Reykjavik travel guide

Visiting Reykjavik - Iceland

Welcome aboard this comprehensive guide to “Reykjavik travel guide”.
I’m Sarah (or Miss Tatane 😛), a travel enthusiast. I’m here to share my experiences and tips to help you make the most of your trip 😉.

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Must-see places

Reykjavik travel guide – What to see and must-see places

For all the activities in Reykjavík that I have listed for you, I will give you my opinion on the most beautiful ones. This opinion may be subjective because it is only the opinion of a tourist (like you) and a few friends who also gave their valuable opinions. You will see the notes, it’s the first destination where I can’t put below that..

I put this symbol for you 👁 when it’s an activity to see 👁👁 when you can’t miss it and 👁👁👁 to see at least once in your life because it’s paradise!

Hallgrímskirkja church

When visiting Reykjavik, Hallgrímskirkja Church is a must-see. This architectural marvel, located in the heart of the city, is one of Iceland’s most iconic attractions. With its imposing silhouette and unique design, Hallgrímskirkja promises an unforgettable experience.

An exceptional view

Hallgrímskirkja Church offers stunning views of Reykjavik and its surroundings. Climb to the top of the tower and admire the city spread out below you. You will be able to see the mountains, the ocean and the charming colorful houses of Reykjavik. It’s the perfect place to capture spectacular panoramic photos.

A unique architecture

Designed by architect Guðjón Samúelsson, Hallgrímskirkja is famous for its design inspired by Icelandic landscapes, including basalt columns. Its impressive structure and sober but elegant interior make it a place of meditation and admiration. Don’t miss the majestic organ, which is one of the largest in Iceland.

How to get to Hallgrímskirkja

Located in the center of Reykjavik, the church is easily accessible on foot from any point in the city center. You can also take a local bus, which will drop you off nearby. The walk to the church is pleasant and allows you to discover the charm of the streets of Reykjavik. If you are too lazy to walk, take bus No. 11, it connects most hotels in the city center to the church. Otherwise the taxi option is possible in exchange for 2000 to 3000 crowns (15/20 euros).

Why visit Hallgrímskirkja?

  • Panoramic view. Enjoy exceptional views of Reykjavik and its surroundings from the top of the tower.
  • Unique architecture. Admire the design inspired by Icelandic landscapes and the impressive organ.
  • Access facility. Located in the city center, the church is easily accessible on foot or by bus.


A must-see in Reykjavik

A breathtaking panoramic view

As soon as you arrive, you will be amazed by the spectacular view from the observatory. Imagine watching the city expand before your eyes, with its colorful buildings and stunning natural landscapes. It’s the perfect place to take unforgettable photos.

A fun and interactive museum

The Perlan is not only an observation platform, it is also a fascinating museum. You can discover Icelandic history and culture through fun and interactive exhibitions. From glaciers to volcanoes to marine wildlife, each section of the museum is designed to captivate and inform visitors of all ages.

How to get to Perlan

Accessing Perlan is easy. Take bus number 18 from Reykjavik city center, and in 15 minutes you will be there. For those who prefer to walk, a 30-minute stroll from the city center will take you directly to the entrance. This walk is ideal for landscape lovers, offering magnificent views along the way.

Why visit Perlan?

  • Amazing views. Enjoy exceptional panoramic views of Reykjavik.
  • Culture and history. Immerse yourself in Icelandic history and culture with interactive exhibits.
  • Accessibility. Easily accessible by bus or on foot from the city center.

Entrance ticket to the Perlan Museum – ⭐⭐⭐⭐/ 1 457 reviews

New – Hop on hop of bus + Entrance ticket to Perlan

Visit Reykjavik – The best activities in Reykjavik

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Discover Reykjavík with a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour aboard a double-decker bus. Your tour includes an admission ticket to the Perlan Museum, located at one of the stops along the route.

