There’s no question that Iceland can be an expensive destination to go to. But that doesn’t mean a vacation there has to break your budget.
There are several ways to cut costs throughout your visit to Iceland, including throughout your stay static in the cozy capital city of Reykjavik.
Home to just 125,000 people, Reykjavik is a little city that’s bustling with life and activities throughout the year. It’s artsy, cute, fun, and just filled up with an incredible energy!
Whether you’re visiting Reykjavik on a weekend city break or likely to leave and explore the complete country, there are several ways to cut costs throughout your stint in the town!
To assist you do that, listed below are the best free (or cheap) things you can do around Iceland’s awesome capital:
Free Things you can do in Reykjavik
1. Have a Free Walking Tour One of the better ways to take up a trip to a fresh city is to have a walking tour. You’ll reach start to see the main sights, learn some history, and acclimatize to the culture. Plus, you have an area expert who you can ask questions to, which can be an invaluable resource in and of itself!
Both companies I recommend will be the City Walk and Free Walking Tours Reykjavik. You can’t fail with either. (Be sure you tip your guide!)
2. Benefit from the Local Entertainment Because the harsh climate forces many Icelanders to be indoors a lot of the entire year, they’ve developed a creative and artistic culture. There are plenty of Icelandic painters, poets, writers, and musicians. You can usually catch a free of charge live show in Reykjavík at Café Rosenberg (sometimes there’s a cover charge at the entranceway), Hlemmur Square Hostel (usually on Wednesday nights), KEX Hostel, HI Loft Hostel, and the Drunk Rabbit Irish Pub, which often has somebody who sings solo along with his guitar.
3. Find Free Hot Springs As the Blue Lagoon could be the most popular hot spring in the region, you will find loads of others around the united states that are free (or at the minimum, less money compared to the Blue Lagoon). Go to the website Hotpot Iceland for the best hot springs close to the city. One nearby hot spring worth visiting is in Reykjadalur. It’s around a 40-minute drive from town and involves a tiny hike to make it happen (about thirty minutes) but it’s a lot more secluded – and far less expensive – compared to the Blue Lagoon!
4. Go out with the Locals Iceland includes a very active Couchsurfing community. I’ve stayed with hosts in Reykjavík aswell as in Akureyri (Iceland’s main northern city). Even though many hosts are expats surviving in Iceland, it’s still the best way to stretch your budget and get helpful local insights! Additionally, in the event that you don’t want to remain with a stranger, there are often weekly meet-ups you can attend! Make some friends!
5. Hit the Beach Nauthólsvík is a man-made beach that not merely has hot tubs but also a heated swimming area! It’s favored by locals and gets quite busy in the summertime so ensure that you come early to have a good spot. Gleam non-heated swimming area so if you’re feeling brave you can attempt the waters (spoiler: it’s cold).
6. Hike Mount Esja If you’re seeking to stretch your legs, head up Esja. The summit sits around 900m above sea level, proclaiming to offer you some amazing views of the town and surrounding area. Located just 10km from the town, the hike will need a few hours however the views are definitely worthwhile! Just be sure you check the elements as it’s unwise to hike during rain or snow.
7. Go to the Harpa Music Hall & Conference Center Opened in 2011, this cultural and social center will probably be worth checking out merely to start to see the architecture for yourself. You can even catch the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Reykjavik Big Band, and the Icelandic Opera here. The venue also hosts a great deal of other shows and performances aswell, so check their website for an up-to-date schedule (performances could have a fee).
Austurbakki 2, +354 528 5000, en.harpa.is. Start to see the website for perforamnce dates and times.
8. See Reykjavík’s Botanical Gardens The town operates this beautifully-designed botanical garden that’s home to over 5,000 plant species. You’ll also see ponds, birdlife, and beautiful flora dotting the tiny garden. There’s also a café nearby that’s open in the summertime that features dishes made out of herbs and spices grown on-site in the garden.
Laugardalur, 104 Reykjavík, +354 411 8650, grasagardur.is. Open daily from 10am-3pm (10pm in the summertime).
