Perlan Observation Deck, Tjornin Lake, Laugavegur Street, Sun Voyager sculpture, Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), Vikin Maritime Museum.

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded tourist spots
  2. Overpriced restaurants
  3. Ignoring local customs and etiquette
  4. Going out without proper cold weather gear
  5. Disrespecting the natural environment
  6. Engaging in illegal activities or drugs
  7. Drinking and driving
  8. Neglecting to plan for limited daylight during winter months
  9. Trusting unreliable or unlicensed tour operators
  10. Missing out on local delicacies and traditional cuisine

1. Visit the Reykjavik Maritime Museum

Reykjavik Maritime Museum

A visit to the Reykjavik Maritime Museum is one of the most interesting things to do in Reykjavik, Iceland's capital city.

Situated near the old harbor, the museum provides an intimate look into the maritime history that has shaped Iceland's culture and lifestyle.

As you explore, you'll find exhibits ranging from the early fishing expeditions to modern-age maritime advancements.

The museum also hosts the former Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn, which played a significant role in the Cod Wars.

Whether you're an avid maritime enthusiast or just visiting Reykjavik, the Maritime Museum is a significant part of Icelandic history that shouldn't be missed.

2. Go on a Northern Lights Tour to Witness the Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

Experiencing the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, is a must-do when visiting Reykjavik, especially during the winter months.

Various tour operators in the city offer Northern Lights tours, where experts guide you to the best viewing spots away from the city lights.

The dance of the green, pink, and sometimes red lights across the night sky creates a spectacle of natural beauty that's truly mesmerizing.

Whether you're a photographer seeking the perfect shot or simply want to soak in this natural wonder, a Northern Lights tour is an unforgettable Icelandic experience.

3. Explore The History of Iceland at the National Museum

National Museum

The National Museum of Iceland, located in Reykjavik, is a treasure trove of artifacts that narrate the country's history, from settlement to the modern age.

The museum's collection offers a comprehensive overview of Iceland's cultural heritage, ensuring visitors gain a deep understanding of Icelandic society and its evolution.

With interactive exhibits and educational displays, this museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of Iceland.

4. Take a Relaxing Dip in the Famous Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland's most popular tourist attractions, is a geothermal spa known for its mineral-rich waters.

Just a short drive from Reykjavik, this iconic hot spring is set in a lava field, creating a stunning contrast between the milky blue water and the black lava rocks.

The warm, soothing waters make for a relaxing dip, and the silica mud is said to have skin-healing properties.

Regardless of the time of year, a visit to the Blue Lagoon offers a unique and relaxing experience amidst Iceland's breathtaking natural beauty.

5. Wander Around Downtown Reykjavik

Downtown Reykjavik

There's a unique charm to be discovered when looking for things to do in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. Start your exploration downtown, where colorful old houses coexist with modern architecture, offering an eclectic vibe.

As you wander around, you'll encounter numerous Reykjavik attractions, including museums, the impressive glass building of Harpa Concert Hall, and street art adorning the city walls.

Check out the main shopping streets filled with boutiques and unique Icelandic designs.

Don't miss the old harbor area, a vibrant place filled with restaurants offering traditional cuisine.

Downtown Reykjavik, with its mix of history, culture, and beauty, offers visitors a delightful taste of Icelandic life.

6. Visit the City Hall

City Hall

Located by the picturesque Tjornin Lake in central Reykjavik, the City Hall is an impressive modern architectural marvel.

A vital landmark in the city center, it houses a large relief map of Iceland, providing an overview of the country's geography.

While in the area, take a stroll around the lake, a favorite spot for both locals and visitors.

From there, you can easily access other popular tourist attractions, including the Settlement Exhibition and the city cathedral, both of which shed light on the city's intriguing history.

7. Try Traditional Icelandic Hot Dogs

Icelandic Hot Dogs

Sampling traditional Icelandic hot dogs is a must-do when visiting Reykjavik.

In the city center, you'll find the famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, known for serving the 'best hot dog in town.'

These hot dogs are a unique blend of Icelandic lamb, pork, and beef, and are traditionally served with a mix of fried and raw onions, remoulade, ketchup, and sweet brown mustard.

