Top 20 Must-See Attractions in Reykjavik : 2023
Reykjavik is compact so it’s easy to walk around and you won’t get cold feet because there is under-road heating to keep the roads clear of snow. A brisk, wind whips across the bay giving this city, an air of freshness and energy, and the weather seems to change every 15 minutes.
1. Hallgrimskirkja Church
This Reykjavik church is the tallest church building in Iceland and was built between 1945 and 1986. The Reykjavik landmark is 74.5 m high, and it is the most famous symbol of Reykjavik due to its visible location from all over the city. The church is open almost every day. This unique church was seen as a mix of styles during its construction and is without it doubt one of the most important Reykjavik sights.
Is there an entrance fee to Hallgrimskirkja church?
There is no charge to visit the church itself, but if you wish to enter the church tower you must pay a moderate fee.
How high is the tower of Hallgrimskirkja church?
It is over 74 meters(240ft) high and offers a singular view of Reykjavik. We fully recommend going up there, since the view is breathtaking and it is also fun and interesting to see Reykjavik from that high up.
How much does it cost to go to Hallgrimskirkja Tower?
Children (7-16 years):100kr(US$.70)
Children under seven years old: free
The tower admission ticket can be purchased in the church shop.
How to get there?
Hallgrimskrikja is in the city center of Reykjavik, so if you are in this part of Reykjavik this dominant landmark is impossible to miss.
Hallgrimskrikja church is open daily from 9 AM to 9 PM (May to September)
9 AM to 5 PM (October to April)
The church tower closes half an hour before the general closing time. The tower is not open on Sundays.
2. Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre
The Harpa Concert Hall is on the shore of Reykjavik harbor, Harpa has become the cultural center of the nation since its inauguration on May 4, 2011. Its event calendar is packed with wonderful concerts, music, festivals, performances, talks, shows, and many more. When evening approaches, the sun goes down, and Harpa’s photogenic exterior is always the center of attention. The memorable glass structure is modeled after more than 1000quasi-Bricks, and each Brick is taller than the average adult height. The architect also enabled the glass to interact with light by adding many special colorful pieces of glass, allowing it to shine brilliantly in the sun.
Situated on the boundary between land and sea, the center stands out like a large, radiant sculpture, reflecting both Sky and harbor space as well as the vibrant life of the city.
Harpa is in the north of Reykjavik near the city’s old harbor. Within a 10-minute walk, you are there from the center and the highlight will immediately stand out because of the shiny colored glasses. The surrounding water gives an even more sparkling effect.
Opening timings: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM
How to get there?
If you stay in downtown Reykjavik getting there should be very easy. This city is walking-friendly, and it has a lot to offer for people who enjoy walking.
How much does it cost to go to Harpa Concert Hall?
- Perlan: Wonders of Iceland.
Perlan Museum is home to one of the most imposing nature exhibitions. You will find inside the buzzing capital, just minutes from the biggest shopping street and vibrant city life, you can step into a replica of an ice cave and learn about glaciers and other geological forces.
The first glacier exhibition able to open in Perlan Museum was an extraordinary ice tunnel. The ice tunnel is a hundred meters long and is built with over 350 tons of actual snow retrieved from the mountain area. Welcome to learn all about Icelandic glaziers from the way they form, to how they affect the land and eventually, the effects of climate change on them. All of this is displayed through the most cutting-edge technology which portrays the unique nature of Iceland.
Perlan Planetarium is the first of its kind in Iceland. This offers a new and exciting way to teach all about Icelandic landscapes and geology.
Next to the planetarium, there are auroras featuring the northern lights. All these best views of natural wonders will be enjoyed from the comfort of a mushy cinema seat.
Perlan interactive underwater Cinema
No experience can top the exploration of the underworld through the cinematic powers of modern technology.
Perlan observation deck
This is located on the fourth floor stretching all around the building, it offers a 360° view of Reykjavik.
Cost: 490 ISK (4 USD) for adults
Free till the age of 15 years.
