There’s plenty to see and do in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, but it also makes a great base from which to explore the rest of the country. If you’re seeking ideas for day trips from Reykjavik, you’ve come to the right place! Below we outline just some of our favorite attractions that can be easily visited on day tours from the city.
And while you’re here, be sure to check out our own selection of Reykjavik Walking Tours and Iceland Tours.
Our Favorite Day Trips from Reykjavik
The closest glacier to Reykjavik, Langjökull is located just a 2.5-hour drive from the city. And as Iceland’s second-largest glacier, it’s one of the best day trips from Reykjavik for a unique experience!
The glacier covers a total of about 950 square kilometers, an area larger than New York City! The name Langjökull itself means ‘long glacier’, a fitting name given its 50 km (31 mi) length.
At its thickest point, the ice is 580 m (1,903 ft) deep.
Once at the glacier, you’ll be able to enjoy an extraordinary experience: walking inside the glacier itself through ice tunnels!
We offer a guided trip to Langjökull as one of our Iceland Tours. Get to drive in a specially modified snow truck on the glacier and explore the glacier environment in a truly unique way. Then experience the glacier’s beauty from the inside.
An experienced guide will lead the way the whole time to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves to the fullest.
When you’re in the land of fire and ice, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of exploring glaciers and there are few places in the world where you can have such an up close experience of these magnificent natural formations.
Located near the village of Vik, just a couple of hours from Reykjavik on Route 1, is the Skógafoss waterfall. In a land famous for beautiful waterfalls, the Skógafoss is one of the most magical.
With a drop of around 60 meters (200 feet tall) and a width of 25 meters (82 feet), the Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s largest waterfalls.
Due to the enormous amount of mist given off by the falls, a rainbow, or even a double rainbow, is normally visible in the sunshine. This is an excellent spot to capture some epic holiday snaps.
Shrouded in legend since the early middle ages, it is said that the Viking Þrasi Þórólfsson buried his treasure in a cave behind the falls.
The story goes that local people later found the treasure chest. But, when they reached out to grab it, the riches disappeared leaving them with only the ringed handle, a relic that survives to this day in the local Skógar museum.
And the site’s story continues to expand! The Skógafoss was recently featured in series 8 of Game of Thrones.
The Blue Lagoon
These geothermal baths are one of the country’s most popular attractions. It’s an excellent place for practising some self-care and getting some much-needed revitalization while on your travels.
Located just 45 minutes from Reykjavik, the waters are high in minerals and said to be great for your skin.
The pools are often busy, so it is best to book in advance at the Blue Lagoon website. For those with the time, a spa treatment or relaxing massage at the retreat is recommended.
Don’t miss this iconic, romantic destination when visiting Iceland.
Now, this is truly a bucket list activity!
The seas surrounding Iceland are home to some of the most impressive marine life on earth. With around 24 species of whales regularly inhabiting Icelandic waters, an Iceland whale watching tour can bring you into close contact with some of the earth’s most majestic creatures. Options are available from various ports around Iceland.
The largest species found here is the sperm whale, though by far the most common species encountered on whale watching trips is the minke whale. The minke whale can reach lengths of up to 10 meters (30 feet).
Historically, Iceland had been a major center of whaling. However, today whales are regarded much more as one island’s most beloved tourist attractions. As such, a great amount of work has been put into eco-friendly, sustainable tours.
Take a whale watching tour and discover the beauty of Iceland’s coastal regions while meeting these extraordinary giants.
Thingvellir National Park is one of Iceland’s major natural attractions. Many Icelandic myths and legends are rooted in this enchanting landscape.
Birthplace of Iceland’s parliament, the Althing, in 930 AD, many regard Thingvellir (or Þingvellir as written in Icelandic) as the birthplace of the country. The park is a part of the famous Golden Circle tourist route. It mustn’t be missed on any visit to Iceland!
Located between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, Thingvellir is the only place on earth where the Mid-Atlantic Rift is visible above sea level. Walk through Thingvellir’s valleys and know that you are standing where continents collide.
For an unforgettable experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, visitors with diving experience may want to try diving in the Silfra fissure. This deep crack in the earth’s surface is a result of the pulling apart of the tectonic plates. Here you can swim in some of the clearest waters on earth.
Thingvellir is only a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik, so it’s straightforward to reach the national park by car or public transport — an essential Iceland destination!
Notable for the extraordinary palette of colors found here, the Kerid Crater Lake is a stunning area of natural beauty. With the lake sitting in the caldera of a 3,000-year-old volcano.
Due to the minerals in the water, the lake often seems to glow brightly, displaying wonderful green and blue hues. The surrounding volcanic rocks, meanwhile, are brick red in color. And, depending on the time of year, there can also be plenty of mossy greens dotted around the walls and edge of the caldera.
A breathtaking spot to capture some Instagrammable moments located just over an hour from Reykjavik.
Our final choice is Hafnarfjordur, Iceland’s third-largest town. Located a mere 10 kilometers from Reykjavik, this port town is famously the location of Iceland’s annual Viking festival.
The charming town center is home to a variety of historical buildings and makes for a nice place to have a stroll and stop for coffee. But perhaps the most curious destination in Hafnarfjordur is Hellisgerði Park.
Elves and trolls still occupy a prominent place in Icelandic folk beliefs and Hellisgerði Park features small lava rocks where it is believed elves and trolls like to reside! If you’d like to learn more about Iceland’s ancient storytelling traditions and beliefs, why not join one of our Reykjavik Folklore Tours.
This brings to a close our list of some of the great day trips from Reykjavik that you could add to your Iceland itinerary. If you have any questions about this blog or our tours, please get in touch.