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Things to do in Reykjavik

Things to do in  Reykjavik

Welcome to Reykjavik

Iceland's colorful capital mixes Viking and maritime history with a hip arts scene, sleek design, and wild nightlife, while also serving as a jumping-off point for outdoor adventures into the country's rugged landscapes. With modern restaurants serving Icelandic cuisine in medieval buildings, must-see sights such as the waterfront Harpa Concert Hall, and opportunities for puffin and whale watching, it's easy to spend all your time in the city—but you'd be remiss to skip what lies beyond. Head out to the country and you’ll be rewarded with pristine waterfalls, volcanic black-sand beaches, and warm geothermal pools set in lava fields.

Top 10 attractions in Reykjavik

#1

Blue Lagoon

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The Blue Lagoon is a unique wonder of Iceland, a result of all that volcanic activity the small island is so famous for. In the middle of the weird and wonderful, flat black lava fields of the Svartsengi National Park, the huge, outdoor lagoon is filled by naturally heated geothermal water which comes from 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) below the surface of the earth. It is full of minerals, silica and algae and is especially good for the skin and relaxation. In fact, part of the Blue Lagoon development is a health clinic specializing in cures for psoriasis. The water is almost startlingly blue in color, and the white of the silica on the black lava rocks around the edges makes an amazing contrast. As well as soaking and swimming in the pool, the Blue Lagoon offers in-water massage treatments, saunas and steam rooms, and a cafe. On any visit to Iceland a few hours soaking in The Blue Lagoon is essential, and its location between Reykjavik and the airport makes it easy to do.More
#2

Golden Circle (Gullni Hringurinn)

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Iceland is spectacular and so is the Golden Circle Route. The wide open landscapes are like nothing you've ever seen before. Actively volcanic, this inland route is a mass of waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, lava fields, and, of course, those volcanoes. The first stop is Thingvellir National Park, the spectacular site of Iceland's first parliament and the place where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet - and are moving apart. There is a widening fissure in the ground where the planet is literally opening up. Next it's on to Gullfoss waterfall, a huge fall of water. From here you can see a glacier off to one side. And then it's geysers. The sheer power of water and steam erupting from the ground due to the build up of extreme heat is awesome and really makes you realize how alive the ground is beneath our feet.More
#3

Thingvellir National Park

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#4

Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls)

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Gullfoss is a massive waterfall on the river Hvita which originates in the glacial lake Langjokull. Gullfoss means 'golden falls' because the glacial sediment in the water turns the falls golden in the sunlight. The water falls 105 feet (32 meters) in two steps. As you approach, you hear the falls before you see the wild, tumbling water as the river valley is a deep, dramatic crevasse. You can stand at the top or walk down the path to the bottom. During the first half of the 20th century, the then-owners of the waterfall and surrounding land leased it to foreign investors who were keen to build a hydroelectric plant but their plans fell through. Then it was sold to Iceland but even then there was talk of harnessing the power of the river. Legend has it that local landowner Sigridur Tomasdottir loved the place so much that she threatened to throw herself into the falls in protest, and then walked to Reykjavik barefoot in protest, thus making her point heard.More
#5

Skarfabakki Cruise Terminal

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Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland at around 120,000 people, which comprises half the country’s total population. Although it was the site of the country’s first permanent settlement dating from around 870, there was no actual city here until 1786. Since then this friendly city has developed into a lively, creative capital with a focus on fishing, banking and the creative industries, predominantly music, fashion and design. The laidback, low-rise city is dotted with new high-rise developments dating from the heady days of wealth before the 2008 banking crash. The jewel in the crown is the recently completed architectural showpiece and concert hall, Harpa, located on the waterfront. Smaller ships will dock at the Old Harbor but most will tie up at the Cruise Dock a couple of miles from the center of the city. There is little to see here, but shuttle buses take only about ten minutes into the heart of Reykjavik.More
#6

