If you’re mindful of your pockets, you’ll be happy to know plenty of things to see and do in Reykjavik are absolutely free! Here they are:
1. Harpa Concert Hall
Harpa Concert Hall is not to be missed. You can freely walk around and enjoy the views of the harbour from the windows. A lot of light floods through the building, a feature which Scandinavian design executes well. A common characteristic of Scandinavian architecture is the inspiration or involvement of nature, and Harpa showcases this beautifully in its columnar shaped glass panels taken inspiration from the basalt rock that can be found throughout the country’s coastline.
2. Panoramic view of Reykjavik from the Perlan
Go to the viewing deck of Perlan restaurant to enjoy a full panoramic view of the greater Reykjavík area. The UFO-style architecture of the building is original and quirky enough to appreciate too. Here you’ll also find the Saga Museum (not free) and often smaller exhibitions.
3. Visit the Old Harbour
Nearby Harpa Concert Hall is the old shipping harbour. This area is super cute with old fishing boats, a few seafood restaurants and a great view of the skyline. This is also from where whale watching tours will depart.
4. Go inside Hallgrímskirkja church
Although we recommend spending the money to head up to the viewing tower (approx. £5), you can also head inside the church for free to marvel at the beautiful stained-glass windows.
5. Sólfar sculpture
This hallmark of Reykjavík is also known as the Sun Voyager sculpture. Designed by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason, this outdoor art piece is an ode to the sun and Iceland’s heritage. With Mt. Esjan across the sea, this is a photo op you don’t want to miss!
6. Searching for street art
Reykjavik is one colourful city, alright. You’ll find street art adorning walls and buildings – even during Gay Pride residents paint part of the main shopping street in colours of the rainbow!
7. Go bird watching at Tjörnin
Spread your own wings and fly – or walk – to watch and feed the birds at this small lake in the city. Iceland is home to a diverse and vibrant community of birdlife, so be sure to take a stroll over and see for yourself.
8. Browse through City Hall
After a nice stroll around Tjörnin, head to the City Hall which is located close by. Here you’ll find the main Tourist Information centre as well as different cultural and historical things on display. We enjoy the huge 3D map of Iceland the most! This is a great place to head to when you first arrive to seek out inspiration and further information on what to do Reykjavik and beyond.
Tip: Look out for the sculpture titled ‘Unknown Bureaucrat’ (pictured above) as you walk from Tjörnin to the City Hall.
9. During summer head to the beach at Nauthólsvík
This artificial beach with hot tubs and heated water might even be better than a real one. It’s very popular among the locals and gets pretty crowded on sunny days, although it’s still a unique experience. We definitely recommend checking this place out! If you’re feeling extra bold, go swim in the non-heated area with the locals.
10. During winter look out for the Northern Lights!
Reykjavik is a great and easy place from which to see the Northern Lights. You’ll get picked up in the city and then you’ll be whisked away into the Icelandic countryside for a night of Aurora hunting. Why not check out our winter city break which includes Northern Lights hunting by super jeep and a small-group tour of the Golden Circle?