Timings: 9 AM to 7 PM (the last admission is at 6 PM)
- Whales of Iceland
Iceland has a fair share of Whales, the largest sea mammals in the world.
So this is just singing the whales out in the sea, people enjoy understanding more about them.
The exciting Museum tour takes place every day at 11 AM and 3 PM, and visitors do not have to pay extra. Children enjoy whales with bright colors.
Reykjavik: Whales of Iceland Museum entrance ticket
Take a leisurely 20-minute walk from the heart of Reykjavik to the harbor. Upon arrival at the Whales of Iceland Museum, read detailed information about 23 species of aquatic animals.
Observe in-depth information about the marine mammal around Iceland. Visit the Fin whale room to learn more about the threats that whales face and what we can do to resolve them. Be sure to watch a screening of the film Sonic Sea, shown daily at 10:30 AM, 12:15 PM, 2 PM, and 3:45 PM. Overall, this museum is worth visiting.
Timings: Monday to Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM
Entry fee: adults: 3400 ISK
Children 7 to 15 years: 1700 ISK
- Puffin Watching
Around 60% of the puffin population head to Iceland each year in the summer months between me and late August, which makes this the best time of the year to search for puffins in Iceland.
The mean nesting sites include Latrabjarg cliffs and Papey Island, but colonies of thieves’ adorable birds also live on a small island just a short sail from Reykjavik’s old harbor.
- The Sun Voyager
The gleaming steel sculpture on Reykjavik’s blended waterfront that resembles a Viking longship is the Sun Voyager.
Many locals enjoy scrolling by the seaside and enjoying the view of the bay. The sun voyager is also a great attraction for tourists. It offers a superb photo opportunity, especially when the sun is setting.
It represents the promise of undiscovered territory, and a dream of hope, progress, and Freedom.
Where is it located?
The sun voyager is located on the seashore of Reykjavik close to the city center, just a few minutes’ walking distance from the Harpa Concert Hall.
- Laugavegur Colorful Street
Laugavegur is one of the oldest streets in the city and its main shopping center. Its name means Wash Road as it used to lead to hot Springs where the local woman would take their laundry.
This has become the most beautiful Street in Reykjavik lined with picturesque Icelandic-style buildings.
The Laugavegur is the liveliest Street in Reykjavik. There are expensive, fashion boutiques and souvenir shops, Icelandic and international restaurants, and even bars, pubs, and clubs. This is the best area in the city for nightlife.
- Reykjavik rainbow Street.
The street was painted in rainbow colors, but only recently in 2019, this rainbow Street became permanent.
The residents were allowed to participate in the painting of this street. So, everyone had the chance to contribute to this piece of art leading to Hallgrimskirkja.
It is one of the busiest streets in Reykjavik. As a tourist exploring the city, you will most probably come across it. On each side of the road, you will find souvenir shops and cozy cafés.
With the imposing Hallgrimskirkja church in the background, this rainbow Street is one of the install locations in Reykjavik. If you want to have a place to yourself, I know people in the background to be here early.
How to reach Rainbow Street?
Rainbow Street is in the heart of Reykjavik, in the tourist area. It can be reached either by taxi or on foot. But it is recommended to explore the area on foot.
- The northern lights.
The extreme dark of the Icelandic winter has a few perks. Between September and April, the people in Iceland, are experiencing magnificent natural displays: the phenomenon of aurora borealis, or what we commonly call the northern lights. Iceland is the hotspot for this magnificent light show.
There are no guarantees that you will see the northern lights during your stay, but in most cases, sights are greatly improved outside the populated areas, especially away from there light population of the capital. A number of hotels in the countryside offer special northern lights Wake up service.
How to spot the northern lights?
Patience is the key; you need darkness and clear skies or at least openings in the cloud preferably towards the north. If the weather cooperates you are already halfway there.
The northern lights can appear all year round at any time of the day or night. However, the activity is usually strongest around midnight, and a few hours before and after.
