Despite only spending a short while in Iceland, it’s capital city has already cemented itself as one of my favourite European cities. The grim weather and the fact I was visiting Iceland on a budget didn’t dampen the excitement I felt about Reykjavik at all.
The city is small and conveniently walkable, and I found some awesome things to do that were pretty affordable too – some even free. If you’re headed to Iceland soon, here are eight things to do in Reykjavik…
Take the Free Walking Tour
Tip-based walking tours are always one of my favourite ways to acquaint myself with a city. Exploring on foot is a great way to get to know a place, and guides on these kinds of tours are bona-fide local folk, who can give you some great nuggets of information. My guide on the tour, Sara, was great – a history graduate with a focus on gender studies and feminism. Her anecdotes about women in Icelandic history were fascinating, and really in line with my interests.
Have a giggle at the Iceland Phallological Museum
Heh. Willies. A whole museum dedicated to penises you say? Prepare for some giggles to be had. Showcasing preserved phalluses from pretty much every species, the Iceland Phallological Museum is the world’s most comprehensive collection of…dicks. Some of them are pretty damn huge too.
Iceland Phallological Museum, Laugavegur 116, 105 Reykjavík
Check out the architecture at Harpa Concert Hall
During my time in Iceland, the weather was unpredictable to say the list. I’d had Harpa Concert Hall bookmarked to visit anyway, but a surprise onslaught of sleet and high winds was enough to get me running up to the sliding doors. The hall plays host to some impressive orchestral performances – however, if you’re not feeling like catching a show, you can walk around the foyers for free and marvel at the seriously impressive architecture.
Harpa, Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík
Try some local lobster soup
I’ve previously talked about eating on a budget in Iceland, but there’s one food thing you do try, make it the lobster soup at Sea Baron. Because IT IS DELICIOUS. I wouldn’t bother with the mains if I’m honest, and the bowl of soup comes with plenty of bread – enough for it to be a decently filling lunch on its own!
Seabaron, Geirsgata 8, 101 Reykjavík
Rock out at the Icelandic Punk Museum
I’ve already dedicated a whole post to Reykjavik’s Icelandic Punk Museum, but I had to include it on my list. If you’ve even a passing interest in alternative music, culture and lifestyle, it’s well worth your time. Housed in a former public toilet, it chronicles…you guessed it, Iceland’s punk scene, and has some fun interactive elements too.
Icelandic Punk Museum, Bankastræti 2, 101 Reykjavík
Taste ‘the best hot dogs in the world’
Another food-related one…am I getting predictable yet? The place to go for one of these is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, whose hotdogs are an Icelandic delicacy. The name roughly translates to ‘best hot dog in town’, and as well as being a hotspot with the locals, everyone from Bill Clinton to James Hetfield’s a fan. Made with Icelandic lamb, they taste different to your usual American style dogs, and are really cheap compared to most of the city’s restaurants.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, Tryggvagata 1, 101 Reykjavík
Visit Hallgrímskirkja and climb the tower
See Reykjavik’s streets and colourful rooftops from above at Hallgrímskirkja Church. One of the country’s tallest structures, it can be seen from pretty much everywhere in Reykjavik. For 1000 ISK (about £7), you can get the elevator to the top and take in the views over the city from all sides of the tower.
Hallgrímskirkja Church, Hallgrímstorg, 101 Reykjavík
Shop at Kolaportið flea market
Kolaportið Flea Market takes place every weekend, and is a fun place to just browse or even pick up some fashion, edible delights and home bargains. You can also wander the food section and try out some samples, a way to get a taste of Icelandic fayre without having to pay for a sit-down meal.
Kolaportið Flea Market, Tryggvagötu 19, Old Harbour, Grófin, Reykjavík