By Soren Rivero
Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik is full of fun and unique things to do, some of which you've probably never done before (like exploring an underground ice cavern). Best of all, some of Reykjavik's top activities don't even cost anything!
Looking for some tips on how to save money in Iceland? Here are 12 free things to do in Reykjavik.
1. Watch a Show at Harpa
In the heart of Reykjavik’s downtown area is the dazzling glass event hall, Harpa. The building hosts dozens of events throughout the year, some of which are free. Be on the lookout for free events in Reykjavik when you go, or you can just visit the event hall and marvel at the glorious architecture.
2. Learn About Local Culture by Visiting the National Library of Iceland
This library is the official library of the University of Iceland and also hosts the largest collection of books in the country. Books can only be rented with a library card, so just be wary of that. But visiting the library is a great free thing to do in Reykjavik since there are some complimentary exhibits on the first floor every now and then!
Bonus free thing to do in Iceland: Stop at the (free) Photography Museum on the library’s sixth floor!
3. See the Northern Lights
If you’ve ever wondered what are the best places to see the Northern Lights, Reykjavik is one of them! Seeing these fascinating displays of natural lights should be on everyone’s bucket list. Some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Reykjavik are the Grótta Lighthouse and Þingvellir National Park.
4. Taste Viking Snacks at a Flea Market
Plan to have your holiday in Reykjavik fall on the weekend, as you’ll definitely want to visit the Kolaportid Market! Vendors flock to this flea market with their stands to sell goods and treats from all over Iceland. Once you’re there, be sure to grab a sample of dried fish. This is not only a must-try food in Iceland but one of the country’s famous viking snacks.
5. Explore the City for Street Art
Reykjavik’s streets are filled with street art! However, finding which streets that have the best art can be a little tricky. Going on a scavenger hunt for street art would be a fun and free activity in Reykjavik if you have time.
Tip: Old Harbour has numerous murals from start to finish. Visit during daytime for the best chance to see street art in Iceland.
6. See the City from a New Light at Perlan
Heading over to the Perlan restaurant and museum is one of the best free things to do in Reykjavik. The restaurant stands at the tallest hill in the city, where you can get breathtaking panoramic views of Iceland’s capital.
7. Scavenge a Piece of the Berlin Wall
Right in the centre of Iceland’s capital is a 2,000 pound section of the legendary Berlin Wall. It was introduced to Reykjavik in 2015, so it's still a pretty new attraction in Reykjavik. Go on a walk between the old and new harbours and you’ll discover this colossal historical monument.
8. Visit the Iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church
Visiting one of Iceland’s most famous churches, Hallgrimskirkja Church, is completely free! It’s a great activity if you’re looking to do something quick and sweet. Visitors also love to see the surrounding area from the top of the church. However, there is a fee to climb to the top.
9. Hike in Oskjuhlid
If you're interested in learning more about Iceland's history, head over to Oskjuhlid, a lavish hill that was previously a United States Army Occupation Force. This is also where Perlan is located, so you can easily double up on two activities.
10. Enjoy a Day in Nature at Ellidaardalur
There’s tons of places to get lost in the great outdoors in Reykjavik. One notable spot is Ellidaardalur, Reykjavik’s very own nature reserve. Feel free to hike, fish, have a romantic walk, or simply take in the fresh air!
11. Relax at Nautholsvik Beach
Swim in the lagoon, sunbathe in the sand, or take a dip in a relaxing hot tub at the artificially-made Nautholsvik Beach.
12. Birdwatch in Tjornin
Visit Tjornin in Reykjavik to see some of the diverse and colourful bird life that make this small lake their home. Take as many pictures as you’d like, or simply admire them from afar!