The national museum of Iceland

During your stay in Reykjavik, a visit to the National Museum of Iceland is an enriching experience not to be missed. This museum, located in the heart of the capital, is a gateway to the history and culture of Iceland, offering a fascinating immersion into the past of this unique country.

A journey through Icelandic history

The National Museum of Iceland offers you a real journey through time, from the first Viking settlements to modern times. Permanent and temporary exhibitions feature historical artifacts, artwork and everyday objects, illustrating Iceland’s rich history. You will discover archaeological treasures, traditional costumes and historical documents that tell the story of the evolution of Icelandic society.

An interactive and educational experience

This museum is not only an exhibition venue, but also an interactive space where visitors of all ages can learn in a fun way. Videos, touch screens and interactive activities help you understand different aspects of Icelandic culture. Children and adults alike will enjoy this dynamic and engaging approach to history.

How to get to the National Museum of Iceland

The National Museum of Iceland is easily accessible from downtown Reykjavik. You can get there on foot in around fifteen minutes or take a local bus which will drop you off nearby. The ride is pleasant and allows you to enjoy the cityscapes of Reykjavik.

Why visit the national museum of Iceland?

  • Historical journey. Discover the history of Iceland through fascinating exhibitions.
  • Interactive experience. Enjoy educational and interactive activities for the whole family.
  • Easy access. Located near the city center, the museum is easily accessible on foot or by bus.

Entrance ticket to the National Museum

Reykjavik travel guide – The best activities


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Explore Iceland’s heritage and history, from the thrilling Viking Age to modern times, with this admission ticket to the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík.

Laugavegur street

Don’t miss Laugavegur, the most lively and emblematic street in the Icelandic capital. Located in the heart of the city, this street is the hub of shopping, dining and nightlife in Reykjavik.

A paradise for shopping enthusiasts

Laugavegur is a must-see destination for shopping enthusiasts. You will find a multitude of boutiques there, ranging from major international brands to local designers. Whether you’re looking for trendy clothing, unique accessories, or quintessentially Icelandic souvenirs, Laugavegur has it all.

A vibrant culinary scene

This vibrant street is also known for its diverse culinary scene. From cozy cafes to gourmet restaurants, Laugavegur offers a wide range of choices to suit all tastes and budgets. Taste Icelandic specialties, savor international dishes or simply enjoy a good coffee while observing the bustling street life.

Lively nightlife

When the sun sets, Laugavegur lights up and becomes the center of Reykjavik nightlife. Bars, pubs and clubs come alive, offering unforgettable evenings. Whether you want to listen to live music, dance until dawn or simply enjoy a friendly atmosphere, Laugavegur is the ideal place for a memorable evening.

How to get to Laugavegur

Located right in the city center, Laugavegur is easily accessible on foot from anywhere in central Reykjavik. You can also take one of the many local buses that serve this busy street. The walk to Laugavegur will allow you to discover other interesting areas of the city.

Why explore Laugavegur Street?

  • Varied shopping. Discover a multitude of local boutiques and designers.
  • Delicious food. Enjoy a rich and diverse culinary scene.
  • Lively nightlife. Experience unforgettable evenings in the many bars and clubs.
  • Access facility. Located in the city center, Laugavegur is easily accessible on foot or by bus.


Reykjavik travel guide – An architectural and cultural masterpiece

During your visit to Reykjavik, don’t miss Harpa, one of the most iconic buildings in the Icelandic capital. Located on the seafront, this concert and conference center is a jewel of modern architecture and an unmissable cultural meeting place.

An architectural masterpiece

Harpa is a true architectural masterpiece, designed by architectural firms Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið Architects, in collaboration with Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson. Its multi-colored glass facade, inspired by Icelandic basalt formations, shimmers under the light, creating spectacular reflections. Day or night, Harpa is a visual spectacle not to be missed.

A dynamic cultural center

Harpa is home to Reykjavik’s main concert hall, where the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic National Opera perform. You can enjoy a variety of shows, from classical music concerts to contemporary music performances, operas and plays. Consult the program to discover the events during your visit.

