Reykjavik, though small, is packed full of idiosyncratic attractions. Visitors to the Icelandic capital can bathe in geothermal waters, spot the northern lights, and ride through the surrounding countryside on a unique breed of horse. If it’s your first visit, you’ll want to cram in all the best bits. Here are our top tips for your first time in Reykjavik.
Take a Hop-On-Hop-Off-Bus Tour
You can get a sense of the layout of the city and knock out the most important landmarks by taking a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour. These tours allow you to customize your itinerary: Get off at whichever stop you want and spend as long as you like there.
Book the Blue Lagoon in Advance
The Blue Lagoon, with its mineral-rich geothermal waters, is one of Reykjavik’s busiest attractions, so plan your visit wisely. Book your ticket in advance, and visit either on the way to the city from the airport or on the way back to save time.
Journey Around the Golden Circle
Iceland’s Golden Circle consists of Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall and is easily done on a day trip from Reykjavik. You can even add on an additional activity, such as snowmobiling on a glacier.
Go Aurora Hunting
If you are visiting during the winter months, you have a good chance of spotting the northern lights, but it’s best to go on a tour led by guides who know where to find the best viewing spots. If you don’t see them, many tours will let you join again the following evening for another chance.
Ride an Icelandic Horse
Cute, woolly, and exceptionally sturdy, the Icelandic horse is an icon of the nation. Your tour operator will pick you up in Reykjavik before matching you with your mount, which will then carry you through the countryside, past mountains, lakes, and lava fields.
Take a Bite Out of the Food Scene
Don’t leave Reykjavik without trying some traditional Icelandic dishes, such as skyr (a yogurt-like dairy product) and Icelandic lamb soup. A guided walking tour can take you to some of the city’s best food spots, including the oldest restaurant and a much-loved hot-dog stand.