9. Go to the Grótta Lighthouse This lighthouse sits at the edge of the town and is an excellent spot to bird watch and gaze out at the stretching Atlantic ocean. It ’s an extended walk along the coast from the town center however the scenic view and gorgeous coastal walk are worthwhile. If you’re visiting in the wintertime months, that is also a great spot to start to see the northern lights!
10. Walk (or Bike) the Coast Reykjavík is a little city and its own coastline is walkable (or bikeable if you need to rent one). Some very nice stops on the way will be the Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach and the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula. If you’re not thinking about biking around on your own, feel free to have a bike tour instead. Iceland Bike is best bike tour company because of this!
11. Visit Perlan That is a dome-shaped building called “The Pearl” and it provides another great spot to get yourself a view of the town and surrounding area! On clear days you can observe so far as Snæfellsjökull, the 700,000-year-old glacier-capped volcano that sits on the western coast of the island. In the dome, there exists a cocktail bar and restaurant, so that it produces a nice spot to go out and revel in the view.
12. Start to see the Sun Voyager This iconic statue sits, referred to as Sólfar in Icelandic, was built-in 1990 by Icelandic sculptor Jón Gunnar Árnason. It’s his interpretation of discovery, using the look of a normal Viking ship to represent the promise of discovering new territory and the freedom that is included with planing a trip to new worlds.
13. Go through the Northern Lights If you’re visiting Reykjavik between October and March you’ll have an excellent potential for seeing the Aurora on a clear night. You’ll need to get away from the town a bit to really have the best view, as the light pollution can make it hard to see.
Cheap Things you can do in Reykjavik
14. Ingest the View from Hallgrímskirkja This church is probably the most remarkable that I’ve seen. The stark concrete façade was made to mimic the Icelandic landscape (that i think it does quite nicely). It had been named following the 17th-century clergyman and Icelandic poet Hallgrímur Pétursson, who wrote the Hymns of the Passion. It’s the tallest building in Reykjavík, and, for a little fee, you can rise to the very best to get incredible shots of the town and its own multicolored rooftops.
Hallgrímstorg 1, +354 510 1000, http://www.hallgrimskirkja.is/. Open daily from 9am-9pm in the summertime and 9am-5pm in the wintertime. Entrance in to the church is free but entry to the tower is 1,000 ISK for adults and 100 ISK for kids. The tower is closed on Sundays during mass.
15. Go to the Reykjavík Punk Museum This museum is housed within an old underground public bathroom (seriously) and is focused on the punk and new wave scene that started took root within the late 70’s. The museum highlights just how many of Icelandic’s famous musical performers (like Björk) could be traced back again to their punk roots. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Bankastræti 2, 101 Reykjavík, +354 568 2003, thepunkmuseum.is. Open Monday to Friday from 10am-10pm and weekends from 12pm-10p. Admission is 1,000 ISK for adults and free for kids 15 and under.
16. Start to see the National Gallery of Iceland If you’re a fan of art, especially modern art, you won’t want to avoid a vacation here. The museum is targeted on Icelandic artwork from the 19th and 20th century and highlights the diverse nature of the art scene in Iceland. Although it is mainly local artists, some foreign works are showcased here aswell.
Fríkirkjuvegur 7, 101 Reykjavík, +354 515 9600, listasafn.is. Open daily from 10am-5pm in the summertime and from 11am-5pm in the wintertime (closed Mondays in the wintertime aswell). Admission is 1,500 ISK for adults, 750 ISK for seniors and persons with disabilities, and free for kids age 18 and under. Buy one ticket for 1,500 ISK valid for three museums: The National Gallery of Iceland, the Sigurjón Ólafsson Museum, and the Ásgrímur JónssonCollection.
