The Land of Fire and Ice is a wonderful place to look out for its natural beauty. Iceland isn’t always a wallet friendly option though. So here are some easy ways to make the most of Iceland without spending anything! You read it right – explore Iceland for free!
1. Reykjavik City Walk
The best way to see the city and explore its culture and heritage is through the City Walk. The walk is run by a local who is a history graduate and take you to classic parts of the city with quirky stories to the boot. That the Icelanders don’t use surnames or the story behind the charming Domkirkja Church are just some of the few things you will learn on the way. Popular cafes and shopping areas, you will be introduced to these as well. And unbelievably, it’s a free tour, the best way to explore Iceland for free! Check out the details here.
2. Nautholsvik Beach
Nautholsvik beach in Reykjavik is one of the few beaches in Reykjavik where the sea is warm enough to swim without protective gear. For those who want it warmer still, there are thermal pools all over the beach, where you can lounge around. The beach is great for sunbathing, volleyball and sea sports. In the months of May – August, the beach is open from 10:00h to 20:00h. The best part? No admission fee!
The Einar Jonsson Art Museum is a lovely museum. But more than the museum itself, the sculpture garden is a superb place to have a cosy little picnic lunch. The sculptures that will give you company are fine samples of Icelandic art and history. This museum has NO admission fee, the garden being open 24/7 through the year. The Reykjavik Art Museum is the largest one in Iceland and occupies pride of place among locals. The museum has three parts, all of which you can visit for one single ticket. Children below 18 are permitted for free!
4. Kolaportid Flea Market
Iceland’s local flea market is the best place to do people watching, sample some local delicacies and observe local traditions and culture. All of this and the friendly hustle-bustle ambience is free. But if you do want some souvenirs, this would be the best place to get them at a reasonable price.
5. Valley of Elliðár
Reykjavik to the outsider is the busy capital city with the largest part of Iceland’s population. Unknown to tourists, there is one part of the city that is a veritable oasis of sorts – the Valley of Elliðár. Probably one of the best picnic spots in town, this place has waterfalls, birds and flowers, all within reach of the city! Discover it before others do!
6. Mount Esja
If you think 900 metres above sea level is too high, think twice, Mount Esja gives you some of the best views indeed. It would seem Mount Esja is a popular place for the locals to take their power walks or just a long walk.
7. The Winter Lights Festival
Winter in Iceland is a time when sunlight is rare. But these are not gloomy times at all. In February, Iceland hosts the Winter Lights Festival or Vetarhatid, where all are welcome and the events are free. There’s music, exhibitions, movies, guided tours and more. Visit the official website for more details.
Awed? Here are other Iceland activities you shouldn’t miss!
8. Christmas Village
Every year the town of Hafnarfjordr, near Reykjavik comes alive during Christmas. There are lights everywhere, Christmas trees and little markets and festivities all around. The entire village gets decked up as Iceland’s official Christmas Village ever December. Do a bit of shopping, say hello to Santa and just make merry with Iceland’s Christmas spirit.
Find your Christmas cheer → here
9. Take an architectural tour
The Harpa is to Iceland what the Opera House is to Sydney. The beautiful, iconic glass building along the ocean hosts concerts and plays. Walk around inside this architectural marvel, free of charge. Yet another spot you shouldn’t miss is the Hallgrimskirkja Church. The columns around the church were inspired by the black waterfall of Svartifoss. And it doesn’t cost anything – you got it, explore Iceland for free!
10. Perlan for views
Perlan, which means Pearl, is a landmark of Reykjavik. At a height of 25m, the building doubles up as an observatory-cum-exhibition centre. The viewing deck has panoramic telescopes with recorded descriptions in five languages, best views of the city guaranteed. The exhibition space, known as the Winter Garden, often has concerts, expos, and markets.