Why Should You Visit Reykjavik, Iceland?

When you think of unforgettable holiday destinations, Reykjavik in Iceland might not be the first place that pops into your mind. But this city on the edge of the Arctic Circle is a real eye-opener. It will make you wonder why you didn’t think of visiting before.

Reykjavik has so much going for it: it’s cosmopolitan and lively. Its natural wonders are stunning. Its cultural heritage is rich. Its spirit is progressive.

You’ll find something here whether you want high-octane outdoor adventure or prefer savoring local food and arts while taking things easy. Read on to discover why Reykjavik should be at the top of your travel list – then book those flights!

About the Location

Reykjavik, which sits on Iceland’s southwest coast, is the most northerly capital in the world. And its physical attributes are a big part of what makes it so unique.

The city rests on a peninsula shaped by volcanic activity that stretches out to meet the sea. It is surrounded by mountains and has many miles of coastline, meaning the landscape varies tremendously from one side of town to another.

There are magnificent lava fields and expanses of mossy plains that roll westward until they reach the ocean. Iconic Mount Esja offers panoramic views of Reykjavík and beyond.

Travel southwards, and you’ll come across black-sand beaches pounded by wild waves – Reynisfjara Beach, with its strange basalt columns in particular.

And then there’s Iceland’s ultimate guilty pleasure: the Blue Lagoon. Steamy, vivid blue waters amid lava fields make up this geothermal spa, where visitors come to unwind.

8 Things to Do in Reykjavik

Embark on a journey through Old Reykjavik’s multi-hued streets and bask in the Blue Lagoon’s revitalizing waters. These are just two of eight must-do activities when visiting Iceland’s capital city.

1. Wander Around Old Reykjavik

Take in the prettiness that is Old Reykjavik – think narrow lanes, colorful buildings, and stories seeping out from every corner. As you stroll along its central arteries, you’ll find yourself enveloped by history. The imposing Hallgrímskirkja church acts as a lighthouse to guide explorers deeper into this rich past.

Take a break to observe people at Austurvöllur Square, where Reykjavík residents congregate for various events such as protests and outdoor food. Alternatively, you may prefer to explore these captivating roads that combine traditional allure with contemporary life. It’s easy to lose yourself among them!

2. Indulge in the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is more than just a spa – it’s a place of sanctuary where you can restore your soul in warm, mineral-rich waters set among an otherworldly volcanic landscape.

This milky-blue retreat offers respite from the daily grind and provides a unique opportunity to unwind in surroundings that envelop visitors with Iceland’s breathtaking natural beauty.

Don’t be fooled by its invitingly cool appearance. This ethereal water is actually warm and brimming with minerals renowned for their healing qualities. If you’ve been exploring some of the nearby tough terrains and are feeling weary or stressed as a result, simply take a dip: everything will soon be back on track!

3. Uncover Icelandic Culture at Harpa

Perched on the waterfront, Reykjavik’s most prized possession—Harpa—is an architectural triumph. Steel and glass meld to create a venue reflecting both the country’s natural wonders and its dynamic cultural scene.

This award-gobbling concert hall and conference center is a testament to contemporary Icelandic design inspired by the island’s dramatic landscapes.

Whether you’re here for a live performance (world-class acoustics) or simply to gawp at its beauty, Harpa offers insight into Iceland’s artistic soul. The facade mimicking the Northern Lights is hypnotic. Consider it your beacon of cultural discovery in Reykjavik.

4. Experience the Beauty of Nature by Going on a Whale-Watching Trip

Setting sail from Reykjavik for a whale-watching expedition affords you access to a stunning realm occupied by oceanic behemoths. As you slice through icy waters, the thrill mounts until you spy a humpback breaching or an orca’s dorsal fin cutting through the surface.

Watching these majestic creatures disport themselves in their natural milieu is unforgettable, as are sightings of playful dolphins and various types of seabirds.

These excursions – which flaunt Iceland’s rich marine biodiversity in all its glory – provide a unique opportunity to connect with the natural world around us.

5. Experience Icelandic Cuisine

When you tuck into Iceland’s traditional fare, you’re taking your taste buds on a journey through history. Dishes such as smoked lamb (hangikjot), hearty fish stew (plokkfiskur), and fermented shark (hakarl) showcase how the islanders have made use of local ingredients for centuries.

Don’t worry if those classics aren’t for you, though. In Reykjavik, modern take on iconic plates sit alongside mouthwatering treats like hot dogs topped with crunchy onions and sweet mustard.

We can not mention pastries made with Skyr – an irresistible dairy product that’s typically served with fruit or honey at breakfast time. Trust us: trying these dishes will be like taking your palate souvenir shopping – all the flavors of Iceland are here, ready to take home with you.

6. Experience Reykjavik’s Art Scene

Reykjavik’s thriving art scene is a testament to the city’s creative prowess, with numerous contemporary galleries and independent spaces offering a range of styles. At the Reykjavik Art Museum, you’ll find modern works in various media.

While outside its walls, artists from Iceland and beyond exhibit their pieces throughout the streets and smaller galleries – reflecting this country’s dynamic cultural landscape.

Bold installations, traditional crafts, or eye-catching street art. No matter your preference, immerse yourself in an artistic community as forward-thinking as the nature that surrounds it.

7. Immerse Yourself in One of Reykjavik’s Geothermal Pools

Geothermal pools in Reykjavik offer more than just a place to swim. They’re social centers and relaxation retreats, too. Laugardalslaug and Vesturbæjarlaug are two particularly popular spots to try this Icelandic tradition for yourself, with temptations ranging from steamy hot tubs and saunas to steam baths and bracing outdoor hot springs.

Locals and visitors alike use the pools as places to unwind, chat, and keep fit. Icelanders take their swimming seriously – or simply float around soaking up the scenery while immersed in warm waters heated naturally by Mother Earth herself.

8. Embark on Day Trips to Get Close to Nature

Many guided tours from the city introduce you to the celebrated Golden Circle route. Highlights include Thingvellir National Park, where history meets Mother Nature.

You can also visit Gullfoss waterfall, which demonstrates just how powerful water can be. And don’t forget about the Geysir geothermal area, proving our planet still has plenty of pent-up energy.

Meanwhile, anyone seeking thrills could consider hiking across glaciers or descending into ice caves. But both activities require specialist equipment and guides.

Through these excursions, you’ll not only see more of Iceland’s dramatically beautiful island but also gain an appreciation of it.

The effect can be awe-inspiring – especially as many such wonders lie no more than an hour or two from Reykjavik.

Bottom Line

A visit to the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, is a must for anyone who loves beautiful scenery and interesting culture. There are so many things to see and do here.

You can relax in hot springs like the Blue Lagoon or go on exciting trips near Reykjavik, such as driving along the “Golden Circle.”

This city also has lots of art galleries and museums plus lovely old streets to wander around if that’s more your thing!

And don’t forget delicious food from local restaurants – yum. You won’t be bored during this holiday. There’s something for everyone, whether they prefer exploring nature reserves full of geysers.