9 Best Things to do in Reykjavik in 2024

by Niharika Singh

The vibrant capital of Iceland, known for its rich cultural tapestry and natural wonders, Reykjavik is a haven for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. Known to provide unforgettable experiences to its visitors, the city is dotted with picturesque views, towering churches, and captivating islands. Whether you are someone seeking a relaxing trip or just want to taste the Icelandic heritage, this insider guide of the 10 best things to do in Reykjavik will not only tell you about the activities and experiences to indulge in but will ensure to offer you a memorable experience on your next getaway.

9 Best Things to do in Reykjavik

Discover the top things to do in Reykjavik. From exploring the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church to relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and natural beauty of Iceland’s capital city. Read further to know more!

1. Ascend the Iconic Hallgrímskirkja Church

Image by Andrea De Santis via Unsplash

Iceland’s tallest church, towering over the skyline at 73 meters, this Evangelical-Lutheran is an example of modern design. An architectural masterpiece known for its intricate details. Venture inside the church and appreciate the intricate details and later ascend to the top of the tower for a 360-degree panoramic view of Reykjavik and its surroundings. As you take the elevator to the top of the tower you can witness the colourful vistas of the surrounding oceans and mountains. It is an experience not to be missed during your visit to Reykjavik, offering a unique perspective on this charming Icelandic capital. After visiting the church, you can later enjoy a delightful treat at Café Loki, which is located just across the street, and enjoy delectable food along with the stunning views of Hallgrímskirkja.

2. Embark on a Ferry Adventure to Viðey Island

Just a short ferry ride from Reykjavik, Viðey Island beckons with its tranquil beauty and is among the best things to do in Reykjavik. Spend a day or a half-day exploring this serene oasis, where you can admire the abundant birdlife, marvel at historical ruins, and soak in the stunning vistas. On a sunny day, take a stroll or cycle along the extensive network of trails that wind through the island’s landscapes. Don’t miss the chance to witness the Imagine Peace Tower, a powerful installation by artist Yoko Ono dedicated to her late husband, John Lennon. This tower projects a mesmerizing beam of light into the sky, with the words “imagine peace” carved in 24 different languages, creating a profound message of unity and hope.


3. Immerse Yourself in the Wonders of Iceland at Perlan

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Step into the captivating world of Perlan, or “The Pearl,” and embark on an unforgettable journey through Iceland’s natural marvels. This iconic landmark houses the Wonders of Iceland exhibitions, where you can experience the raw power of nature, from volcanic eruptions to awe-inspiring earthquakes. Dive into an underwater adventure and come face-to-face with majestic whales, or venture into a real 100-meter-long ice cave, uncovering the secrets of this frozen realm. The state-of-the-art planetarium at Perlan offers an immersive 8K projection and surround sound system, transporting you to the celestial realms. Witness the breathtaking beauty of the starry skies and even experience the mesmerizing northern lights without leaving the comfort of the theatre. After exploring the exhibitions, ascend to the viewing deck for panoramic vistas of Reykjavik and its surroundings. On a clear summer evening, you might even catch a glimpse of the city’s stunning sunsets.

4. Discover the Beauty of Grótta Lighthouse

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Escape the city’s hustle and bustle by visiting the picturesque Grótta Lighthouse, located on the Seltjarnarnes peninsula. Throughout the year, locals and visitors flock to this stunning area, renowned for its breathtaking coastal scenery and abundant birdlife. During the warm summer months, you can dip your toes in the hidden “hot pot” and bask in the golden glow of the sunset. For bird enthusiasts, Grótta is a true haven, as it is a designated nature reserve, home to a diverse array of avian species. In the winter, or during the festive Christmas season, this area transforms into a prime northern lights viewing spot, offering the perfect backdrop for witnessing the ethereal dance of the aurora borealis.

5. Stroll Along the Captivating Coastline

Image by Yves Cedric Schulze via Unsplash

Your trip to Reykjavik is not complete without a leisurely stroll along the city’s picturesque waterfront. Follow the Sculpture and Shore Walk from the city center to the old harbor, admiring the stunning views of Mt. Esja and pausing to appreciate the various sculptures that dot the path. Be sure to stop at the iconic Sólfarið, or Sun Voyager, a captivating steel sculpture that represents a dreamboat and an ode to the sun. Nearby, marvel at the Harpa Concert Hall, Iceland’s premier concert venue, with its striking architecture adorned with exterior lights that mimic the ethereal glow of the northern lights. As the sun dips below the horizon, witness the breathtaking sight of the sunset reflecting on Faxaflói, the open bay of Reykjavik, creating a mesmerizing display of colors and light.

6. Embrace the Vibrant Festival Scene

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Reykjavik is the cultural heart of Iceland, hosting a vibrant array of festivals and events throughout the year. Immerse yourself in the city’s traditions and rich heritage by attending one of the numerous celebrations that take place during your visit. Music enthusiasts will delight in the city’s renowned festivals, including Iceland Airwaves (November), Sónar Reykjavík (February), and the Secret Solstice (June). These events showcase the best of Icelandic and international music talents, creating an electrifying atmosphere that resonates throughout the city. For those with a passion for the arts, theater, and film, the Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) in autumn, the Reykjavík Fringe Festival in July, and the biennial Reykjavík Arts Festival in June offer a diverse range of cultural experiences.

7. Shop Like a Local at Kolaportið Flea Market

No trip to any city is complete without indulging in a little shopping spree. If you are someone seeking authentic Icelandic souvenirs and a peek into the local life, shopping at Iceland’s only flea market – Kolaportið is among the best things to do in Reykjavik. This vibrant marketplace is a treasure trove of unique finds, offering everything from traditional liquorice and freshly baked “kleinur” (doughnuts) to second-hand records and hand-knitted wool jumpers. You can also mingle with the locals and sample many Icelandic delicacies providing you with a unique experience. Perfect place to look for mementos and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the city. Located in the old harbour area this market is only open on weekends, so you should plan your visit accordingly.

8. Embrace the Hiking Adventure at Mount Esja

For all adventure enthusiasts, hiking Mount Esja is one of the most fun things to do in Reykjavik. Dominating the city’s skyline this iconic mountain offers a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience for all its visitors. At 914 meters, the hike to the summit is no easy feat, but the breathtaking views that await at the top make every step worthwhile. From this vantage point, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of Reykjavik, its surrounding areas, and the vast expanse of the ocean, creating a truly unforgettable experience. Remember to dress comfortably and carry plenty of water, and snacks for a seamless hiking experience.

9. Indulge in Reykjavik’s Culinary Delights

Image by Andy Wang Via Unsplash

Indulge in Reykjavik’s culinary delights and explore the vibrant food scene of Iceland’s capital. From traditional Icelandic dishes to international cuisine, Reykjavik offers a diverse range of dining options to suit every palate. Sample fresh seafood at one of the city’s many seafood restaurants, try traditional Icelandic specialties like lamb stew and Icelandic hot dogs, or treat yourself to a gourmet meal at one of Reykjavik’s top-rated fine dining establishments. With its innovative chefs, fresh local ingredients, and unique culinary traditions, Reykjavik is a paradise for food lovers, offering a delicious taste of Icelandic culture.


From Reykjavik’s iconic landmarks to the natural wonders of the Golden Circle, Iceland offers an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re exploring the Hallgrimskirkja Church, relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, or visiting the spectacular sights of the Golden Circle, your Icelandic experience promises memories to last a lifetime. Explore different tours of Reykjavik and embark on an adventure that you’ll never forget.

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