There is no right time to visit Reykjavík. Every season is gorgeous there. In winter, you can marvel at spectacular northern lights and gaze at snowy slopes. When summer comes to Iceland, it opens unlimited opportunities for travelers to explore its astonishing nature. The Golden Circle, the south coast, and other eye-catching places can be easily reached from Reykjavík by car or by bus. And it’s only the tip of the iceberg!
There is a lot to see and experience in Reykjavík. Exquisite local cuisine, marvelous nature, and historical and cultural sights will impress you during your Icelandic adventure.
If you’re a bold adventurer who is curious about new places, we prepared a list of the 10 best things to see in Reykjavík. Read our article to go off the beaten tourist path!
- Árbæjarsafn – An Open Air Museum
Árbæjarsafn is a fantastic place located a bit far away from central Reykjavík. You should take bus №16 in the direction of Árbær/Hraunsás if you want to experience this city by yourself. When you’re here, you’ll see how Icelandic people lived in turf houses with grass roofs 200 years ago. Árbæjarsafn is like a time machine that takes you on a journey to the past.
- Austurvöllur Square – An Important Reykjavík’s Attraction
Austurvöllur is one of the main must-see spots in Reykjavík. Almost every Icelandic citizen will tell you that Austurvöllur Square is the place where national history is formed. The protests for Iceland’s membership to NATO in 1949 and the financial crisis riot of 2009 took place there.
Austurvöllur Square is a favorite place among Reykjavík’s inhabitants, with a lovely park where they get together or organize various events. In summer, locals go there to have fun, walk around with friends, or take a sunbath. You may visit Austurvöllur Square during your tour around Reykjavík and enjoy your time there!
- Laugavegur Street – “To the Water Road”
Laugavegur Street is a sweet home for luxury boutiques, restaurants, and bars, and is always crowded. Not only can you find wealthy shops and jewelry there, but the Phallological Museum and Punk Museum are located on this Reykjavík street as well.
Laugavegur is the place for creatives. You can find so much colorful graffiti art there. Imagine yourself walking along Laugavegur Street, Past picturesque, tiny houses with mesmerizing graffiti. You’re charmed with this impressive view, so you take your camera and start capturing photos.
Icelanders know Laugavegur Street as the place where their ancestors went to launder their clothes. Its origin fully explains its name, which basically means “To the Water Road” in Icelandic.
- Hallgrímskirkja Church – The Largest Reykjavík’s Landmark
You can see the tower of this church almost from every city corner. Hallgrímskirkja stands like a guard watching over Reykjavík. Named on behalf of the Icelandic hymn writer Hallgrimur Petursson, it has become the most remarkable tourist attraction.
Want to see Reykjavík from high up? Climb to the top of Hallgrímskirkja Tower and marvel at the breathtaking scenery of the windy yet beautiful Icelandic capital.
- Saga Museum – Experience the Real History of Iceland
Exhibitions of this museum are like sagas. They tell visitors about legends, historical figures, and moments that shaped Iceland. As you approach museum exhibitions, you may hear the sounds of volcanic eruptions, battles, and political speeches in Old Icelandic. If you’re fond of history, add the Saga Museum to your sightseeing tour around Reykjavík and plunge into Icelandic history.
- Harpa and Old Harbour – Two Must-See Gems
The Old Harbour is an enchanting place, with small colorful sheds, mild-blowing sea wind, and Mount Esja located in front of the bay. The Old Harbour seems like an Icelandic fairytale with numerous miracles along the way. And Harpa Concert Hall is one of them. Its façades are covered with the crystal particles of fish scales, glinting playfully in the sun. Thanks to Harpa’s unusual architecture, it has attracted more than 10 million visitors since its opening in 2011.
- Tjörnin – A Picturesque Pond
Tjörnin is a perfect place for avid bird and wildlife lovers. This pond has over 40 species of birds that you can rarely find in your country. Arctic Terns, Whooper Swans, and Eider Ducks are among a few of the inhabitants of Tjörnin Pond. Want to capture photos of these amazing birds? Don’t forget to grab your camera when you travel to Reykjavík, and you’ll have plenty of incredible pictures to remind you of your wonderful trip.
- Viðey Island – The Largest in the Kollafjörður Bay
Hardly can we find an island like Viðey in the world. Located off the Reykjavík coast, it allures us with stunning views, historic ruins, and fascinating nature. Viðey Island is also famous for the Imagine Peace Tower that shines brightly at night, resembling a UFO’s light. And it’s not the only thing you can look at, marvel at, and shoot at in this enchanting place. There is much more to experience in Viðey, so don’t forget to put this sight on your list!
- Úlfarsfell – A Popular Hiking Point
Úlfarsfell is a small mountain near Reykjavík covered by endless fields of velvet lupines. As a famous proverb says, “All roads lead to Rome.” The same idea can be said of Úlfarsfell. It has so many trails that will guide you to the top where you can marvel at awe-inspiring views of Reykjavík and capture fantastic shots.
- Puffin and Whale Watching Tours
When you decide to travel to Reykjavík, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to book a boat tour and see puffins and whales. We bet you won’t regret it! All year round, there is a high chance of spotting a whale or a puffin — a small bird with a colorful beak. So sail out from the Icelandic capital and create unforgettable memories of your Icelandic trip.
Thrilled to visit Reykjavík? Book a tour with Ragnar to see its iconic places. True Icelandic spirit, cuisine, nature, history, and culture are waiting for you!