Seljalandsfoss

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With its slim cascade of water slicing through the air and pooling into the Seljalandsá River below, Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most undeniably photogenic waterfalls, located just off Iceland’s main Ring Road, between the Skógafoss and Selfoss waterfalls. Plunging from a height of around 60 meters, Seljalandsfoss might not be Iceland’s widest or mightiest waterfall, but it’s certainly one of its most famous, forming a dramatic arch of water that dominates the picturesque Thórsmörk valley. Surrounded by wild flowers in the summer months and floodlit after nightfall, a visit to Seljalandsfoss provides ample opportunities for snap-happy tourists, but its most distinctive feature is its narrow chute of water, which allows a breathtaking vantage point from behind the falls. Uniquely, a footpath runs all the way around the waterfall, allowing visitors to get within meters of the rushing water, standing amidst the spray at the foot of the Eyjafjöll Mountains.More
#7

Skógafoss

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Stretching 25 meters across the Skógá River and plummeting from heights of 60 meters, Skógafoss clocks in as one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls and with its clouds of spray regularly casting rainbows across the waters, it’s also one of the picturesque. One of around 20 waterfalls dotted along the river, Skógafoss marks the start of Iceland’s famous Laugavegurinn long distance hiking trail, which runs for 90 km from Skógar all the way to Landmannalaugar. Alternatively, day-trippers can take in expansive views of Skógar’s glaciers, black ash beaches and thundering waterfalls by climbing the stairway to the top of the falls. Skógafoss is also a popular subject of local folklore, which tells that the region’s first Viking settler, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a chest of treasure in a cave behind the mighty falls. Allegedly, a local boy found the chest years later and while attempting to haul it out, pulled the ring from the front of the chest.More
#8

Great Geysir (Great Geyser)

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Geysers are spectacular and never fail to fill us with excitement and wonder at the nature of this planet we live on. Shooting hot water into the air if and when they feel like it, they really are like the Earth blowing bubbles of sheer joy. Iceland has some of the best in the world. The most visited are right beside the highway on The Golden Circle route, connected to the Hvitá River. Here several geysers erupt every few minutes. Geysir's geysers, for all their steamy, spectacular shooting of water high into the air, are really a quick stop off on a trip to the nearby Gullfoss waterfall. There is not much else to do except watch water shoot out of the ground or visit the tourist shop across the road, but it's worth it.More
#9
#10

Eyjafjallajökull Volcano

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Iceland has no shortage of active volcanoes, but the notoriously difficult-to-pronounce Eyjafjallajokull Volcano is among the most famous, making headlines around the world when it erupted on April 14, 2010, covering much of Europe’s airspace in a cloud of volcanic ash and grounding air traffic across 20 countries for several days. While a few intrepid climbers have scaled the 1,666-meter Eyjafjallajokull in recent years, the still-active mount is best enjoyed with a visit to the nearby Eyjafjallajokull visitor center, which opened its doors exactly one year after the latest eruption. Devoted to recounting the history of the volcano and the lives of those who live in its shadow, the center’s fascinating exhibition includes film footage of the latest eruption and spectacular photos of Eyjafjallajokull’s 2.5-km-wide caldera.More

Trip ideas

Ways to Beat the Crowds in Reykjavik

Ways to Beat the Crowds in Reykjavik

Top Spots for Culture Lovers in Reykjavik

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Top activities in Reykjavik

Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Including Admission & Kerid Volcanic Crater

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Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Including Admission & Kerid Volcanic Crater

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Reykjavik Food Walk

Reykjavik Food Walk

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Recent reviews from experiences in Reykjavik

