13 Things You Need to Do in Reykjavik
The Blue Lagoon
This one might feel obvious, but obvious ain’t a bad thing. Take a dip in this outdoor geothermal pool (yep, even in winter) to reinvigorate your senses the Icelandic way. Schmear on your silica mud mask, grab a local Gull beer from the lagoon bar and enjoy the scenic mountain backdrop.
The Golden Circle
If you can’t spend a week driving the Ring Road, take a day tour to see the amazing landscapes along the Golden Circle (you know, like geysers, waterfalls, crater lakes and national parks). Rent a car or opt for a guided tour. (Our favorite is SuperJeep’s eight-hour excursion.)
The Best Hot Dog in the World
The hot dogs from Bæjarins Beztu are made with a mixture of beef, lamb and pork (no reindeer, people) and have a reputation for being extra long and extra juicy. Follow in the former president’s footsteps and order yours Clinton-style, topped with mustard.
Orcas in the Arctic
If you visit during the summer, you could catch orcas, humpbacks and blue whales swimming around the island. Tours are about three hours, and leave daily from the Old Harbour.
Sunset Cocktails at Midnight
From June to August the sun almost never sets. (Seriously, there’s about 24 hours of daylight.) As such, Reykjavík is home to quite the partying scene. Head to Lebowski Bar (yes, that’s a watering hole inspired by the Big Lebowski) and choose from dozens of takes on the classic White Russian (including one with Cocoa Puffs cereal).
Reynisfjara Beach (two hours from Reykjavík) is like no place you’ve ever been. Think brooding currents and smashing waves, against pitch black sand and towering sea stacks.
Sushi at Fishmarket
Yes, fermented shark and puffin are a crucial part of Icelandic cuisine, but in our opinion, the real reason to go is the sushi. Head to Fish Market for an elegant meal of Thai-style lobster soup in coconut milk and fresh Atlantic salmon and Arctic char plucked right from the ocean.
A claustrophobic’s worst nightmare and an adrenaline junkie’s dream, the guided tour of this 4,000-year-old dormant volcano takes you on a hike across a lava field and into the depths of a magma chamber.
The Tasting Menu at DILL
Five words: smoky cauliflower in beer broth.
The Blue Lagoon is the most popular of Iceland’s geothermal pools, but it’s not the only one. Locals spend their time at Laugardalslaug, a naturally hot swimming pool located right in the city. In addition to the huge outdoor pool, you’ll find saltwater hot tubs and steam rooms.
Forget the domes and flying buttresses; Hallgrímskirkja is a 270-foot-tall church designed to mirror the country’s rocky landscape. Take the elevator up to the observation tower for one of the best views in the country.
The Northern Lights
If you’re in Reykjavík from September to April, you could catch a Northern Lights show, but the best way to spot the phenomenon is to get out of the city, ideally with a tour guide who can help you find the best conditions in which to see them. You’ll swear you’ve been transported to another planet.