Are you coming to Iceland and discovering how much everything costs here? 🙂
Here are 20 free things to do in the greater Reykjavik area for you to enjoy so you can save some Icelandic krona
- A visit to Hallgrímskirkja church
It’s a must-visit to check out this beautiful landmark of Reykjavik.
You can optionally go for the beautiful view from the church tower but it costs a 900 Isk ticket to be able to go up the elevator to the tower. And as you are in the neighborhood.
Go to the museum garden of Icelandic master sculptor, Einar Jonsson
He truly is a master and there are many wonderful sculptures to be admired in his garden.
Check out the beautiful Harpa concert hall.
This magnificent structure opened up it doors in May 2011 and has won
many awards for both architecture and being one of the best concert and conference halls in the world.
It houses both the Icelandic symphony orchestra and the Icelandic opera
Have a run/jog along the beautiful coastline from Harpa concert hall to the sculpture museum
of Sigurjon Olafsson. This is a 3,5 km one-way route and you can even run/jog back if you are up for more activity :).
This brings me to a nice artwork that is on this route…
Sólfarið or The Sun Voyager is a beautiful sculpture/artwork by Icelandic artist Jon Gunnar Arnason.
It’s located close to the Harpa concert hall and has a resemblance to the old Vikings ships.
Supposed to be an ode to the sun this beauty is a favorite for many photographers visiting Reykjavik.
Go visit the environmental artwork Þúfan in the Reykjavik harbor.
It’s in the west entrance to the harbor, directly opposing the Harpa concert hall.
This is one of the biggest artworks ever made in Iceland, standing 8 meters tall and around 26 meters in diameter.
On top, there is a small hut designed for drying fish (More on that on our Reykjavik Food Lovers tour)
The Reykjavik Museum of Photography
It’s always fun when downtown to visit this museum and check out the ongoing exhibition.
It focuses on Icelandic photography but also exhibits works of foreign photographers
People-watching in the one and only Reykjavik flea market.
This is the place to see Icelanders from all walks of life.
you can rent a booth there to get rid of old stuff and frequently Icelandic celebrities do just that.
You can also sample all kinds of Icelandic traditional food and even candy there in the small food market.
We sometimes visit this market on our fun food tour
Unfortunately, it’s only open during the weekends from 11 am – 17 pm
The Reykjavik City Library
A great place to relax a little with nice seating available throughout the library.
It even has a really nice kids area on the second floor so if you have your whole family with you then that’s a nice option
Go Graffiti/house artwork hunting in central Reykjavik
There are many beautiful artworks to be admired and here is a couple to start off with.
The names are purely fictional and from my mind
The fisherman, Monroe & co, The fist, The sea
Go for a walk around the beautiful Reykjavik pond and maybe feed the birds if you have some bread to spare
A visit to Grótta Lighthouse
Especially during sunset or sunrise
It even has a nice bonus of you being able to have a nice hot foot bath close by
Just be careful about going out to the lighthouse itself when it’s possible because the tide rises quickly and
people have got in trouble when crossing over to the lighthouse.
Visit the 2 malls in the greater Reykjavik area and go people watching
There are 2 big (for Iceland :)) malls in the greater Reykjavik area = Kringlan and Smáralind
What we are suggesting here is that you just go people watching and resist the temptation to buy anything ..
There are plenty of seating areas for the weary feet, I especially like the leather seats in the middle of the 1st floor of Kringlan 🙂
Go for a nice walk in some of the public areas available in Reykjavik
Elliðarárdalur is a really nice tree-filled valley with a salmon river running through the center and there is a really nice 10 km circle you can enjoy there.
You can also have a picnic in the center surrounded by trees that shield you from the always reliable wind in Reykjavik.
Laugardalur is another option, this is a 30-minute walk from the Reykjavik city center. and there you can see where the women of Old Reykjavik did the laundry which brings me to
The Botanic garden of Reykjavik
Situated in Laugardalur (hot spring valley), it’s always nice to take a stroll through the garden and if you can spare it
grab a coffee in the small “secret” coffeehouse in the middle of the botanic garden.
Go hiking up Mount Esja (The mountain of Reykjavik)
This guardian of Reykjavik rises to 914 meters and it’s very popular for hiking.
Easily accessed by bus and even by bicycle. The summit Þverfellshorn offers a great view of the greater Reykjavik area.
The hike takes around 2 hours up and down for average hikers.
Drink the Icelandic water
It’s free, we have plenty of it and it’s the best water in the world
Check out the great view over the greater Reykjavik area from Perlan
This glass dome was built on top of 6 huge water tanks which houses the hot water storage for the eastern part of Reykjavik,
each tank contains about 4 million liters of water averaging 85°C (185°F).
The great viewing area on the top floor takes full advantage of the panorama enjoyed from the hill of Öskjuhlíð.
Just take the elevator to the top and walk outside. And because you’re in the area…
Check out the one and only geothermally heated beach of Reykjavik, Nauthólsvík
You can go out for a swim in the sea (Like the Vikings still do) and then heat up your body again in the small hot tub available there.
The admission to the beach, hot tub, changing rooms and toilets is free during the summertime but in wintertime, the admission is 600 ISK.
Most Icelandic people believe in hidden people so why not visit the Elfgarden of Hafnarfjordur, Hellisgerði?
They have elf translators who go for guided walks with people but what I’m suggesting is you just show up, maybe have a picnic and
just see if you don’t get a glimpse of Elves or fairies in the garden.
http://www.alfagardurinn.is/I used Google maps for all locations so you would find them more easily.
Hope you get some ideas here of what to do for free in Reykjavik but please comment if you can point out
more options so I can add them to the pack.