Reykjavik City Card | Reykjavik in Depth
Explore Reykjavík's many museums, galleries and parks and get to know the world's northernmost capital better with the Reykjavík City Card. This purchase is perfect for every traveller who wishes to experience the heart of Iceland's capital at the best possible price.
The card gives free access to all City Museums and Galleries, including the National Gallery and Museum. If you plan to visit more than two museums, you'll be saving money with the Reykjavík Card.
It is also valid for the Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo, public transport, the seven geothermal pools in the capital area as well as offering wallet-friendly discounts to numerous interesting locations and activities throughout the city. You'll also get discounts at various restaurants, shops and cafés, and a number of tours operated within the city centre.
This card is meant for individuals over 16 years of age. For a children's city card, please see Reykjavik City Card | Children's Card
During the booking process, you can choose a card that is valid for either 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours, simply by choosing corresponding option in the dropdown menu to the right.
Your card will be waiting for you in Reykjavík City Hall where you will bring your voucher. The staff there can assist you in planning your day by pointing out the nearest attractions and providing you with an illustrated map of the downtown area. If you'd like to venture even further, hop on the nearest bus and explore the wider city; all included of course.
You'll find a bus stop right outside City Hall, where you can begin your exploration. For avid history buffs, the nearby Settlement Exhibition will grant you with a remarkable insight into the life and times of the first settlers and the Vikings; all in the vicinity of an unearthed Viking longhouse—discovered only a decade ago in the city centre itself.
Then, just a short walk away you'll find the National Museum, which offers you to take a tour through the history of Iceland. For those willing to brave the Faxaflói Bay, an authentic ferry ride to Viðey Island is included with the card, where some of the city's oldest houses still stand tall. Once a monastery site; the island later became the home of the government officials who started the fight for Iceland's independence.
For the art lovers, the National Gallery is a true treat. There is also the Einar Jónson museum right next to the Hallgrímskrikja church, which gives both a beautiful insight into art and architecture, along with the history of the town that became a capital city. For the more tactile minded, the Sculptors House, Ásmundur Sveinsson Museum (Ásmundarsafn) is a real treat.
If the weather gods are smiling and you'd rather enjoy your day outdoors, opt for a guided tour at Árbær Open Air Museum. There, myriad of old houses and reconstructed homes of the locals from the late 1700's until the 1950's comes alive each day with activities and traditionally clothed staff, who are more than willing to let you try your hand at old-fashioned Icelandic farm work.
You could also visit the Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo, the perfect location for the little ones. Nearby lies the grand geothermal swimming pool Laugardalslaug, ideal for a soak after a day in the park. An access to all city pools is included in your card, so feel free to explore each or all of them.
All of these wonderful activities and adventures are included in the City Card. Grab a master key to the city and experience all that the streets of Reykjavík have to offer. Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: All year
- Activities: Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Cultural Activity
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 18 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: 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.Faxaflói,
Faxafloi is a large bay in the southwest of Iceland, located between the peninsulas Snaefellsnes (to the north) peninsula and Reykjanes (to the south).
The main fjords of the bay are Borgarfjordur, Hvalfjordur, Kollafjordur and Hafnarfjordur. Some of Iceland's largest towns are located by the bay and Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, lies on its southeastern shore.
Faxafloi bay is popular for whale- and birdwatching, sea angling and has great fishing grounds. In Kollafjordur is Videy Island, featuring the Lennon/One Peacetower, Richard Scerra's 'Milestones' and other attractions, along with great birdlife. The mountain ring seen from the bay, among which Snaefellsjokull glacier may be spotted on clear days, is particularly beautiful.Laugardalur,
Laugardalur valley is an area in Reykjavik. Among its attractions are the remains of the old washing pools - from which the valley derives its name.
In Laugardalur there is a botanical garden, and the small but charming domestic animal zoo. The main sporting arena is located in Laugardalur, and is sometimes also used for concerts. The Laugardalslaug swimming pool is the largest swimming pool in Iceland, and definitely the most popular one. The art museums Asmundarsafn and Listasafn Sigurjons Olafssonar are close by.
We recommend you enjoy a walk around the area, jump in the swimming pool for some local culture and afterwards enjoy a rewarding hot dog in the famous stand in front of the pool entrance.Viðey,
From the Skarfabakki pier at Sundahofn harbour in Reykjavik (around 5 km from the center) you can take a ferry to Videy island in Kollafjordur bay.
Videy is best known internationally as the location for the Imagine Peace Tower, envisioned and built by Yoko Ono, widow of musician and ex-Beatle John Lennon. Videy had a monastery in the Middle Ages and Skuli Magnusson, often called 'the father of Reykjavik' resided here. His house, Videyjarstofa, now displays paintings by renowned Icelandic artists.
A great sculpture by one of the world's most renowned sculptors can be found on the west side of the island, Richard Serra's Milestones.
Videy is an important historical site and has beautiful nature, with spectacular rock formations along its coast. Over 30 bird species breed on the island.
Many well-known Icelanders rest in the island's graveyard, among them the great author Gunnar Gunnarsson, who wrote such masterworks as Fjallkirkjan ('The Church on the Mountain'), Svartfugl (The Black Cliffs) and Adventa ( The Good Shepherd).Árbæjarsafn,
Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Ymblanter.
Árbæjarsafn is an open-air museum in Reykjavík dedicated to providing guests with an insight into the daily lives of the capital's earliest settlers.
The museum was founded in 1957 after local concerns grew that 'Old Reykjavik' was beginning to disappear amidst modern development. Prior efforts had been made to establish the museum as far back as 1942, and yet, despite positive reaction to the proposal, such efforts long proved futile. The historical, yet recently abandoned farmstead, Árbær, was finally chosen the designated location as it had served for generations as a popular inn.
The museum resembles a historical village, with over twenty different authentic buildings in which to explore. Visitors will have the opportunity to observe traditional turf houses, a historic church and numerous pre-century that have been moved to the open air museum following renovation.
Upon the museum's founding, the original location was a little way out of city limits. Today, however, Reykjavik has outgrown its original borders, meaning that the museum is easily accessible for all those staying in the centre.Tjörnin
Tjörnin is the historic, picturesque pond that can be found in downtown Reykjavík.
This popular spot in the capital city is bordered by cultural sites such as the National Gallery of Iceland, the theatre Tjarnabío, and Reykjavík City Hall, where the Guide to Iceland visitor centre is located.
Tjörnin has a year-round duck population, due to the fact that one corner of the lake is geothermally heated so that it never freezes over. It is encouraged to feed the birds with treats like oats and frozen peas, which they digest much better than bread.
The pond borders a beautiful inner city park, Hljómskálagarðurinn, which includes play equipment for children and several fascinating statues.
Departure time : Flexible
Reykjavík City Hall
24-hour Reykjavík City Card
Entry to four Reykjavík City Museums
Entry to the National Museum and Gallery
Entry to four Reykjavík City Galleries
Access to the Viðey Ferry
Admission to Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo
Entry to all seven geothermal pools in Reykjavík
Use of all public transport in Reykjavík
Discounted admission at twelve independent museums and activities in Reykjavík
Discounted prices at 12 restaurants in Reykjavík
Discounted prices at two locally sorced handcraft stores in Reykjavík
Discounted prices at six tour operators offering tours from city centre
Discounted admission to seven other geothermal pools in the capital area
What to bring:
Good to know:
Please note that this card is for adults only. For children's card, please see link above. Be aware that even in summer, the weather in the city can be quite cold, so dress according to weather.
Please note that you will need to turn in your voucher at the Reykjavík City Hall to receive your card.