Reykjavik

Iceland offers a variety of natural wonders - glaciers, geysirs, thermal pools and of course at certain times of year the spectacle of the Northern Lights. There is a multitude of activities on offer - from horse riding to diving, whale watching to bird watching, 4x4 adventures, national parks to hike in and of course swimming.

The Blue Lagoon is a must for anyone visiting Iceland and is conveniently located near to the airport making it an easy trip to do on your last day - you can relax in the warm waters enjoying the last moments of your holiday before heading back. Reykjavik itself has many superb restaurants where you can taste some of the local specialities, exclusive shops and boutiques and a good choice of hotels. The nightlife is reputed to be one of the best in Europe.

Getting here:

Two airports serve the Reykjavík area, one for international flights and another for domestic flights. They are 50 km away from each other.

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Reykjavik

As the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik is a cosmopolitan and bustling city. It's also a great place to base yourself for your Icelandic adventure.

Reykjavík's old town is small and easy to walk around. The houses have some very distinct features, most notably their brightly colored corrugated metal siding. Plan to spend at least a couple hours just wandering around, taking in the city. And for further feasts of the eyes, there are several museums and art galleries in the city, most of them within easy reach of the downtown area.

There is a vibrant music scene with concerts most evenings in the centre of the city. For theatre enthusiasts the city boasts two main theatres staging around 10 plays a year each, both domestic and foreign, as well as a number of smaller theatre groups specialising in different kinds of modern theatre.

There are a number of opportunities to experience at least a bit of Icelandic nature without leaving the city itself, and outdoors activities in the immediate vicinity of the city are easy to find. And no visit to Reykjavík would be complete without going to at least one of the geothermal pools.

Places to visit

The City Hall Tjarnargata is one of the best examples of late 20th century architecture in Iceland, built into Tjörnin (The Pond). On the ground floor, which is open to the public, there is a large relief map of the whole country as well as a café and an exhibition hall.

Reykjavík Cathedral is right beside the parliament and is the head Lutheran church of the country. Similarly deceptive in size, it has been beautifully renovated both inside and out to reflect its original 18th century architecture. 

National Gallery of Iceland with a large collection of works by Icelandic 19th and 20th century artists, as well as some works by foreign artists including Picasso, Munch and others.

National Museum of Iceland located right by the University of Iceland campus, takes the visitor through the history of a nation from settlement to today.

Northern Lights Centre explains the cultural significance of the Aurora Borealis in different cultures, details the scientific mechanism for the Aurora, and allows you to see various simulations, videos, and slideshows of the Aurora borealis.

Families

Although you may not always imagine it but Reykjavik is a great place for families.  There are plenty of interesting activities to enjoy whether it's splashing around in a thermal pool, trying on Viking armour or viewing some of the largest mammals on Earth at close range.  

The city also has a reputation for being a safe, clean and compact city centre that is simple to navigate on foot and provides easy access to nature.  You'll also be pleasantly surprised by how accommodating the locals are towards young families with a high chair in every cafe etc.

Geothermal Swimming Pools

Outdoor geothermal swimming pools are an important part of Icelandic culture and a visit to them is a great way to relax with Icelanders. In fact it is not stretching the truth too far to suggest that because drinking is so expensive the hot-pots at these pools serve the same role that pubs and bars do in the rest of Europe.

Laugardalslaug - The city's largest pool with extensive facilities, situated in Laugardalur Valley east of the city centre. It has two large pools for swimming, several hot-pots, a seawater bath, a steam bath, and water slide.

Getting in touch with nature

Reykjavík is actually one of the very best places to go whale watching in Iceland. Whales frequently come into Faxaflói, the large bay which Reykjavík sits by and on a typical trip of around 3 hours you can almost be guaranteed to see at least some minke whales and possibly even a humpback.

Horse riding is one of the most popular tourist activities in Iceland due to the special nature of the Icelandic Horse.

The immediate vicinity of Reykjavík offers some good hiking opportunities. By far the most popular among these is Esjan, the mountain that dominates the view to the north from much of the capital.

Reykjavik and surrounding area is great for seeing the northern lights. The lights show up in the winter time and are most likely to be seen in Sept-Oct and Feb-March.

This Reykjavik Domestic Animal Zoo, in the middle of Reykjavík, is a place where children can come and get in touch with some of the farming heritage of the country, with most species of domestic animals found in Iceland represented.

Climate in Reykjavik

The weather in Reykjavík is notoriously unpredictable. One minute the sun may be shining on a nice summers day, the next it may change into a windy, rainy autumn. Temperatures in Reykjavík are quite bland.

They don't go very high in the summer, nor do they go much below zero during winter. It follows that the differences between seasons are relatively small compared to what people experience on either side of the Atlantic.

See our accommodation options in Reykjavik

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What we like

  • Reykjavik now has a great reputation amongst young people and families as a tiny trendy city which is easily accessible and incredibly interesting offering something for everyone.
  • A wonderfully diverse Icelandic cuisine awaits you!
  • For a small city, it knows how to cater for visitors, with a breadth and depth of accommodation to suit most budgets. 

Blue Lagoon

  • The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland.  The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavik in the south of the island.  It is approximately 39km from Reykjavik so well worth a visit during your stay.
  • The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases.
  • The lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed every two days.

