15 Coolest Things to Do in Reykjavik

Updated 22.12.2016

Even though Reykjavik is probably smaller than your capital city (with only 120.000 people living there) it has many things to offer. To make it easier for you, we made a list of the top 15 coolest things you could do on your visit to Reykjavik. Got your ticket? Cool, keep on reading.

1. Sandholt Artisan Bakery

Probably the best place to buy fresh pastry and sourdough bread in town. You can also order breakfast and a variety of main dishes for lunch and dinner. Keep in mind that this place is extremely popular, so you might need to wait a bit to get your food served – but it’s worth a wait.

Usually new customers get scared when they see the line of people at the cashier. Take a risk and go inside to take a look at the dining area, it is very likely that a waiter will gladly help you to find a seat for you.

Address: Laugavegur 36

2. Harpa Concert Hall

Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik It hosts various cultural events like concerts, conferences and a farmer’s market. There are two English spoken theater shows How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes and Icelandic Sagas: Greatest Hits.

There are also some stores and two restaurants; on the first floor you will find Smurstöðin, and Kolabrautin on the 4th floor. For the events listing, visit: www.harpa.is.

Address: Austurbakki 2

 3. Sundhöll Reykjavik

Built in 1937, Sundhöll is the oldest swimming pool in Reykjavik. It has an old- school 25m inside pool and hot tubs outside on the rooftop.

There is also a steam bath and during the summertime, a sun tanning area for those who dare. If you want to meet local people of all ages or relax after a long day of sight seeing, this is a great place to do so!

Address: Barónsstígur 45a

4. Grótta Lighthouse in Seltjarnarness

Árbæjarsafn outdoor museum in Reykjavik

If it’s not flooded, you will be able to access the island where the lighthouse is situated. Be cautious about flooding, or you might end up spending the night over there. On the way to the lighthouse there is a black sand beach which is a perfect surrounding for a romantic picnic.

Address: Grótta (Norðurströnd)

5. Kolaportið Flea Market

The only flea market in Reykjavik. Many stalls are rented out by regular sellers, but others try to empty their garage once every ten years.

Besides the antiques, you will find inexpensive clothing and collector items. There is a food section where you can purchase a variety of local products and a cafeteria with simple dishes, drinks and sweets.

Opening hours: Saturday-Sunday 11-17.

Address: Tryggvagötu 19

6. Perlan

Perlan in Reykjavik

This landmark is hard to miss with its futuristic architecture, and it attracts many tourists. Originally it was built to store hot water, but later on the structure of the building got updated to what it looks like today.

Inside on the 4th floor you will find a cafeteria, and a fancy revolving restaurant on the 5th floor.

In addition, there is a souvenir shop and a viewing deck (free access). The landscape surrounding Perlan is also worth spending for an easy walk across the forest. Don’t get scared of free range rabbits, they do live there!

Address: Perlan

7. Laugardalur Park

Do you want to know what plants can grow in Iceland? It is nice to go there for a stroll and have a drink at Café Flóra in the middle of the botanic garden.

In the surroundings of the park you will find Laugardalslaug swimming pool, zoo with local animals (sorry, no polar bear), ice skating arena and national football stadium.

Location: Laugardalur

8. Árbæjarsafn – open air folk museum

arbaejarsafn-reykjavik-things-to-do One of the best ways to see how Iceland looked like hundred years ago, without stepping out of Reykjavik.

You will be able to see Icelandic turf houses, old timber houses, farmland and a church there that are still used for special occasions. During the summertime it is open everyday from 10-17.

For more details: Árbæjasafn website

Address : Kistuhyl (Árbæjarsafn)

9. Kaffi Mokka

It’s been open since 1958 and is probably the longest running coffee house in Reykjavik! It’s a music free place where you enjoy the silence to read a book, chat with your friends or simply enjoy the art pieces on the wall that are changed at least once a month.

For opening hours and exhibition details check their website:www.mokka.is

Address: Skólavörðustígur 3A

10. City Walk with Marteinn Briem

city-walk-reykjavik-things-to-do

Marteinn has been successfully organising free city tours since May 2014. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and is fluent speaker of English and Icelandic. He can also communicate in Spanish and Chinese. The tour is around two hours where you learn about the history and culture of Reykjavik city.

Recently three other awesome people joined his team to keep up with rising demand and popularity of the tour.

Keep in mind that you’re required to sign-up for the tour to be able to attend it. For the latest schedule and booking, visit www.citywalk.is.

Address: Austurvöll (in front of the parliament building)

11. Viðey island

Little island with no official habitants, but you will find there a coffee house, Peace Tower of Yoko Ono/ John Lennon, old school and ruins of the houses that were abandoned ages ago.

There is obviously not much to do there besides wandering around, but still a nice place to recharge your batteries from intense sight seeing tours.

While wintertime visits to the island is more targeted to foreigners wanting to see Peace Tower or the Northern Lights, during the summertime it is a popular destination for local families with young children.

Ferry schedule: www.videy.com

12. Bíó Paradís – Art House Cinema

Bio Paradis art house cinema

Art house cinema where you can see the latest movies from all around the world. From time to time, they also screen classic foreign and local films.

 Check www.bioparadis.is for the latest screening.

Address: Hverfisgata 54

13. Old Harbor of Reykjavik

Some years ago it was a shady part of Reykjavik, but lately  been emerging as an extension of vibrant city life.

You will find there some good fish restaurants like Sea Baron (Sægreifinn) and Höfnin. Also there are three museums (Maritime, Aurora Borealis and Whale museum), tasty Valdís ice cream and Omnom chocolate factory.

Address: Old harbor area

14. Phallological Museum

Phallological museum in Reykjavik

It sounds weird, but kind of an educative and fun way to spend time differently. You will see phallus…(in human language it is called penis) from smallest animals to those biggest ones. A human penis is exhibited as well!

More details: www.phallus.is

Address: Laugavegur 116

15. Hallgrímskirkja

Even if you are not into churches, this one will be the one that you will see at some point of your stay in Reykjavik – even without trying.

Entrance to the church is free, but you can pay ca. 1000 kr. to get access to the tower to see Reykjavik from the bird‘s eye view.

Address: Skólavörðustigur (the highest point of the street)

 Did you like the list or need some more information? Feel free to leave us a comment and we would gladly answer you 🙂

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