Visiting Reykjavik | Everything You Need To Know

blue lagoon - visiting Reykjavik

Visiting Reykjavik is the new thing for travelers to do. There’s been an explosion in the amount of tourism in Iceland over the last 5 – 10 years.

Heck, even there’s been a huge increase in just the last 3 years.

In 2015, Iceland saw over 1.2 million visitors.

Do you want to take a guess at how many visitors they had in 2017?

2.2 million visitors!

And it’s not really hard to see why tourism is booming in Iceland. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world!

There are gorgeous landscapes with lush, green fields…

Amazing black sand beaches to visit…

Mountains, waterfalls, blue lagoons, glaciers…

And don’t forget about the Northern Lights!

All of these amazing sights are in Reykjavik. Or they’re only a couple hours of a drive to get there!

All we’re trying to say is that there are plenty of amazing sights to see in Reykjavik. And there are enough reasons to add the city to your bucket list.

And with all the budget airlines in a low fare competition…

It’s even easier to get there these days!

Planning on visiting Reykjavik in the future?

Well, we wrote this for you then!

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • Getting Around Reykjavik
  • What Currency Does Reykjavik Use?
  • Top Things To Do In Reykjavik
  • Where To Stay When Visiting Reykjavik
  • Best Time To Visit Reykjavik

Continue reading below to learn more about this amazing city!

Getting Around Reykjavik

If you plan on visiting downtown Reykjavik, then most of the attractions are easy to reach on foot!

But once you want to start exploring outside of the heart of the city, then you’re going to need to find the best way to get there.

Since most people end up driving around Iceland to see most of the attractions, renting a car is one of the best ways to get around.

All US Driver’s Licenses are also valid in Iceland. And Iceland drives on the right-hand side of the road too!

Since most people end up driving a decent amount to get to all the attractions, it’s a good idea to look into renting a car while you’re in Reykjavik.

If you’re not interested in renting a car, using the public bus system (Straetó) is a cheap alternative. Straetó has routes that can take you from the city center to the other major towns of Reykjavik. The buses also come by every 15 – 30 minutes at each stop. So you won’t need to worry about missing one!

Flying Into The Airport?

Kevflavik Airport is the largest airport in Iceland and every international traveler uses this airport to fly in and out if Iceland.

The airport is about 50 km southwest of Reykjavik. If you’re not planning on renting a car, you can use taxi services provided by the airport. You can also use the public bus system to get you to the city center or hotel.

If you’re flying to Reykjavik from the US, you’re going to have the most flight options with WOW air and Icelandair.

 

What Currency Does Reykjavik Use?

Reykjavik and all of Iceland currently uses the Icelandic Krona as their form of currency. The Icelandic Krona is extremely different compared to the US Dollar.

As of the time of this writing, 5000 Icelandic Kronas equals a little over $40.

See what I mean?

It’s important to do some research and figure out how much you’ll need in Icelandic Kronas before you visit Reykjavik. Make sure you check the exchange rate before you go!

 

Top Things To Do In Reykjavik

The Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights is tough for people that don’t live near the north pole.

But Iceland is a place where you can see the Northern Lights!

So if the lights are on your bucket list…

You have a good chance of checking that off while visiting Reykjavik!

Now it’s not 100% certain you’re going to see the lights while you’re there. You’ll need a certain combination of weather conditions for the colors to show in the dark sky.

A great way for first timers to see the Northern Lights is to book a tour with experienced guides.

Iceland Excursion has a combination of tours of Northern Lights and ice caves tours.

Reykjavik Excursion is another option that offers several Northern Light day trip options. The cost of the tour includes transportation and food.

The tours range from 3-7 hours, so make sure you plan a whole day out for a tour.

 

The Blue Lagoon

blue lagoon - visiting Reykjavik
Puripat Lertpunyaroj / Shutterstock.com

The Blue Lagoon is a man-made, geothermal mineral spring and spa. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Reykjavik.

And it’s not hard to see why…

No matter what time of year it is, the water is always warm and has steam constantly rising from the surface.

You can just lay in the warm water for hours and completely unwind!

The lagoon and spa have many pampering treatments based around the springs. Some of these treatments include:

  • Water massages
  • Mud Masks
  • Sauna
  • Steam rooms
  • Quiet relaxation areas

There are several gourmet restaurants to eat at and skin care shop. Stay for a few days at Silica Hotel and make it a retreat when you stay in Reykjavik.

The Blue Lagoon also offers guided tours if you want to learn more.

 

The Pearl

The Pearl is a dome-shaped building supported with six water tanks. It’s really a water storage area and supplies the city with hot water. But it has several other neat features as well!

Some of the features include:

  • Viking museum
  • Man-made geysers
  • Restaurant
  • Cafe
  • Bars
  • Gardens
  • 360-degree observation deck

Don’t forget to check out the restaurant and observation deck on the top floor. You’ll get some of your best pictures here!

 

Golden Circle Route

Golden Circle Route is 190 miles of road that provides the most breathtaking views.

