Things to do in Reykjavik: Attractions

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Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and also the most visited city of the country. Many travelers between Europe and North America make a stopover in Iceland. That means plenty of people walking around.

We stayed two nights in Reykjavik. We stayed in Blue Luxury Apartments the first night of our trip. A beautiful and modern apartment in the center of Reykjavik. The last night of our Iceland road trip, we stayed close to Keflavík International Airport, in Sandgerdi Cottages. These cute detached cottages have their own jacuzzi and if you’re very lucky you can even see the northern lights from your jacuzzi!

In this article you will find information about the attractions of Reykjavik and what you can do in the area!

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal bath and probably the most popular attraction in Iceland! The (swimming) pool is artificial and is located in a volcanic area. As a result, the water is full of minerals and has a healing effect against e.g. eczema. The beautiful blue color comes from these minerals. The Blue Lagoon looks really cool, the water is good for your skin and it’s warm, about 38 or 39º Celsius!

Note: It’s smart to book the Blue Lagoon in advance. Didn’t book in advance? There’s a chance that you won’t get in. The entrance fee is about $ 50 per person, but that price only applies if you go late in the evening. “Regular” will set you back a hefty $ 80. These prices are for the “Comfort” package. This package includes entrance, a Silica mud mask, a towel and a drink. The Blue Lagoon is open daily. The opening hours vary per season. You can have a look at the website for a complete overview.

Whale Watching Tour in Reykjavik

Iceland is one of the best whale watching spots in the world. You can do this from Reykjavik, Húsavík and Akureyri. We decided to do the Classic Whale Watching tour with Elding Whale Watching in Reykjavik. This tour takes about three hours and you will search for cetaceans; the large marine mammals. Most whales and dolphins are spotted in the summer, but in winter there’s still a great chance to see them!

A boat leaves twice a day in the winter and in six times a day in the summer months! The full schedule can be found on the Elding website. Would you like more information? Read my article about the Whale Watching tour with Elding.

Whale whatching Reykjavik


The Hallgrímskirkja is a church in Reykjavik with a futuristic look. The architect was inspired by the basalt rocks that can be found on Iceland. It is a special sight which you cannot miss! The Icelanders started building the Hallgrímskirkja in 1945, but it was only completely finished in 1986. The Hallgrímskirkja is 74.5 meters high, making it the highest church in all of Iceland. The church towers above the rest of Reykjavik (and Iceland) and can be seen from a great distance. The church tower can be visited. It offers a great panoramic view over the city.

The church is free to visit. Want to go up in the tower? You pay about $ 8, – per person. Unfortunately, we visited the Hallgrímskirkja on a Sunday, and Sundays the church is closed for tourists. For the exact opening hours, please check the website of the Hallgrímskirkja.

Sun Voyager Reykjavik

Sun Voyager is a structure in the center of Reykjavik along the Sæbraut road on the waterfront. The structure is described as a kind of dream boat. The artist wanted the boat to convey the promise of undiscovered terrain, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. A special work of art and worth a visit if you are in the area!

Tip: The Sun Voyager artwork can be combined with a visit to the Höfði house and the shopping street Laugavegur.

Sun Voyager Reykjavik

The Höfði House or The Reagan-Gorbachev House

The Höfði House, also called the Reagan-Gorbachev House, was built in 1909 and is considered one of the most historic buildings in the Reykjavík area. This is the house where the American president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev talked about ending the Cold War. However it didn’t end immediately, this conversation is still considered to be the reason for the end. Furthermore, the house was visited by several celebrities, like the Queen of England and Winston Churchill.

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to enter the Höfði house just like that, since you can only book it for receptions and meetings. Nevertheless there’s still the exterior of the house to look at!

Shopping in shopping street Laugavegur

Shopping is always a good idea and street Laugavegur is the most famous shopping street of Reykjavik. It the place to be for an afternoon full of shopping. You’ll find nice boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants. For the most famous shopping street of Reykjavik, it’s not crowded at all! Don’t like shopping? You will find many colored houses in Laugavegur street which is already reason enough to walk through it. Didn’t finish shopping yet? You can visit Kringlan, Iceland’s largest shopping mall.

Note: The prices for food and drinks in this street are high. If you want something to drink, take a good look at the menu first!

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