Best things to do in Reykjavik
Find out more about those top places in Reykjavik
Reykjavik is a mere town in comparison to most other national capitals. However, what the northern most capital city in the world lacks in metropolitan scale it more than made up for with world-class museums and art galleries, buzzing nightlife and proximity to Iceland’s natural wonders. While the city is no longer Europe’s hidden gem, it remains a charming base for exploration of the Icelandic interior. Since Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1944, Reykjavik has expanded from the size of a large village to a lovable city comprised of brightly colored timbered houses that cluster together for protection against North Atlantic storms and the towering Hallgrímskirkja, which dominates the skyline from all angles. Just beyond the city limits, the vast Icelandic wilderness lets visitors immerse themselves in unspoiled nature and marvel at the country’s spectacular geology.
Looping from Reykjavik through the immense wilderness of southern Iceland, the Golden Circle is host to a number of the country’s most spectacular sites. Starting in the Icelandic capital, tours of the circle take you tectonic ravines of Thingvellir National Park, the thermal fountain of Geysir (after which all other geysers are named), and the iconic Gulfoss waterfall.
Perched nearly the Arctic Circle and thankfully missing the light pollution that affects countries across the globe, the Icelandic winter is the ideal place and time to watch nature’s greatest light show: the Aurora Borealis. Setting out from Reykjavik, Northern Light tours take you deep into the country’s snow blanketed interior to see this unforgettable spectacle.
Nestled beneath dramatic fjords leading out to the North Atlantic Ocean, Reykjavik is one of the world’s best places to spot a majestic array of whales, dolphins and porpoises that inhabit the rich waters. Sailing from the capital city’s Old Harbor, tours of the area’s breathtaking fjords and craggy bays are done from the luxury of a yacht with panoramic observation decks.
Trace the history of Iceland at the country’s National Museum, where you can learn about the uninhabited island’s colonization by Vikings and its eventual declaration of independence from Denmark in 1944.
During Iceland’s breathtaking summer months one of the best ways to explore the country’s rich landscapes is horse riding. Tours are offered for different levels of experience ranging from beginner to expert.