Reykjavík is an excellent city to visit. It makes for a great home base from which to begin many adventures in Iceland and has a lot to offer in its own right. One of our very own local expert guides came up with a list of the top things to see and do to get the most out of your time in Reykjavík. Enjoy!
Tour the City with a Local
You probably would expect me to say that, given that I’m a local guide with Gray Line Iceland. However, in all seriousness, exploring the city with a local guide is the best way to experience it. We’ll take you to the best sights. You won’t miss anything. We’ll also share local knowledge on the best places to try when it comes to enjoying the unique atmosphere of Reykjavik. Our guest Carly, who visited earlier this month said via TripAdvisor:
“Although Reykjavik itself is small, I highly recommend a tour using Gray Line. We were very fortunate to have great weather and each stop was spectacular, great views and sufficient time at each stop! This trip has been one of a lifetime and would recommend Iceland to everyone. Shout out to Darren.”
Get a Taste of the City
For a city of its size, Reykjavik has a fantastic selection of restaurants with all sorts of fabulous cuisine to try. You won’t be short of options. However, if you want to try something Icelandic, look out for local delicacies like cod’s head cooked in chicken stock. By the harbor, you’ll find seafood restaurants and bars with a lively atmosphere and a view of the old harbor. The flea market also sells fermented shark meat but we’re never sure whether this is a delicacy or a dare!
Enjoy the View
Hallgrímskirkja is the largest church in Iceland. Its design is inspired by the columnar basalt formations found throughout the Icelandic landscape. You can climb or take the lift to the top of the church for a wonderful panoramic view of the city. Perlan, a glass dome which is built on the city’s hot water tanks, has a viewing platform that also gives a fantastic 360-degree view of the city.
This historic house dates from 1909 and is where Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov met for a summit in 1986, effectively marking the end of the Cold War.
Check Out the Wildlife
From Reykjavík harbor, you can head off on an Icelandic whale-watching trip on Faxaflói bay. You’ll see whales and dolphins in their natural habitat as well as some wonderful birdlife including puffins.
Bring your camera because this is a wonderful photo opportunity. Called Sólfar in Icelandic or the Sun Voyager in English, this graceful steel structure on the waterfront is styled after a Viking Long Ship as a nod to the Viking influence on our country.
Step Out Into the Nightlife
In one of our previous posts, we mentioned that Reykjavík has earned a reputation as a party city. At the weekends, our clubs stay busy until 4 or 5 am. The atmosphere is even better during one of the city’s festivals or celebrations such as Iceland Airwaves music festival, Beer Day, Pride or New Year’s Eve. Even if you don’t want to party until the sun comes up, there’s a great choice of relaxed and chilled bars to try. Ask your guide which one is best to suit your mood!
Take a Dip in the Blue Lagoon
Once you are finished touring the city, head out to the Blue Lagoon – a wonderful geothermal spa. The blue-green algae and minerals in the lagoon’s water are great for your skin, not to mention the saunas, massages, and facials. And it is all set in the middle of a rocky lava field making it a uniquely Icelandic experience. You can read more about the Blue Lagoon here.
Play a Game
For something completely different, why not challenge yourself to 60 minutes of problem solving and teamwork hosted by Gray Line Iceland. In the Prison Break live game, you and your teammates have been framed for murder. Your only chance to escape death row is to break out of prison by solving a series of problems and challenges. Sounds interesting?!
Get Out of Town!
Reykjavik is a wonderful base for exploring the rest of our country. From here – head out to experience the beauty of the northern lights and Reynisfjara black sand beach, the amazing Geysir geothermal area, hot springs and powerful, gorgeous waterfalls, such as Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. And when you’ve had your fill of gorgeous natural wonders, come back to experience more of the friendly atmosphere of our capital city, Reykjavik.
How Gray Line Iceland Can Help You Explore Reykjavik and Iceland
If you are planning to visit Iceland, then talk to our team at Gray Line Iceland – our passion is helping you discover our country. We offer tours of Reykjavik, many amazing tours around Iceland, vacation packages and airport transfers.