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The 2008-11 financial crisis cast a cloud over Iceland. Yet, “Reykvíkingar” made comic Jón Gnarr their mayor! Famous for his attention-grabbing antics, he managed to put Reykjavík City Hall on the map. Visit the grey, modernist building to view its giant 3D relief map of Iceland. Then grab a cuppa in cosy Café Öndin – it overlooks the duck-laden Lake Tjörnin.Accommodations near Reykjavík City Hall
This sleek music hall shimmers with the seasons. Its glass façade reflects the ever-changing light of Europe’s northernmost capital. Roam inside and out for fresh perspectives on how art and nature can fuse seamlessly. Music-wise anything goes, from Bachian strings to Björk-like bleeps – Harpa’s a hub for the national orchestra and the Iceland Airwaves festival.Accommodations near Harpa Concert Hall
Got your sea legs? Good, anchor’s aweigh! The Old Harbour is your gateway to the wondrous world of whales. Here, board a ship to witness a splash-fest of humpbacks and minkes in Faxaflói Bay. When you’re back ashore, warm up with a bite at Bæjarins Beztu – it’s a classic local hot dog stand. True land crabs can hang in the fishermen’s “hut cafés” that dot “Grandi” quayside.Accommodations near Reykjavík Old Harbour
Don’t leave your plans in the lap of the gods. At this museum, chart the history of Iceland and its people: from the Irish monks that first inhabited the island to Ingólfur Arnarson, the first Norse settler. A trail of artefacts like tools, weapons and decorative drinking horns tell their tales. Then, admire the thousand-year-old bronze figure of… is it Thor or Christ?Accommodations near National Museum of Iceland
This iconic church overlooks the city from Skólavörðuholtið Hill. Inspired by Svartifoss Waterfall’s basalt columns, its tower ascends like a series of slim stepping stones. Grab the lift to the top and snap pretty vistas of Reykjavík’s rainbow-coloured rooftops and Mount Esja’s snowy tip. Nippy up there? Pop into nearby Café Babalú to sip lamb soup in shabby-chic surroundings.Accommodations near Hallgrímskirkja Church
This stainless steel ode-to-the-sun points to a bright future. Mount Esja forms a dramatic backdrop to this monument. Translated as “Sun Voyager”, it’s sculptor Jón Árnason’s vision of a vessel that embodies man’s hopes and dreams. Pull your own “dreamboat” close for a romantic moment while the sun sets over Faxaflói Bay.Accommodations near Sólfar Monument
Laugavegur literally means “hot springs road”. In olden times, locals used it to reach Laugardalur Valley’s washing pools. Nowadays, the street itself needs a post-weekend scrub – it’s Reykjavík’s main party strip! Start at rustic Café Rosenberg to sample luscious lobster and live folk music. Then, kick off your pub crawl with a White Russian at Lebowski Bar, dude.Accommodations near Laugavegur Street
This gem of a building glistens like a disco ball up on Öskjuhlíð Hill. “Perlan” is a glass-domed curio built atop six water tanks. Its restaurant dishes up the finest local cuisine, from Arctic char to fluffy “skyr” desserts. Circle the viewing deck around the dome and capture ice-cool city panoramas. Or, order a cocktail at the bar and let the revolving floor do the rest.Accommodations near The Pearl
Hot springs eternal here! The geothermal waters of the city’s largest swim centre revive and refresh year round. Visitors of all ages can blow off a little steam. Kids splash about in paddling pools and slink down water slides. Serious swimmers lap up and down two Olympic-sized pools (indoor and outdoor). Then there’s bubbling hot tubs that unknot even the stiffest of necks!Accommodations near Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool
Imagine a great light beam linking the ground and sky. On Viðey, it’s easy if you try. This sparse island hosts the Imagine Peace Tower, artist Yoko Ono’s memorial to John Lennon. Witness its fifteen searchlights merge to enliven the night sky. Then, seek out sculptor Richard Serra’s “Milestones” – nine pairs of pillars that naturally frame the likes of Snæfellsjökull Volcano.Accommodations near Viðey Island
A tour of Reykjavik’s Golden Circle is a great way to experience everything that makes Iceland unique. There’s the stunning Strokkur geyser, the Gullfoss Waterfall, and even the point where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet in Thingvellir National Park. A bus will take in all the sights, but why not make it a real adventure by touring the Circle by snowmobile?Accommodations near Golden Circle
