Blue Lagoon and Reykjavík Sightseeing
Get to know the ins and outs of Reykjavík city on this fascinating sightseeing tour and end the day relaxing in the azure waters of the Blue Lagoon. This tour is perfect for those who wish to experience the vibrant city and unwind in the calming scenery of the world famous spa.
This tour will take you around Reykjavík city where you will visit architectural wonders and historical locations. Your expert guide will inform you about the city’s history as they bring you from location to location.
The tour starts at Harpa Concert Hall and you can either meet your guide there or have them pick you up. After marvelling at Harpa’s architecture and its distinctive coloured glass facade that was inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland, you will be driven to another architectural gem; Perlan.
Perlan is a hemispherical structure placed on top hot water storage tanks. This dome-like building is located on top of Öskjuhlíð hill and is one of the landmarks of Reykjavík. From Perlan’ viewing deck on the fourth floor, you can get a fantastic panoramic view of the city.
You will then travel down to the Reykjavík’s centre where you’ll learn about the settlement of the city and the life of the people in Reykjavík throughout history. You’ll find some of the city’s oldest houses in the centre, and your guide will be more than happy to tell you about each one.
After a day of sightseeing, it is time to relax your feet and mind in the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon.
This famous spa is located in a vast dark lava field, and the crystal-blue waters are a stark contrast with the dark scenery around. You’ll get to spend some time in the lagoon and unwind before you are driven back to Reykjavík.
Don’t miss this chance to know this incredible city and to take a dip in the world famous Blue Lagoon spa. Book now to secure your seat on this fun-filled tour. Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: All year
- Duration: 6 hours
- Activities: Sightseeing, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 2 years.
- Languages: English, Spanish, Icelandic, Danish, Portuguese
- Highlights: Blue Lagoon,
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and is the single most popular attraction in Iceland.
The water is rich in silica and sulphur that helps make your skin shine like a baby. The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility that helps find cures for skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
The temperature in the bathing and swimming area is very comfortable, and averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There´s a restaurant there and it´s a truly romantic and beautiful place one should not miss while in Iceland.Reykjavík,
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
What to See & Do in Reykjavik
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.Perlan,
Perlan ('The Pearl') is a museum and rotating glass dome built on top of six water tanks that together store 24 million litres of Reykjavík's hot water. Surrounded by trees, Perlan stands on top of Öskjuhlíð Hill and is one of the capital's most distinctive landmarks.
History & Construction
The building was originally designed by architect Ingimundur Sveinsson and in 1991, the hot water storage tanks that had stood on top of Öskjuhlíð since the mid-20th-century were updated when the hemispherical glass dome structure was added on top. The project was largely curated by politician Davíð Oddsson, during his term as mayor of Reykjavík.
One of the six water tanks does not store any water. From 2002-2014 it housed a Viking-history museum, but currently, the tank envelopes an exhibition called 'Jöklar og Íshellar' ('The Glacier Exhibition of Iceland') which showcases Iceland's glaciers and ice caves. An adult ticket to the exhibition costs 2,900 ISK and includes complimentary entrance to the viewing platform.
At night, the water tanks are lit up by floodlights that illuminate the construction for all of the city to see. On top of the dome is a rotating light which serves to signal the aeroplanes that fly to and from the nearby Reykjavík Domestic Airport.
Museum & Sightseeing
The very first Glacier Exhibition of Iceland opened in Perlan in July 2017. The project features a replica of an ice tunnel, where visitors are offered a glance into the past, present and future of the Icelandic glaciers.
Further plans for the site are to create a grand-scale museum of natural wonders, with several ambitious nature exhibitions expected to open in the coming year. These include Iceland’s first planetarium, which will make use of the 360° dome to offer an immersive experience of the stars of the night sky. Additionally, exhibitions called 'Land, Coast, Ocean' and 'Northern Lights' are set to open in 2018.
