Reykjavík View

Reykjavik on a budget | What to see and do

How much money do you need for a trip to Reykjavik? Reykjavik is expensive to visit however there are plenty of free and low budget activities to do. Read my guide on how to enjoy the city and save money.

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The capital of Iceland is a vibrant city with friendly residents, great nightlife and lots to explore. “Reykjavík” means smokey bay. The name comes from the ancient past when the first settlers arrived in Iceland and found hot springs from which steam/smoke was rising from the ground.


  • Join a tip walking tour. Citywalk is a free tour based on a donation. Nanna, our tour guide provided us with plenty of information on the sights and the history of the city.
Ingolfur Arnarson's statue,Reykjavik ,Iceland
Ingolfur Arnarson’s statue
  • Visit Ingolfur Arnarson’s statue. Arnarson was a Norwegian Viking and the first settler in Iceland. Anderson and his foster-brother Hjoerleifur picked a fight with the sons of a powerful earl in Norway and murdered both of them. Arnarson left Norway and sailed to Iceland with  his wife, Hallveig Fróðadóttir, their families, slaves and belongings.
a woman shadow watching the Northern Lights tour in Reykjavik in Iceland
Watching the Aurora Borealis in Iceland
  • Join a tour to see the Northern lights. We drove one hour outside Reykjavik. The chances of seeing the lights according to the forecast were 50%. After a long wait in the dark and cold waiting for the northern lights to appear, well worth our effort we had the chance of seeing them.


  • Visit Skolavordustigur, a popular shopping street in Central Reykjavik near to Laugavegur Street and the Hallgrimskirkja Church (FREE).
Hallgrimskirkja,Reykjavik , Iceland
Hallgrimskirkja Church
  • Visit Hallgrimskirkja. Hallgrimskirkja is a Lutheran parish church, one of Reykjavik’s main landmarks. The Tower of the church at 74.5 metres (244 ft) provides an amazing 360° view of the city. Take the lift to the tower.
Sun Voyager sculpture in Reykjavik in Iceland
Striking steel  ship sculpture in Reykjavik in Iceland
Sun Voyager
  • Visit Sun Voyager. Sun Voyager is an impressive striking steel sculpture located at Sæbraut Road by the seaside. The Voyager was designed by the artist Jón Gunnar Árnason. The sculpture resembles a Viking long-ship. The Voyager symbolises a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Walk by the seaside, admire the view to the mountains on the other side of the harbour.
  • Visit Harpa. Harpa is a concert hall and conference centre covered by a glass facade. The building is designed by the renowned visual artist Olafur Eliasson. There are a lovely coffee shop and a gift shop to visit.
  • Visit Kolaportid Market in the old harbour. Kolaportid is open on the weekend, you will find affordable clothes and foodies.
  • Visit Elliðaárdalur waterfall. The waterfall is a little gem located near the centre of the city. If you visit the waterfall you will find a beautiful park located between two rivers and hiking trail.
  • Check the public art the city offers.
The Unknown Bureaucrat statue in Reykjavik in Iceland
  • Capture the graffiti and colourful murals in Laugavegur street.
  • Take a photo with Tómas Guðmundsson statue.
  • Shoot The Unknown Bureaucrat statue created by the artist Magnús Tómasson.
  • Photograph the Hafmeyjan (Mermaid) statue created by the artist Nína Sæmundsdóttir.
  • Visit for free the Art Living Museum.


Igdlo Guesthouse. Address:Gunnarsbraut 46, Reykjavík, Iceland.


A dish of salmon, cod and mussels in Reykjavik in Iceland
  • Taste fresh salmon, cod, delicious mussels, fish soup. Order warm bread and fresh butter.
  • Order the Hot dog by Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Bæjarins is widely known as the best hotdog in town. The hotdog is made from Icelandic lamb, along with a bit of pork and beef. Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur became globally popular when in 2004 President Clinton visited Reykjavik and stopped for a hotdog. Clinton ordered the one with everything “ein með öllu”.
  • Taste a lamb soup. Delicious lamb soups are αvailable for taking away in 10-11 supermarket.
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Bonus Supermarket offers excellent value products. The 10-11 Supermarket is more expensive, the prices are 30% up.

Swans by the lake in Reykjavik in Iceland
The tap water in Iceland comes from springs in the ground and  is of great quality.
  • TRANSPORT: If you travel on a budget you better avoid taxis. The taxi fares in Iceland are very expensive. The buses accept cash.
  • COMMUTE FROM THE AIRPORT: The cheapest and most convenient way to commute from the airport is Flybus.
  • WHICH AIRLINE: The Iceland Air offers competitive flight prices.
  • WHERE TO DRINK COFFEE: Kaffibarinn is a great socializing cafe crowded in the afternoon.
  • WHERE TO DRINK TEA: Visit Kaffi and Te at Laugavegur 27.


This picture shows a church in the capital of Iceland

This post was most recently updated on May 25th 2020.

7 thoughts on “Reykjavik on a budget | What to see and do

  1. No worries about the language. Everyone speaks fluent English everywhere coffees, restaurants. Icelanders are friendly and welcoming and Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world. Definitely is an expensive destination but not impossible to visit if you plan and book ahead. You can save on flights -Icelandair is great and affordable if you book ahead) and accommodation (e.g guesthouses ). Definitely avoid local transport, especially taxis and rent a car plus go for Bonus supermarkets, not 10-11.If planning on visiting Reykjavik message me to provide you with helpful info

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post! I wanted to visit but it’s so expensive there. But this is a super useful post with great tips on where to stay, what to do, and where to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @kad8585 Many thanks!It isn’t a cheap destination to visit, however, it is possible to travel if you come up with a plan It helped me to keep the costs down!


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