What to see and do in Reykjavik: the best plans to enjoy Iceland’s capital

Que ver y hacer en Reikiavik, Islandia

Looking for what to see in Reykjavik? No wonder because the Island of Ice and Fire is more fashionable than ever. Maybe it’s because of the popularity of the Game of Thrones saga and its scenes on the other side of the wall or the eagerness of travelers to discover the place where Jules Verne marked as the entrance to the center of the Earth. Whatever it is, it’s clear that travel to Iceland has aroused great interest among tourists in recent years… and no wonder because it’s a truly amazing destination.

Iceland’s science fiction landscapes are full of geysers, lava fields, volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls. Also the little mass that is touristically (if we compare it with other places of Europe) and the sensation of freedom that this circumstance causes in the traveller. The capital of this peculiar destination does not usually stand out too much, although it is by far the largest and most populated in the country and has quite interesting places, as well as a quite busy cultural and night life. To help you with your next trip to Iceland, we will recommend what to see and do in Reykjavik.

Table of Contents

What to see in Reykjavik in three days

El lago Tjörn de Reikiavik

Besides being the main entry point to Iceland, Reykjavík is a lively city with a first class cultural offer. We strongly advise you to travel to Iceland in the summer of 2020 to see the midnight sun or in autumn and winter to try to observe the northern lights.

Although it is the capital of the country, Reykjavík is a fairly small city. However, it has the most interesting cultural offerings in Iceland and a spectacular setting, especially in the 101st district. Taking into account that you will be in Reykjavik for a couple of days (maximum three days of travel), we recommend you the essential places to visit in Reykjavik in 2 or 3 days:

Una catedral de Reikiavik que parece hecha con piezas de LegoYou can start your tour by taking a pleasant walk around the Lake Tjörn area of Reykjavík, one of the most beautiful in the city with its typical colourful houses, green areas and beautiful lake where it is easy to see birds. In the area of the lake is the peculiar Listasafn Íslands, where you can enjoy contemporary Icelandic art. There are some pieces so quirky that they are worthy of the imitation of Björk by Joaquín Reyes for La Hora Chanante. Austurvöllur is right in the heart of the city and is the seat of the Icelandic Parliament and one of the must-see places in Reykjavík is the unique Hallgrímskirkja, a cathedral that looks like a spaceship or a figure made of Lego or Minecraft. It also has the best panoramic views of Iceland’s capital city, and since it’s close by you can spend a lot of money (if you want to or can) on interesting Icelandic fashion and get lost in the streets of the 101st district which also have many interesting bars and pubs.If you travel with children, as we do, you can spend an afternoon at Reykjavík’s unique school farm and see the city from the Perlan lookout point, where the Sagas Museum is also located. There are many more options from other parts of Iceland such as Húsavík, Akureyri or the west of the island, but if you are short of time this may be an option.

Guide to prepare your visit to Reykjavik

Bandera de Islandia

How to get to Reykjavik?

Avión de Iceland Express

We are very lucky to live in Alicante, one of the first Spanish cities to have a direct flight to the capital of Iceland almost all year round. Currently Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Tenerife, Gran Canaria or Almeria also have connections, but are not available for 12 months. In any case, you will land at Keflavík International Airport (KEF). Here we explain you how to get from Keflavík Airport to Reykjavik. The city has another airfield, but it is for domestic flights and flights from the Faroe Islands.

Find cheap flights to Iceland

How many days do you recommend I stay in Reykjavik?

El ayuntamiento de Reikiavik visto desde el lago Tjörn

Iceland is a beautiful country like few others, especially for its natural resources. We believe that it is better to spend a few days in a city of this size and focus more on the lush and wild nature. We had plenty of free time in Reykjavik and we were travelling with an eight-month-old baby, so we were at a snail’s pace.

Honestly, a couple of full days, maximum three, can be enough to visit the main attractions of Iceland’s capital. You can always leave half a day for last-minute shopping after you’ve been amazed by its incomparable scenery.

Is life in Reykjavik expensive?

Parquímetro de Reikiavik

Iceland is an expensive country by Spanish standards. Being an island many things must be imported from other countries and that increases its price. Reykjavik seemed to us to be a city a little more expensive than the standard of living we are used to, perhaps a little higher than other European capitals and in the last few years the increase in tourism has made prices rise even more.

Life in Reykjavik was a little cheaper a few years ago because of the depreciation of the Icelandic crown, but now it’s a different story. However, he thinks that visiting the natural sites is completely free, including camping. Renting a car can be much more expensive than in other destinations.

Must-see places to visit in Iceland

What to eat in Reykjavik?

La mejor sopa de langosta del mundo

As the good capital of the kingdom, you have everything and for all pockets. A few years ago we wrote a specific article explaining what to eat in Reykjavik. Fish, seafood and lamb are the basis of the Icelandic diet. It is also a good place to enjoy sushi.

Where to stay in Reykjavik?

Cuna de Teo en Reikiavik

In the capital of Iceland you can find accommodation of all prices, although the offer is rather scarce especially in summer. You can find everything from hostels to campsites, guest houses, private homes and of course hotels. Don’t rest on your laurels and try to book your accommodation or caravan well in advance.

In Reykjavik we slept at the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura, although it used to be called Hotel Loftleidir. To get to the center you have to walk about 20 minutes. It is very close to the bus station. In general a good accommodation but maybe we would have preferred something more central. You can find here the best hotels for your stay in Reykjavik.

What places did you stay to see in Reykjavik?

Cómo hacerse el nudo de la corbata

Although we had a lot of free time there are always things left in the inkwell, such as visiting the Sculpture Museum of Ásmundur Sveinsson, taking a dip in the geothermal beach of Nauthólsvík, or getting to know the lively nightlife of Reykjavík, which is said to be one of the liveliest in Europe. When travelling with small children, that facet is impossible. Also the Harpa Concert Hall that was still under construction or the sculpture of The Solar Traveller that we only saw in passing by car.

How to get around in Reykjavik?

Teo y Pau disfrutando del parque Austurvöllur

The size of Reykjavík allows you to walk around the city at your leisure. Every once in a while we would take a taxi, especially when the little one was fried, but it is not necessary if you move around the city centre.

Save 5% on your Icelandic travel insurance for being a Pachinko reader

Vaca islandesa del zoo de Reikiavik

And remember that when you travel abroad it is always good to be protected by what might happen. We recommend that you take a trip to Iceland with a good policy that covers you at your destination in case of accidents, hospitalization due to illness or setbacks that may result in an extra cost in your travel budget (keep in mind that hospitalization or medical care in many countries is extremely expensive). In our case to travel to Iceland or other destinations we use the travel insurance of IATI Insurance because it has a coverage above average and always offer a personalized and fast. You can hire here the travel insurance of IATI Seguros and for being a reader of the Pachinko apply directly a 5% discount.

Top 10 lugares que visitar en Islandia imprescindibles

What did you think of our recommendations on what to see and do in Reykjavik? Did you like our must-see places and plans to enjoy the capital of Iceland? Tell us in the comments.