The Árbæjarsafn open air museum was built in the 1950s to keep the traditions of an older Reykjavik alive, and as the city grew up around it so did the museum’s fascinating exhibitions and displays. Showcasing long-lost skills such as blacksmithing and hay making, this peek into the past will show you how Icelanders used to live in a truly breathtaking natural setting.Accommodations near Árbæjarsafn
The largest island in Kollafjörður Bay, Viðey might not be inhabited but ferries regularly drop off visitors to enjoy the beauty and wildlife of the fjords. The friendly horses living there can give you a ride if you don’t feel like walking, and the island’s many trails will lead you from stunning ancient ruins to contemporary artwork by famous artists including Yoko Ono.Accommodations near Viðey
Just south of Reykjavik you’ll find Elliðavatn, a lake where the Icelandic landscape rolls into the distance to reveal forests, mountains and dramatic rock formations created by ancient lava flows. Fishing is one of the most popular pursuits at Elliðavatn for locals and visitors alike, and the nearby Heiðmörk nature reserve is full of enchanting trails and woodland.Accommodations near Elliðavatn
Running down from the Bláfjöll mountain range, the Elliðaár river is arguably the most picturesque in Iceland. Walking along its banks you’ll discover small scenic waterfalls and an abundance of bird life. At the right time of year you can even get a chance to see salmon jumping from the water! The Elliðaárdalur valley is also home to a folk museum, a ski lift and a swimming pool – plenty for nature lovers to enjoy.Accommodations near Elliðaár
Want to boost your chances of catching the Northern Lights? One way is to leave the artificial glow of the city behind you and escape to sea. Down by the Old Harbour, you’ll find cruise companies willing to whisk you across Faxaflói Bay in search of that fleeting glimmer of green light. Check their websites beforehand for updates on the weather and all aurora activity.Accommodations near Northern Lights Viewing Cruise
Far away from the big-city sparkle of Reykjavík, the night sky above the Blue Lagoon is primed for spotting the Northern Lights. You’ll need patience and a bit of luck, but there’s no better place to while away the time than Iceland’s most famous geothermal bath. Its rejuvenating waters and silica mud masks alone are worth a visit.Accommodations near Blue Lagoon
You don’t need clear skies to experience the wonder of the Northern Lights at this museum. Thanks to its HD film theatre and interactive exhibits, visitors can view amazing images while learning about the science behind this natural phenomenon. You’ll also hear the cultural history of how humans have interpreted this otherworldly apparition over time.Accommodations near Aurora Reykjavík Northern Lights Center
The science behind the Northern Lights may not be a mystery, but the aurora’s elusive nature makes it hard to predict. Cold weather, clear skies and a savvy guide go some way towards capturing that ephemeral dance of electrons in the night sky. Hop on this bus tour to chase the ethereal wisps of light around the lunar-like landscape of southwest Iceland.Accommodations near Northern Lights Mystery Tour
Thingvellir National Park is a microcosm of Iceland: a rugged paradise full of nature’s quirks. As you drive through, you’ll pass volcanic crags, steaming geysers, moss-tufted boulders and sputtering waterfalls. As far as road-trip terrains go, it takes some beating. Just make sure you have your camera with you.Accommodations near Thingvellir National Park
The Golden Circle Tour is a favourite road-trip choice for those who don’t have the luxury of a whole week in Iceland. It’s just 300 km long, but it certainly takes in a whole lot – from Haukadalur Valley’s crazy geysers to the magnificent Kerid Crater Lake.Accommodations near The Golden Circle tour
This geothermal area is a must on any Icelandic road trip. In fact, it’s home to Geysir, the original geyser that gives its name to the rest of its kind. Although it’s no longer active, there’s Strokkur just next to it, which shoots out jets of piping-hot water every ten minutes.Accommodations near Haukadalur valleys
Gullfoss Waterfall is a picture-postcard example of the power of raw nature. It’s here that the River Hvítá turns a corner and suddenly drops into the bowels of the earth in a roaring haze of froth. There’s a path that skirts along the cliff-face opposite, allowing you to peer over at the cascade as it falls and crashes into the water below.Accommodations near Gullfoss Waterfall
