Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, is small, but has many great things to do. The city features a world-renowned music scene, eclectic architecture, Viking history, geothermal swimming pools and some of the friendliest and safest streets in Europe. Reykjavík also makes the perfect base for experiencing Iceland’s incredible natural beauty, which you can enjoy through leisurely daytrips or action-packed multi-day adventures.
Reykjavík’s weather is highly changeable, so pack accordingly. When the sun shines, take a boat tour at Reykjavík Harbour to see puffins and whales. Then join the throngs of locals and enjoy the city’s downtown parks, Tjörnin Lake and markets. Climb the bell tower of Iceland’s largest church, Hallgrimskirkja, for panoramic views across Old Town’s colored rooftops to the spectacular mountains and glaciers beyond.
If you’re visiting between October and March, don’t miss Mother Nature’s greatest lightshow, the aurora borealis (northern lights). On dark, clear nights, wrap up and head to Grótta lighthouse, Miklatún or Hljómskálagarður parks, or Öskjuhlíð Hill for the city’s best vantage points.
When the icy winds pick up, seek shelter in Reykjavík’s many museums. Visit the 871±2 Settlement Exhibition at Reykjavík City Museum to see the oldest archeological ruins in Iceland, then follow the country’s journey to nationhood at The National Museum of Iceland. Stop by the Saga Museum, unusually located in one of six water tanks at Perlan. Here, waxwork figures recall key moments in Iceland’s past.
For a small city, Reykjavík has made its presence known on the world’s cultural and creative stages. Explore the city’s galleries, bookshops and quirky boutiques before heading off to discover the next Sigur Rós or Björk in the city’s acclaimed bars and live music venues.
After exploring Reykjavík’s streets, dance floors and countryside, join locals in one of the city’s seven natural geothermal springs, such as Arbaejarlaug and Laugardalslaug.
It’s best to plan your visit based on the seasons and your preferred activities. By mid-June, Reykjavík experiences 21 hours of sunlight per day, giving you plenty of daylight to discover all the delights this stunning metropolis has to offer.