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Destination Europe

10 Must See Places to Visit around Reykjavik

Posted on
January 30, 2020

Back in October, we headed to the destination that has been at the top of my bucket list since I started this blog – Iceland.

We stayed in a lovely apartment in Reykjavik, using it as a base to explore as much of Iceland as we could in 5 days.

We flew into Keflavík Airport, which is a short 20 minute transfer to the Blue Lagoon, making it the first stop of our holiday, even before we had seen our apartment.

Keflavík Airport

It was the perfect start to the holiday and really whet our appetite of what was to come for the rest of our stay.

Our Top 10 Must See Places to Visit around Reykjavik

The Blue Lagoon

Prior to our trip, I was worried that the Blue Lagoon was going to be packed, but October is out of season in Iceland and I was pleasantly surprised by just how quiet it was.

Blue-Lagoon-Family

If you are travelling to the Blue Lagoon with children, it is worth noting that kids under the age of 9 have to wear arm bands, so it is worth warning them about this before you visit.

Blue Lagoon

TOP TIP: Take your swimming clothes in your cabin bag as large luggage needs to be left in the luggage house.

The Golden Circle

You cannot visit Reykjavik without doing the Golden Circle Tour, which is broken down into three locations:

Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park is located in a rift valley where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet.

Thingvellir-cliffs

You start the tour at the Hakid viewpoint, but make sure you walk down the footpath which leads down into the great Almannagjá fault, which marks the boundary of the Mid-Atlantic Rift, which runs through Iceland.

Hakid-Viewpoint-1

TOP TIP: Be prepared to walk some distance to be able to see as much of the park as possible.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and cascades 32 meters down a canyon in two stages.

Golden-Circle-Gullfoss

There are two main viewing areas, one over the top of the first smaller drop and another further down the canyon, close to the second larger drop.

Isaac-and-Sebby-Waterfall

TOP TIP: Wear waterproofs even on a dry day as the spray from the falls will get you wet.

Strokkur Geysir

The geysir geothermal area is home to the Iceland’s most active geysir – Strokkur, which erupts approximately every 5 minutes

Geysir going off

Walking through the geysirs makes you feel like you are on another planet and we could have watched them for hours.

Strokkur-erupting

TOP TIP: Wear hiking boots or shoes with a good grip as it gets very muddy and icy in places

South Coast Tour

Experience the wonderful volcanic southern coastline of Iceland with its thundering waterfalls, endless black sand beaches and glacier coated volcanoes. The South Coast Tour is divided into four stops:

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Possibly the most famous black sand beach in Iceland, it has huge troll-like jagged basalt sea stacks that emerge from the sea.

Black-Beach-Iceland

The massive basalt-column cave is a sight that simply takes your breath away.

Basalt Stacks

TOP TIP: Beware of the “sneaker waves’ – disproportionately large coastal wave that can sometimes appear in a wave train without warning, especially on the Atlantic coastline and have been known to catch tourists out!

Basalt caves

Sólheimajökull Glacier

Sólheimajökull Glacier is a picturesque glacial tongue extending from the Myrdalsjökull glacier which covers the Katla volcano.

Kids-at-Sólheimajökull

If you are not travelling with small children, I would definitely recommend booking a tour that takes you up closer as we would have liked to see more.

Skogafoss

Although not as large as Gullfoss, Skogafoss is a very impressive waterfall at around 62 m high and 25 meters wide.

Waterfall-Skogafoss

There are two main viewing areas, one at the top of the waterfall which means a steep climb involving 527 steps and one at the base, which gets you up close to the plunge pool.

Skogafoss-from-above

Seljalandsfoss

Our final stop of the South Coast Tour was Seljalandsfoss. Another waterfall, it isn’t as powerful as Skógafoss, but it is higher, at 65 meters tall and in the summer you can walk around the back of it.

Seljalandsfoss-Waterfall

TOP TIP: Wear waterproofs and strong sturdy walking boots as it is very icy in places and you will get sprayed by the water.

ice-Formations

Hallgrímskirkja Church

In Reykjavík itself, the main landmark is Hallgrímskirkja Church, which has a tower that can be seen from almost everywhere in the city,

Hallgrímskirkja church

The church has a very striking look and with the pillars inspired by the fascinating shapes and forms created when lava cools into basalt rock and for a small extra charge you can head to the top for stunning views over Reykjavik.

Hallgrímskirkja Church view

Rainbow Street

Just a short stroll down from the church is the stunning Rainbow Street.