This iconic hot dog stand has even been frequented by celebrities, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

8. Visit the Iconic Sun Voyager Sculpture

Iconic Sun Voyager Sculpture

A visit to Reykjavik, Iceland's capital city, wouldn't be complete without paying a visit to the iconic Sun Voyager Sculpture.

Sitting elegantly on the city's scenic waterfront, this dreamboat, or 'Sólfar' as it's known in Icelandic, is one of Reykjavik's most significant attractions.

Designed by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason, the Sun Voyager is a symbol of hope, progress, and freedom.

The sculpture beautifully captures the essence of the Icelandic spirit and its people's long-standing relationship with the sea. Its gleaming stainless-steel structure, shaped like a Viking ship, glistens under the Nordic sun, making it a spectacular sight to behold.

Positioned with a breathtaking backdrop of Mount Esja, the Sun Voyager offers an unrivaled setting for stunning photos, particularly at sunrise or sunset.

The way the light hits the sculpture gives it a new dimension, adding to the overall dramatic effect. It is a site of cultural significance that reflects the history and aspirations.

The sculpture's location also makes it a perfect starting point for a walk, where you can continue to explore other attractions of Reykjavik.

It's also a favorite gathering point for both locals and visitors, offering an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture.

9. Attend a Concert at Harpa Concert Hall

Harpa Concert Hall

Harpa Concert Hall, an architectural gem in downtown Reykjavik, is a must-visit when in Iceland's capital.

This glass building, renowned for its striking facade that mimics the country's basalt landscape, houses the Icelandic Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera.

Attending a concert here is one of the fun things to do in Reykjavik, offering a fantastic opportunity to appreciate both international and Icelandic music.

The hall's excellent acoustics and captivating interior design enhance the overall concert experience.

Don't forget to admire the stunning view of the old harbor and surrounding mountains from Harpa's glass walls.

10. Visit the Settlement Exhibition for Viking History

Settlement Exhibition

Located in the heart of the city center, the Settlement Exhibition in Reykjavik offers visitors an intriguing look into the city's Viking history.

Built around the remains of a Viking longhouse dating back to the 10th century, this museum offers insight into the early history of Iceland.

With interactive exhibits and archaeological finds, it's a fascinating journey into the life of the first settlers.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and an essential part of your Reykjavik visit.

11. Soak in Natural Hot Springs

Sky Lagoon

Experiencing the geothermal hot springs is an essential part of visiting Reykjavik and indeed, Icelandic culture.

Found throughout the city and its outskirts, these natural hot tubs offer a relaxing soak year-round, often with stunning views of Iceland.

The Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon are among the popular ones, known for their healing, mineral-rich waters.

Whether in the middle of winter under the Northern Lights or in the brightness of the summer midnight sun, a dip in these hot springs is a uniquely Icelandic experience.

12. Explore the Open-Air Arbaer Museum

Open-Air Arbaer Museum

Step back in time at the Arbaer Open Air Museum in Reykjavik. This museum, composed of more than 20 buildings, offers a glimpse into the Icelandic life of the past.

The Arbaer Open Air Museum features a town square, a village, and a farm, all of which host traditional Icelandic buildings moved from downtown Reykjavik.

From a quaint church to a blacksmith's workshop, each building has its own story to tell.

With costumed staff demonstrating traditional crafts and trades, the museum provides an immersive experience of the country's history.

National Gallery of Iceland

The National Gallery of Iceland, situated in Reykjavik's city center, is an ideal stop for art enthusiasts.

This museum houses an impressive collection of 19th and 20th-century Icelandic art, featuring work from prominent local artists, thus offering an insight into the country's cultural and artistic history.

With rotating exhibitions showcasing both traditional and contemporary art, visitors can appreciate the evolution of Icelandic fine art.

Don't miss the sculpture garden for a peaceful retreat in the heart of Reykjavik city.

14. Embark on a Day Trip to the South Coast

South Coast

Day trips to the South Coast are a must-do when coming to Reykjavik.

Known for its breathtaking wonders, South Iceland offers a stunning array of landscapes.

