A guide to things to do in Reykjavik

You’re spending time in the world’s northernmost capital city, where Nordic legends and modern style are mixed to create a unique cultural character. Reykjavik is a favourite amongst those booking package holidays to Iceland as it shows off the contemporary chic of the country as much as traditional values from days of old. Expect to find everything from vikings to penguins and museums to geothermal pools here, with plenty more surprises as well.

Soak in the legendary Blue Lagoon

A natural pool right in the middle of an ancient lava field? How enticing could that be? It turns out the answer is remarkably enticing indeed, because the Blue Lagoon, less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, is one of the most famous and visited locales in the country.

Iceland’s mastery of carbon neutral energy is partly owed to its geothermal power plants, and the water produced by one such plant has created a beautiful hot mineral-rich pool as immense as it is inviting. No trip to Iceland is complete without a dip in this rejuvenating water, which is enjoyed daily by visitors from far and wide.

Go bargain hunting

There are two parts of town you simply have to visit if you’re keen on finding fashion, craftsmanship and local bargains. The first is the Laugavegur shopping district in downtown Reykjavik, where contemporary European fashion houses have set up shop beside electronics boutiques, cute street-side cafes and a roster of other retail retreats.

When you’re ready to bask in tradition, head instead to Reykjavik’s flea market, where tarot cards and dreamcatchers line the stalls besides baskets, cheese, cakes and woolly jumpers.

Visit the beach

You might not think Iceland’s climate would make a trip to the seaside viable, but don’t be so ready to dismiss the idea. In fact, Reykjavik’s own geothermal Nautholsvik Beach is free for you to enjoy. It has an active volleyball community, as well as access to seawater that reaches an inviting 17°C in the summer.

Meet the animals

Beyond the bright lights and cosmopolitan charm of Reykjavik, the great sprawl of Iceland’s untamed wilderness is ready to invigorate you. Wildlife tours on both land and sea are plentiful to choose from, so you can spend the morning whale watching and then head out into the back country to meet plucky little penguins after lunch. For the true romantics among you, treks across the wilderness on horseback are also an option.

Enjoy the nightlife

Reykjavik has a close-knit community, yet it’s not afraid to let its hair down. That’s especially true of the nightlife, which has become well-known across Europe for its variety as much as its welcoming party spirit.

What makes the city a great nightlife destination is that the bars are all located close together, yet each offer their own spin on your night out. For example, Rosenburg is a zesty venue well known for its live jazz music, whereas Prikid is all about hip-hop tunes. B5 is the club you go to suited and booted, while those of us looking for a taste of home fit right in at The English Pub, where all the favourites are waiting on tap.

Tour the city in style

Reykjavik has only acted as the capital since around the 1700s, yet its true history reaches back much further, into the mists of Nordic legend. That makes touring the city and taking in its sights and sounds a must, from its classic architecture to its sleek modern designs.

The great part is, the city is so diverse that there are countless ways to do it, from helicopter rides over the skyline to tuk-tuk tours through the streets. And if you’re feeling really old school you can hop on a Viking longboat for a tour of the harbour. Check out our great range of Iceland holiday deals and begin planning your trip today.