Reykjavik in summer: best things to do and see

Reykjavik in summer offers amazing experiences, interesting sights, and long daylight hours. Make the most of summertime with these 10 activities.

Reykjavik has plenty to offer during its summer months, from kid-friendly activities to interesting places to visit that will help you to understand Icelandic culture. While many opt to visit in the winter in order to see the northern lights, visiting Reykjavik in summer will offer incredibly long daylight hours, making it easier to cram in various activities and create an action-packed vacation to remember forever.

This summer guide to Reykjavik will explore five of the best outdoor activities and five of the best water activities in the region. Whether you're looking for a great museum, an adventurous day out in an ice cave, a relaxing day at a spa, or just want good places to eat traditional cuisine, this guide has you covered.

Best outdoor activities

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1. Check out the Katla ice cave

The Katla ice cave is a natural wonder carved out beneath the still-active Katla volcano. The Katla Ice Cave Jeep Tour provides round-trip transportation. Admire the inside of the cave and the surrounding landscape with an expert guide, who will answer questions and provide information.

Highlights:

Aside from seeing the Katla ice cave, you will ride in a Super Jeep and experience breathtaking landscapes and terrain as you explore rural Iceland.

Address and opening hours:

Austurvegur 20, 870 Vik, Iceland. Open daily, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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2. Enjoy Icelandic cuisine on a food tour

A great way to experience Reykjavik in summer and enjoy local cuisine that will broaden your horizons beyond the obvious tourist-focused restaurants is to go on a food tour. The 3-Hour Foodie Adventure Walking Tour will take you to up to 6 different restaurants and allow you to try 8 different dishes.

Highlights:

Try Icelandic lamb soup, local cheeses, and seasonal meat dishes. Try authentic skyr, which is a fresh sour milk cheese with a yogurt consistency.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at Harpa Concert Hall, Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Tour times vary.

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3. Visit the Perlan Museum

If you're looking for indoor activities to do in Reykjavik in summer, a visit to the Perlan Museum could be just the solution. With a Perlan Museum Wonders of Iceland ticket, you'll get to explore the nature museum, see a spectacular man-made indoor ice cave, and learn about Iceland's natural wonders.

Highlights:

The Áróra northern lights planetarium show is excellent for summer visitors, as it will offer the chance to experience what the northern lights look like during the winter.

Address and opening hours:

Perlan, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland. Open daily, 9:00 AM-10:00 PM.

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4. Go horse riding in lava fields

A great way to spend a day during your summer visit to Reykjavik is to go horse riding through the countryside. A horse-riding tour in lava fields allows you to use high-quality facilities and is an exciting 2-hour experience which will take you through beautiful surroundings.

Highlights:

Ride across the region's famous lava fields. You'll be matched with the ideal horse for your riding level, but you must be able to mount a horse on your own.

Address and opening hours:

Sörlaskeið 26, 220 Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. Open daily, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM.

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5. Spend a day at Laugardalur valley and park

For a free day out in Reykjavik in summer, look no further than Laugardalur valley and park. This outdoor area has plenty to offer all visitors, from walking and cycling areas to sports facilities and stunning scenery.

Highlights:

This area is also home to Reykjavík Zoo and Family Park, and free admission is granted with the Reykjavik City Card.

Address and opening hours:

Laugardalur, Reykjavík, Iceland. Open 24 hours.

Best water activities

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6. Experience whale watching in Faxaflói Bay

One of the very best summer activities for animal lovers visiting Reykjavik is to go whale watching and look for whales and other marine life. The Whale Watching tour by RIB boat will let you climb aboard a rigid inflatable boat and look for these amazing creatures in Faxaflói Bay.

Highlights:

During the tour, you'll experience a scenic boat ride along the coastline. You'll get great photo opportunities with all the wildlife in the region.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at Aegisgardur 5E, 101 Reykjavik. Tour times vary.

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7. Try snorkeling in the Silfra spring

If you're seeking truly memorable experiences near Reykjavik, snorkeling in the Silfra spring at Thingvellir National Park could be just what you're looking for. Book the Silfra snorkeling with underwater photos activity for an opportunity to experience the crystal clear waters, with all snorkeling equipment provided.

Highlights:

Silfra's clear waters offer up to 100 meters of underwater visibility, and tour guides can take photos of you for an utterly unique memento.

Address and opening hours:

Vallarvegur, 806, Iceland. Open 24 hours a day. Tour times vary.

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8. Relax in the waters of the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular attractions. Book a Blue Lagoon entry ticket and round-trip transportation to remove the hassle of getting there, so you can focus on enjoying the experience and relaxing in the calming geothermal waters.

Highlights:

If you opt for the premium package, you'll also receive a bathrobe, an algae mask, and a table reservation at the on-site Lava Restaurant.

Address and opening hours:

Norðurljósavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland. Open daily, 7:00 AM-12:00 AM.

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9. See puffins in their natural environment

On a puffin-watching boat tour, you'll depart from Reykjavik's Old Harbor and explore Faxaflói Bay and the areas around the Lundey and Akurey islands in search of puffins. The tour lasts for one hour, and the native birds are plentiful and easy to see in their natural environment.

Highlights:

Binoculars are also provided, so you'll see the puffins clearly.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at Geirsgata 11, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland. Tour times vary.

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10. Learn a traditional spa ritual

To connect with Icelandic culture on a deeper level, why not learn some traditional spa behavior? The Sky Lagoon pass with 7-step spa ritual will allow you to immerse yourself in the warm waters and connect with the region's bathing traditions.

Highlights:

Upgrade to the Sky Pass for private changing facilities.

Address and opening hours:

Vesturvör 44-48 200, 200 Kópavogur, Iceland. Open daily, 10:00 AM-11:00 PM.

FAQs

Where can I go swimming or relax by the water in Reykjavik?

Kid-friendly swimming facilities can be found at Laugardalur valley and park. If you're feeling more adventurous, you could go snorkeling in the Silfra spring, which offers amazing underwater visibility

Are there any great summer festivals in Reykjavik?

Iceland National Day is celebrated annually on June 17, marking the foundation of the Republic of Iceland. In Reykjavik. Celebrations include free music performances, a parade, children's games, and more. Reykjavik Pride is also an annual festival held in August, where you can celebrate and show solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

What are the must-visit outdoor attractions in Reykjavik?

The Blue Lagoon and the Sky Lagoon are two must-visit outdoor attractions if you're looking to relax and unwind on your trip. In both locations, you'll have the chance to bathe in geothermal waters, learn about traditional Icelandic bathing culture, and get away from everyday stress.

What are some great day trips to take from Reykjavik in the summer?

Reykjavik offers a large number of day trips, ranging from whale-watching and puffin-watching boat tours in Faxaflói Bay to trips to the Katla ice cave or to nearby lava fields.

What are some fun activities with kids in Reykjavik in summer?

The Perlan Museum is a great day out for the whole family. You'll have the chance to explore an indoor ice cave, experience a northern lights show, and see the city from the observation deck at the top of the building.