Spaces for everyone

In addition to shows, Harpa offers art exhibitions, lectures and various events throughout the year. Harpa’s public spaces, such as lobbies and terraces, offer stunning views of Reykjavik Harbor and the surrounding mountains. It’s a great place to relax, take photos or simply admire the architecture.

How to get to Harpa

Harpa is ideally located on the Reykjavik waterfront, close to the city center. You can easily get there on foot in just a few minutes from the city’s main attractions. Local buses also serve the area, making access simple and convenient.

Why visit Harpa?

  • Spectacular architecture. Admire an iconic building with a unique and innovative design.
  • Cultural scene. Attend concerts, operas and various shows throughout the year.
  • Public spaces. Enjoy magnificent views of the harbor and mountains from Harpa’s public spaces.
  • Accessibility. Located close to the city center, Harpa is easily accessible on foot or by bus.

Tjörnin lake

Reykjavik travel guide – A haven of peace in the heart of the city

Located right in the heart of Iceland’s capital, this picturesque lake is a popular relaxation spot for locals and visitors alike. With its peaceful landscapes and rich birdlife, Lake Tjörnin offers a tranquil and invigorating experience.

A great place to walk

Lake Tjörnin is surrounded by picturesque trails, perfect for a relaxing walk. Whether you want to take a morning stroll or an evening stroll, the paths around the lake offer magnificent views of the water and surrounding area. In winter, the frozen lake becomes a natural ice rink, adding a touch of magic to your visit.

A paradise for bird lovers

Lake Tjörnin is renowned for its rich birdlife. Dozens of bird species, including ducks, swans and seagulls, inhabit the lake throughout the year. This is a great place for bird watching and taking photos. Don’t forget to bring some bread to feed the ducks, a popular and fun activity for children.

A place to meet and relax

Around the lake you will find charming green spaces and benches where you can sit and enjoy the view. It is a popular meeting place for locals, ideal for a picnic or a relaxing break. Hljómskálagarður Park, adjacent to the lake, offers play areas for children and shaded areas for rest.

Ease of access and nearby attractions

Lake Tjörnin is located within walking distance of Reykjavik city center, making it easily accessible. In addition to the lake, you can visit nearby attractions like Reykjavik City Hall and several museums and art galleries. The many cafés and restaurants in the surrounding area are perfect for a gourmet break after your walk.

Why visit Lake Tjörnin?

  • Scenic walks. Enjoy the scenic trails around the lake for a relaxing stroll.
  • Bird watching. Discover a variety of local birds in their natural habitat.
  • Lounge. Relax in the surrounding green spaces and parks.
  • Proximity to the center. Located a short walk from the city center, the lake is easily accessible.
  • Nearby attractions. Explore nearby museums, galleries and other attractions.

Nauthólsvík beach

Reykjavik travel guide – An unexpected corner of paradise

Located in a beautiful protected cove, this beach offers a unique and relaxing experience, ideal for a nature break in the city.

A haven of golden sand and warm water

Nauthólsvík Beach is an exceptional place where golden sand and warm water meet to create a pleasant and calming environment. Thanks to the geothermal water supply, the sea temperature is pleasantly warm, even in summer. It’s the perfect place to swim, sunbathe or simply relax by the water.

Activities for the whole family

Nauthólsvík offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. Besides swimming, you can enjoy geothermal hot baths, go paddle boarding or kayaking, or play volleyball on the beach. Modern facilities, such as changing rooms, showers and cafes, are available to make your visit even more comfortable.

A place to relax all year round

Whether you visit in summer or winter, Nauthólsvík is a lovely place to discover. In summer, the beach is lively and perfect for picnics and games. In winter, you can enjoy the hot baths while admiring the snowy landscape, a truly unique experience in Iceland.

