Clean, green and captivating, the colourful port of Reykjavik is one of Europe's most enchanting cities.
The world's northernmost national capital offers stunning views, a thriving arts scene and a warm welcome that belies its subarctic climate. A beautiful skyline, dramatic coast and rich cultural heritage come together in a city that also makes an ideal gateway to Iceland's glaciers, geysers and lava fields.
Arriving at Reykjavik–Keflavik Airport
Direct flights depart London City Airport for Keflavik International Airport, which lies about 30 miles (50km) west of capital Reykjavik on the northern tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Short runways at the more central Reykjavik Airport mean it is only used by domestic carriers.
Built as a military airfield, Keflavik International Airport has three runways, two of which are currently in use. The passenger terminal – named after Norse explorer Leif Erikson – has been extended several times since opening in 1987, and received awards for its bright décor and range of facilities, which include an impressive range of shops and free unlimited Wi-Fi.
There is currently no rail link between the airport and Reykjavik, so all onward transfers are by road. Bus options include the Airport Express and FlyBus services, which depart between 30 and 45 minutes after each scheduled flight arrival. Drop-offs can be arranged for all major hotels in the capital, but you'll need to book in advance.
Several taxi companies operate from the airport, and you can pick up a hire car – book in advance with London City Airport.
Begin your afternoon in Reykjavik by exploring the fascinating Downtown district in the city centre on foot. Starting from the beautiful harbour, head inland to Ingolfstorg Square to see the historic wooden buildings. From here, continue south to pretty lake Tjörnin, flanked by the City Hall and National Gallery. Continue your walk into the Hljómskálagarður park before heading north-east towards the imposing Hallgrimskirkja cathedral.
After inspecting the church and the statue of Leif Erikson, spend an hour mixing with the locals in the public baths and hot tubs at nearby Sundhöllin. Or if you prefer, continue your walk northeast into the trendy shopping district at Laugavegur.
Stop for dinner and drinks on swanky Laugavegur, Reykjavik's main hub for bars, restaurants and retail. Order from the fish menu, or try one of Iceland's favourite hot dogs.
Enjoy night-time views of the city, with its illuminated public landmarks, and find your ideal vantage point to marvel at the dazzling Northern Lights if you're here outside summer. Make your way to the Harpa concert hall to experience Icelandic performing arts, or relax with a drink on the Vesturbær harbour.
Begin your weekend by exploring the main cultural landmarks in the Downtown area, including Reykjavik City Hall, Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral and the statue of Leif Erikson. Work your way through the pretty streets to the harbour for views across the bay to Mount Esja. Next, take a short car or bus ride out to the Perlan museum and visit the observation deck to marvel at the Reykjavik skyline. Returning to town, head for dinner and drinks on atmospheric Laugavegur or Hverfisgata before catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights when the sun goes down.
Start the morning with a relaxing swim in one of Reykjavik's many geothermal pools. Spend a couple of hours learning about Iceland's Viking past at the National Museum, and then continue into Hljómskálagarður park. Head north towards the beautiful Tjörnin lake, where you can stop for birdwatching or ice skating, depending on the temperature. After dinner in the Downtown area, take in a concert at Harpa and enjoy a nightcap at one of the bars in the up-and-coming harbour area.
Begin your week with a leisurely stroll around compact Reykjavik, taking in the sea and mountain views. Make your way to Tjörnin lake, the backdrop to the City Hall and National Gallery, and then to the Vesturbær harbour area for lunch. Take an afternoon stroll along the coast before an evening under the stars, trying to spot the Northern Lights.
Spend a couple of hours enjoying the exhibitions and scenic panorama from the hilltop Perlan museum. Afterwards, relax in a naturally heated pool and look forward to a famous Icelandic hotdog for dinner. Spend the evening exploring the city centre.
Take a day tour out of the capital to the dual natural highlights of Gullfoss and Haukadalur. Find the perfect vantage point for pictures of the waterfalls and geysers. On your return to Reykjavik, take in a concert at Harpa and, if you dare, try a shot of brennivín.
Work your way around the Icelandic art collections at the National Gallery next to Tjörnin lake, then head to the nearby Hallgrimskirkja cathedral and the Leif Erikson statue. Spend the afternoon shopping or enjoying a coffee on Hverfisgata and then check the fish menu for dinner.
Drive out to the south coast to take in the Reynisdrangar sea stacks and Reynisfjara black sand beach, along with the nearby waterfalls and dainty villages. Return via the ski resort of Bláfjöll to check out the volcanoes and lava fields, then enjoy a quiet meal in laid back Vesturbær.
Venture out east to Laugardalur to visit Reykjavik's largest geothermal pool, then pay a visit to the park and zoo. After lunch, relax in the Reykjavik Botanical Garden before heading to Downtown District 101 for dinner, drinks and a live band.
Choose your walking trail into the Esja volcanic mountains for stunning views over the capital and out to sea. Afterwards, put your feet up for a lazy afternoon in a Vesturbær café, or take a boat tour from the harbour. Look forward to your final glimpse of the Northern Lights before heading home.
Regular in-season flights to Reykjavik are available from London City Airport. Check our flight timetables to plan your Icelandic adventure.