Visit Reykjavik on vacation, Iceland’s capital city that welcomes you with open arms and a shot of Brennivín - an Icelandic schnapps. Learn about Iceland’s early inhabitants at the Settlement Exhibition. See how the untamed landscape inspired the design of the Hallgrímskirkja Church. Finish your day on the seaside with the Sun Voyager, a boat always headed towards new adventures on the horizon. Sample one of the city’s many eco-restaurants, where greenhouse-to-table is the norm and locally-sourced fresh fish is a staple. Plan your trip as part of a multi-stop tour of Iceland, with the advice and support of a Tourlane Travel Expert. They’ll assist with your accommodation, guides, transfers, and flights.
National Museum of Iceland
The Settlement Exhibition
Named for its glassy dome, Perlan, or the “Pearl,” is an interactive natural history museum, perched on Öskjuhlíð hill. Get a 360-degree view of the city from the rooftop observation deck and walk through the almost 330-foot long ice cave, made with 350 tons of snow from the Blue Mountains. If you miss the Northern Lights, catch the Aurora show at the planetarium instead.
Hallgrímskirkja is a striking Evangelical Lutheran church and a national monument to its namesake, Hallgrímur Pétursson—a 17th-century Icelandic clergyman and poet. Stand back to admire the expressionist facade, designed to evoke basalt rocks of the Icelandic landscape. Ascend the 20-story tower and overlook the Reykjavik skyline from bay to bay. Visitors are welcome here—just check the schedule.
If you’re interested in history, head to the National Museum of Iceland, which tells the story of this windswept Island from medieval settlement through to the contemporary day. Peruse some 2,000 objects and 1,000 photographs that together tell a story of resilient and daring people. Go inside a settler cabin and try on medieval armor for a fetching Viking selfie.
The Sun Voyager is a great place for a photo opportunity during your vacation in Reykjavik. As you stroll the sculpture and shore walk on the Reykjavik seaside, you’ll come across the 1986 statue, by Jon Gunnar Arnason, called the Solfarid, or “Sun Voyager.” An abstracted steel boat, this piece commemorates the Viking history of the island. Visit the ship around the time the sun goes down: The sunset here with Mount Esja in the background is particularly spectacular.
Reykjavik City Pond, or “Tjörnin” as it’s commonly known, is actually a series of five connected bodies of water. Over 40 bird species call this lake home, including the arctic tern, eider ducks, and gadwalls. Birdwatch from the grassy shores—you're even allowed to feed the birds, although experts recommend you opt for grains over breadcrumbs.
If you want to experience a blend of archeology and new media, head to the Settlement Exhibition for an immersive historical experience. Visit the actual archeological site of a 10th-century Viking longhouse or hall, uncovered in 2001 by city construction and now part of the Reykjavik City Museum. Learn about life at the time of the first European settlers and its evolution into modern Icelandic history.
We recommend spending at least two days and nights in Reykjavik, as the city has so many attractions, tours, and restaurants for visitors to enjoy. It is a good place to start or finish your tour around Iceland, as the country’s international airport is just 45 minutes away.
The best place to stay in Reykjavik depends on your travel tastes and preferences. The city has a good range of hotels, vacation apartments, and other accommodation types. We recommend staying close to downtown, if you wish to explore the city by foot. Alternatively, if you are willing to drive, there are nice accommodation options around the edge of the city.
The best time to visit Reykjavik depends on what you want to do when you visit Iceland. If you want long, bright days and warmer weather, visit Reykjavik during the summer months. If you want to see the northern lights, the best to visit is between September and March.
Reykjavik itself only has a small domestic airport with short haul flights around Iceland. Keflavik International Airport (KEF), which is 45 minutes drive from Reykjavik, has direct flights to the USA offered by Icelandair, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.
Keflavik Airport is approximately 45 minutes from Reykjavik. This is the main international airport for Iceland, and is reachable by car, taxi, and bus. A regular five-seater taxi costs approximately $125 one way. The bus costs approximately $25 one way.
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