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Memorable trip must experience
Stephen, Feb 2020
3-Hour Lava Caving Tour Including Transfers from Reykjavik
Highly recommended trip especially with transfer included only 45 mins from Reykjavik The guide was factual & humourous amazing to see the formations & colours Go in winter months for added bonus of snow & icicles
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A quick look at Reykjavik
helen1109, Oct 2019
Reykjavik Shore Excursion: Reykjavik Sightseeing Tour by Minibus
It covers the highlights of Reykjavik if you have limited time although this tour covered a lot more than what I expected to see which was a bonus.
star-5
Amazing tour
Mobile158719, Sep 2019
Guided Full-Day Tour of Iceland's South Coast from Reykjavik
We saw a lot of natural attractions over the course of the ~10 hours we were on the bus.
star-5
Very interesting
LawrenceB1263, Sep 2019
Inside the Volcano: Small Group Thrihnukagigur Hike and Tour from Reykjavik
Dress accordingly, especially in non summer months.
star-5
Great Introduction to Reykjavik
Trek54416247938, Sep 2019
Reykjavik City Walking Tour
We took the walking tour the first day we arrived in Iceland and it was a great way to see the city with an excellent guide.
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In the footsteps of Vikings
514rebeccac, Aug 2019
Small-Group Golden Circle and Kerid Volcanic Crater Day Trip from Reykjavik
This is a great tour to see some of the highlights close to Reykjavik.
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Good choice for attractions in Reykjavik
susanmR3181YJ, Jun 2019
Reykjavik City Card 24-hour
There were many attractions on the card and the free use of the bus system can get you there quickly.
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This tour is great for a solo traveler!
allisonb196, Jun 2019
Small-Group Golden Circle and Kerid Volcanic Crater Day Trip from Reykjavik
I traveled to Reykjavik by myself and I knew I wanted to see the Golden Circle so I booked this trip.
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Real Icelandic Experience
GoPlaces00044200790, May 2019
Southern Iceland Glaciers, Waterfalls and Beaches Day Trip from Reykjavik
Our guide was very knowledgeable, spoke great English, funny and knows lot of stuffs.
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A great trip which included an amazing...
Hugh P, Feb 2018
Golden Circle Afternoon Tour from Reykjavik
A great trip which included an amazing geyser, one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls, a volcano crater, where Iceland is aplitting in half and some of the most spectacular scenery!
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Worthwhile tour
W9386VWsusanl, Mar 2019
Reykjavik City Sightseeing by Minibus
Provides great recommendations and we back to Perlan to see the movies and exhibits
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Wonderful Tour of Waterfalls and Geysers
mshear53, Jul 2018
Golden Circle Full Day Tour from Reykjavik by Minibus
We saw some great waterfalls, a geyser park and landmarks in Reykjavik.
star-5
Great tour and great guide
Mark G, Jan 2019
South Coast Full Day Tour by Minibus from Reykjavik
Great way to see the incredible beauty of the South Coast near Reykjavik.
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This tour is great with those with...
William F, Aug 2015
Reykjavik City Sightseeing by Minibus
This tour is great with those with mobility issues and provides a great chance to see Reykjavik and the surrounding area.
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It was fun getting driven around...
Barry M, Aug 2017
City Sightseeing Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Convenient way to see the city.
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I was too tied to drive so I booked...
Hsueh-Hung C, Oct 2017
Golden Circle Classic Day Trip from Reykjavik
5 hour free time in each attractions 3 in total.
star-4
We loved seeing the golden circle...
Jennifer H, Sep 2017
Small-Group Golden Circle Tour and Secret Lagoon Visit from Reykjavik
We love the waterfalls and geysers.
star-5
This is a great way for an elderly...
Sandy U, Nov 2017
City Sightseeing Reykjavik Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
This is a great way for an elderly couple to see the sights of Reykjavik without having to walk.
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We had Robert as a tour guide on...
Alexandra C, Feb 2018
Golden Circle, Kerid Volcanic Crater, and Blue Lagoon Day Trip from Reykjavik
The tour was great to see a lot of what Reykjavik had to offer in one day since we were short on time.
star-5
Really a lot of fun. The horse...
MaestraMudarisa, Aug 2018
Viking Horse Riding and Golden Circle Tour from Reykjavik
The falls were gorgeous and the geyser was great.

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