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“101” is Iceland’s hippest postcode. It’s peopled by artsy, woollen-capped clans and Macbook-toting media tribes. Cruise the Skólavörðustígur–Klapparstígur–Laugavegur triangle of streets for everything from saké bars to second-hand shops. Sip a latte in retro art-café Mokka, or sink craft brews in casual Kaldi Bar. Congrats, you’re officially cool!Accommodations in Reykjavík 101
The city’s first suburbs slowly popped up here in the 1940s. Today, the area fizzles with life. At Reykjavík Zoo, giddy kids line up to see cute Icelandic horses and reindeers up close. In Kringlan Mall, check out trendy weather-proof threads at 66°North. Then saunter down Laugalækur Street to peruse artisan food shops like the Sausage Company.Accommodations in Reykjavík East
Well-heeled Vesturbær is made for lazy afternoons. Once home to fishermen’s cottages, its quiet streets now house families and students. Join locals for a dip and some friendly gossip at Vesturbæjarlaug swimming pool. At Eiðsgrandi, take a seafront stroll and suck in fresh salty air. Then, sweeten things up with homemade ice cream at Valdís.Accommodations in Vesturbær
When Reykjavík rapidly grew after WWII, modern flats replaced this area’s old farm houses. Today, some buildings carry murals by Icelandic artists Erró and Sara Riel. At Árbær Museum, quaint grass-roof cottages and actors in folk dress recreate the old world. In Elliðaárdalur Park, you can pick wild berries to the sound of gushing waterfalls.Accommodations in Reykjavík South-East
Anna resides in Denmark these days. She misses Iceland’s wondrous nature and tries to visit often.
It’s never too cold to take a dip at Nauthólsvík! The beach consists of imported Moroccan sand and a man-made lagoon with an artificial hot spring. Hop in the beachfront hot tub at any time of year – it’s maintained at 38 degrees by utilising heat from nearby hot water reservoirs.Accommodations nearby
Herdís lives in Copenhagen, but Reykjavík is “home”. She loves her hometown’s kooky nightlife.
When I’m visiting the motherland, this is where I catch up with friends and family – usually during Happy Hour (17:00–19:00)! MicroBar is Reykjavík’s original microbrewery bar, opened long before it was hip to do so. The staff are really cool and always happy to share their expertise.Accommodations nearby
Grétar’s lived in 7 countries and 3 continents. He still thinks Reykjavík’s the hippest city around.
The Old Harbour quay known as “Grandi” is rather happenin'. Its former fishermen’s huts now house trendy cafés and artist’s studios. Coocoo’s Nest is great for a family brunch or a post-work aperitivo. Next door is Valdís ice cream parlour – believe me, it’s worth the 20-minute queue!Accommodations nearby
Reykjavík native Hófí is proud of her city’s lively mix of culture, nightlife and nature.
You can’t miss the imposing presence of Mount Esja when you stand by the Sólfar Monument and look across Faxaflói Bay. For a closer look, hop on bus 57 from Mjódd Station to Mógilsá, and take the 90-minute hike uphill. The views of the city and surroundings are worth every bead of sweat!Accommodations nearby
Out-of-towner Inga is from Hafnarfjörður. For her, nothing says “home” a like fresh mountain breeze.
If driving south of Reykjavík, veer off to Álftanes. Its swimming centre has hot tubs, steam baths and indoor and outdoor pools – all geothermally heated, of course! Then, amble around Bessastaðir – it’s home to Iceland’s president and a great viewing point for sunsets over Reykjavík.Accommodations nearby
East Icelander Ingunn took a while to warm to Reykjavík, but she can’t resist its energy and charm.
If you’re a foodie like me, head down town to KRÁS and indulge yourself with all sorts of yummy treats! Every Saturday from 13:00 until 18:00, Fógetagarðurinn Square buzzes with vibrant colours and live music, not to mention fabulous food from all corners of the world.Accommodations nearby
Kristín grew up on the Westman Islands but was drawn to Reykjavík’s bright lights and rockin' music.
Moving to Reykjavík was a big adjustment for me. When I first visited this rock bar, I felt right at home – I even met my husband here! Watch local bands tear it up on stage, or chill like a VIP on the second-floor lounge – there’s over 100 whiskies to try. “Skál!”Accommodations nearby
Ragnheiður knows Reykjavík like the back of her hand. Her passions include history and hot dogs!
