Things to see and do on your trip to Reykjavik?

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A unique colour scheme adorns the landscape of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. The colourful centre, with rows of houses in different shades, joins the spectacular and unique monuments such as Hallgrímskirkja Church, to contrast with the white of the snow that is almost always present in Reykjavík. If you want to find out about the things to do in Reykjavik, read on.

Impressive places to see in Reykjavík Iceland

1. The Church of Hallgrímskirkja

If you have ever seen images of this spectacular monument, you will have failed to appreciate the genius and uniqueness of Hallgrímskirkja Church, a unique monument to see in Reykjavík.

Situated in the important Austurvöllur square, the church is named after Hallgrímskirkja, a famous Icelandic poet. The square is also home to a statue recognising Leif Eriksson, commemorating the creation of Iceland’s parliament. If you decide to visit the quirky church, a walk around the surrounding area is a fantastic option.

The popular church has a design reminiscent of the basalt formations so common in this country. This Lutheran church is a unique construction, which has a solemn air and its interior is well-lit thanks to its beautiful windows.

Admission is free and the church is open from 09:00 to 17:00 (the tower closes at 16:30) from October to April, while from May to September the church is open from 09:00 to 21:00 (and the tower closes half an hour earlier)

Although entry is free, access to the bell tower is about €7 at the exchange rate. Remember the country’s currency is the Icelandic króna. The climb is absolutely worth it, as it will offer you one of the best views of the entire city. At the top of the 74-metre tower you’ll catch a glimpse of the rows of colourful houses that crowd down to the coastline.

2. Laugavegur, a unique site to see in Reykjavik Iceland

Contrasting with the spectacular Hallgrímskirkja, another must-see in Reykjavík is Laugavegur. One of the most modern and colourful neighbourhoods in the city.

The streets of Laugavegur are full of street art, and this has become the neighbourhood’s hallmark. In addition to the various entertainment and dining venues, the main street even has a quirky museum filled with phallic representations of mammals.

Another street to check out in the area is Skolavordustigur, which intersects with the main street of Laugavegur and is lined with a wealth of local shops where you can enjoy the local atmosphere. These streets are lined with impressive facades, with a wealth of patterns and visual effects that leave no one indifferent.

3. Lake Tjörn

Whether you’re exhausted from your adventure around the city or just want to relax while watching the ducks take a dip, Lake Tjörn is a must-see in Reykjavík.

This is one of the most charming places in all of Reykjavík, a central location in which to spend an idyllic day, surrounded by animals and a beautiful peaceful environment. It is the perfect place to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in all of Reykjavík.

4. The Church of Landakot

Continuing our list of quirky sights to see in the city of Reykjavík in Iceland, we come across the Landakot Church, a Catholic cathedral that stands in stark contrast to other churches in Reykjavík.

Its neo-Gothic-influenced façade instantly grabs visitors’ attention, hinting that its interior is also a true architectural marvel, and clearly, you won’t go wrong in assuming it is.

If you’re visiting Reykjavík, we recommend wandering the city streets until you find this secluded building, as you won’t be disappointed. What’s more, access is completely free and it’s open practically all year round. It’s almost a miracle that it goes so unnoticed, so you can enjoy it without the crowds of visitors.

5. The Sun Traveller

If you enjoyed the peculiar and original shape of Hallgrímskirkja church’s design as much as we did, you can’t leave without visiting the unique sculpture of the Sun Traveller, by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason.

This sculpture is a work of art that has gradually become one of the most memorable symbols to see in Reykjavík, Iceland. The artwork depicts, in a unique way, a Viking warrior ship structure and tries to evoke the history of Iceland. The sculpture faces out to sea, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, with Faxaflói Bay in front, making it an almost obligatory stop when strolling through Reykjavík’s port.

6. Faxaflói Bay and Reykjavík harbour

Tourism in Reykjavík Iceland
Views of the bay in Reykjavík @unsplash

One of the most typical postcards you’ll get is of the many photographs taken of Faxaflói Bay, one of the most memorable and awe-inspiring sights to see in Reykjavík in Iceland.

From the shores of the harbour, you can witness the eternal white of the snows that bathe the mountains around Reykjavík, leaving an unforgettable sight that captivates all visitors who choose to travel to Iceland’s capital city.

In addition to the breathtaking views, the charming harbour area is lined with a number of former fishmongers’ sheds, which now house cafes, shopping arcades and all manner of other leisure and restaurant businesses.

And of course, in addition to all of the above, for art and culture lovers, in the immediate vicinity of the harbour is the Maritime Museum and also the Museum of the Aurora Borealis, the spectacular phenomenon that is sometimes witnessed in Iceland’s skies.

What to see in Reykjavík in 1 day?

