Reykjavik is a great city to start out on active tours in Iceland. This is where most holidaymakers start their day trips in all directions of the country. Whether glacier tours, day trips to the blue lagoon or tours to the Golden Circle, Iceland awaits its visitors with great natural spectacles.
Wear warm clothes!
Iceland is a very cold country. Even in summer, temperatures rarely rise above 15° Celsius. In winter they keep around the freezing point. Especially the winds in and around Reykjavik blow the cold air around your nose. It is advisable to pack windproof clothing for optimal protection against the cold weather. Those who want to experience the northern lights in Iceland have to accept the cold temperatures and drive to Reykjavík during the winter months.
How much is Reykjavik?
Life in Iceland is more expensive than in Germany by comparison. Especially the everyday things cost considerably more in Reykjavík. For example, for a beer in a local pub you quickly pay 600 crowns, which is about 5.00€. The average salary of an Icelander is much higher than that of a German. Those who plan day tours and excursions and do not want to rely on themselves must also plan money for the tours. Those who make a city trip to Reykjavík or are on holiday in Iceland have to be prepared for expensive prices.
How many days in Reykjavik?
Many travellers who come to Reykjavík combine their visit with a road trip and day trips through Iceland. Within 14 days it is possible to visit the most beautiful places of the country. Those who have more time should in any case stay longer, as there is a lot to see and do in Iceland. From glacier hikes to wildlife tours, everything is included. For those who are only visiting Iceland for a short city trip, it is advisable to plan at least three days in Reykjavik to fully enjoy the beauty of Reykjavik with all its sights and perhaps even take a tour of the surrounding area.
Dining out in Reykjavik: Half sheep's heads and strange eating habits
When we travel, we not only experience a new culture, a multitude of sights, but also try completely new culinary delights - a special adventure in Reykjavík. The Icelandic cuisine may take some getting used to, as the Icelanders eat mainly fresh fish, lamb, sheep and reindeer. Here you can find local delicacies such as Svið, a cooked sheep's head, or Hákarl, fermented shark. The yoghurt-like Skyr, for example, is also popular and can now also be bought in German supermarkets.
Starting point for many day trips and multi-day tours
Reykjavík is a great starting point for many day trips. Numerous tours lead to the waterfalls, volcanoes and glaciers of the country. Have you ever taken part in a glacier hike? A popular excursion destination is also the Gullni hringurinn, also known as Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is an itinerary to the three main attractions of the country: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and the geothermal area of Geysir/Strokkur. Also popular are tours to the puffins, to the south coast or to the highlands. Northern lights and whale watching are other highlights in the Reykjavik area.
Shopping in Reykjavík
The main shopping street in Reykjavík is Laugavegur. Colourful houses and street art like graffiti and other murals adorn the street. Everywhere there are small souvenir shops and pretty shops for clothes, accessories and decorative items in Icelandic and Scandinavian style. The shops in Reykjavík are fancy, diverse and have a very unique design. In the immediate vicinity of Reykjavík, in Kringlan and Smáralind, there are also two shopping centres where you can find the well-known chain brands like Zara or H&M. So if you are in Reykjavik for a few days, you should definitely stop by here before you head back out into the impressive nature of Iceland.
Experience about Reykjavik / Iceland
"Great landscape, private atmosphere by small group, lots of time to explore the nature of the individual stations on your own. Teitur was a great guide and made the glacier hike a real highlight. M.R. to the tour From Reykjavik: Glacier, waterfalls & black beach
10 things to do and places of interest to see in Reykjavík
Iceland is known as the land of fairies and trolls and since the volcanic eruption of 2010 at the latest, the Icelandic capital Reykjavík is also on everyone's lips. On an area of almost 104 km², one natural phenomenon follows the next, and the country around Reykjavík invites you to take exciting tours in nature. Be sure to discover these places worth seeing:
1. Northern lights, northern lights and solar winds
Countries like Iceland, in the far north, are especially popular destinations to experience the glow of the northern lights at close quarters. When the winds of the sun hit the earth, they are guided to the poles by the magnetic field. When the solar winds collide with the air particles, they begin to glow and create a beautiful natural spectacle. The best time to see northern lights in Iceland is from the beginning of October to the end of March. Far away from the lights of the city and only when the sky is cloudless, the colourful northern lights illuminate Reykjavík.