Currently, the observation deck on top of Perlan offers an impressive and panoramic view of the city and its surroundings, with Adult tickets available for 490 ISK. The venue is one of the best spots to see the city, but it is quite difficult to reach from central Reykjavík without a car. Another option is the hop-on City Sightseeing bus that goes between all the major sights of Reykjavík.
- Press here to Purchase a Ticket for the Hop on - Hop off Sightseeing Bus
- Press here to access the Cheapest Market Place for Rental Cars in Iceland
On the fourth and fifth floors of the building, the dome itself hosts the restaurant Út í bláinn, the café Kaffitár and the gift shop Rammagerðin. Outside the entrance, there is a man-made geyser, Strokkur, named after its real-life counterpart in the geothermal valley of Haukadalur.
The surrounding woodland of Öskjuhlíð boasts of several scenic hiking trails and cycling routes, along with the remains of multiple military bunkers that were built by the US army during its WWII occupation in Iceland.
- Visit the real geysers on these Golden Circle Tours.
- Check out our collection of Glacier Tours, as well as Ice Cave and Ice Tunnel Tours '
Harpa – Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre
Harpa is Rekjavík’s premier concert hall and conference centre. Opened in 2011, it was designed by a collaboration between Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, and the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects.
The idea for a purpose-built concert hall in Reykjavík had been tossed around since the 1880s, but it wasn't until this millennium that it began to gain traction. Construction finally began in 2007.
It’s future, however, was left uncertain in the wake of the financial crash of 2008, when it was left partially constructed and the funds to finish it were lacking. The Icelandic populace was divided between having a half-finished construction site facing their downtown or spending money no-one was sure they had.
The Icelandic government, however, decided that it was the only building in the country that warranted being raised, in spite of the dubious future of the economy, and fully financed its completion.
- Find out more with Nanna's blog on Harpa
Harpa won the prestigious Mies van de Rohe award in 2013, otherwise known as the European Prize for Contemporary Architecture, and is featured heavily in any tour of the city. Its structure is beautiful and unique; it has a facade of 714 glass panels, all of which are a different shape and built with an LED light that allows for shows whenever the sky is dark.
Olafur Eliasson is world-renowned for his large-scale installation art, and for the influences he takes from the natural world. This is clearly exhibited in Harpa; it reflects the basalt landscapes of Iceland and the dark coloured glass creates beautiful effects with the natural light.
Studio Olafur Eliasson employs 90 people, from architects to graphic designers, craftsmen to art historians. Based in Berlin, they work across the world, and are well-known for works such as London's 2007 Serpentine Gallery Pavillion and the annual event Life is Space.
Henning Larsen Architects are similarly successful. They have collaborated on the construction of dozens of buildings in over twenty countries, such as the Copenhagen Opera House and Uppsala Concert Hall in Sweden. They are currently working on the creation of thirteen buildings around the world, many of which they scored the opportunity to work on due to their competition-winning designs.
Today, Harpa is one of the jewels in Reykjavík’s crown. The hall hosts exhibitions, concerts, cultural events, meetings, and festivals such as Airwaves, Sónar and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival. Home of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and the offices of the Icelandic Opera, it is a centre of culture in Iceland’s capital.
Many internationally known artists from around the world have performed here, including people such as Eddie Izzard and Cyndi Lauper. It also regularly showcases native talent, such as Björk and Of Monsters and Men.
- Find out more about the Music of Iceland
Below, you can see a video showing Harpa's construction.
Pickup time : 09:00, 16:00
Pick up starts at 09:00 and at 16:00. Please be at your pickup location in time for your departure. Should your pickup location be at a bus stop and you need assistance finding it, seek guidance in your Hotel's reception or contact your tour provider directly. You can also meet your tour guides at Harpa Concert Hall. If you choose to do so, please be at Harpa at 09:20 or 16:20.
Guided tour of Reykjavík
Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available)
Meals and refreshments
What to bring:
Good to know:
A towel can be rented at The Blue Lagoon.
You can upgrade your Blue Lagoon Tickets to Comfort, Premium or Luxury and book a water massage. If you choose to do so, please contact your tour provider.