What to do in Reykjavik on a budget?


There is a lot you can do in Reykjavik on a budget and most of the ideas here are free! From clean tap water to sports and to partying, here is a short list of ideas for you.

Clean Water Everywhere!


In Iceland you can actually drink the water right from the faucets. Yes, it’s clean from amoeba and other bacteria. The water comes from mountain brook streams which have the cleanest and clearest water in the whole world. It has been nature purified so not only is it safe but is also good for everyone’s health. So when you are thirsty while you are in Iceland, just drink the clean tap water. No need to rush to a store to buy a bottle of water unless you want to have it sparkling!

If You Are the Nature Type


Now if you want to be close to nature and just enjoy the great scenery and calmness Icelandic nature has to offer, then go hiking at Mount Esja. It is within a half hour drive from the capital and from the top you can enjoy the amazing scenery. You don´t even have to go to the top to enjoy the view.

Rauðhólar (Red Hills)


Raudholar (Red Hills) area in Reykjavik’s outskirts has a out-of-this-world scenery. It’s like having the sight of Mars especially during sunset. It is a unique experience to view the site and well worth the visit.


In case you were to visit Reykjavik on the first Saturday after the 18th of August, you can join in a festival; Menningarnótt (Culture Night), an yearly event. Here you can enjoy music, dance and art, dazzling firework show, and an after party of night long drinking and fun. All weekends throughout the year you can find a good party in the city of Reykjavik and don´t forget to check out various events and festivals like Airwaves.

Go swimming.


Swimming is a large part of Icelandic culture. Here is the list of the most popular pools;

Árbæjarlaug – Fylkisvegur – pool inside the solarium building, this pool has the most impressive designs with a big slide, fountain, bridge and an area of hot tub.

Sundhollin – Barónsstígur – also an indoor pool but with two hot tubs and steam room located outside.

Laugardalslaug – Sundlaugarvegur – Now if you are talking about a big swimming pool then you better visit this place. It has a huge pool and a massive slide. It is located close to the one and only camping site in Reykjavik. This is where swimming competitions are being held since it also has a huge stadium. Hot tubs are also what make this place popular. It has five hot tubs and one of it is filled with sea water. In the same building you will find a first class gym and one of the best spas in Reykjavík, Laugarspa. There you can enjoy a nice meal and even a glass of wine after a good workout, swim and/or pampering.

Vesturbæjarlaug – Hofsvallagata – this pool is close to the universities so many students and teachers often visit here; it is a short distance from downtown.

Breiðholtslaug – Austurberg – this is the less crowded pool in Reykjavik since it is located far from the central but if you want quiet swimming on a pool or a hot tub then this place is perfect.

Grafarvogslaug – Dalhú – The main attraction of this pool is their super long slide. Buses from downtown provide ease of transportation going to Grafarvogslaug.

Kléberg Pool – Kjalarnes – after hiking at Mount Esja, you can relax on this pool to unwind and ease your sore muscles.

Of course you can always make friends with the locals and you’ll find yourself swimming in their backyard. Almost every neighborhood in Reykjavik has hot tubs in their backyard. If you are of a beach buff then go play volleyball and go swimming at Nautholsvik beach in west Reykjavik. It is a major part of your visiting Iceland to go swimming at least once!

Be artistic!


The Hjartagardurinn (Garden of hearts) in central Reykjavik is where you can experience underground street-art scene or visit a museum; the sculpture garden, by The Einar Jónsson Art Museum located just beside Hallgrimskirkja church. While you’re at it visit the church too. At 75 meters of height, the Hallgrimskirkja church is one of the most captivating church around the world and is Iceland’s best known landmark as well.
Last but not least, the Northern lights are one of the most beautiful things you can experience and in winter they put on a free show for you. It´s perfect to explore Reykjavík and surroundings during the day, and go northern lights hunting at night.



Grandavegur, not far from the Old Harbor, offers a lovely area to visit. There you will find the Víkin Maritime museum, Valdís ice cream shop, boutiques, salons and much more. Also lovely ports and boats. A nice place to take a stroll and enjoy the area just outside the main streets in the center.

City Hall


The City Hall is located in the center, by the pond. There is a nice café where you can have a cup of coffee and enjoy the view over the pond. There you will also often find exhibitions, usually with no entrance fee, so it´s a nice place to check out.

The Sun Voyager


The Sun Voyager is a beautiful sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, located by Sæbraut (not far from Harpa Concert Hall). The sculpture is an ode to the sun and contains within itself freedom, progress, the promise of undiscovered territory and a dream of hope. The Sun Voyager is a unique in the way that it carries the observers to wherever his/her mind takes him/her. It is a dreamboat. A lovely sculpture that has become one of Reykjavík´s symbols.

Botanical Garden, Laugardalur


The Botanical Garden in Laugardalur is a lovely place to talk a walk, both in winter and summer. It´s a beautiful and peaceful place. Next to it is a large green area where you can find historical remains. You can for instance see where women used to wash the clothes and often they had to walk a long way.

Skate boarding


There are a few places in Reykjavík where you can go skate boarding. At Miklatún Park you will find facilities for skate boarding as well as in Laugardalur and in Seltjarnarnes. In summer you will also often see skate boarders down in the city center at the so-called Hallærisplanið.

Videy Island


Videy island is just outside of Reykjavik. You can take a ferry over to the island and it takes only about 5 minutes to reach Videy. Videy is a beautiful and a historical place. At Videyjarstofa you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee and often it is a venue for concerts. In summer you can go horse back riding and enjoy the magnificent bird life. The Imagine Peace Tower is located at Videy and it is lovely to see when it lights up the dark winter sky.

Hot dog at Bæjarins bestu


The most popular fast food in Reykjavík, and has been for years, is a hot dog at Bæjarins bestu. It is located close to Kolaportið Flea Market in tehe city center. You will always find people there queuing for a hot dog. Ask for one with everything (ein með öllu) – that includes ketchup, onions, mustard and a special Icelandic delicacy, remúlaði (remoulade). President Clinton queued for a hot dog when he visited Iceland, you should too!

Perlan (The Pearl)


The Pearl is one of the sites you notice soon after you arrive in Reykjavik. It is a half shaped globe where you find a café, restaurant and more. On the balcony you get a lovely view of the city on a clear day.