2. Visit of the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon, also called Bláa Lónið in Icelandic, is a thermal spa near the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. The lagoon is one of the most popular sights of the city. The turquoise water is embedded in the typical Icelandic black lava rock and creates a unique atmosphere for every visitor. At a pleasant 40° Celsius the warm springs of the lagoon offer a perfect place to relax and unwind. The visit to the Blue Lagoon is rounded off by a pampering silica mud mask or a massage.
3. Whale and bird watching
Those who are in Iceland should in any case make a boat trip out to the sea and watch the whales around Iceland. Here you can experience humpback whales, dolphins and sometimes orcas in their natural habitat. Many tours start in Reykjavík harbour and last several hours. Or go on an exploratory tour and see the puffins of Reykjavík up close.
4. Strolling the flea market
Every weekend Reykjavik hosts the largest flea market in the country, the Kolaportið flea market. In a huge industrial hall near the port, from 11:00 to 17:00 o'clock there is the possibility to get great bargains in this otherwise so expensive country. In addition to typical finds such as antiques, records, used books and vintage fashion, Kolaportið offers hand-knitted Icelandic wool sweaters, caps and a variety of Icelandic delicacies.
5. Marvel at the Hallgrim Church
The Hallgrims Church or Hallgrímskirkja, as it is called in Icelandic, is an Evangelical Lutheran parish church and an architectural highlight of the city. Its construction began in 1943, but it was not officially inaugurated until over 40 years later. With its 74.5m high tower it is the second largest building in the country after the Smáratorg Tower in Kópavogur. In addition, Hallgrims Church offers one of the best views over Reykjavík. The church owes its name to the Icelandic hymn writer Hallgrímur Pétursson.
6. Visit a museum
Although Reykjavík is just under 280km², about the size of Dortmund, there are almost ten museums in Reykjavík alone. On days when the weather is not quite as good or there is a small gap in the daily schedule, then a visit to the museum is ideal. The most popular museums are the National Museum, the Icelandic Phallus Museum and the open-air museum Árbær. In the city's museums you can learn a lot of interesting facts about the country, its culture and the people who live there.
7. The Perlan
The Perlan is a water reservoir that has supplied the city with warm water since 1991. It is located on the hill Öskjuhlíð very close to the airport of Reykjavík. Under the dome there is now a café and restaurant and one of the water tanks has been converted into a museum, the Saga Museum, which was officially opened in 2014. In addition, the reservoir has a viewing platform with a 360° panoramic view over Reykjavík. This means that the Perlan not only provides the most beautiful view of the city, but is also one of Reykjavík's most popular attractions.
8. Off to the beach
It's hard to believe, but during the summer months the beaches in Reykjavík are quite popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. In winter the water temperature is 0° Celsius, but in the summer months it can rise to 16° Celsius. One of the most popular beaches in Reykjavík is the geothermal spa Nautholsvik. The small bay was opened in 2001 as a leisure pool. Here, geothermal water flows into the bay, mixes with the cold Atlantic water and ensures pleasant bathing temperatures.
9. The Harpa Concert Hall
The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is an architectural attraction and new landmark of Reykjavík. The Harpa was opened in 2011 and offers space for concerts, performances, exhibitions and conferences of all kinds. The façade of the Harpa is adorned by numerous glass panels that reflect the harbour water and bathe the building in a fabulous light. For all those who would like to visit the interior of the Konzerthaus, there is the possibility of taking part in a guided tour in addition to purchasing tickets to the exhibitions and concerts.
10. The cathedral (Icelandic Dómkirkjan)
The Dómkirkjan is a church building in Reykjavík and the seat of the bishop of Iceland. Despite its inconspicuous appearance, it is one of the most important sights of the city. The cathedral is located in the centre of the old town, near the Parliament building. The opening of the Parliament begins with an annual service in the Dómkirkjan. The cathedral is not only a place of faith, but also symbolizes Icelandic sovereignty and independence for the Evangelical Lutheran Church.