Free and Cheap Things to Do in Reykjavik

September 18, 2012 by

Free Things to Do, Things To Do, Tours & Activities

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo courtesy of michael clarke stuff via Flickr.

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo courtesy of michael clarke stuff via Flickr.

Iceland is known as an expensive destination to visit, but there are still plenty of things to do that won’t cost more than a few bucks, so you can save your money for the adventures that can’t be done on the cheap.

Many of the city’s museums are free or very cheap. The 871 Settlement Museum costs 600 ISK (under $5 US) and is one of the best museums in Reykjavik. It’s centered around a 1,000-year-old excavated Viking longhouse and uses recovered artifacts and interactive exhibits to tell the story of Iceland’s early days. The Culture House Museum, which displays some of Iceland’s oldest manuscripts, is free on Wednesdays and 300 ISK (just over $2 US) every other day.

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Reykjavik’s most famous landmark and best spot for a good view is another cheap activity. The Hallgrímskirkja Church charges 400 ISK (about $3 US) for access to the viewing tower. Another cheap way to get your bearings is to head past the Tjörnin pond into the City Hall to check out the massive, table-top 3D map of Iceland.

To take part in one of the locals’ favorite cheap pastimes, head to a city pool. Laugardalslaug is the largest and is open year round; don’t worry, the water is kept at a high temperature, so even in winter a soak is still pleasant. A full-day pass with locker rental won’t cost you more than $3 US. In summer, check out the geothermal-heated beach at Nautholsvik, just past the domestic airport. The beach is open from mid-May through August and admission is free.

On weekends, the Kolaportid market is another way to pass the time at little expense (unless you purchase too many souvenirs). And just across the street you’ll find one of the cheapest (and best) meals in the city: the hot dogs at Bæjarins beztu.

- Katie Hammel

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