Perlan is just a few minutes away from downtown Reykjavík. The building not only hosts the largest nature exhibitions in Iceland but also allows you to have a beautiful view on the city. The museum gives you a unique insight into Iceland’s nature and the science behind it. It’s the perfect place to get to know Icelandic nature if you don’t have time to visit the whole country. You’ll get to experience glaciers, ice cave, northern lights and way more wonders of Iceland thanks to the latest science and technology. After your visit, you can enjoy a drink or some food on the last floor to have an amazing view on the city. You’ll get to see from Grotta to Mount Esja and even a view on the volcano! It’s open until 21:00 so you can even enjoy the sunset there!
Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach is the perfect place for people who love the ocean and sunbathing during summer. The beach is a few minutes away from downtown Reykjavík, just next to the University of Reykjavík. The beach is equipped with changing facilities and showers, steam-baths and hot tubs. Hot water is pumped into the man-made lagoon and the outcome is a refreshing swimming area averaging between 15°-19°C in summer. Note that the admission to facilities is free during the summer season (from the 15th of May to the 15th of August).
Grótta is a haven of nature in Iceland’s capital! Located in Seltjarnarnes, it is the perfect place to look out to the churning Atlantic ocean near the city. The small peninsula is connected to the mainland by a thin spit that in high tide becomes submerged beneath the sea; those walking over to the lighthouse, therefore, need to be aware of the tides, so they do not become stranded like many have before them. There, you can see beautiful sunsets or even hunt Northern Lights. In clear weather, you can even see across the water to the Reykjanes and Snæfellsnes Peninsulas. Throughout summer, many species of birds nest in the area. From time to time, seals also pay a visit to the area. Note that throughout June, the area will be cordoned off to protect the birds, so please stick to the walking paths. Grótta is also popular during winter since it has little light pollution, making it one of the most popular spots in the capital area to view the Northern Lights.
The hidden gem of Mosfellsbaer. No need to go far from Reykjavik to chase waterfalls! One such waterfall is hidden in Mosfellsdalur valley in South West Iceland, around 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik. Tröllafoss is located in Leirvogsá, which comes mainly from Leirvogsvatn in Mosfellsheiði. The river Leirvogsá separates the municipalities of Reykjavík and Mosfellsbær. The river Leirvogsá flows through Stardalur, where there are the remains of an ancient main volcano named after the valley. Tröllafoss is in the middle of the caldera of the former volcano. A hiking trail and a path run along the south side of the gorge.
The flat-topped mountain Esja, often called Esjan, is one of Iceland’s most popular destinations for day hiking. You’ll probably notice it if you come to Reykjavík. It is situated in Kjalarnes in the South West corner of Iceland. Once surmounted, the view from the top of this 914-metre high mountain is breathtaking. There are several different routes up and around the mountain, varying in terms of difficulty. The path is divided into sections, marked with signs along the way. Each sign gives an indication of the difficulty of the path ahead with a grading system ranging from 1 boot (easy) to 3 boots (challenging). During summer, you’ll see Lupins all over the place. One good thing about Esja is that it is accessible by public bus, taking the one number 15 from Hlemmur Bus Station. Getting off at Háholt in Mosfellsbær, then take the bus number 57 which will take you to the foothills of the mountain. However, be careful when going there: Esja holds the record for the most accidents in Icelandic nature. There are several incidents here a year, especially through winter with ice, rain and heavy fog, several of which have resulted in death.
Sky Lagoon is the perfect escape from the city at only 15 minutes drive away from downtown Reykjavík. Sky Lagoon is a brand new thermal spa only a few minutes away from downtown Reykjavík. There you’ll immerse yourself in warmth at the oceanside geothermal lagoon and you’ll feel like you are surrounded by Icelandic nature. The lagoon has different warm temperatures and a waterfall and a bar in the lagoon. There’s also a cold plunge for the bravests and with the Sky Pass, you’ll have access to the 7-step rituals that includes the sauna, the scrub and the steam room. Relax there while the dramatic North Atlantic Ocean stretches out before you. Note that the minimum age to access the lagoon is 12 years old. To know everything about our experience at Sky Lagoon, check out our exclusive article!
Móskarðshnjúkar is a beautiful trail that gives you an amazing 360 degree view at the top. The peaks are visible from far away and in Reykjavík. Their stunning brown sandy color makes them very special. The rhyolite twins are also named as the peaks where the sun always shines. It’s located 30km from Reykjavik and the trail is well marked with a big parking lot at the beginning of the trail. During winter, it’s also a venue for backcountry skiing. Móskarðshnjúkar sits right next to Mount Esja, but is more challenging to get to and therefore much less crowded. Making your way here is very awarding, where avid treckers are greeted with sweeping rhyolite landscapes and challenging trails for hiking or mountain biking. It’s also a perfect spot to watch the sunset!
At less than 45 minutes drive from Reykjavík, you’ll find the geothermal area of Reykjadalur. There, hot rivers await you all year long. To get to the hot rivers, you’ll have to hike for around 45 minutes or an hour, depending on your pace. It’s quite an easy hike so no worries about the difficulty. The valley is very nice and peaceful. During summer, you’ll be surrounded by greenery and you’ll see a lot of sheeps. Once you arrive to the rivers, find a space and choose your favorite spot, from cool to very warm. The more up you go, the warmer the water is. However, be careful because at some point, the water is burning and it’s not allowed to bath there. If you go a little further after the rivers, you’ll discover the geothermal area of the valley. Definitely a nice day-trip if you want to chill for the day!
Þingvellir is one of the highlights of the famous Golden Circle Tour. Located only 45 minutes drive away from Reykjavik, it’s a must-see in Iceland. This is the area where the first parliament of Iceland was established in 930 AD, making it one of the oldest in Europe. The National Park is located in a split between the European and the North-American tectonic plates, therefore you will be able to walk from one continent to another! You can also join us on a Golden Circle tour to discover the area, not far from Reykjavik!
An hour drive from Reykjavík and there you are! Glymur is the second highest waterfall of Iceland so obviously, a hike is required to reach it. The hike is around an hour, 1h30 to get to the top. It’s quite challenging but the reward is amazing! Glymur and its canyon are truly beautiful. Immerse yourself in nature and connect with the elements by crossing a river and hiking surrounded by green during summer.
Seltún is located beneath Sveifluháls, on the Reykjanes peninsula in South West Iceland. The area is 40 km (35 minutes) away from Reykjavík. Like all the geothermal areas in Iceland, visiting Seltùn is like stepping into another dimension! There you’ll see both mud pools and steaming hot springs. The colors there and the formation of the Earth will really give you the impression to be on another planet.