Top 10: Best Free Things to Do in Reykjavík

Like A Local Guide • 1 Oct, 2013

After consulting Jonas, our local editor from Reykjavík, it turns out that it’s almost impossible to find free things to do here. However after thinking really hard, he came up with a list of 10 free things because a list of 8 or 9 wouldn’t have been nearly as awesome!

1. Walk hand in hand by the seaside at Grótta

Take a romantic seaside walk at Grótta – it’ll bewitch you with its beautiful scenery and sunsets. There’s also a small footpath carved into a rock where groups of locals can be seen sitting on sunny days. If the tide is right you’ll get the opportunity to go to the lighthouse. Read more…

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2. Discover the arty side of Reykjavík at Reykjavík Art Museum

Reykjavík Art Museum is the largest visual art institution in Iceland and Reykjavík locals take great pride in it. Even though entrance is only free for children under 18, adults can visit all three museums that belong to Reykjavík Art Museum with a single ticket. On a rainy day, the three museums will fill up your day nicely. Read more…

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3. Feed the birds by lake Tjörnin

Tjörnin is a very popular spot among young families and older people who come here to relax by the pond and feed the birdies. At times it’s not allowed to feed them, so be sure to take note of the signs. To make bird-feeding completely free you can ask a bakery if they have an old bread to give away. Read more…

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4. Soak up the sun at Nauthólsvík – the Icelandic Copacabana

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. Read more…

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5. Get a panoramic view of Reykjavík at Perlan

Go to the viewing deck of Perlan restaurant to enjoy a full panoramic view of the greater Reykjavík area. The architecture of the building is original and interesting, and there’s even a small artificial geyser next to it. Here you’ll also find the Saga Museum (not free) and book and music markets. Read more…

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6. Make friends with locals at Kolaportið flea market

Check out the local flea market to find some cool souvenirs (the buying part is obviously not free). The best part of the market is the food section where you can find some truly unusual delicacies such as shark or whale meat. If you ask nicely you might get a piece for tasting! It’s also a good place for people-watching and generally enjoying the hustle. Read more…

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7. Get active at Elliðaárdalur

This outdoor recreation area has rivers, waterfalls, birds, forest and flowers – a true oasis. It’s the perfect place for any outdoor activity or for simply taking a city retreat without actually leaving the city. The chances of running into other tourists here are near zero. There’s also an unbelievable amount of rabbits hopping around in the area. Read more…

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8. Climb (almost) to the top of the world at Esjan

Climbing 914 metres above sea level to conquer Mount Esja gives you a great workout and guarantees you a breathtaking view from the top. On the way up you’ll probably meet locals power walking, jogging or walking their dogs. Be sure to wear comfortable and weatherproof clothing as the journey takes 1.5–2 hours. Read more…

23542039033_3a5b4c6653_kPhoto by: Giuseppe Milo

9. Educate yourself on local culture at Þjóðarbókhlaðan

Despite the impossible-to-pronounce name, the National Library is a must for anyone interested in Icelandic culture. In addition to books, they often display free exhibitions on the first floor. As in any library, be respectful to other guests and keep the volume of your tone and phone low. Read more…

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10. Drink tap water!

Even though it’s kind of obvious that tap water is free, it’s not something you can drink anywhere because of purity issues. In Reykjavík you can feel safe drinking tap water as it’s clean and healthy. Save money and the environment by asking for tap water instead of bottled water at restaurants and cafés.

14110538731_1261928f6c_kPhoto by: Philip Kraaijenbrink

Like A Local Guide
Like A Local Guide is about stepping off the tourist trail and finding cool and cosy spots where locals like to spend their time. We built a website and mobile app to bring insider recommendations from around the world to your fingertips.

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    No, you take shouldn't go to a bakery and ask for old bread. Feeding birds and lot of other animals bread gives them yeast infections and a whole lot of other problems! It can even damage them so badly they can no longer fly, which means they die! So please just feed them some cheap birdseed or type of nut. Other than that though, fantastic article. Would love to visit one day. (:
    Lifelong Vagabonds • Jun 26, 2016 • Reply