From the majestic waterfalls of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss to the striking black sand beach of Reynisfjara, the region is replete with photo-worthy spots.

Don't forget to witness the stunning beauty of the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón, and if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

15. Explore Central Reykjavik on Foot or via City Tour

City Tour

Exploring central Reykjavik, whether on foot or via a tour of the city, is an excellent way to absorb the city's charm.

The city center brims with attractions, from the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church and Sun Voyager sculpture to the bustling shopping streets.

A guided tour offers insightful commentary on the culture and the city's history.

Alternatively, walking tours allow you to discover Reykjavik iceland at your own pace, appreciating the vibrant street art, visiting museums, and sampling traditional Icelandic hot dogs.

16. Take a Tour of the Golden Circle

Golden Circle

the tour of the Golden Circle is a classic day trip from Reykjavik iceland, showcasing several wonders of Iceland.

The tour usually includes Thingvellir National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet; the powerful Gullfoss waterfall; and the Geysir geothermal area, home to the active geyser Strokkur.

This tour is a fantastic way to witness the country's beauty, from geysers to glaciers, all within a day's travel from Iceland's capital city.

17. Visit the Famous Conference Center

Conference Center

As a part of your visit to Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, don't miss out on the opportunity to tour the city's famous Conference Center.

As a key attraction and a symbol of the city's modern architecture, the Center is not just a hub for international meetings and events, but also a cultural landmark.

Upon entering this impressive building, you'll instantly appreciate its architectural grandeur.

Large glass panels allow for natural light to flood the vast interior, and provide panoramic views of the surrounding city and coastline, allowing for an immersive experience of Reykjavik's beauty.

18. Enjoy a Refreshing Dip at Sky Lagoon

Sky Lagoon

Sky Lagoon, located close to Reykjavik city, is an oasis of relaxation.

Inspired by Icelandic traditions and the country's beauty, the geothermal lagoon allows you to soak in warm, mineral-rich waters while overlooking the ocean.

Complement your swim with a trip to the sauna or steam room for a truly rejuvenating experience.

It's an ideal way to unwind after a day of exploring Reykjavik's attractions, year-round, in the comforts of hot springs and outdoor pools.

19. Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Thingvellir National Park

Located just a day trip away from Reykjavik, Thingvellir National Park is a World Heritage site and a key part of the tour of the Golden Circle.

The park is not only a natural wonder with its stunning landscapes but also a significant site in history, as the original location of the world's first parliament.

Walk through the rift valley created by tectonic plates, explore ancient Viking assembly sites, and marvel at the beautiful Öxarárfoss waterfall.

20. Indulge in a Whale Watching Tour when Visiting Reykjavik

Elding Whale Watching

Embarking on a whale-watching tour is one of the most thrilling things to do in Reykjavik.

Depart from the old harbor and cruise into Faxaflói Bay, where you can spot minke whales, humpback whales, and even dolphins.

Equipped with knowledgeable guides, these tours provide an engaging insight into Iceland's marine life.

Afterward, stop by the Whales of Iceland exhibition in Reykjavik city center to learn more about these magnificent creatures.

This unforgettable experience is a must for nature and wildlife enthusiasts visiting Reykjavik.

21. Visit the Iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church

Hallgrimskirkja Church

One of the top things to do in Reykjavik is to visit the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church. This towering architectural wonder is the tallest building in Reykjavik City and one of the most unique structures in Iceland.

The design of the Hallgrimskirkja Church reflects Iceland's volcanic landscape, echoing basalt lava flows found across the island.

The church is open to Icelandic visitors and tourists year-round, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city from the observation tower.

Its impressive pipe organ is also a sight to behold, contributing to the cultural attractions of Iceland's capital.

22. Pick up Souvenirs from the Capital City


Roaming the shopping streets of Reykjavik iceland is an exciting journey into culture and style.

From trendy fashion boutiques to quirky stores selling traditional Icelandic food and hand-knit woolen goods, there's something for everyone.

Visit the year-round Christmas shop for holiday-themed souvenirs or pick up an original Icelandic design piece from one of the local stores.

As you explore, take a moment to admire the street art that adds color and character to Reykjavik's urban landscape.

