Skip to content

Best Free Things to Do in Reykjavik

    Updated: 29th January 2024

    Rainbow road, Reykjavik, Iceland
    Credit: Jenny Salita

    Exploring the Great Outdoors

    Reykjavik offers abundant natural beauty that you can enjoy without spending a penny. From serene parks to breathtaking coastal walks, this city brings you closer to nature.

    Visit Reykjavik’s Parks

    Reykjavik’s parks are a testament to the city’s love for green, open spaces. Austurvöllur is a central spot perfect for a picnic or people-watching, often buzzing with activity. For a quieter experience, Hljómskálagarður Park is ideal, with its charming ponds and views of Tjörnin lake.

    Take a Walk by the Seafront

    Strolling along the Sólfar Sculpture (Sun Voyager) offers exquisite views of Mount Esja and the vast North Atlantic Ocean. The seafront walk is invigorating and gives you a sense of Reykjavik’s maritime heritage and connection with the surrounding environment.

    Cultural Experiences

    Exploring Reykjavik doesn’t have to cost a thing, especially when immersing yourself in the local culture. Delve into the vibrant scene through two captivating, and completely free, avenues.

    Discover the City’s Street Art

    Reykjavik is a canvas for a multitude of street artists whose work adds a splash of colour and creativity to the city’s architecture. As you wander, you’ll find everything from large-scale murals to quirky graffitis that reflect Iceland’s rich tales and contemporary issues. Each piece has a story, and you can uncover these hidden gems around almost every corner – a truly open-air gallery experience.

    Attend Free Concerts at Harpa

    The iconic Harpa Concert Hall is not only an architectural wonder but also a hub for cultural activity. Often, they host free concerts that range from classical to contemporary music, providing an excellent opportunity to indulge in Iceland’s diverse music scene. Check their schedule in advance and you might be lucky enough to catch one of these performances.

    Museums and Exhibitions

    Exploring Reykjavik’s culture doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. You’ll be pleased to find a selection of museums and exhibitions that you can enjoy without spending a krona.

    National Museum of Iceland

    At the National Museum of Iceland, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Icelandic history. From the Settlement Age to contemporary culture, the museum’s permanent collection is a testament to the island’s vibrant past. Admission is free on Wednesdays, so plan your visit accordingly to take advantage of this offer.

    Reykjavik Museum of Photography

    If you have a penchant for photography, the Reykjavik Museum of Photography is a perfect spot that merits your attention. It’s not only a haven for photography enthusiasts but also a repository of Iceland’s visual history. Best of all, there’s no entry fee to get a glimpse into the diverse collection of photographs that capture various facets of Icelandic life.

    Events and Festivals

    Reykjavik is a hub for vibrant events and festivals year-round, offering plenty of opportunities for you to indulge in the local culture and festivities without spending a penny.

    Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival

    Every February, you can experience the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival, an event that transforms the city into a dazzling spectacle of light and creativity. This free festival is designed to brighten up the dark winter days and features a plethora of light installations, performances, and art throughout the city.

    Culture Night

    Held annually in August, Culture Night (“Menningarnótt”) is one of Reykjavik’s most anticipated events. It marks the start of the city’s cultural year, where museums, theatres, and other venues open their doors to the public for free. With music, art, and dance taking over the streets, it’s a celebration of creativity that you won’t want to miss.

    Local Lifestyle

    Immerse yourself in the everyday vibrancy of Reykjavik as you stroll through its most lively streets and savour a national food treasure. Your journey into the local lifestyle promises authentic Icelandic experiences.

    Explore Laugavegur Shopping Street

    As you wander down Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s main shopping street, the eclectic mix of boutique shops, art galleries, and cosy cafés offers a true taste of the city’s culture. From unique Icelandic design to local artisan crafts, each shop window invites you with a glimpse into the creative spirit that thrives here.

    Sample the Icelandic Hot Dogs

    A visit to Reykjavik wouldn’t be complete without tasting the legendary Icelandic hot dogs. These are not just any hot dogs; they’re an institution here. Made from a blend of lamb, pork, and beef, and topped with remoulade, mustard, and crispy onions, this beloved street food is a must-try, readily available at stands like the famous Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.

    Check out our other Reykjavik guides here!

    Join the conversation

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *