Reykjavik

Travel Guide
Reykjavik

The most northerly capital city in the world combines amazing natural wonders with the exciting buzz of a thriving, creative metropolis.

Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, is small, but has many great things to do. The city features a world-renowned music scene, eclectic architecture, Viking history, geothermal swimming pools and some of the friendliest and safest streets in Europe. Reykjavík also makes the perfect base for experiencing Iceland’s incredible natural beauty, which you can enjoy through leisurely daytrips or action-packed multi-day adventures.

Reykjavík’s weather is highly changeable, so pack accordingly. When the sun shines, take a boat tour at Reykjavík Harbour to see puffins and whales. Then join the throngs of locals and enjoy the city’s downtown parks, Tjörnin Lake and markets. Climb the bell tower of Iceland’s largest church, Hallgrimskirkja, for panoramic views across Old Town’s colored rooftops to the spectacular mountains and glaciers beyond.

If you’re visiting between October and March, don’t miss Mother Nature’s greatest lightshow, the aurora borealis (northern lights). On dark, clear nights, wrap up and head to Grótta lighthouse, Miklatún or Hljómskálagarður parks, or Öskjuhlíð Hill for the city’s best vantage points.

When the icy winds pick up, seek shelter in Reykjavík’s many museums. Visit the 871±2 Settlement Exhibition at Reykjavík City Museum to see the oldest archeological ruins in Iceland, then follow the country’s journey to nationhood at The National Museum of Iceland. Stop by the Saga Museum, unusually located in one of six water tanks at Perlan. Here, waxwork figures recall key moments in Iceland’s past.

For a small city, Reykjavík has made its presence known on the world’s cultural and creative stages. Explore the city’s galleries, bookshops and quirky boutiques before heading off to discover the next Sigur Rós or Björk in the city’s acclaimed bars and live music venues.

After exploring Reykjavík’s streets, dance floors and countryside, join locals in one of the city’s seven natural geothermal springs, such as Arbaejarlaug and Laugardalslaug.

It’s best to plan your visit based on the seasons and your preferred activities. By mid-June, Reykjavík experiences 21 hours of sunlight per day, giving you plenty of daylight to discover all the delights this stunning metropolis has to offer.

For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in Reykjavik page.

Hotel Von
Hotel Von
3.5 out of 5
Laugavegur 55, Reykjavik, 101
The price is $136 per night from May 17 to May 18
Stay at this 3.5-star business-friendly hotel in Reykjavik. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a 24-hour front desk. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (133 reviews)
"Super central and ticks all the boxes for a long weekend stay! Staff were helpful and hotel was quiet, and easy if we had bought anything to drop off during the day as hotel was 2 minutes from everything! Small rooms so for a longer stay you might want something bigger, but perfect for our weekend ..."

Reviewed on May 2, 2022

Hotel Von
Reykjavik Residence Hotel
Reykjavik Residence Hotel
4 out of 5
Hverfisgata 60, Reykjavik, 101
The price is $159 per night from May 17 to May 18
Stay at this 4-star aparthotel in Reykjavik. Enjoy free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, and an airport shuttle. Our guests praise the breakfast and the WiFi in our ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (2,003 reviews)
"Excellent location; less than 5 minutes walk to the old down town shopping and restaurant area. Good sized apartment, clean and well maintained, best value for money among the several hotels that we stayed in Iceland. The only downside is it does not provide parking. On the other hand, we managed ..."

Reviewed on May 14, 2022

Reykjavik Residence Hotel
Fosshotel Reykjavik
Fosshotel Reykjavik
4 out of 5
Þórunnartún 1 - Höfðatorg, Reykjavik, 105
The price is $165 per night from May 17 to May 18
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Reykjavik. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy rooms ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (993 reviews)
"Accommodated early check in so we could take a nap after a red eye. Also great rooms and very convenient location - everything within waking distance"

Reviewed on Apr 19, 2022

Fosshotel Reykjavik
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Room With A View Apartments
Room With A View Apartments
4 out of 5
Laugavegur 18, Reykjavik, 101
The price is $101 per night from May 18 to May 19
Stay at this 4-star apartment in Reykjavik. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a terrace. Our guests praise the WiFi and the helpful staff in our reviews. Popular ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (1,703 reviews)
"This hotel is in the middle of the city, so you can walk all the city tours. I was worried because there was a review that said parking is difficult, but it's not that difficult. There is a P1 parking lot right behind the hotel, and you can stop there for a while to unload or load, and the cathedral ..."

Reviewed on May 7, 2022

Room With A View Apartments
Reykjavik Residence Hotel
Reykjavik Residence Hotel
4 out of 5
Hverfisgata 60, Reykjavik, 101
The price is $159 per night from May 17 to May 18
Stay at this 4-star aparthotel in Reykjavik. Enjoy free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, and an airport shuttle. Our guests praise the breakfast and the WiFi in our ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (2,003 reviews)
"Excellent location; less than 5 minutes walk to the old down town shopping and restaurant area. Good sized apartment, clean and well maintained, best value for money among the several hotels that we stayed in Iceland. The only downside is it does not provide parking. On the other hand, we managed ..."

Reviewed on May 14, 2022

Reykjavik Residence Hotel
Black Pearl Luxury Apartments
Black Pearl Luxury Apartments
4.5 out of 5
Tryggvagata 18A, 102, Reykjavik, 101
The price is $254 per night from May 17 to May 18
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury aparthotel in Reykjavik. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy beds in ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (277 reviews)
"This hotel/apartment is immaculate and in an excellent location. There are several outstanding restaurants within walking distance and the apartment has all of the amenities you would need. The staff is friendly and extremely helpful and I would stay there again on a return trip."

Reviewed on Apr 18, 2022

Black Pearl Luxury Apartments
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Reykjavik

Much of central Reykjavik is compact enough to navigate on foot, which is the best way to get a feel for the city and take in its unique architecture. There is also an extensive bus system which covers the city center, outlying suburbs and beyond, while car rental is a good option too. Taxis are convenient but expensive. Cycling is a pleasant way of getting around, although there are not many cycle paths. Visit the Icelandic Transport Authority website.Browse Reykjavik rental cars.

Best time to visit

Reykjavik is among the coldest capital cities in the world, but its weather varies widely depending on what time of year you visit. The summer sees average high temperatures in the mid 50s F (10–12 C) and incredibly long days, with up to 21 hours of sunlight per day. Winter, by contrast, is bitterly cold and incredibly gloomy, but the dark skies mean this is the season to view the stunning northern lights.

Popular places to visit in Reykjavik

Top things to do in Reykjavik

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Reykjavik

Cities near Reykjavik