5 things to do in Reykjavik for under $5.

By Posted in - Europe & Featured Post & Iceland & Three Free & Travel Resources on December 29th, 2010

Iceland is expensive. There I said it. But like anyplace, if you’re diligent enough, then you can usually find cheap options that will offset costs—particularly food, alcohol and nightlife—and help keep your travel savings from dwindling. The five options below, which range from free to $5, will give you a solid dose of  Icelandic culture without blowing your budget while traveling in Reykjavik.

The National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik.

National Museum of Iceland

The National Museum of Iceland: It’s all here. Everything that our school textbooks failed to mention about Iceland is in their National Museum. The Making of Nation is the permanent exhibition at the museum. A combination of photography and artifacts dating from the Settlement Age to the Present, including Bjork’s first LP, the exhibition showcases Iceland’s cultural heritage. Additionally, the museum also holds temporary exhibitions. Free on Wednesdays, the National Museum can be completed in a few hours, but like any museum, the longer you stay the more you will take away. The museum also offers free WiFi and has a café.

Nautholsvik Beach– Geothermal water is pumped into two hot pots (large Jacuzzis) and into the bay. A seawall surrounding the lagoon helps to keep the cold sea water out of the swimming area. The lagoon’s temperature is usually around 68 degrees (it’s  not Hawaii, but definitely fun for a quick dip). In addition to the hot-pots, the complex at Nautholsvik Beach has changing rooms as well as café for beverages and snacks. Admission to the beach and facilities is free; though, a small fee is charged for lockers. The beach is open from May 15 to Aug. 31.

Church of Hallgrimur in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Hallgrimskirkja Church (Church of Hallgrimur): For less than a pint of beer in a Reykjavik pub, you can experience the capital city’s version of New York’s Empire State Building. Rising 244 feet above Reykjavik, Hallgrimskirkja Church’s observation deck, has no competition. Views from the deck offer panoramas of the city, bay and distant mountains. The church, which boasts a minimalist concrete design with clean lines and one heck of a pipe organ, is free; however, the observation deck costs about $4.50 to visit.

Free Walk of Reykjavik Tour: The tour’s name says it all. But is it worth your time? Yes! The 90 minute guided tour through Reykjavik is a great way to get acquainted with Iceland’s capital city. Great storytelling and an insider’s look into Reykjavik’s past, present and future are all hallmarks of this easy walking tour. While the tour is free, the guides do work for tips—500 krona (less than $5) is a reasonable tip. Because the tour is sponsored by GoEcco, there is some cross promotion for the company’s other city tours, but it is nothing that cheapens the experience.  The tour departs daily at 1 p.m. from  My Reykjavik, Austurstræti 6, during the summer (May 1 to September 15) rain or shine with no minimum number of guests needed. Due to limited numbers, there is no longer a free winter tour.

Downtown Reykjavik in Iceland.

Walking through Reykjavik.

Laugardalslaug Thermal Pool: Hailed as the city’s largest geothermal pool, Laugardalsalug is a perfect example of why swimming is a national sport in Iceland despite its proximity to the Arctic Circle. Like the U.S. Post Office, Laugardalslaug operates in all weather conditions. The complex, which borders the Reykjavik Campsite, contains a 50-meter outdoor pool, two water slides, an outdoor children’s pool, numerous hot pots, a thermal steam bath, indoor gym and, just for good measure, a mini-golf course (weather permitting). An all day pass to Laugardalslaug costs approximately $2.50 (the locker rental is included in the price).


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*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me to ask first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(30) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • AlexBerger -

    December 29, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Fantastic tips, great pictures. Will definitely put this to work when I finally get over to Iceland. It´s high on my list!

    • Bethany -

      December 29, 2010 at 10:18 am

      Hi Alex, Thanks for commenting. I def. recommend visiting. Iceland was awesome. Just make sure you budget in for a car so you can see more of the country. Not sure if you read our tips about saving $$ on car rentals there – http://beersandbeans.com/2010/11/03/iceland-rental-car/

      I wish we had known those things before we went there! Have fun when you go 🙂@AlexBerger,

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alex Berger. Alex Berger said: RT @BeersandBeans: 5 things to do in Reykjavik for under $5 http://goo.gl/fb/We6ri […]

  • Connie -

    December 29, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Wow, I wish I had known these fun options for when I was in Iceland a few years ago! It was indeed expensive and I can’t believe that there were some cool things I could have done for so little money! I did, however, make it to the National Museum and the church so I guess it leaves me with more to look forward to for the next time I get to Iceland! Thanks so much!

    • Bethany -

      December 29, 2010 at 10:19 am

      Hi Connie, Thanks for commenting! Next time you go def. check out the pool – we stayed there all day it was amazing! @Connie,

  • Erica -

    December 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I like free. Free is good. Especially when traveling.

    Iceland is one of those places I eventually want to visit – especially with the geothermal activity. Great post Randy!

    • Bethany -

      December 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm

      Randy is good at the free stuff huh? 🙂

  • Kieron -

    December 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing these 5 tips – we’ll be stopping in Iceland between North America & Europe and this definitely helps stretch that budget! 🙂

    • Bethany -

      December 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      Oh cool! Have fun
      ! – we also wrote about camping in Iceland (budget and awesome) and the cheapest way to rent a car – if you didn’t catch those posts you can check out the category by following this link: ehttp://beersandbeans.com/category/iceland/
      might help you out.- when are you going? @Kieron,

  • Kirstin -

    December 29, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I freaking LOVED Iceland! Definitely my favorite travel destination ever. I would add that anybody who visits Reykjavik should go eat a hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, the best hot dog I’ve ever eaten (and I ate many during that trip, much better than fermented shark meat, am I right?) and cheap too!

