Being the world’s northernmost capital city, there are so many awesome things to do in Reykjavik. This past September, after staying at the Blue Lagoon for a few days, we headed over to Reykjavik and wanted to see what all the city had to offer. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, especially as a wheelchair user, but I quickly fell in love with Reykjavik. It’s charm, uniqueness, and plethora of wonderful attractions fully won me over and now I’m itching to go back and explore more.
During my time in the city, I used the Reykjavik City Card. This card can be purchased at many locations all around the city and will give you free entry or at least a discount at almost every attraction. I highly suggest getting this card to save a bit of money if you plan to hit up quite a few museums or tours.
Here are 6 of my favorite things that I did in Reykjavik, Iceland that I think you need to do as well:
Things To Do in Reykjavik:
Icelandic Phallological Museum
Where do I even begin explaining this one…? It’s definitely one of the most unique things to do in Reykjavik and one of the most unique museums in the world. Why? Well, there are more than 280 penises from all kinds of different species on display. You can see everything from an actual whale penis to molds of the entire 2008 Icelandic Handball Olympic team. This museum is… different, to say the least, but if you’re in Reykjavik you might as well visit it’s most unique attraction.
*20% discount with the Reykjavik City Card. Regular price is 1,250 ISK per adult.
National Museum of Iceland
This is THE museum to visit if you want to learn about the history of Iceland! There are various objects on display that represent the culture, all the way from the 800’s when Iceland was first discovered to the present. It really gave me a glimpse into the past and showed me what makes the island nation so special. One of my favorite parts of this museum was the temporary exhibit ‘A Woman’s Place’. This exhibit will be running through the end of 2015 and examines the working lives of Icelandic women from 1915 to 2015. It was fascinating!
*Free entry with the Reykjavik City Card. Regular price is 1,500 ISK per adult or 750 ISK for wheelchair users.
Harpa Concert Hall
One of the main Reykjavik points of interest, this is basically Iceland’s version of the Sydney Opera House. Harpa is stunning and sits in a prime location right by the water, which makes taking photos of it a dream. There is a fully accessible guided tour of the inside areas, but I only observed from the outside. Just looking at the outside architecture is breathtaking and it’s definitely worth seeing. Harpa is easily within walking (or rolling, in my case…) distance from most of downtown Reykjavik. If you decide to visit Reykjavik, please do the guided tour and let me know how it is! I’m a little sad now that I didn’t do it to be honest…
*25% discount on a guided tour with the Reykjavik City Card. Regular price is 1,750 ISK per person.
Reykjavik 871±2 (AKA The Settlement Exhibition)
The oldest relics of human habitation (a hall and a wall fragment) in Reykjavik were discovered in 2001, and they are now at the center of this museum. The entire exhibition was built around the original location of these remains and you can see them in the center as you stroll around and read all about the settlement of Reykjavik. You’ll learn what life was like in the 800’s and there are many artifacts on display. As a history nerd, I truly loved this place! Definitely a must do in Reykjavik.
*Free entry with the Reykjavik City Card. Regular price is 1,400 ISK.
At more than 240 feet high, Hallgrímskirkja is the tallest church in all of Iceland and can be noticeably seen from almost anywhere in Reykjavik. It’s a true icon to the city and makes for a spectacular photo op. Viewing the church from the outside is great, but you can also go inside and take a look for free. Whether you decide to attend a Sunday church service or just want to stroll through on a Tuesday afternoon, this is an iconic attraction that you can’t miss.
*It is free to go inside the church, but if you’d like to go to the very top and take in the city views it’s 800 ISK per person. Sadly, there is no elevator for wheelchair users.
Try Out the Icelandic Food
This is perhaps the thing that I was most excited to do while in Reykjavik. I’m a big seafood fan and Iceland, being an island nation, has plenty of it. Two of my favorite restaurants were Íslenski Barinn and Resto. If you are planning to dine at either of these restaurants and you’re in a wheelchair, call or email them in advance and let them know. They’ll be happy to help you get inside.
Íslenski Barrin is also known as The Icelandic Bar and is located just a few blocks from Hallgrímskirkja, right in the center of downtown. There is typical bar food here such as fish & chips, but if you’re looking to try the unique flavors of Iceland this is the place to do it. I tried dried cod, puffin, minke whale, lamb, and even Hakarl (fermented shark). The puffin and lamb were delicious, but everything else was fun to try, especially with my mom and sister there. And the Hakarl actually wasn’t as terrible as I expected. I survived at least… 😉
Resto is a bit more upscale than Íslenski Barinn and is one of the top ranking restaurants on TripAdvisor. I had scallops, catfish, and chocolate cake and it was one of my favorite meals ever. The scallops are absolutely to-die-for and I’ve been craving them since the moment I left Resto. Go here for some of Iceland’s best seafood.
How to Get Around the City?
Now that you know where all to go, how do you get around the city? Reykjavik has an extensive bus system and all buses have a fold-out ramp for wheelchair users! The bus routes can be a little confusing so try to scope it out online before you go. Or you can just ask your hotel concierge every day like I did at the Kvosin Downtown Hotel. Haha! The Reykjavik City Card provides free entry on all public buses as well, so it’s definitely the cheapest way to get around.
If you’re looking for a faster way to get somewhere, Hreyfill is a company that has wheelchair accessible taxis. Any time that we called and requested an accessible taxi, it was at our door within 5-10 minutes. It was extremely quick, but more expensive than the buses of course. To get around downtown Reykjavik, it usually averaged about 3,000 Króna ($24 USD) per ride. It can really add up to a lot quickly, but I was thrilled to know that wheelchair accessible taxis were readily available.
Reykjavik is a spectacular city with so many possibilities for things to do, but hopefully this list can help you better plan your Iceland itinerary. Check out this awesome guide for more information! I can’t wait to be back in Reykjavik and explore much more!
What attraction do you most want to visit? If you’ve already been to Reykjavik, what was your favorite activity?