Reykjavik travel guide

Visiting Reykjavik - Iceland

Reykjavik travel guide. Welcome to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland! If you’re looking for a unique and captivating destination for your next trip, Reykjavik is the city for you. With its colorful streets, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture, this city will charm you from the moment you arrive. On this page, I present to you the top 10 must-see things in Reykjavik, the 10 unmissable activities to do, and where to stay to make the most of your stay.

Reykjavik travel guide – Must-see places

Must-see places

The Pearl

Reykjavik travel guide the Pearl

I wanted to share with you an incredible place I had the chance to discover during my last trip to Iceland: The Perlan in Reykjavik.

The Perlan is a unique tourist attraction that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Reykjavik and the surrounding mountains. It’s also a fascinating museum that allows you to explore Icelandic history and culture in a playful and interactive way.

To get there, you can take bus number 18 from the city center of Reykjavik. The journey takes about 15 minutes and will drop you right in front of The Perlan. If you prefer to walk, it’s about a 30-minute walk from the city center. I chose to walk because it’s quite quick, and for landscape lovers, it’s ideal!

Once there, you can enjoy the observatory to admire the stunning view of the city, take a guided tour of the museum to learn more about Iceland’s history.

Hallgrímskirkja Church

Visiting Reykjavik. This church is an architectural gem that cannot be missed during your trip to Iceland.

Hallgrímskirkja Church is located a 10 to 15-minute walk from the city center. Simply walk northeast on Skólavörðustígur Street, which is a lively shopping street in the city. You will see the church looming on the horizon as you get closer. You can also take one of the many buses that run in the city and stop directly in front of the church. If you don’t feel like walking, take bus No. 11, which connects most of the downtown hotels to the church. Alternatively, a taxi ride is possible for 2000 to 3000 Icelandic Krona (15/20 euros).

The national museum of Iceland

Honestly, if you want to discover the history and culture of this amazing country, you really have to pay it a visit.

To get there, I took the bus from my hotel, and it cost me 470 ISK (3 euros).

The building is really cool, super modern and well done. Inside, it’s even better, with interactive exhibitions and lots of fascinating historical objects. Plan for 2/3 hours for the visit. The entrance fee is 2000 ISK (14 euros), and if you’re a student or senior, it’s even cheaper.

I didn’t realize that the tourist buses go to the museum, which is a shame because I had already purchased a ticket for the next day.

Laugavegur street

It’s truly a fantastic place for shopping and immersing yourself in the local atmosphere. To get there, you can easily take public transportation or walk if you’re in the vicinity. Once you arrive, you can’t miss the stunning murals and colorful buildings that adorn the street.

Laugavegur is filled with shops selling quality goods, artisanal jewelry, and unique souvenirs. But don’t stop there! There are so many restaurants offering both local and international cuisine that you’ll be spoiled for choice. Be sure to venture into the adjacent streets to discover more hidden treasures of the city.

The Harpa

The Harpa is a concert and conference center located on the harbor, featuring modern and impressive architecture inspired by Icelandic nature.

Getting there is a breeze: Harpa is easily reachable on foot from downtown, taking about a 10-minute walk. You can also take bus No. 14 or 17 from downtown or hop on the tourist bus.

Upon arrival, you can choose to explore the building for free or purchase a ticket for a guided tour or to attend a concert. Prices vary depending on the activity chosen, but note that visiting the building itself is free.

Nauthólsvík beach

Nauthólsvík Beach is a must-visit destination. I had the opportunity to go there during my last trip, and I was amazed by its beauty. To get there, you can take bus number 14 from downtown, which will drop you off just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. Admission is free, and you can rent changing cabins and beach towels for 800 ISK (approximately 5€).

What makes this beach special is that the water is heated to a pleasant temperature, even in winter, thanks to a natural hot spring. So, you can swim all year round, which is quite rare in Iceland! There’s also a hot tub and a sauna on the beach. If you’re into water sports like me, you can rent a kayak or a paddleboard to explore the surroundings from the sea.

