Reykjavik is the largest city and capital of Iceland, and it’s the perfect destination to delve into everything that this Nordic nation has to offer. The city is the country’s transport hub, and these days it’s incredibly well connected, meaning you can use the city as a base for exploring the rest of the country or simply stop over for a few days on a layover between Europe and North America.
The city is surrounded by exceptional scenery that is just a short drive away from the centre, and tours are available that will quickly whisk you away to stunning waterfalls and otherworldly landscapes. The city itself is wonderful too, and being the cultural centre of the Icelandic nation, there are excellent galleries and national museums to explore during your stay.
Enjoy relaxing spas in natural thermal waters, learn about Iceland’s settlement from Europe or head out onto the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean in search of whales and puffins.
There are some great tours to take in Reykjavik, and here are the best of them.
1. Reykjavik City Card
Reykjavik has a huge array of attractions, including some wonderful museums and galleries that do an amazing job of explaining and displaying hundreds of years of Icelandic history and culture to visitors with an interest in knowing more.
When you arrive in the city, purchase a Reykjavik City Card to allow you to tour around the best sights at your leisure. The City Card gives you access to not only the best museums but also to the city’s many public thermal swimming pools, so you can enjoy the spa culture the local way, and without too many other tourists.
2. Reykjavik City Walking Tour
This three-hour walking tour takes you through the best that the city has to offer, and lets you enjoy the great Icelandic fresh air on the way. Reykjavik is a fairly compact city, so walking is a wonderful way to see all the sights while your tour guide imparts their local wisdom and knowledge on the group.
You’ll be taken to the top of the iconic Hallgrímskirkja Church, learn about local legends and history and visit such sights as the City Hall, Concert Hall and the harbour.
3. Reykjavik City Sightseeing by Minibus
If walking isn’t your thing, then never fear, because the Reykjavik City Sightseeing tour is here to take you around the city’s best sights in the comfort of a modern minibus.
Not only will you see the famous city centre attractions, such as the Hallgrímskirkja Church and City Hall, but you’ll head further out to the surrounding areas too, to see the Presidential Palace at Bessastaðir and the unique local town of Hafnarfjörður.
You even get to end a long day of sightseeing with a relaxing bath at a thermal swimming pool.
4. Reykjavik Hop on Hop off Tour: 24 Hour Ticket
With the Reykjavik Hop on Hop off bus ticket, you can tour around the Icelandic capital at your leisure, within a 24-hour period.
It’s perfect for those travellers on a short layover or who are just passing through before heading elsewhere in the country, because alongside detailed audio guides, the bus has a multitude of stops that encompass the best sights in the city, including churches, museums and much, much more.
5. Reykjavik: Panoramic Helicopter Flight with Summit Landing
This adventurous tour will take you into the skies above Reykjavik for a breathtaking aerial view of the Icelandic capital that few get to see.
From dizzying heights, you will see the city laid out far below you, while your expert pilot narrates and points out the famous sights you are flying over.
You’ll soon be outside the city, and the helicopter will land on a nearby mountaintop summit for a unique experience, and for even more outstanding panoramic views of Reykjavik.
6. Reykjavik: Myths and Monsters of Iceland Walking Tour
This unusual walking tour will give an entirely new perspective on Icelandic history and culture as you explore the city while learning about the country’s fascination with myths and legends.
Learn about troublesome local elves from centuries-old folklore, dangerous mythical trolls and more, in this compelling tour of Reykjavik.
7. Reykjavik Food, Drink and Museum Walking Tour
Led by a food and beer-loving local, this fantastic walking tour takes you not only through Reykjavik’s iconic sights and marvellous museums, but it also stops off at the best craft breweries and restaurants for a selection of tastings that will allow you to experience Icelandic cuisine.
You’ll enjoy street food and bizarre local recipes, and then top it all off with a two-course meal in a top-quality restaurant.
8. Two Hour Northern Lights Cruise From Reykjavik
If you are looking to see the spectacle that is the Northern Lights, then you’ve certainly come to the right place. Although it can be difficult to see them in the city centre due to light pollution, this tour will take you onto the water for a two-hour cruise into the darkness.
You’ll watch the lights of the city slowly fade behind you, before hunting down this vibrant natural light show along the coast.
9. Reykjavik: Whales of Iceland Exhibition
Whales have long played an important role in Icelandic society, and at the excellent Whales of Iceland Exhibition at the Reykjavik Harbour, you can find out more about the relationship between man and animal.
The exhibition has life-size models of the most abundant species that are found in the waters of Iceland, giving you an entirely new perspective on their enormous size and scale in comparison to humans. You’ll learn about their ecosystems, habits and the threat they are under across the world.
10. Whale Watching Tour From Reykjavik
Just off the coast of Reykjavik can be found a spectacular array of different whale species, from Orcas to Humpbacks, and they are just a short journey away from the city’s harbour.
After learning about these fascinating creatures at the Whale Exhibition, see them in real life on this three-hour boat tour led by experienced whale watching captains. The best part is, if you don’t actually see a whale, you’ll get to go out again completely free of charge.
11. Small Group Puffin Watching RIB Cruise From Reykjavik
Iceland isn’t just a great place for whale watching, though. Wildlife lovers will love the fact that the country is home to huge populations of friendly puffins.
These little critters can be found just a short boat ride away from Reykjavik, and this tour takes you out to Faxaflói Bay to see these beautiful birds nesting on the rocks and under the dramatic cliffs that are found here.
12. Reykjavik: Half Day Food Tasting Tour
Food and culture lovers won’t want to miss out on this exceptional culinary tour of Reykjavik when they are visiting the city.
This walking tour takes you through the capital’s most unique cafes, restaurants and local shops, as you are given the opportunity to try dozens of different dishes and specialities across the capital.
You’ll sample meats and cheeses from across the country, indulge in delicious Icelandic Skyr and of course, finish off with one of the city’s famous hot dogs from the busiest street food stall in Reykjavik.
13. Iceland: Beer Tasting and Tapas-Style Local Cuisine Tour
This beer and food tour takes you to Reykjavik’s Old Harbour, where at the Bryggjan Brugghús Restaurant you’ll be treated to a delightful tasting menu of craft beers and local delicacies.
While you eat, your hosts will regale you with stories and legends from Icelandic history, making this not just a meal out, but a cultural immersion too.
14. Iceland Secret Lagoon
Forget the bustling Blue Lagoon, the Secret Lagoon is the place to visit these days when you are in Reykjavik. Just an hour away from the capital, this thermal swimming pool is found in the great outdoors, surrounded by rural scenery.
At night, it’s a wonderful place to relax in hot water while you watch the bright stars or scan the sky for the glimmers of the Northern Lights. It’s an unusual experience, especially in winter, but it’s a local tradition and cultural practice that Icelanders have indulged in for centuries.
15. Reykjavik: 2 Hour Imagine Peace Tower Tour
Just off the shores of Reykjavik can be found Viðey Island, where Icelanders have erected a lasting monument to peace, dedicated to Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
The Peace Tower lights up the dark sky during the cold months of winter, and this tour will take you across to the island to show you firsthand the motives behind this grand and noble art installation. It’s a unique trip and a great tour to take while visiting Reykjavik.