How to get to Nauthólsvík

Nauthólsvík Beach is located near Reykjavik University and is easily accessible from the city center. You can walk there in about 20 minutes, or take a local bus that drops you off nearby. The path to the beach is picturesque and will allow you to discover the surroundings of Reykjavik. Entrance is free and you can rent changing cabins and beach towels for 800 ISK (around €5).

Why visit Nauthólsvík beach?

  • Geothermal hot water. Enjoy warm outdoor baths with geothermal water.
  • Varied activities. Swimming, paddle, kayak and beach games for the whole family.
  • Accessibility. Located near the city center, the beach is easily accessible on foot or by bus.
  • Natural setting. A peaceful and unique corner of nature in the middle of the city.

Katla ice cave

Katla Ice Cave, a spectacular natural wonder located near the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Accessible from Vik or Reykjavik, this unique experience immerses you in the heart of a dazzling ice world.

A unique icy adventure

Katla Ice Cave forms each winter when meltwater from the glacier flows through the ice, creating fascinating crystal formations and tunnels. It’s a magical place where light reflects through the ice walls, creating dazzling shades of blue and white.

Access and transportation

To reach the Katla Ice Cave from Vik, plan on driving around 2 hours to the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. If you are leaving from Reykjavik, the journey will take approximately 2.5 hours by car. Make sure you use a vehicle suitable for winter conditions and sometimes difficult roads.

Guided experience and safety

It is recommended to visit Katla Ice Cave with an experienced guide. Guided excursions not only offer you local expertise but also added security to explore the cave in peace. Guides often provide necessary equipment, such as crampons and helmets, to ensure a safe experience.

Why visit Katla Ice Cave?

  • Unique natural spectacle. Explore a world of ice and light with unique icy formations.
  • Accessibility. From Vik or Reykjavik, you can easily reach the Mýrdalsjökull glacier by car.
  • Local guides. Take advantage of a guided tour for an enriched and secure experience.
  • Photography. Capture impressive images of ice shades and natural light.

From Reykjavik – Katla ice cave and jeep tour

Reykjavik travel guide – The best activities


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Travel the southern coast of the Land of Fire and Ice on a guided day tour from Vik or Reykjavik. Explore a magical ice cave and smaller hidden trails with round-trip Jeep transportation.

Gullfoss waterfall

Reykjavik travel guide – The best activities

Located in the Golden Circle region, this majestic waterfall is one of the country’s most iconic attractions. With its powerful waterfalls and picturesque setting, Gullfoss offers an unforgettable experience to all its visitors.

A majestic waterfall

Gullfoss, meaning “golden waterfall” in Icelandic, takes its name from the rainbow often visible in the splashes of its rushing waters. The waterfall consists of two separate falls: the first is 11 meters high and the second 21 meters, plunging into an impressive ravine. The roar of the water and the spectacular view create an atmosphere that is both powerful and calming.

A protected natural site

Gullfoss is not only a natural wonder, but also a protected site. In the 1920s, an Icelandic woman named Sigríður Tómasdóttir fought to preserve the cascade from hydroelectric projects. Thanks to his efforts, Gullfoss is today a preserved natural site, allowing everyone to enjoy it in all its splendor.

An accessible experience

Gullfoss Waterfall is easily accessible by car from Reykjavik, approximately 1.5 hours’ drive. Located in the famous Golden Circle, it is often visited in combination with Thingvellir National Park and Geysir geothermal area. Free, well-maintained parking is nearby, with developed trails leading to various waterfall viewpoints.

Activities and discoveries

In addition to waterfall viewing, Gullfoss offers opportunities for photography, hiking, and even snowmobile tours in winter. The trails around the waterfall allow you to approach the water safely, offering varied perspectives from which to appreciate this natural wonder. A visitor center with exhibits and a gift shop is also available on site.

Why visit Gullfoss?

  • Natural spectacle. Admire one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland with its powerful waterfalls.
  • History and protection. Discover the inspiring preservation story of Gullfoss.
  • Accessibility. Easily accessible by car from Reykjavik, with free parking nearby.
  • Diverse activities. Enjoy hiking, photography and snowmobile tours.

