REYKJAVÍK - TOURS AND EXPERIENCES IN THE CAPITAL OF ICELAND
Are you looking for the best activities and outings in the northernmost capital of the world? Keep reading and you will find the best tours and experiences in the capital of Iceland. From whale watching tours to the ultimate virtual flying ride around Iceland, there is always something to do in Reykjavík. Try the best food from Icelandic cuisine, visit the most interesting museums and see the vibrance of the capital of Iceland. In the end you will live and feel Reykjavík like a local.
- What is Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, like?
- If we have to describe Reykjavík in a few words, we would say it is green, modern, welcoming and different from other capital cities. Reykjavík is relatively small (although not in Icelandic terms) with about 180.000 inhabitants, but it hides many incredible places that you should know in advance. Here you will not find spectacular buildings, historical monuments or a classic old city center in the style of central Europe but you will see a city full of life, clean, safe and very close to nature wonders. Reykjavík's houses, low and very colorful, give the city a special charm. Some of these little houses, with their elf and flower decorations, remind us of the fairy tales of our childhood. Getting lost in this capital is almost impossible. Two points stand out above the rest: one of them is the Hallgrímskirkja church and the other, the Öskjuhlíð hill, with the spectacular Perlan building that hosts the museum of the same name, a must see attraction in Iceland, and which has the best views over the city. The city is surrounded by the sea on three sides and has many open spaces and green areas. There are parks, pedestrian zones, a lake in the very center of town and a thermal beach, Nauthólsvik, about a 15-minute walk from the center. The locals aim to mantain its reputation as the cleanest capital in the world. In fact, on a day with good visibility, you can even see the Snafellsness glacier, which is located about 3 hours away by car.
- How many days should I spend in Reykjavík?
- Well, that's up to your travel plans and the amount of time you will have on Iceland. Some people rent a car and travel all around the island by themselves, while others stay in Reykjavik and take guided tours to other places in Iceland. If you are planning to just do some sightseeing, one day could be enough but if you really want to know and experience the capital of Iceland, give it a couple of days. This way you will have time to do some exciting tours and visits, like joining a whale watching tour from the old port or entering an artificial ice cave at the Wonders of Iceland exhibition at Perlan Museum. You will also find in Reykjavík the best restaurants to try the Icelandic cuisine, thermal pools, cultural events and many more things. If you come in winter, keep in mind the hours of daylights that you will have. Maybe there are not enough, but during the night you can join a Northern Lights tour to go outside the city and look for this amazing natural phenomenon.
- What are the best things I can do in Reykjavík?
- The possibilities are endless but this is our top list of the best things you can do in Reykjavík:
- Take a whale watching tour: Go to the old port of Reykjavík and instead of staying on shore, join the famous whale watching tour, there is no better place than Iceland for that. You will also get views from the city and an amazing experience. If you come in summer, don't hesitate to join the zodiac tour and you will be able to see our favourite birds, the puffins. After an exciting adventure looking for whales and puffins, you can enjoy a walk around the harbor and warm up with a coffee in the cozy café "Rost". Make sure to try one of their kleinur, the authentic Icelandic bun!
Visit the Perlan museum: Located on on the famous Öskjuhlíð hill, the building features a 360º platform with views of all of Reykjavík and the surrounding area. Inside it houses the exhibition "Wonders of Iceland", with an authentic ice cave, and a new planetarium to learn about the northern lights. To book your ticket and learn more about this spectacular museum, visit our page about the Perlan museum. It is, without a doubt, one of our favorite places in the capital of Iceland and we recommend booking the full experience. If you are in Iceland during New Year's Eve, you should give yourself the pleasure of joining the exclusive 4 course dinner with wine and party at the panoramic restaurant, located under the glass dome at Perlan.
Sightseeing at the center and at the sea: Our favorite place in the center of Reykjavík is the lake Tjörnin. You can take a walk in the surroundings and enter some of the streets in the center of the capital, with its beautiful and characteristic colored houses. In addition, here you will find the town hall and tourist information point, and very close, the National Gallery of Iceland. Take the opportunity to do some shopping. Then you can continue with a beautiful walk next to the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy the cleanest and purest air on the planet. The promenade around the capital is unique and has three very special places. The first is one of the new icons of the capital of Iceland, the Harpa concert hall, a modern building that functions as the social and cultural center of Reykjavík and where you can attend operas, concerts or other events. If you continue along the walk (in good weather you can rent a bike or some skates), you will meet the "Sun Traveler", the most photographed sculpture in the city representing a Viking ship. Finally, if you are a history lover, surely you are interested in getting to the Höfdi house. Did you know that a key meeting for the end of the Cold War took place there between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov?
- Fly around Iceland (real or virtual): If you want a better view of Reykjavík that the ones from Perlan or Hallgrímskirkja, give yourself a treat and book the helicopter tour around Reykjavík (or even better, one of the helicopters tours to see the glaciers or volcanos). As you take off from the airport, you will see the city getting smaller and smaller and enjoy the incredible views from the Reykjavík and the surroundings. But if you are not a fan of it, check the new virtual attraction FlyOver Iceland in the old port of Reykjavík. This way you will experience a spectacular virtual flight through the most impressive places in Iceland. FlyOver Iceland uses state-of-the-art technology to offer the sensation of flight and leave you suspended, with your feet dangling, in front of a 20-meter spherical screen.
