For a destination that’s equal parts enchanting and otherworldly, look no further than Reykjavik, Iceland. The charming capital city offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation amidst stunning landscapes and the ethereal Northern Lights. Nature lovers, art enthusiasts and foodies can all find something to enjoy in this destination.
- Best time to travel: June to August (peak season), October to April (off-season), May to June and September to October (shoulder season)
- Time zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
- Currency: ISK (Icelandic Króna or kr)
- Noteworthy: Winter Lights Festival (February), Reykjavik Jazz Festival (August), Culture Night or Menningarnótt (August), Reykjavik International Film Festival or RIFF (September), Iceland Airwaves (November)
- Best for: Culture & History, Art & Music Festivals, Adventure Enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, Northern Lights Chasers
Play: Things To Do In The Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik Food Walk – Local Foodie Adventure in Iceland
The Reykjavik Food Walk in Iceland is a must for foodie travelers seeking a true taste of Iceland. This 3-hour guided walking tour immerses guests in Reykjavik’s rich culinary local scene. Guests will savor eight or more delectable Icelandic dishes across four to six local spots from food trucks to fine-dining spots. The food walk includes passing iconic landmarks, like Parliament House and the Hallgrimskirkja. Along with the tastings, each walk has a knowledgeable guide that shares local history as guests indulge in Icelandic hot dogs, cheeses, homemade ice cream and more.
Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik with PRO photos
As one of Iceland’s highest-rated tours, the Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik with PRO photos is the ultimate excursion. Visitors will witness the iconic Northern Lights while enjoying complimentary homemade hot chocolate, warm wool blankets and mouthwatering cinnamon buns. Capture memories with free high-quality photos of guests and the lights. With a small family-run company, unmatched service by expert local guides, this tour guarantees the best shot to marvel at the Northern Lights.
The Original Classic Whale Watching from Reykjavik
The ultimate Icelandic itinerary has to include The Original Classic Whale Watching from Reykjavik. Visitors encounter majestic humpback, orca, blue and minke whales, as they venture into the heart of their natural habitat aboard a cruise. Guided by marine experts, this tour ensures there is minimal disturbance to these remarkable creatures as guests see the Faxafloi Bay’s currents renowned for prime whale watching. There’s no fear of embracing the elements with provided overalls, raincoats and blankets. There’s free WiFi and admission to the Wildlife Exhibition onboard.
Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Including Admission & Kerid Volcanic Crater
Visiting Iceland means booking a comprehensive day trip to the Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Including Admission & Kerid Volcanic Crater. In a small group, explore Thingvellir, Geysir Hot Spring, Gullfoss waterfall and the stunning Kerid crater. The country’s natural wonders can be seen from the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle with free WiFi. The day concludes by unwinding in the rejuvenating geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. While food and drinks aren’t covered, scheduled stops provide opportunities for refreshments and a complimentary drink at the Blue Lagoon.
Icelandic Horseback Riding Tour from Reykjavik
The Icelandic Horseback Riding Tour from Reykjavik is an exhilarating excursion that connects nature, culture and community. Guests will see the captivating landscapes of Iceland on this guided tour. Ideal for both beginners and experienced riders, this adventure offers a unique way to explore the country’s remote wonders. This tour is thoughtfully tailored to personal riding proficiency. For a comfortable experience, there is coffee, tea or hot chocolate provided. All equipment, including helmets, rubber boots, rain gear, and warm overalls, is complimentary.
Gourmet: Best Restaurants In Reykjavik, Iceland
Matur og Drykkur (Food or Drink)
Matur og Drykkur, Icelandic for food or drink, creates classical Icelandic cuisine with a modern flair. This family restaurant is committed to reinventing recipes sourced from historic Icelandic cookbooks with their own twist. Using only the finest local ingredients, every element of the menu is freshly homemade. It is housed within a historic Salt Fish factory by the harbor, which creates a cultured ambiance. Enjoy the local Icelandic classic by booking a table and indulging in their six-course Chef’s dining experience.
Baka Baka is a two-level bakery and restaurant that shares the best of both worlds with guests. By day, visitors can indulge in delectable pastries and freshly baked bread while sipping aromatic coffee from their bakery. As the sun sets, this spot transforms into a restaurant with delicious fire-baked pizzas, pasta and a selection of exceptional natural wines. From sunrise to sunset, BakaBaka is a culinary journey that’s worth a breakfast or lunch date.
The harmony of the Nordic-Italian fusion concept at Mat Bar in Reykjavik is one-of-a-kind. Nestled in the heart of the city, this chef-driven gem offers seasonal tapas that delight the taste buds. Guests can enjoy a deliciously baked cheese flatbread drizzled with wasabi honey and walnuts, then a mozzarella di bufala tapas with pickled tomatoes and basil, and finish with an indulgent affogato of espresso and vanilla ice cream. The art of blending flavors creates a dining experience that’s unique to Icelandic culture.