One stop on the route is Thingvellir National Park. And you’re not going to want to miss it!

The park has the Golden Falls, or Gullfoss, a 103-foot cascading waterfall.  And further along, the park has a geothermal region with two geysers. One of the geysers, Stokkur, sprouts hot water high in the air every 10 minutes called Stokkur.

Another scenic stop is Kerid Crater Lake.  The lake has beautiful blue water offset by colors of green and red from the crater. It’s a short hike to the bottom of the crater if you want to get up close shots.

It takes 3 hours to drive through the whole Golden Circle Route.

Don’t feel like driving?

Try taking a tour with Iceland Excursions or Iceland Horizons and just sit back and watch all the nature!

 

National Museum of Iceland 

National Museum of Iceland has an interactive display that depicts the history of Iceland.

Some of the museums exhibits include:

  • photographs
  • historic objects and artifacts
  • art
  • manuscripts
  • furniture
  • textiles

There is a display of plants and animals of the region.

The museum has two shops and a cafe called Kaffitar that offers light refreshments.

The museum is in downtown Reykjavik near the University of Iceland. There is a cost of admission and guided tours available at an additional charge.

 

Laugardalur Park

Laugardalur Park has natural hot tubs where you can soak in the waters of their geothermal pools. Some residents go to soak in the hot tubs after work during winter.

The park has a huge swimming area fed by springs, with a spa and cafe to sit and relax. The park has a skating rink, botanical garden, sporting, kid’s zoo, and concert area.

A great stop for families with children. The admission prices are reasonable.

 

Hallgrimur’s Church

Hallgrimur’s Church is the tallest and largest modern structure in Reykjavik. The building looks like a futuristic rocket ship and glacier!

Its unique architecture makes it an interesting stop when visiting Reykjavik. It’s definitely one of the best objects to take pictures of in the area.

During the summer months, you can attend organ concerts at the church. You can also take a tour of the building or attend a mass while you’re there.

 

Arbaejarsafn

Arbaejarsafn is an open-air museum that preserves old houses from the center of the city to show.

The museum shows the architecture, lifestyle, and furnishings from the earlier days of Reykjavik.

It’s a village with over 20 building to see. You’ll also get to see first hand how they run the farm there. Some of the features are a toy exhibit, history of house painting and buildings, buying trends and more.

Some of the popular exhibits teach how to make gold and how a printing press works.

Arbaejarsafn is definitely a neat place to see with the whole family!

 

Where to Stay When Visiting Reykjavik

The Downtown-City Center

Reykjavik is technically a city but it’s really more of a small town in size. The Downtown-City Center is where you’ll find most of the restaurants and bars.

This is the place to stay when you like the nightlife.

Using a car or public transportation is the best way to get around. You’ll be in the center of town where all the action happens and the bars stay open late.

Vesturbaer

Just west of downtown is Vesturbaer. It’s best reached by public transportation and is less hectic than the city center.

It has some great restaurants and cafes to eat at and there is also a very large communal swimming pool you can use.

Austurborg East Town

Austurborg East Town is farther from town but there are several bus connections to get around. It’s about a 10-minute walk to get to Hallgrimiurs Church or downtown Reykjavik.

It’s a nice place to stay when you like a quieter setting. The only downside is that you’ll have to drive to find a restaurant or cafe.

Laurgardalur

Laurgardalur is close to downtown and has easy access to the public transportation system. Here you’ll find the Reykjavik Family Park and Zoo. The park has many activities for adults and children. This area is great for families that like outdoor activities.

Seltjarnares

Seltjarnaresa is the place to stay when you want to stay in a small town outside of the city. It’s a lovely small town by the sea where you can find great views of the Northern Lights.

Whenever you’re not enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of Seltjarnaresa…

The town has several bus routes that can get you around to see the other sights!

 

Best Time of Year to Visit Reykjavik

If you’re planning on visiting Reykjavik during the summer, June to August is a good time to visit. This time of year comes with warmer weather and longer hours of daylight called the midnight sun.

And when we say warmer weather, we’re talking about temperatures in the ’50s!

It’s important to note that this is the most popular tourist season and hotel rates and airfare rates jump up. But the higher prices can still be worth it depending on your preference.

August is a good time for festivals with the Reykjavik Culture Festival and the Reykjavik Jazz Festival taking place.

This is also a good time for hiking and visiting the springs.

October through April is a great time to visit when you want to save on hotels and airfare.

The biggest downsides to visiting during this time of year are the cold temperatures and the short winter days.

But this is the best time for you to visit if you want to see the Northern Lights. And there are far fewer crowds to deal with too!

 

Conclusion

Well, now you know just how amazing a trip to Reykjavik can turn out.

With so much to see in the city and the area surrounding it…

It’s easy for us to say it’s one of our favorite destinations in the world.

Take advantage of the cheap airfare offered through the budget airlines. The time to visit Iceland is now!

Have you ever visited Reykjavik?

What was your favorite part about visiting?

Tell us about it in the Comment Section below!

 

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