Things to Know Before You Go to Reykjavik: Geysers and Northern Lights

Witness the natural wonders of geysers and the Northern Lights with this ‘Things to Know Before You Go to Reykjavik’ guide. Iceland’s capital offers a magical blend of nature and Nordic charm.

Reykjavik, the northernmost capital of the world, combines breathtaking natural wonders with vibrant city life. When considering the most important things to know before you go to Reykjavik, think first of a city where modern culture meets ancient Viking heritage. All under the mystical glow of the Northern Lights, Reykjavik offers a gateway to Iceland’s dramatic landscapes, making it a perfect spot for both adventure and relaxation.

Aerial view of Reykjavik with colorful rooftops and snow-capped mountains in the background on a clear winter day.
Aerial view of Reykjavik with colorful rooftops and snow-capped mountains in the background on a clear winter day.

When to Witness Reykjavik: Aurora Dreams and Steamy Streams

When it comes to the top things to know before you go to Reykjavik, do note that the ideal times to visit are during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October). These months offer milder weather and fewer tourists, enhancing your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights

Add to that the Reykjavik International Film Festival in October and the Winter Lights Festival in February, which are definitely must-see events that showcase the city’s cultural vibrancy.

Icelandic Indulgences: From Hot Springs to Cool Bites

A culinary journey is essential when exploring the most essential things to know before you go to Reykjavik. After all, the city’s food scene provides a mix of traditional Icelandic cuisine and international flavors. 

Sample the iconic Icelandic lamb at Grillmarkaðurinn, or for a more casual bite, try the famous hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. For visitors with dietary restrictions, Reykjavik also offers numerous vegan and gluten-free options, ensuring no one misses out on tasting Iceland’s unique flavors.

Reykjavik Routes: Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice

Exploring the natural and cultural attractions is another vital part of the top things to know before you go to Reykjavik. With that, don’t miss the chance to visit the Geysir geothermal area, where the Strokkur geyser shoots water 30 meters into the air every few minutes. 

Then there’s also the Harpa Concert Hall, with its stunning architecture and cultural offerings, and the historical and picturesque Hallgrímskirkja church, both essential stops on any Reykjavik itinerary.

Tourists relaxing in a steamy geothermal hot spring near Reykjavik, surrounded by rugged lava fields.
Tourists relaxing in a steamy geothermal hot spring near Reykjavik, surrounded by rugged lava fields.

Nordic Nests: Where to Stay in Reykjavik

The next important thing to know before you go to Reykjavik centers on accommodation. Downtown Reykjavik is most convenient for travelers looking to stay close to cultural sites and nightlife

But for a more unique experience, the ION City Hotel offers modern luxury with an Icelandic twist. Alternatively, the Kex Hostel provides a budget-friendly option with a vibrant social scene, perfect for younger travelers or those looking to meet fellow adventurers.

Viking Virtues: Reykjavik’s Cultural Codes

Understanding the local customs is also crucial when planning a holiday to Reykjavik. Considering how Icelanders take pride in their Viking heritage, as evidently seen in their community and family-focused customs, knowing a few basics can go a long way. 

When visiting hot springs or public pools, local etiquette requires thorough washing without a swimsuit before entering. Basic Icelandic phrases such as “Takk” (thank you) are appreciated, and while tipping is not customary in Iceland, it is always welcomed for exceptional service.

Northern Lights in vibrant green and purple over Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik during a clear night.
Northern Lights in vibrant green and purple over Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavik during a clear night.

Things to Know Before You Go to Reykjavik: Under the Auroras

Reflecting on more things to know before you go to Reykjavik, this city will surely invite you to immerse in its unique blend of geological marvels and cultural richness. After all, Reykjavik is more than just another European destination; it’s an experience of discovering resilience and beauty in the land of fire and ice. 

Rx Ruby
Author: Rx Ruby

Rx's engaging writing encourages travelers to explore beyond the usual tourist paths, offering them a glimpse into the lesser-known yet fascinating parts of each city. By joining forces with ThisCityKnows, she extends an invitation to travelers to become part of a community of urban explorers and storytellers. Her passion for discovering and sharing city tales makes her an indispensable guide for anyone eager to experience the pulse of the world's greatest cities through a lens of knowledge and wonder.

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