- Try real Icelandic food: Being an island in northern Europe, you can already imagine what type of food has the best reputation in Iceland, the fish! In Reykjavík you will find some of the best fish in the world, such as cod or arctic trout. Of course, eating in a restaurant in Iceland is not the cheapest activity in the world and that's why we offer the amazing buffet lunch or dinner at Reykjavík Restaurant, located in the very center of the capital. Make a reservation will allows you an “all-you-can-eat” experience from their extensive menu, including a wide variety of fish, duck, seafood, salads, soups, delectable desserts and even a surprise typical of any Icelandic meal.
- Go up the tower at Hallgrímskirkja church: Although it is not a cathedral, it is the tallest building in the city and an icon of Reykjavík. Its curious façade, designed by the architect Guðjón Samúelsson, is thought to be based on the basalt lava columns that you can find in some parts of Iceland nature. Don't remain at the entrance, but climb the tower of this magnificent Lutheran church to see one of the best views of Reykjavík.
- Relax in a thermal lagoon or swimming pool: Everyone who comes to Iceland knows the Blue Lagoon, the fabulous geothermal spa that is about 45 minutes from Reykjavík. If you want to go, remember to book the tickets and transfers in our web in advance. If you have already visited it or you just want to relax or swim in a cheaper place, go to one of the thermal pools in the capital. Our favorites are the traditional Laugardalslaug or the new Árbæjarlaug. Do not think that you are going to any typical pool, the pools in Iceland are much more. It's one of Icelanders' favorite hobbies and they have a temperature between 25 and 45 degrees, so you can swim outdoors all year round. They also have sauna, jacuzzis and other services. If you want to feel like another Icelander and not spend all your savings, come to a swimming pool in Reykjavík.
- Which museums should I visit in Reykjavík?
Perlan museum, with an ice cave inside, a Northern Lights planetarium and a 360º observation deck with views of all Reykjavík is our #1 but there many other interesting museums in Reykjavík. The Whale museum shows the largest exhibition in Europe on these magnificent mammals, with up to 23 species of whales. In the National Museum of Iceland, the tools of the first Viking settlers are what really stand out, such as the Statuette of Thor of Evrarland, the most famous object in the museum. Reykjavík 871 ± 2 museum is about the Reykjavík settlement and Saga museum recreates key moments in Icelandic history from the time of the first settlers. If you are into art, the Reykjavík Museum of Art is Iceland's leading art museum and is located in three different buildings in the center of the Icelandic capital: Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir and Ásmundarsafn. The Museum regularly exhibits works by three of Iceland's most famous artists: Erró, Kjarval and Ásmundur Sveinsson. The National Gallery of Iceland focuses on the collection on Icelandic art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
How is the food in Reykjavík?
In Reykjavík you will find a lot places where to try Icelandic food for all budgets. We recommend the “all-you-can-eat” experience at Reykjavík Restaurant to taste a wide variety of fish, duck, seafood, salads, soups, etc. Some interesting fish dishes you should try in the city are the famous Hardfiskur and Plokkfiskur. But Icelanders do not live only on fish, as you can see around the entire Island, lamb is another of its emblems, and if you like meat, without a doubt the lamb dishes will be delicious. If you are cold (and who is not cold in Iceland?), try the typical Icelandic lamb soup, Kjotsupa, and you will feel much better. The Messinn restaurant, right in the center, or Sjavarbarinn near the old port of Reykjavík, are good choices to give yourself a treat. What if you don't want to dive deep into your pockets? You can buy the cheapest food at Bonús supermarkets (C / Laugavegur 59, 101 Reykjavik) or supermarkets 10/11 (C Austurstræti 17, 101 Reykjavík). Do not miss in Iceland the famous skyr, a kind of creamy yogurt classified as cheese and that will fill you with energy during the trip. They come in different flavors and they are great, cheap and healthy, what more can you ask for? The best kebab is on the corner of Austurstraeti and Laekjargata streets, but our favorite budget spot is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, the street stall where you'll find the best hot dog in town. At 1 Tryggvagata Street, you will normally see long lines of all kinds of people but the line moves quickly and you will not have to wait long to try this delicious hot dog that has already been admired by personalities such as Bill Clinton, Ben Stiller, the members of Metallica or Game of Thrones actors.
Can I see the Northern Lights from Reykjavík?
Well, it could be possible from some places if the activity is really high but why should you stay in the capital with the artificial lights when you can take a Northern Lights tour and go to the best places to hunt for the Northern Lights? Check our Northern Lights tours and choose the one that fits you more, all of them depart from Reykjavík at night and take around 3 hours.
When is the best time to visit Reykjavík?
If you want to enjoy better weather and more daylight hours come during summer, in June you can even experience the midnight sun. But if you want to have a chance to see the Northern Lights you have to come during winter time, better between November and March. Any time is good to come to Iceland and stay in the fabulous city of Reykjavík.
Important note: All activities in the Icelandic nature are carried out under the own responsibility of the clients. ISLANDICA s.r.o. is not responsible for any accidents that may occur during the activities or due to the actions of the participants. The people who participate in these outings are accepting these conditions when booking a tour. ID 841