A visit to Iceland’s ‘cool’ capital gives you the opportunity to do as much or as little as you wish.
The swimming pools and hot springs are perfect for those looking to kick back and relax, or if you are the adventurous type then ice caving might be your thing. Even if you don’t have much time in the city there are plenty of things to see and do in the centre also.
Here is a taste with these seven best things to do in Reykjavik.
This imposing church appears to stand guard over the city of Reykjavik. With its modern architectural design and towering spire, you can see why it is one of the top sights to see in the city. You can explore the whole church including the tower where there is a viewing platform which gives you an amazing 360° view over the entire city.
Another nice sight is the statue of the Viking Leif Eriksson which is located directly in front of the church. Leif Eriksson is known to have discovered North America in the year 1000AD – more than 500 years before Columbus!
On many a bucket-list, seeing the northern lights is a spectacular sight. Although a sighting of this beautiful natural phenomenon cannot be guaranteed, guided tours offer you the best chance. Your tour guide will know the places you are most likely to see them and the also the best time to see them.
The best nights to see the lights are clear dark nights which also tend to be the coldest. You can check the local aurora forecast to see when you have the best chance to see them.
This impressive glass building can be found hard by the old harbour of Reykjavík, not to be confused with the cruise port which is around two miles from the centre. Perhaps you might be able to see the Icelandic Symphonic Orchestra in rehearsal as you explore the building or plan your visit to coincide with the electronic music festival, Sónar Reykjavík.
Even if you don’t attend an event, the building is a lovely place to visit and admire the architecture.
Reykjavik is packed with different types of museums and you you’ll be hard-pressed not to find one that interests you. The National Museum of Iceland gives a fantastic insight into the history of Iceland, from the Viking settlers to the modern day, the museum showcases treasures from the Island’s past.
There is also the Whales of Iceland Museum in which you can learn about the whales and dolphins that live in the waters off the coast of Iceland. Other museums include the Arbaer Open Air Museum, The Icelandic Punk Museum and the Reykjavik Maritime Museum to name a few.
Located on its own little island, Grotta lighthouse can only be accessed by a land bridge at low tide. You can get here from downtown Reykjavik by either a short drive or a long walk.
You can’t climb right to the top of the lighthouse, but the small island is scenic enough on its own. On a clear day you may even see the lovely Mt. Esja located across the bay.
You don’t need to venture far from the city in order to enjoy horseback riding in Iceland. In fact, it is even an option for people making a day stop during their Icelandic cruise. From Reykjavik you can explore the unique volcanic landscape on the outskirts of the city via the oldest method of transport.
Your tour will begin near Lake Rauðavatn where you learn about the horses and how they came to be here. Afterwards you your horse ride begins as you trot out through the beautiful landscape, taking in the black lava fields and rolling hills.
Swimming pools in Reykjavik are something of a fancier affair than elsewhere in the world. You really need to consider them more like a spa than a swimming pool.
All the pools are heated meaning you can take a dip any time of the year and you will often find both indoor and outdoor pools to enjoy. Each pool also has saunas and Jacuzzis to relax in.
There are so many great things to do in Reykjavik. So, whether you only have one day in port during your cruise or you’re spending a few nights here, there are plenty of things to see and do in Reykjavik. What will you choose to do?
Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has cruised to some of the most iconic and obscure parts of the planet.