Rainbow-Road

The rainbow street in Reykjavík is a sign of joy and support for diversity and leads down to the main Laugavegur High Street where you can find all the best shops and restaurants and eventually the Harpa Concert Hall.

Harper Concert Hall

Reykjavik itself is a fairly small city and can easily be explored on foot, however, we opted to take a City Sightseeing Tour, which shows you some of the hidden gems.

Reyjavik-Harbour

Have you visited Reykjavik, are their any hidden gems I have missed?

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19 Comments
  1. Reply

    Clare - Flip flops or Wellies

    January 31, 2020

    Iceland is also on my bucket list although annoyingly my husband has been twice (before we met with the Army), long before it was a cool pace to visit. This looks great though and a fab half term break. #TotTravel

  2. Reply

    Claire

    January 31, 2020

    It just looks like the most amazing place!

    Your pictures are simply beautiful x

  3. Reply

    Sabina Green

    February 1, 2020

    Wow, it looks fantastic. So much to see and all very beautiful. The waterfalls are breathtaking and I love that rainbow street.

  4. Reply

    Sarupa Shah

    February 1, 2020

    Iceland – is SO calling to me and your pics and descriptions are making me want to pack my bags and go right now!

  5. Reply

    Tracey Kifford

    February 1, 2020

    We did all of these things when we went to Iceland a fair few years ago now – and before I started blogging! I really want to take the kids – as they were babies and stayed with my parents. If I can combine this with a good amount of time to stand a chance of seeing the northern lights (I’ve been to Alaska in Feb, Norway in Dec, Finland in Jan, and Iceland in Mar – STILL not seen them!) then I’ll definitely be heading back there (and to visit my favourite IKEA for dinner!)

    • Reply

      Kara

      February 1, 2020

      Northern Lights are eluding me too

  6. Reply

    michelle twin mum

    February 1, 2020

    So much fun to be had in Iceland, I love that picture or your kids on the bubble looking ice! You had such an amazing trip. Mich x

  7. Reply

    Jenni

    February 2, 2020

    We went on honeymoon to Rykjavik and absolutely loved it. Saw many of these places you’ve mentioned. That was over ten years ago though, I would love to go back with the kids.

  8. Reply

    Emma Raphael

    February 2, 2020

    What a wonderful experience! Love the photos. The armband thing made me laugh, I remember a swimming pool in Japan where we had to wear pink swimming hats, my son was really mad about that! 😀

  9. Reply

    Aaron K Green

    February 3, 2020

    I hope to one day visit. Your pictures and words have re ignited that desire so much. Excellent post!

  10. Reply

    Talya Stone

    February 3, 2020

    We had such an amazing time in Reykjavik and would love to go back one day. For me the most memorable was the Blue Lagoon and the waterfalls.

  11. Reply

    Charli

    February 3, 2020

    I’d love to go to Iceland. I think the Gullfoss Waterfall and Skogafoss would be top of my list to visit!
    C x

  12. Reply

    Laura

    February 3, 2020

    I am absolutely desperate to go to Iceland and Rekyjavik, and with this guide know that once I get there I definitely won’t be bored x

  13. Reply

    Liam Wilkinson

    February 3, 2020

    Wow, some of these locations look amazing and breathtaking, some once in alife time sights, my favourite is Seljalandsfoss, looks great.

  14. Reply

    Kacie Morgan

    February 3, 2020

    I really would love to go to Iceland; the terrain looks so varied and I bet there are thousands of amazing photo opps.

  15. Reply

    Helen

    February 4, 2020

    Looks incredible! We went to Iceland in the summer and loved the hazy midnight sun, but seeing proper snow and ice would be fab, especially with a chance of seeing the Northern Lights (not possible in the summer skies).

  16. Reply

    Elizabeth Williams

    February 4, 2020

    Iceland is one of my dream destinations as it has so many natural wonders. Would love to see the black beaches there as well as the waterfalls. Really want to visit the blue lagoon too. Never heard of rainbow street before but if looks great.

  17. Reply

    Jess Howliston

    February 5, 2020

    WOW! So many great places to visit and things to see in Iceland, I had no idea about so many of these. I have never been but its definitely on my bucket list and I hope to visit with my husband and kids someday too!

  18. Reply

    Kira

    February 5, 2020

    Wow Iceland looks absolutely incredible!! We’ve never been but it’s definitely on our bucket list

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KARA GUPPY
Bournemouth

Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog chelseamamma.co.uk