Reykjavik translates into a smokey bay and is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Iceland. With a population of under 130,000, this city feels more like a town than a major financial center of Europe. The city is very easy to walk around and the temperatures in June were in the mid-50’s, low 60’s during the day with lots of wind smacking you across the face from the bay. Sunset in the summer is after 2 am and sunrise is before 5 am so you can imagine why Iceland gets a reputation for a fun party town.
If you are planning a trip to Iceland, check out another post of mine.
Top 10 Things to do in Reykjavik Iceland
- Harpa– This is an architectural gem and worth popping inside for some amazing pictures and perhaps a concert.
- Pearl (or Perlan in Icelandic)- Part museum, part working hot water tank repository, or part vantage point, this spot has incredible city and bay views, an Icelandic museum in one of the water tanks, nature trails all around, and a revolving restaurant. It’s worth a walk or taxi ride.
- Hallgrimskirkja Church– This is the famed basalt church that seems all over Reykjavik and has the best view of the center city.
- Langavegur street– Whether you shop, eat, or hang at a cafe, this is the ‘it’ street in Reykjavik. Great people watching and spying latest fashion trends.
- City Center- The area that borders Tryggavagata St, Laekrjargata St and houses Austurvollur square. It’s where you will find the City Hall (which doubles as a pretty cool free museum) and the lake.
- Whale watching or similar tour from the harbor. Plenty of local companies to choose from and most hotels can arrange tickets as well.
- Thermal Pools– Reykjavik is teeming with thermal pools in the city center. These are all heated by natures natural body heat. Many of the pools have recreation pools for playing, some for lap swimming, hot pools for relaxing and steam rooms for absorbing. Laugardalslaug is where most locals go and has a couple of heated outdoor pools, a steam room (or hot box) and several hot tub pools of varying temperatures. It is located about a 25-minute walk (near the National Stadium) from the city center. Any taxi can take you here and admission is quite reasonable- it was under $15 for a towel and locker. You can stay as long as you like.
- Reykjavik Walking Tour– The city is extremely compact and loaded with history and there is a free walking tour at various locations in the city center.
- Bar/Club hopping– There is a reason this town has a lively party scene and the sheer numbers of places to go are why many North Americans head here for 4-day fun fests.
- Blue Lagoon– A good 30 minutes from Reykjavik towards the airport is the famed Blue Lagoon. Long known locally as a tourist destination, you won’t find many Icelanders but the healing properties are worth the trip. The Lagoon is rather pricey so keep that in mind as well as for the ladies not letting their hair soak in the waters as it tends to turn your hair into brittle/scraggly rats nest. Small Fact: The Blue Lagoon is actually heated by runoff from the local Geothermal plant next door.
Skyr: Iceland’s yogurt and the best thing I tasted there. There is something about Iceland cows and the milk they produce in this lusciously creamy yogurt (Iceland refers to it as cheese).