Choose from 63 Fun Things to Do in Iceland
Quaint old buildings have been uprooted from their original sites and rebuilt at the Árbæjarsafn or Arbaer Open-Air Folk Museum, a kind of zoo for houses, 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the city centre. Alongside the 19th century homes are a turf-roofed church, and various stables, smithies, barns and boathouses - all very picturesque. The museum opened in 1957 - before that the place was a working farm - and the aim is to give an insight into the way Icelanders once lived.
There are summer arts-and-crafts demonstrations including traditional handcrafts, hay-making and animals to see. There is also a cafe. The farm is a great place for kids to let off steam.
Arbaer Museum is located just out of Reykjavik to the southeast and is easy to reach by bus 12, 19 or 22.
- Be sure to wear sturdy shoes if you'd like to climb the steps running parallel to Gullfoss.
- Bring a waterproof jacket, as the curtain of mist thrown up by the falls is significant.
- You'll find a gift shop and cafe near the wooden boardwalk leading to the waterfall.
- Take a Golden Circle express tour to see all the main sights in a short period of time.
The Gullfoss waterfall is 75 miles (120 km) east of the capital city of Reykjavik. It's possible to drive independently; the Golden Circle route does not require a 4x4 vehicle. This easy, popular day trip is often experienced as an introduction to Iceland's natural wonders.
When to Get There
On sunny days, the mist from the falls creates rainbows that make for spectacular photos. Visit in winter to see the falls sparkle with ice.
Discovering an Icelandic Legend
- The Blue Lagoon can get very busy, so be prepared to wait in line to get in (tours can lessen the wait), and leave plenty of time for your visit.
- Bring a swimsuit, towel, and flip-flops, or rent them upon arrival. Lockers are provided to store your belongings.
- The Blue Lagoon is fully wheelchair accessible. Shallow areas and steps are available for children and non-swimmers.
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the site.
The Great Geysir's activity has become sporadic in the recent past, noticeably increasing with earthquake activity in the region. The nearby Strokkur geyser erupts every 5 to 10 minutes, shooting a plume of hot water 45 to 90 feet (15 to 30 meters) in the air.
- A brief stop here is sufficient; wait a few minutes to see Strokkur erupt.
- You'll find a gift shop across the road.
- Take a comprehensive Golden Circle tour from Reykjavik to see more of Iceland's top sites.
- The Geysir area is handicap accessible with wide boardwalks.
The Great Geysir lies on the slope of Laugarfjall Hill, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) outside of Reykjavik. It takes about 90 minutes to reach by car from the city.
- Hallgrimskirkja is a must-visit destination for architecture and history lovers.
- Access to the tower is only by elevator. At the top, there are a few steps to the open-air viewing platform.
- The tower is closed during Sunday mass.
- Hallgrimskirkja is a working church and so may be closed, without notice, due to weddings or funerals.
- Everyone is welcome to join services, but, to avoid disturbance, you should stay for the duration.
- The sweeping columns on either side of the tower represent volcanic basalt.
- Wear comfortable shoes and layers no matter the season.
- Most sites have paved boardwalks and flat ground for easy accessibility.
- Don’t worry about food and WiFi—many tour buses include wireless internet, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the way that provide both.
- From mid-May to mid-August, the sun only dips below the horizon for about three hours per day in Iceland, making the atmosphere especially beautiful in the lingering twilight. In midwinter, you'll get only about five hours of daylight.
How to Get There
- Godafoss is a must-see attraction for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those with an interest in Icelandic history.
- Don’t forget to wear waterproof clothing: You can get soaked by the falls’ spray
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Access to the falls is free of charge.
- Although you can walk close to the edge on the west bank, practice utmost caution as the rocky ledges can be extremely slippery.
- There are several spots from where to get views of the falls, including a viewing platform and a nearby restaurant with free Wi-Fi.
- Hofdi House is a must-see for history enthusiasts.
- There is no charge to look around the exterior.
- The sculpture in front depicts pillars from the chieftain's seat of the first Norwegian settler in Reykjavik.
- The grounds are also home to a 4-ton slab of the Berlin Wall, a gift from the New West Berlin Art Gallery to commemorate the 25th anniversary of German reunification.
- Learn about the myths and legends associated with this fabled natural phenomenon, as well as how to capture the elusive natural wonder on film.
- The center’s movie runs on repeat so visitors are sure to catch the spectacle no matter when they visit.
- The center is wheelchair accessible.
- Harpa Concert Hall is a must-see attraction for architecture and design enthusiasts.
- The building is free to enter but take a guided tour to explore behind the scenes.
- The building is accessible for wheelchair users with an elevator that connects the floors, and accessible doors and restrooms.
- There is free Wi-Fi in the building.