Full-day tour of the golden circle with Kerid crater

Reykjavik travel guide – The best activitie


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Explore Iceland’s iconic Golden Circle for a day. Admire the stunning Geysir region and Gullfoss Falls, and discover Thingvellir National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.

Thingvellir national park

Reykjavik travel guide – An exceptional historical and natural site

During your trip to Iceland, Thingvellir National Park is a must-see destination. Located approximately 45 minutes from Reykjavik, this park is a place rich in history and natural wonders, providing an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

A geological gem

The national park is also famous for its unique geology. Situated on the border of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, Thingvellir offers a rare opportunity to see the effects of continental drift. You can walk through the Almannagjá Valley, an impressive rift that shows the separation of tectonic plates. The spectacular scenery includes deep fissures, sheer cliffs and amazing rock formations.

Activities for nature lovers

Thingvellir offers a multitude of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. You can hike on well-marked trails, enjoy a horseback ride, or even go diving and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Silfra Fault. The latter is particularly renowned for its exceptional visibility and its pure water coming from neighboring glaciers.

A breathtaking natural setting

Thingvellir National Park is also a paradise for photographers and nature lovers. With its vast plains, majestic mountains, sparkling lakes and clear rivers, the park offers breathtaking landscapes in all seasons. Autumn and winter add a magical touch with flamboyant colors and the Northern Lights.

How to get to Thingvellir

Thingvellir is easily accessible by car from Reykjavik. It will take you about 45 minutes to get there via Route 36. Guided tours are also available for those who prefer not to drive. The park is part of the famous Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that also includes Gullfoss Falls and the Geysir geothermal area.

Why visit Thingvellir National Park?

  • Historical significance. Discover the site of one of the oldest parliaments in the world.
  • Unique geology. Walk between two tectonic plates in a spectacular landscape.
  • Outdoor activities. Enjoy hiking, diving, snorkeling and much more.
  • Natural beauty. Admire magnificent and varied landscapes in all seasons.
  • Accessibility. Easily accessible from Reykjavik by car or guided tour.

Laugardalslaug swimming pool

Reykjavik travel guide – The most popular place

Located in the Laugardalur district, this geothermal swimming pool offers a relaxing and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.

A modern geothermal swimming pool

Laugardalslaug is a modern geothermal swimming pool, offering a variety of pools to suit all tastes. There you will find a large outdoor pool for swimming, hot geothermal baths for relaxing, and even a heated seawater pool. The facilities are clean and well maintained, guaranteeing a moment of pleasure and relaxation.

Activities for the whole family

This pool is ideal for a family day. Kids will love the water slides and paddling pools, while adults can enjoy the hot tubs, whirlpools and saunas. There is also an indoor pool for those who prefer to swim sheltered from the elements. With so many options, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

A setting of relaxation and well-being

Laugardalslaug is more than just a swimming pool; it is a place of relaxation and well-being. The hot baths and saunas are perfect for relaxing after a day of sightseeing in Reykjavik. Water temperatures vary to suit all preferences, providing an authentic thermal experience in a peaceful setting.

Ease of access and comfort

Located in the Laugardalur district, Laugardalslaug is easily accessible from Reykjavik city center. You can get there by bus or car, and there are also cycle paths for those who prefer to cycle. Facilities include modern changing rooms, showers and a cafeteria, making your visit comfortable and enjoyable.

Why visit Laugardalslaug?

  • Geothermal swimming pool. Enjoy water heated naturally by geothermal energy.
  • Family activities. Slides, paddling pools and pools for the whole family.
  • Relaxation and well-being. Relax in hot baths, whirlpools and saunas.
  • Accessibility. Easily accessible by bus, car or bike from the city center.
  • Modern comfort. Enjoy well-maintained facilities and convenient on-site services.