23. Visit the Saga Museum

Saga Museum

The Saga Museum, one of Reykjavik's attractions, takes you back in time to the Viking Age.

The museum's lifelike wax figures and detailed exhibits narrate the tales of early Icelanders, their struggles, and victories.

These sagas form a significant part of Iceland's history, preserved for generations.

The Saga Museum is an excellent indoor activity, especially for history buffs and those keen on understanding the cultural underpinnings of this Nordic nation.

24. Enjoy a Scenic Shore Walk Along Reykjavik's Coastline

Reykjavik's Coastline

Reykjavik offers a beautiful walk that extends from the old harbor to the Sun Voyager sculpture.

This is one of those outdoor activities that give you a chance to appreciate Reykjavik's beauty while enjoying views of the surrounding mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Stop by the Sun Voyager, a dreamboat sculpture symbolizing hope and freedom.

If you're lucky, you might spot some of the Whales of Iceland or catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights during your walk.

The walk is one of the many fun things you can do during your visit to Reykjavik iceland.

25. Discover Culture Through the City's Vibrant Street Art

Street Art

One of the unique things to do in Reykjavik is explore the city's vibrant street art scene. Walking around Reykjavik's city center, you'll discover a spectrum of murals that breathe life into the urban landscape.

These striking works, often with a profound message, reflect Iceland's culture, history, and the artists' narratives.

Reykjavik's street art is not just about aesthetics; it's a platform for expression and dialogue that enhances your understanding of Iceland's social fabric and artistic creativity.

26. Visit the Whales of Iceland Museum

Whales of Iceland Museum

If whale-watching tours pique your interest, then visiting the Whales of Iceland Museum is a must.

This unique Reykjavik attraction features life-sized models of various whale species found in Icelandic waters.

Interactive displays and audio guides make it a fun and educational experience for all ages.

You'll gain insights into these magnificent marine creatures' lives, their habits, and their significant role in Iceland's ecosystem.

This indoor activity is a delight for marine-life enthusiasts and a year-round option during your visit to Reykjavik.

27. Take a Food Tour

Reykjavik Food Walk

One of the best ways to experience Reykjavik's gastronomy is by embarking on a food tour.

As you stroll through the city's food markets and restaurants, sample an array of traditional Icelandic food.

From the iconic Icelandic hot dog to fresh seafood dishes and unique culinary delights like fermented shark, the tour offers a flavorful journey into Iceland's culinary heritage.

This mouthwatering experience reveals a different aspect of Icelandic culture, making it an essential part of your Reykjavik visit.

28. Visit Perlan Museum

Perlan Museum

The Perlan Museum is another must-visit destination in Reykjavik.

Housed in a striking glass dome building, Perlan sits atop a hill and offers panoramic views of Reykjavik and its surroundings.

Inside, you'll find engaging exhibits about Iceland's natural wonders, including a real ice cave and an interactive glacier exhibition.

This venue also houses an impressive planetarium where you can witness the Northern Lights.

Visiting the Perlan Museum offers both an educational journey into Iceland's natural phenomena and an unparalleled vantage point to appreciate Reykjavik's cityscape.

29. Attend an Icelandic Symphony Orchestra

Icelandic Symphony Orchestra

Day trips to Reykjavik wouldn't be complete without experiencing its vibrant music scene. Attend an Icelandic Symphony Orchestra performance at the magnificent Harpa Concert Hall.

The grandeur of the building, coupled with the incredible acoustics, enhances the symphony's emotive power.

Its glass façade, reflecting the city and harbor lights, adds an aesthetic touch to your musical evening.

Attending a performance here not only offers a feast for your ears but also a glimpse into the city's cultural pulse.

30. Visit the Reykjavik Cathedral, the Oldest Church in the City

Reykjavik Cathedral

Immerse yourself in the city's religious history by visiting the Reykjavik Cathedral, the oldest church in Reykjavik.

Located in the heart of the city, this neoclassical cathedral is a testament to Iceland's architectural heritage. Its tranquil atmosphere offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city.

Attending a service or organ concert here can also provide a deeper understanding of Iceland's religious traditions, making it a worthwhile stop when you visit Reykjavik.