This tiny square is dedicated to Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, an important advocate for women's liberation in Iceland. It’s very quiet, even though it’s close to Laugarvegur Street. It’s a nice spot to just sit and reflect – although come summer, some people practice their tango moves here!Accommodations nearby
Irishman Shane's been to Reykjavík three times. He digs its laid-back vibes and cool bars.
This is the friendliest music shop in town, with a cosy listening corner where you can grab a coffee. They’ve even got their own label: 12 Tónar has released titles by Icelandic artists Apparat Organ Quartet and Ólöf Arnalds, as well as cult U.S. retro-rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre.Accommodations nearby
After a decade abroad, Hallur’s back in Reykjavík. He enjoys the arts and craft beer scenes there.
This sculpture museum explores the work of one of Iceland’s most important artists. It’s set at Einar Jónsson’s former home and studio on Skólavörðuholt. The garden is inspirational – a fantastical meeting point between the natural world and Nordic mythology.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...What seafood experience in Reykjavík is still on your mind?
Fylgifiskar is a hidden gem off the beaten path in Reykjavik. Some of the best fish I ate the entire trip. Well worth the extra walk.See all 10 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where can you get the best hot-spring soak in Reykjavík?
United States of America
We went to both the Blue Lagoon and the Fontana. Both were great, but I liked the smaller scale and cold water plunges at the Fontana.See all 12 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where's the best place to go swimming in Reykjavík?
Laugardalslaug swimming pool with two 50 metre pool and a 25 metre pool, water slides, hot pots, jacuzzi and steam baths.See all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Reykjavík than just brand-name stores?
Laugavegur is the main shopping street with many fun boutiques and shops.See all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
United States of America
Ask the front desk staff where they like to eatSee all 11 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What effect did the scenery in Reykjavík have on you?
it is breathtaking - absolutely wonderfulSee all 15 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Reykjavík while avoiding the crowds?
Crowds aren't really an issue.See all 9 answers
Keflavík International Airport is 50 km from Reykjavík. The Flybus service connects to BSÍ Bus Terminal in approx. 45 minutes, and single fares start at ISK 1950. For your return journey, a hotel pick-up option is available for ISK 2500. A taxi to or from Reykjavík city centre costs approx. ISK 12000 on weekdays and ISK 15000 or more during nights and weekends.
Reykjavík Airport is the main hub for domestic flights in Iceland. Destinations include the ruggedly beautiful Westfjords as well as the northern city of Akureyri. The airport is on the outskirts of the city centre and is easily reached via pubic bus (numbers 15 and 19) or taxi.
The Strætó bus network spans the city, from Seltjarnarnes and Vesturbær in the west to Grafarvogur and Mosfellsbær in the north-east. Routes operate daily, from 06:30–00:00. A single fare costs ISK 400 and is valid for one hour. One-day passes are ISK 1000 and 3-day passes cost ISK 2500. Tickets can be purchased at the main terminals: Hlemmur, Mjódd, Lækjartorg and Ártún. Alternatively, you can download the Strætó app or buy tickets at public swimming pools.
When the buses stop running, taxis are the best way to get home from a night of partying. Taxis are regulated in Iceland – all companies use official mileage meters and standard rates. During the busiest hours, taxis line up at designated areas marked by blue-and-white signs. At other times, you can just hail them on the street if the “Taxi” sign is lit. Alternatively, you can phone for a cab or download an app. Some companies even offer tours to sites like the Blue Lagoon.
Cycling has become quite fashionable in Iceland. Everyone seems to have purchased a bike, and the city council has responded with improved facilities for cyclists. Dedicated paths now run across the city and beyond, and traffic lights have been adjusted with cyclists in mind. Still, Icelandic motorists are only adjusting to this new phenomenon, so it’s important to stay alert. Daily rates for bike rentals start at ISK 4200, with guided tours starting from ISK 7400.
Iceland and Reykjavík are made for car travel. Roads are well kept and signage is clear, but like anywhere, patience is needed during rush hours. There are many parking options – the closer you park to the city centre, the more expensive it is. Car rental prices are competitive, if not cheap. Make sure you choose a car that suits your needs – if you're planning a trip to the Highlands, you’ll need a 4x4. In fact, off-roading in any other car is a criminal offence.
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