The atmosphere at the beach is very friendly and relaxed, with local residents coming to swim or sunbathe. The surrounding landscapes are beautiful, with views of the ocean and mountains.

Thingvellir national park

Visiting Reykjavik, this exceptional place offers breathtaking landscapes and significant historical traces.

To access the park, you can drive from Reykjavik using Route 36. The journey takes about 45 minutes and provides beautiful panoramas along the way. The park is open year-round, and admission is free.

Once there, you can explore the park’s magnificent landscapes. From cliffs and canyons to lakes, you will be amazed by the beauty of Icelandic nature. You can also learn more about the country’s history and culture by visiting historical sites like the Althing, one of the world’s oldest parliaments.

Laugardalslaug swimming pool

This geothermal pool is one of the most popular places in the city and offers a unique experience for relaxation after a day of sightseeing.

If you want to get to Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool, here’s how to go about it. You can take bus number 14 or 15, which stops right at the pool’s entrance. If you prefer to walk, the pool is about a 30-minute walk from the city center and is easily doable.

As for the entrance fee, it’s very affordable. Admission costs approximately 1000 Icelandic Krona for adults, which is about 7 euros, and 160 Krona for children under 16, which is about 1 euro.

Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool is a place of absolute relaxation. You can enjoy hot tubs, saunas, and outdoor hot pools. The facilities are very clean and well-maintained. You can also purchase drinks and snacks on-site to refresh yourself during your relaxation session. It’s an absolute dream.

Lake Tjörnin

If you’re looking to get to Lake Tjörnin from downtown Reykjavik, you can take bus number 13 or 14. Both of these lines will drop you off near the park where the lake is located. From there, you can enjoy a pleasant walk to the lake’s shores.

The price of a bus ticket for an adult is 470 Icelandic Krona (approximately 3 euros). You can purchase your ticket directly from the driver when you board the bus.

Once you arrive at the shores of Lake Tjörnin, you can admire the beauty of the landscape and the variety of birds that inhabit it. Ducks and swans will no longer hold any secrets for you!

Gullfoss waterfall

Reykjavik travel guide Gullfoss waterfall

This magnificent waterfall is located about 120 km from Reykjavik, in southwest Iceland. To get there, you can rent a car and take Route 35, which will lead you directly to the waterfall. The journey takes about 1.5 hours, but the landscapes you’ll pass through are truly worth it.

Once on-site, you can admire the breathtaking beauty of Gullfoss Waterfall, which stands at nearly 32 meters in height. It is fed by the Hvítá River, which flows into a deep canyon. The site is surrounded by a peaceful park where you can observe a variety of birds, such as ducks and swans.

Entry to the site is free, so you won’t have to spend a dime to enjoy this wonderful spectacle of nature. However, if you’d like to have a guide explain the history and geology of the waterfall, guided tours are available for about 50 euros.

The best things to do

The best things to do in Reykjavik

For all the activities in Reykjavik that I’ve listed, I’m providing my opinion on the best ones. Please note that my opinion may be subjective, as I’m just a tourist (like you) and I’ve also gathered input from some friends who’ve shared their valuable opinions. You’ll see ratings – this is the first destination where I couldn’t rate anything below this.

I’ve added this symbol 👁 when it’s a must-see activity, 👁👁 when you absolutely can’t miss it, and 👁👁👁 when it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Reykjavik travel guide


This excursion allows you to discover Iceland’s most iconic natural wonders, including Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.

Reykjavik travel guide


Witness one of the world’s greatest natural phenomena on a 4-hour bus excursion. Leave Reykjavik’s artificial lights behind to marvel at the Northern Lights.

Reykjavik travel guide


Take a hike along the new volcanic eruption site at Merdalir and visit some of the other highlights of the Reykjanes Peninsula’s geopark, such as Reykjanesviti lighthouse, the bridge between continents, and more.

Reykjavik travel guide


Enjoy a shared transfer from Reykjavik city center to the Blue Lagoon, one of the wonders of the world. Get a round-trip bus transfer to the Blue Lagoon and your choice of spa package.