The best guide for orientation is the polar star that shines in the north direction. If you see the green arc, you have a good chance of seeing them now. Keep in mind that hunting for the northern lights sometimes takes a lot of patience, but those who wait are often greatly rewarded.
- Flyover Iceland
Fly over Iceland is an unforgettable experience-a way to see Iceland, like no other. It is a relatively new attraction in Reykjavik. It is a ride that dangles you in front of a spherical screen taking you through Iceland’s most memorable landscapes.
You soar back and forth with the camera, giving you a sensation of flying. Special effects like mist, as you fly by waterfalls, make it an even more immersive experience.
Here, the flying option is a longer-the ride itself is 8.5 minutes. The pre-show adds more, adding up to 35 minutes, to the event altogether.
Here, the quality of filming was far better at flyover Iceland. Spectacular scenery, shot by the best photographer.
Imagine flying over a thin, Jagged Mountain path,
Imagine soaring over lagoons while the northern lights dance ahead. And imagine fishing by flying through downtown Reykjavik, fireworks exploding over Hallgrimskirkja, the church at the end of Rainbow Street.
The whole experience is absolute magic. As we watch the screen, tears filled the ice at the beauty of Iceland, and the bravery of adventurers.
How do you get to fly over Iceland?
Flyover Iceland is located in the Grandi harbor, district of Reykjavik, which is a short walk from the city center.
How much does flyover Iceland cost?
Flyover, Iceland costs 4990 ISK (US$38) for adults
2495 ISK (US$19) for children under 12 years.
- The National Museum of Iceland.
The National Museum of Iceland house many treasures of Iceland’s history. The vast collection includes arts and crafts, tools and furniture, and religious artifacts.
There you will understand the country’s plight under foreign rule and its struggle for independence. You can listen to Voice is of the Past (albeit in Icelandic) through headphones, and there is a special room where you can play with objects and take photos.
You can learn all about the museum artifacts through the free smartphone, and audio guide, which is available in English.
Timings: daily, except on Mondays from 10 AM to 5 PM
- Sky Lagoon.
The Sky Lagoon is a geothermal pool where folk flocks unwind and rejuvenate. The Sky Lagoon has the bonus of a beautiful view over the North Atlantic Sea, particularly spectacular at sunset. It was opened in 2021 and has become a favorite experience for locals and visitors. Although the pool itself is man-made, the striking Cliffside location, studded with grottos feels like you are immersed in one of nature’s wonders. Plus, the geothermal heating of the water is all-natural.
This Sky Lagoon is located 7 km from the center of Reykjavik. Being so close to the heart of the capital it makes the Sky Lagoon tour easy and convenient.
This lagoon is also Iceland’s only thermal infinity pool with an ocean view. You can admire the seamless transition between the pool and the sea.
How much does it cost to go to the Sky Lagoon?
Visiting the Sky Lagoon costs around 6990 ISK (US$50)
How long do you need to spend in Sky Lagoon?
Most people stay at the Sky Lagoon for between 1.5 and 3 hours. Though you can stay as long as five hours if you want to enjoy a long, leisurely meal as well. It’s the perfect treat at the end of the day sightseeing, as a long soak in hot water, tends to let you drift off to a sound sleep at night.
What time is best to visit Sky Lagoon?
To avoid crowds, visit the Sky Lagoon in the morning or evening.
Geothermal water and healing power
The Sky Lagoon contains detoxifying minerals, which have been proven to help skin conditions. Simply soaking is good for the skin, but you can also pair a soak with a Signature face scrub for fresh, glowing skin.
What is the temperature?
The lagoons temperature usually is between 38 to 40°C
- Lake Tjornin
Tjornin is a lake or pond in the middle of Reykjavik, the capital city. With thousands of birds that swim in the lake, feeding the birds is an activity, both tourists and locals enjoy.
In winter, the lakes, water freezes completely. It makes the lake, a seasonal ice-skating rink for visitors and locals apart from walking to the shore. You can rent a bicycle to ride it through the path lined with the shoreline.