With a mission to share French culinary delights, pastry chef and owner Aurora created the delectable fusion of Icelandic charm and French pastry mastery that is Sweet Aurora in Reykjavik. The menu includes classics like lemon meringue tart, Tonka bean cream-filled chocolate eclairs, and apricot macarons with rosemary-white chocolate ganache. There are seasonal twists, like “volcano macarons,” with smoked chocolate ganache. The all-female team also crafts custom seasonal delights to order, like Fraisier cake and strawberry tart.
The heart of Reykjavik’s culinary history can be found nestled in the Old Harbour at Kaffivagninn. Opened in 1935, it’s the oldest restaurant in Iceland. This charming breakfast and lunch spot lets travelers mingle with locals over scrumptious meals. Weekdays offer a 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., breakfast featuring delightful chia porridge. On weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., brunch platters are loaded with savory and sweet variety, or opt for pancake and French toast platters. The menu includes Icelandic specialties, like smoked trout omelets, fish stew gratin and Danish-style butter breads with a selection of traditional spreads.
Stay: Best Places to Stay in Reykjavik, Iceland
Spacious Lovely Icelandic Flat By The Sea
There is a Spacious Lovely Icelandic Flat By The Sea in the highly sought-after Vesturbær neighborhood. This Airbnb spot is a 15 to 20-minute stroll downtown complemented by a walking path across a scenic shoreline. Guests can enjoy easy access to the local swimming pool, coffee houses, restaurants, bakeries and gourmet food stores. The newly renovated apartment has a modern kitchen, an open layout with ceiling-high openings, and abundant natural light. The generous living space and two large bedrooms accommodate single and medium groups of up to 5 people. Guests can easily stay connected with free WiFi and unwind with both Apple TV and Netflix.
Cheerful Newly Renovated Downtown Apartment
The Cheerful Newly Renovated Downtown Apartment in the heart of Reykjavik is a 3-bedroom Airbnb gem. Mere steps from the iconic Hallgrímskirkja Church, it is a 4-minute walk to top-tier swimming pools and neighbors Iceland’s premier organic bakeries. All of the city’s finest dining, entertainment and attractions are within walking distance. Preferably, quieter guests looking for a more peaceful stay would enjoy this stay with a serene atmosphere that is family-friendly. Be mindful of the noise restrictions after 11 p.m., and it is a smoke-free environment, so be mindful of that when booking a stay.
The Kex Hostel is housed in a former biscuit factory and uses salvaged materials and found treasures. The vintage-industrial aesthetics with a contemporary twist adds to the authenticity of the space. They have dorms and rooms for up to 215 guests plus a bar, restaurant, lounge and heated patio for guest use. Local cafes, museums, shops, and music venues are a short walk away from the city center. It is a truly unique stay with an eclectic library and reading lounge, two guest kitchens, a heated outdoor patio and access to 24/7 reception. They have on-site eats, like the brand new pop-up bar & restaurant, FLATUS, and their breakfast buffet called BAXTUR.
Get Away: Getting To and Around Reykjavik, Iceland
The main gateway to reach Reykjavik, Iceland is Keflavik International Airport. It is located about 31 miles southwest of the city center. Various airlines offer direct flights from major cities worldwide. Before landing, travelers can see truly stunning aerial views of Iceland’s rugged landscapes. There are efficient transportation options from the airport to Reykjavik for easier travel and more sightseeing from the airport.
Navigating Reykjavik, Iceland with a car is simple enough with multiple rental companies available. The well-maintained roads and clear signage make Reykjavik convenient and efficient to get around. The city also is fairly compact, so there’s easy access to cultural sites, cozy cafes and bustling local markets. Having a personal car grants flexibility for unforgettable day trips to natural wonders. Some options to explore are the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle, and the most mesmerizing Icelandic waterfalls. There’s an unparalleled freedom to venturing out into the city.
By Public Transit
The public transit system in Reykjavik has well-connected bus routes that link to key landmarks, neighborhoods and attractions. Acquiring a Reykjavik City Card grants unlimited access to buses for a more cost-effective and hassle-free trip. The compact size of the city makes it easy to find the more popular points of interest. Visitors can easily immerse in the local culture from museums and galleries to local markets.
Explore Reykjavik, Iceland on Foot
One way to absorb the city’s unique ambiance is by exploring Reykjavik on foot. With a small-town feel and a big-city personality, the region offers architectural gems, cozy cafes, and boutique shops within walking distance of most accommodations. Strolling through the charming street provides an intimate glimpse into local life. The pedestrian friendly streets create a deeper connection to the culture, history and modernity that makes Reykjavik an ideal Northern European destination.