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  • Annette Vazquez
  • "What to do in Reykjavik that is not touristy?"

Annette Vazquez

New Jersey

What to do in Reykjavik that is not touristy?

My boyfriend and I are heading to Iceland in May and planning to stay close to Reykjavik. What is the weather like? I want to do lots of hiking and nature related excursions, but I also want to see what the capitol has to offer too. It would be great to visit restaurants, shops, museums, or do tours that are off the beaten path. Trip will be for 7 days. Would love to visit places that natives prefer. Thanks!

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4 Answers

  • Theresa Christine

    top answer by

    I didn't spend much time in Reykjavik my last time there, but I do have a few suggestions...

    Kryddlegin Hjörtu is an outstanding spot for food! Definitely go here. Great vegetarian options, delicious meat options, and all-you-can-eat. Yum!

    Hallgrímskirkja may be more on the touristy side, but it's stunning to look at and offers gorgeous views of the city. Highly recommended. Harpe is also touristy but quite lovely.

    Laugavegur is a street with shopping and such. I found a few nice gems here, like Fóa for unique gifts.

    Try a city tour with the blogger at I Heart Reykjavik.

    The Perlan offers beautiful city views as well!

    Kaldi Bar/Café is a cozy bar.

    If you want to find a pool but not do the Blue Lagoon (wasn't a fan of that experience myself), then try Laugardalslaug or Vesturbæjarlaug.

    There is also a TON of street art in Reykjavik. Just walking around is pleasant. :)

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    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Reykjavik (city)
    2. Kryddlegin Hjörtu (restaurant)
    3. Hallgrímskirkja (attraction)
    4. Harpa (attraction)
    5. Laugavegur (unknown)
    6. Fóa (attraction)
    7. Perlan (restaurant)
    8. Kaldi Bar/Café (restaurant)
    9. Blue Lagoon (attraction)
    10. Laugardalslaug (attraction)
    11. Vesturbæjarlaug (attraction)

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  • Lilja Þorsteinsdóttir

    answered by

    Hi Annette,


    The weather in May should be fine but that depends on what you're used to :) It can get a little cold but if it's sunny and not windy it's "almost" like summer. Some Icelanders go on summer vacation as early as the middle of May and can get lucky with the weather.

    Icelanders use the public swimming pools a lot. They're relatively cheap (at least compared to the Blue Lagoon) and there are a whole bunch of them in theReykjavik area. A popular place to hike outside of Reykjavík is Bílastæði við Esjurætur. In the city you might want to try a stroll along the coast on Ægissíða and stop for a coffee at Kaffihús Vesturbæjar or the Bike Cave.

    Most of the tours available from Reykjavík are indeed rather touristy so some people prefer to rent a car and do a self-drive tour. The south coast is very beautiful but also very crowded with tourists, so you might want to head west and see the Snæfellsbær peninsula and Borgarfjörður up to Húsafelland Hallmundarhraun lava field.

    I hope you have a wonderful trip! :)


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  • Steve Gray

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    If you're there on the right day, check out the farm market in town. It's better than a shopping mall, and there are some local foods to sample and buy (if you're brave enough).

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  • Justin Schmid

    answered by

    You know what? Don't worry about weather it's "touristy." If it's fun, do it. And remember, most people only spend three days in Iceland (if that much) as part of a stopover on the way to Europe, so most of the country is still empty. You can drive for hours on some rural roads without seeing anyone.

    You're going to be at a disadvantage in May because a lot of the F Roads leading to the interior will still be closed; F Roads mean business, so don't take them lightly. Most of them open in early to mid-June.

    Obviously, the Icelandic Phallological Museum is touristy. But it's also awesome.

    I actually have a blog post that's a good mix of typical, can't-miss activities along with some more overlooked stuff. Here's the URL: http://wanderingjustin.com/2014/03/go-to-iceland/

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