31. Go on a Walking Tour to Visit the Many Art Museums

Reykjavík Art Museum Hafnarhús

Art lovers should consider a walking tour of Reykjavik's museums.

Reykjavik is a city teeming with creativity, and its art museums, ranging from the National Gallery to smaller, niche galleries, showcase this perfectly.

As you walk from one gallery to another, you'll be treated to a wide range of artistic expressions - from traditional Icelandic art to cutting-edge contemporary works.

A walking tour is a great way to appreciate the city's rich artistic heritage while exploring its charming streets.

32. Visit all of the Indoor and Outdoor Pools


Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is not only known for its rich history and vibrant culture but also for its myriad geothermal pools.

These pools are the heart of Icelandic social life and are an integral part of the Reykjavik experience.

From downtown city pools such as Sundhollin and Vesturbaejarlaug that offer panoramic city views, to the stunningly located thermal pools like Laugardalslaug and the world-famous Blue Lagoon, each offers a unique blend of relaxation and Icelandic tradition.

These geothermal baths are the perfect places to relax and unwind after a day of exploration. In addition to the pools in Reykjavik city center, a day trip to the geothermal Sky Lagoon is a must.

These pools are open all year, offering visitors a unique, comforting retreat irrespective of the weather. So don't forget to pack your swimsuit when you visit Reykjavik.

The city’s indoor and outdoor pools offer a warm, soothing escape from the hustle and bustle, allowing you to experience a quintessential part of Icelandic life and culture.

With each pool offering its unique charm and ambiance, pool-hopping in Reykjavik is an adventure in its own right.

33. Relax in a Hot Tub

Hot Tub

End your day in Reykjavik by immersing yourself in one of the city's many hot tubs. These geothermal baths, an integral part of Iceland's culture, offer a unique way to relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploring the city's attractions.

Whether it's an outdoor hot tub under the stars or an indoor spa in a luxury hotel, the experience is undeniably Icelandic. Bask in the warm waters, let the gentle heat soothe your muscles, and perhaps strike up a conversation with friendly locals.

Enjoying a hot tub is more than just a relaxation activity; it's a cultural immersion and a perfect way to end your day in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

FAQs: The Best Things to Do in Reykjavik

In this section, we provide answers to common questions that readers have regarding things to do in Reykjavik.

Is 3 days enough in Reykjavik?

Three days in Reykjavik can give you a taste of the city's attractions. You can visit landmarks such as the Hallgrimskirkja Church and the Sun Voyager, soak in the Sky Lagoon, explore museums like the National Museum of Iceland, and perhaps even fit in the tour of the Golden Circle or a Northern Lights excursion.

What is Reykjavik best known for?

Reykjavik is best known as the gateway to Iceland's wonders, its unique architecture such as the Hallgrimskirkja Church and Harpa Center, its vibrant street art, a thriving food scene with traditional Icelandic cuisine, and the opportunity to view the Northern Lights.

What are 3 things Iceland is famous for?

Iceland is famous for its breathtaking Reykjavik attractions including geysers, waterfalls, and glaciers, its geothermal spas like the Blue Lagoon, and as a vantage point to view the spectacular Northern Lights.

How many days is enough for Reykjavik?

The ideal duration for a trip to Reykjavik depends on what you want to see. If you plan to stay within the city, 2-3 days could suffice. But if you're keen on exploring more of Iceland's attractions like the Golden Circle or South Coast, you might need 5-7 days.

Summing Up: The Best Things to Do in Reykjavik

This guide about things to do in Reykjavik has whisked you through the city, spotlighting the city’s remarkable blend of beauty, vibrant culture, and intriguing history.

From the cosmic spectacle of the Northern Lights to the profound historical tales at the Museum, and not forgetting the delightful cuisine, Reykjavik is a destination that caters to every traveler’s curiosity.

We’ve journeyed through downtown Reykjavik, soaked in hot springs, marvel at landmarks like Sun Voyager, and ventured on a Golden Circle tour.

So, what's holding you back? It's time to book your trip to Reykjavik and start exploring this Icelandic treasure.