The best things to do

The best things to do in Reykjavik

Reykjavik travel guide – The best activities

Where to stay?

Where to stay in Reykjavik

Reykjavik travel guide – Neighborhoods to sleep

Want to know which are the best neighborhoods in Reykjavik? I gave you a summary.

The city center

This is the ideal place for me. There you will find many bars, restaurants and shops, as well as tourist attractions like the Hallgrímskirkja church or the Laugavegur shopping street. This is also where most of the city’s hotels are located, within walking distance of the main attractions.

The Vesturbær district

Located in the west of Reykjavik, it is only a few minutes’ walk from the old town. Here you can find cafes, bars and restaurants, and this is where the cheapest hotels are located. It is one of the quietest neighborhoods.

The Laugardalur district

It’s ideal for sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Located in the north of Reykjavik, it is home to the city’s largest park, as well as sports facilities such as swimming pools, golf courses and fitness centers.

The quarter of Árbær

Located south of Reykjavik, it houses an open-air museum which recreates the life of Icelanders through the centuries. There you will also find cafes and restaurants offering local cuisine.

The Hafnarfjörður district

Located about 10 km south of Reykjavik. Easily accessible by bus, you will find affordable accommodation there, as well as tourist attractions (near the fishing port).

Getting around?

Getting around in Reykjavik

During my trip to Reykjavik, I explored the city using various means of transportation. Here are my recommendations for getting around this magnificent Icelandic capital. Even though I haven’t used Uber, I’m telling you about it so you can consider all the options!

Walking: Stroll around Reykjavik

Walking is one of the most popular and economical ways to explore the city. Reykjavik is relatively compact, offering spectacular views of the sea and surrounding mountains. This option is not only beneficial for your health, but it also allows you to fully enjoy the beauty of the city while moving around.

Bus: Bus – explorez la Ville

Buses in Reykjavik are operated by Strætó, the local bus company, and offer excellent coverage of the city network. Buses are comfortable and air-conditioned, with clearly marked routes and stops. The cost of a single journey is around 460 ISK (around 3.50 euros). You can buy tickets on the bus, at kiosks or at gas stations.

Bike: discover the city by bike

Cycling is a fantastic option in Reykjavik, with many places where you can rent bikes. Even if you’re not a seasoned cyclist, don’t worry, the city is relatively flat, making it a pleasant and not strenuous experience. Well-developed bike paths are available, and bike rentals start at around 1,500 ISK (around 12 euros) per day.


Homosexuality in Reykjavik

Reykjavik travel guide

Reykjavik is a particularly gay-friendly destination that offers numerous LGBTQ+ opportunities for travelers.

The city hosts various LGBTQ+ events throughout the year. Reykjavik Pride, also known as Reykjavik Gay Pride, is one of the most popular events, taking place every August and featuring a variety of activities, including a grand pride parade. The winter LGBTQ+ festival, Rainbow Reykjavik, is another ideal opportunity to experience the city in the winter.

It’s worth noting that Iceland legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, making it one of the first countries in the world to do so. This demonstrates how respected and integrated the LGBTQ+ community is in Icelandic society.

Reykjavik is an incredibly welcoming and tolerant city. You’ll feel genuinely safe here, and in my opinion, it’s like the sister city of Ibiza. If you’re looking for a gay-friendly destination with a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, a warm atmosphere, and stunning landscapes, Reykjavik is the place for you!

Here are a few bars to check out

Reykjavik travel guide
  1. Kiki Bar: A lively and friendly gay bar in the city center of Reykjavik.
  2. Gaukurinn: A gay and hetero-friendly bar in the city center of Reykjavik that hosts themed parties, concerts, and comedy shows.
  3. Sauna Vesturbæjarlaug: A sauna exclusively for men located in the Vesturbær neighborhood.
  4. Club Church: A gay and lesbian club in the city center of Reykjavik that hosts dance parties and special events.

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MTT wishes you the most wonderful stay!

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