- Icelandic horse riding
- One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Iceland’s scenery is by horse riding. You could wander over lava fields, explore waterfalls, and through lush valleys on the back of a sturdy Icelandic horse.
You can ride horses for recreation on the outskirts of Reykjavik. These rides usually last up to 1 hour and are fun activities.
- Videy Island
Videy Island is situated close to the capital city, full of natural and man-made creations to admire. The Island mainly features a hiking trail for visitors to walk through. From Reykjavik, you can take a ferry to Videy Island.
The island consists of two parts and is connected by a split of land. The island is about 1.7 km² in size and is a remnant of an extinct volcano. You are on the island within 15 minutes by boat on the island. You will also find beautiful walking roots, many bird species, and a beautiful view of the city.
- Old port of Reykjavik
Be sure to take a walk through the old harbor of Reykjavik which is located in the area behind the Harpa Concert Hall. It is a lively area with many colorful fishing boats and the place from which the whale tours depart. Around the harbor you will find several shops and restaurants to have a drink with a view of the old harbor, but also some interesting museums such as the maritime museum and the Saga Museum.
- Saga Museum.
In the Saga Museum, history is brought to life in a fun way with wax statues. Here you will receive an audio guide that leads you through the well-set-up museum to hear stories about Iceland’s origin and colonization. The life-like wax figures provide more empathy. You can dress up as Viking and take funny pictures in the museum.
Admission tickets: 3000 ISK (US$21)
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
- Grotta Light House.
Grotta Light House is the lighthouse of Reykjavik. From the Centre, it is around 5 km walk along the coast. In the late evening, this area can also be an ideal place to spot the Northern lights. The lighthouse is located in the north, northwest west of Reykjavik, and is 23 m high.
Good to know: it is recommended to go here at low tide, as you can only enter the last bit to the lighthouse at low tide
- Aurora Reykjavik
Aurora Reykjavik is Iceland’s first and only northern lights Centre, and not to be missed place to start your Northern Lights adventure. Take a walk-through history and learn about mythology around the Arctic Circle. Explore the Science via interactive displays and try your camera setting for unique northern light photos. Sit back and enjoy this 30-minute film with dazzling Arora displays captured all over Iceland. Immerse yourself completely into the northern lights with the world’s, first 360° film of the Aurora Borealis, featured in VR goggles.
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Admission tickets: 3000ISK (US$22)
20. Lava show: Reykjavik
This is the only live lava show in the world and has become one of the must-see experiences in Iceland! It’s an incredible and unique experience.
Noted to recreate a miniature volcanic eruption, they superheat real lava from the 1918 Katla eruption, and once molten, pour, it into a showroom full of people. It is an incredible., unforgettable experience. In an instant, the showroom heats up to a toasty temperature. The audience sits safely in their seats only a few feet away from the flowing Lava, it is mesmerizing to see, here, incredible heat that radiates from it.
The show begins with a shot, a welcome by the host, and then a short educational video about Icelandic volcanism, the volcano is close by-with special emphasis on the largest volcanic eruptions in Icelandic history, and the volcanic dangers surrounding the capital area.
Once the Lava starts flowing into the showroom, the host literally starts playing with the lava!
Reykjavik Citi Card
This offers you a choice of 24, 48, or 72 hours pass and includes the following Reykjavik attractions:
Access to public city buses in downtown Reykjavik and roam around the town like a local.
Ferry to Videy Island
Access to Reykjavik city, thermal baths, and Reykjavik zoo.
Free entrance to many museums
Discounts at many attractions, such as the Saga Museum, Arora Reykjavik, and Whales of Iceland
What is the cost of the Reykjavik city card?
24 hours-4600 ISK (US$33)
48 hours-6400 ISK(US$47)
72 hours-7800 ISK( US$58)
Reykjavik is the 14th most expensive city in the world, and the sixth most expensive city in Europe, according to the Economist. Reykjavik has a lot to offer, have fun exploring!