17. The Icelandic Phallological Museum That is among the weirdest museums you’ll ever have an opportunity to head to – which s partly why you need to go! Entirely not sexual, the museum has collected penises from varies species roaming the planet earth, land, and sea. The founder, an Icelandic historian named Sigurdur Hjartarson, started the penis museum as a tale but it’s become something a lot more. The complete museum is pretty small which means you won’t need a lot more than 30-60 minutes, but it’s pretty interesting and informative; you’ll actually learn a whole lot about how exactly species procreate (furthermore to seeing a whole lot of…well, exhibits).
Laugavegur 116, 105 Reykjavík, +354 561 6663, phallus.is. Open daily from 10am-6pm. Admission is 1,500 ISK for adults, 1,000 ISK for seniors and persons with disabilities, and free for kids 13 and under.
18. Check out Videy Island That is a little island located just from Reykjavík. It’s an excellent little island for a picnic or a stroll if you’re looking for something a bit off the most common tourist trail. The island is most well-known for the Imagine Peace Tower, envisioned and built by Yoko Ono. On each 9th of October, Yoko Ono involves light the tower on the birthday of John Lennon, in fact it is lit until December 8th, your day John was killed. The ferry is operated by daily in the summertime and on the weekends in the wintertime.
Skarfabakki Pier and Ægisgardur Harbor, +354 519 5000, elding.is/videy-ferry-skarfabakki. Round-trip tickets remain 1,550 ISK for adults, 775 ISK for students aged 7-17, and free for kids under age 6. On October 9th, the ferry trip is free for everybody honoring the Imagine Peace Tower ceremony.
19. Go to the Saga Museum Iceland was initially inhabited by Norwegian Vikings in the 9th century. The high-action wax sculpted scenes are a fascinating way to understand about Viking occasions when life was hard and reliant on the harsh elements, and folks were poor. It’s an excellent family activity.
Grandagardur 2, 101 Reykjavík, +354-694-3096, sagamuseum.is. Admission is 2,100 ISK for adults, 1,600 ISK for students and seniors, and 800 ISK for children.
20. Árbæjarlaug POOL This huge plaza has both outdoor along with indoor pools. In addition, it has water slides, play areas for kids, hot tubs, a sauna, a thermal steam bath, and beach volleyball courts. Located just beyond your city center, that is a great (and budget-friendly) option for anybody who doesn’t want to visit the more touristy Blue Lagoon.
Fylkisvegur 9, 110 Reykjavík, +354 411 5200, reykjavik.is/stadir/arbaejarlaug. Open in the summers Monday-Thursday from 6:30am-10pm, Friday from 6:30am-8pm, and from 9am-6pm on weekends. Admission is 900 ISK for adults but it’s free with the Reykjavík City Card.
21. Grab a Famous Hot Dog Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur has been on the harbor since 1937 and was made famous when Bill Clinton stopped here on his trip in 2004. Between their multiple locations, they sell over 1,000 hot dogs each day! While this isn’t the best hot dog place in the united states, it does lead to a great and iconic stop (and the dogs remain pretty great!).
Tryggvatagata 1, 101 Reykjavík, +354 511 1566, bbp.is. Start to see the website for other locations along with up-to-date hours of operation.
22. Relax at a Cozy Cafe Among my favorite things you can do when I visit somewhere is to relax, relax, and folks watch. I enjoy just grab a book (ideally a book about the destination) and just watch your day pass. You can learn a whole lot about a place simply by observing, and Reykjavik has some excellent cafes. A few of my favorites are Café Babalu, Mál og Menning (a bookstore with a cafe), and Mokka Kaffi.
By firmly taking benefit of these free and cheap activities (and also some money-saving tips) you’ll have the ability visit Reykjavik without blowing the lender. Sure, there are many what to see and do in Reykjavik that are worth investing in, but in the event that you mix and match those activities with these budget-friendly ones you’ll have the ability to go to the Land of Fire and Ice together with your wallet still intact.
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Book Your Visit to Iceland: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you need to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time. The best places in which to stay Reykjavik are:
- Hlemmur Square – A posh hotel with an excellent bar and traditional Icelandic communal dinners many times weekly.
- Kex Hostel – Includes a café and bar with an incredible happy hour, a comfy lounge, and a heated patio.
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