Iceland Volcano and Earthquake Centre

  • The Iceland Volcano and Earthquake Centre is a brand new interactive educational exhibit dedicated to the unique volcanoes and geology of Iceland.
  • Located in Hvolsvöllur in the South of the island, it makes for an easy day trip from Reykjavik.  The town of Hvolsvöllur is well situated by the roots of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, the mighty Katla volcano and Mount Hekla which has erupted 18 times since 1104, the last time in the year 2000.
  • The centre was recently voted the second most exciting new opening for tourists by Lonely Planet!
  • Feel the forces of nature as you experience an earthquake and see the Fiery Heart of Iceland - a 12m high structure simulating the Mantle plume and the magma flow underneath Iceland. 

Top family activities

  • Reykjavik City Musem to experience the city's culture
  • Reykjavík Family Park & Zoo
  • Try delicious Icelandic food - hot dogs, soft ice cream, skyr and liquorice
  • Climb to the very top of majestic Mount Esja 
  • See whales and puffins on a boat trip from the old harbour
  • Watch bubbling hot springs and roaring waterfalls on a day trip to Rekjavik.

Holiday insurance

Holiday insurance is a requirement when booking our holidays

If you have a policy in place - that's great - if not the policy on our site is available from MPI  This covers all the key areas.

  • Hotel Arnarhvoll

    £891

    (£pp on std occ)

    104 BEDROOMS PUBLIC PARKING IS AVAILABLE AT AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE FREE WIRED INTERNET ACCESS SAUNA, HOT TUB AND JACUZZI

    Situated right in the city centre of Reykjavik, the Hotel Arnarhvoll boasts modern Scandinavian design providing guests with a sophisticated and stylish environment.

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  • Grand Hotel Reykjavik

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    FREE WIFI 311 BEDROOMS FREE CAR PARKING THE REYKJAVÍK SPA & GYM

    The Grand Hotel Reykjavik is an excellent hotel for anyone looking for good service and facilities. It is the largest hotel in Iceland and is situated in a quiet area of Reyjkavik, with easy access to the city's amenities.

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  • Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    89 BEDROOMS 2 OR 3 PEOPLE PER ROOM FREE WIFI IS AVAILABLE

    Made up of three 18th century style buildings, this hotel is in the heart of the historical part of the city on one of Reykjavik's oldest streets.

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  • Hotel Klettur

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    166 BEDROOMS WIFI ACCESS THROUGHOUT BED AND BREAKFAST PRIVATE CAR PARK WITH 30 SPACES

    The Hotel Klettur is a beautiful first class hotel, a stone's throw from downtown Reykjavík.

    The hotel is housed in a new-build property with a sleek, minimalist facade inspired by Icelandic nature, especially the Icelandic rocks. Its name is derived from the rock that can be found in the basement, bursting out through the wall.

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  • Hotel Cabin

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    249 BEDROOMS FREE WIFI ACCESS FREE CAR PARKING BED & BREAKFAST

    Hotel Cabin is well situated at Borgartún and has a beautiful view of the bay nearby. Just a short distance away is the city’s main shopping area and the bustling downtown cafés and pubs.

    In the vicinity is the Laugardalur recreational area with its many sports and swimming facilities.

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  • Hotel Ork

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    79 BEDROOMS FREE PARKING FREE WIRELESS NETWORK LEISURE FACILITIES BED & BREAKFAST

    The Hotel Örk is a first class hotel located in the hot springs capital of the world, Hveragerði and its surroundings offer a great opportunity to experience many wonderful natural phenomena only 44 km from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik.

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  • Hotel Midgardur

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    170 GUEST BEDROOMS FREE WIFI SPA FACILITIES AND GYMNASIUM PUBLIC PARKING FACILITIES HALF BOARD AVAILABLE

    The Hotel Midgardur is ideally located just a short walking distance from all the main attractions of the city of Reykjavik.  It offers comfortable and modern bedrooms, a Nordic fusion restaurant as well as a garden that includes an outdoor hot pool which is part of the fabulous Midgardur Spa located on the bottom level of the hotel.  

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  • Hotel Klopp

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    46 BEDROOMS FREE WIFI HALF BOARD AVAILABLE PUBLIC PARKING FACILITIES

    The Hotel Klopp is located right in the city centre of Reykjavik and therefore ideally placed to explore the city on foot with a myriad of shops, restaurants and attractions surrounding the hotel.

    A relatively small hotel, with 46 bedrooms, it offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere.  

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  • Hotel Plaza

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    200 BEDROOMS FREE WIFI PUBLIC PARKING FACILITIES HALF BOARD AVAILABLE

    The Hotel Plaza offers bright and comfortable rooms with a spacious lobby are and hotel bar where you can relax after an eventful day in Reykjavik.  

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  • Hotel Thingholt

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    52 BEDROOMS FREE WIFI HALF BOARD AVAILABLE PUBLIC PARKING FACILITIES SPA AREA

    The Hotel Thingholt is a beautifully designed boutique hotel located right in the heart of the city of Reykjavik.  All of the rooms are offered in a sleek contemporary style along with personalised service, a restaurant, bar and much more.

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  • Hotel Skjaldbreid

    £POA

    (£pp on std occ)

    33 BEDROOMS FREE WIFI HALF BOARD AVAILABLE NO ON SITE PARKING FACILITIES

    Located on Laugavegur, the main shopping street in Reykjavik city centre. Skjaldbreid offers warm and comfortable rooms, a breakfast buffet along with a friendly and personalised service.

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