    • Bethany -

      December 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      haha – yes! I saw that the hot dogs were VERY popular – Begin veg – i didn’t partake but I heard they were good! Thanks for commenting! @Kirstin,

  • Emily -

    December 30, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Glad I saw this list! I plan to go to Iceland sometime soon, but it definitely will be a bit expensive for me. Always happy to find free but fun activities. And happy birthday, Beth! 🙂

    • Bethany -

      December 30, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Emily – Thanks for the bithday wishes and for leaving your lovely comment 🙂 Def. go but it is pricey. However we did it for $66/day for 2 people. We camped and ate a lot of bread and cheese and cooked at the campground. We did eat out a couple times though and we rented a car and drove to the other side of iceland too. It can be done but you really have to monitor yourself. Did you read our camping review? I def. recommend camping in

      Reykjavik – it’s cheap ($20/2 people) and attached to the hostel so you have all the regular ammenties inc. free wifi and social atmosphere. Plus you can walk to the center of town. The hostels are about $30/each. You can also rent a tent at the campground too. If you want more into check out the iceland category or email me 🙂 @Emily,

  • LandLopers Picks of the Week | -

    January 1, 2011 at 1:27 am

    […] 5 Things to Do in Reykjavik for Under $5 […]

  • Brooke vs. the World -

    January 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I love posts like this since I’m such a budget traveler 😉 And, Randy, so cute! Love open love on blogs <3

  • Michael Hodson -

    January 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I can’t wait to go to Iceland — and from what I hear, some cheap tips sound like a hell of an idea. Many thanks.

    • Bethany -

      January 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Yah, Iceland was awesome. I would really love to go back with a bit larger budget so I could drive around the entire island – it was beautiful! @Michael Hodson,

  • Jade -

    January 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    We did all of those things when we were there!! Except, we didn’t realize you had to pay to go onto the observation deck- so we did it for free! No one was there to take our money!!!

    And, I’d add- You could eat two of their famous hotdogs for less than 5 bucks! and they are mighty tasty!!

    • Bethany -

      January 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Hi Jade – wow that is so funny! I guess they are def. the top things to do on a budget! To be honest, we didn’t pay for the observation deck either (no one to take our $$ either) but we felt we should put it in since there was a sign that said you should pay. hahah@Jade,

  • Daniel -

    February 15, 2011 at 2:32 am

    The thermal baths for $2.50 is an amazing deal. Thank you guys for all of your thrifty diligence. I´ll definitely be on the look out for deals on my next trip, which is either London, Stuttgart or Prague. I´ll pass any info from Prague on to you 🙂
    Just a question as to what makes and Icelandic hot dog so good, I´m of the opinion that nothing beats a Swedish hot dog.

    • Bethany -

      March 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks for commenting Daniel. Honestly I can’t say about the hot dog. Being a vegetarian I didn’t eat one and I don’t think Randy did either – not sure why because he loves hot dogs! @Daniel,

  • Daniel -

    March 4, 2011 at 4:31 am

    I would not recommend a veggie hot dog, you? Well, next time Randy is there a detailed report on Hot DOg culture would be greatly appreciated!

  • Angela -

    March 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Reykjavik is one of those cities I kept promising I would visit and never managed to. A friend of mine went to Iceland and was completely charmed by the natural scenery. It’s definitely on my list when I come back to Europe!

  • […] just spotted (thanks to twitter) a page setting out five things you can do for under $5 in […]

  • […] 5. Sightseeing: Again, this is low but I’m pretty proud of us on this front. We did a lot in Iceland–we just did it smartly. We spent a couple hours checking out and taking photos of the Icebergs at Jokulsarlon–free. We went to the Icelandic National Museum on a Wed–free. We went up the Hallgrimskirkja church for a great view of the city, since no one was there to collect money (and there was no box to leave it in) that was also free. We spent 2 days at the Laugardalslaug thermal pools right next to the campground (about $10) – a great deal, I highly recommend this for anyone going to Iceland. We hiked around the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – free. We hung out with some Icelandic Horses – free. We walked around Reykjavik talking to people, visiting bookstores and checking out the sites–free. Stay tuned for a photo essay coming up of this.  I spent a decent amount of time admiring the amazing fiber goods in Iceland – free. We discovered 90% of the population believes in elves – free. We learned the mayor of Reykjavik was a supremely cool guy and we tried to get an interview with him – free.  Somewhere we spent another $3 on sightseeing but neither one of us can remember on what. We had a lot of fun in Iceland; we were always entertaining ourselves and apparently we hardly spent anything to do it. We never sat around at our tent so you can definitely go to Iceland and hang out on the cheap and still see a lot. Check out our other post for more ideas of things to do in Reykjavik for under $5 […]

  • megan -

    April 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I spent less than 24 hours in Reykjavik (and on a Sunday!!) on my way between NYC and London so I’m no expert but the church is definitely worth a visit for the observation tower. It’s the perfect place to get those postcard photos of the colourful rooftops leading down to the sea. I arrived just after Sunday services and the parishioners even greeted me as I entered 🙂

    • Bethany -

      April 26, 2011 at 8:13 am

      I agree. The view of the town from the church was a definite highlight! 🙂@megan,

  • […] more tips about Iceland travel, then visit Randy Kalp’s site on information about best Reykjavik attractions for all your vacation needs. No Comments » Tags: europe, Iceland, Iceland Attractions, […]

  • Raymond -

    June 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Iceland looks like a blast, and although I hear it’s not as expensive as it used to be, it’s still one of the pricier destinations. Great tips!