If you don’t want to miss out on anything, this itinerary we’ve prepared will make it easier for you to choose what to see and do in Reykjavík during your trip:

  • The Church of Hallgrímskirkja
  • The Sun Traveller
  • The Bay of Faxaflói and the harbour of Reykjavík
  • The Church of Lankadot
  • Laugavegur
  • Lake Tjörn

Where to eat in Reykjavik?

For those who enjoy all that the local cuisine has to offer, below is a list of must-visit places to do just that:

  • Reykjavík Kitchen: An impeccable approach to Icelandic cuisine, with signature food and an excellent fusion of styles. Prices are around €30-50 for a meal
  • 101 Reykjavik Street Food: Reykjavik’s street food is at its best in this small restaurant. Prices are around 10-20€ per menu
  • Old Iceland Restaurant: Another excellent choice for Icelandic food, where seafood is the star of the menu. Prices are in the region of €30-50 for a meal.

Where to stay in Reykjavik?

And so you don’t have to worry, we’ve put together a short list of places to stay, so you won’t have any problems choosing accommodation on your trip to Reykjavík in Iceland:

  • Reykjavik Residence Apartment Hotel: One of the most recommended options for accommodation in Reykjavik. This four-star hotel is located just minutes from the city’s main attractions and has all the facilities to make your stay a delight. The price for two nights and two adults is around 853€.
  • Student Hostel: A charming hostel located in the heart of Reykjavík, just minutes from the university. It’s among the most affordable accommodation in the city. You can stay with someone for a weekend for around €231.
  • Fosshotel Lind: A sober, charmingly located hotel, in the centre of town and close to Hallgrímskirkja church. Prices for a weekend are around 367€ for two persons.

How to get to Reykjavik in Iceland?

The most common way is that if you want to travel from Spain, you take a flight from one of the main cities in the country, which will leave you in about 9 hours at the airport of Reykjavik Keflavik in Iceland.

The journey can be shorter, depending on the stopover on your journey, and can be reduced to around 6 hours and 40 minutes with a short stopover. Fares therefore range from €360 to €700, depending on a number of factors.

Once you arrive in Keflavik, it’s about 40km to the city of Reykjavík. There are different ways to get there, such as different bus services.

The express service drops you off directly at the hotel and you can catch the next bus if you miss the one you’ve booked. There is also the option of the public bus, which will take you to the city centre in just over an hour. If you’re planning to travel around the rest of the country during your trip, you may also want to consider renting a car.

What to see and do around Reykjavík?

The Northern Lights Reykjavík
Buroras borealis to see in Reykjavik, Iceland @unsplash

Excursion to see the Northern Lights

If you are travelling to Reykjavík in the period from April to September, the best thing to do is to go on a tour to try to spot the stunning Northern Lights and if you can, even capture them on your camera lens.

These meteorological phenomena are something unique to see in all the land, so if you have the chance, going on one of these excursions is a truly unique experience. It’s interesting to note that this natural spectacle is a difficult thing to see even when you travel at the right time of year, but it’s definitely something to try.

Tips on a trip to Reykjavík Iceland

  • The official currency of Iceland is the Icelandic króna.
  • 1 Icelandic króna is equivalent to 0.0072 euro, so 1 euro is approximately 400 króna.
  • Icelandic is the official language of Iceland, although many people are fluent in English.
  • Other languages spoken include Danish, German, Spanish and French.
  • The best time to travel to Iceland for the temperature is June, July and August.
  • If you want to see the elusive northern lights, the best time is between September and April.
  • Check your currency exchange in advance, to avoid excessive fees at the airport
  • Be cautious: always travel insured.

How to organise what to see in Reikiavik?

Register or download the Passporter App and discover all the possibilities.

  • Get inspired by the experiences of other travellers.
  • Create your own itinerary and add suggestions from the app to it.
  • Add the stops you’re most interested in, as well as the restaurants and bars where you want to eat (you can use the points of interest listed in this post as a reference).
  • Organise your itinerary by route days according to their location on the map (you can take inspiration from the routes we present in the post)
  • Check out the travel budget that the app calculates for you based on your travel stops, restaurants, and leisure activities.
  • Make any modifications you need to make and you’re all set for your trip.
  • Share your experience. Upload photos of places you visited on your trip to the app and recommend other travellers what to see in Reykjavik in Iceland.

If you have doubts about how to do it, you can check our post: How to create a travel itinerary in Passporter.

Frequently asked questions about a trip to Reykjavik

How do I get to Reykjavík in Iceland?

One of the best options is to fly to Reykjavík Keflavik from the main airports in Spain. The journey takes about 7 to 9 hours.
When you arrive, you’ll need to take a bus, taxi or private car to Reykjavík, as it’s a 40km drive from Keflavik.

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