Reykjavik travel guide


Board a beautiful observation boat to discover the most beautiful mammals of the Atlantic. Admire Minke whales, dolphins, porpoises, and more. If you don’t spot any whales, you’ll get a free tour.

Reykjavik travel guide


Experience FlyOver in Reykjavik and embark on an exhilarating journey over the world’s most spectacular landscapes. From the American West to the Canadian Rockies, Iceland’s most iconic sites are breathtaking.

Reykjavik travel guide


Join a unique adventure on Langjökull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier. Explore the glacier’s pristine wonders from the inside.

Reykjavik travel guide


Discover Iceland on a day bus excursion from Reykjavik to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Marvel at the Snæfellsjökull glacier and black sand beaches, visit a fishing village, and admire Kirkjufell mountain.

Sometimes choices have to be made, and Reykjavik offers so much that I can’t list everything. If you need to see more, I can suggest around a hundred more activities.

Where to stay?

Where to stay in Reykjavik

Visiting Reykjavik and finding your hotel

Want to know the best neighborhoods in Reykjavik? Here’s a concise guide:

Downtown Reykjavik

This is the ideal location for many visitors. It offers numerous bars, restaurants, and shops, as well as top tourist attractions like Hallgrímskirkja Church and the shopping street Laugavegur. Most of the city’s hotels are located here, all within walking distance of major attractions.


Located just west of Reykjavik’s city center, this neighborhood provides a quieter atmosphere while still being within a short walk of downtown. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a peaceful retreat and offers cafes, bars, and restaurants. It’s also home to some of the city’s more budget-friendly accommodations.


Ideal for sports and outdoor enthusiasts, Laugardalur is situated to the north of Reykjavik. It boasts the city’s largest park and botanical gardens, as well as sports facilities such as pools, golf courses, and fitness centers.


Located to the south of Reykjavik, Árbær is home to an open-air museum that recreates Icelandic life through the centuries. You’ll also find cafes and restaurants offering local cuisine here.


Situated approximately 10 km south of Reykjavik, Hafnarfjörður is easily accessible by bus. This neighborhood offers affordable accommodations and is close to tourist attractions, especially around the fishing harbor.

To find your dream hotel, simply search for ‘Reykjavik’ along with the name of your preferred neighborhood.

Find your hotel


Getting around?

Getting around in Reykjavik

How to get around in Reykjavik? Explore your options!

During my trip to Reykjavik, I explored the city using various means of transportation. Here are my recommendations for getting around this beautiful Icelandic capital. Even though I didn’t use Uber, I’ll mention it so you can consider all options!

Walking: stroll around Reykjavik

Walking is one of the most popular and budget-friendly 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 also allows you to fully enjoy the city’s beauty as you move around.

Bus: Strætó – explore the city

Reykjavik’s buses are operated by Strætó, the local bus company, and provide excellent coverage of the urban network. Buses are comfortable and air-conditioned, with clearly marked routes and stops. The cost of a single ride is approximately 460 ISK (about 3.50 euros). You can purchase tickets on board, at kiosks, or at gas stations.

Biking: discover the city by bike

Biking is a fantastic option in Reykjavik, with many places where you can rent bicycles. Even if you’re not an experienced cyclist, don’t worry; the city is relatively flat, making it a pleasant and not too tiring experience. Well-designed bike lanes are available, and bike rental starts at around 1,500 ISK (about 12 euros) per day.

Taxi: comfort and accessibility

Taxis are easy to find throughout the city and are regulated, meaning you’ll pay the fare indicated on the meter. Taxi fares are slightly higher than other options, but they remain reasonable given the service provided.

Carpooling: affordable options for groups

Ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber are also available in Reykjavik and can be a more economical option, especially if you’re traveling in a group.

No matter which option you choose, you can get around Reykjavik easily and enjoy everything this incredible city has to offer. Safe travels! 🚗🚲🚶‍♀️


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.

MTT wishes you the most wonderful stay!

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