5 ways to experience Reykjavík like a local

The cyberspace is filled with advice and suggestions on how to make the most of your time in Iceland. Dig a little deeper and you will find plenty of tips on what Reykjavík has to offer to the wandering visitor. But what is it like to live in the capital? What do the locals enjoy? Let’s find out how to experience Reykjavík like a local.

Harpa Concert Hall

1. Go to a symphony concert at Harpa concert hall
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1950 and has distinguished itself as one of the leading Nordic orchestras through its many performances and recordings. Each season the orchestra gives around 60 concerts in Harpa concert hall, ranging from international and local tours to school concerts and concerts with renowned conductors and soloists. Take it all in as you sit in the largest hall in Harpa, Eldborg, and mingle with the locals during the break. And if classical music is not your style, Harpa hosts many types of events and concerts that are worth checking out.

Grótta Lighthouse
2. Enjoy a walk to Grótta
Grótta is frequented by many locals. The scenery is gorgeous, especially during sunsets and you’ll get to breathe in the sea breeze as you greet the local walking his dog and the biking family dashing by you. Bring a packed meal with you and have a picnic at the black beach overlooking the lighthouse. The birdlife is also fascinating and Grótta is a nature reserve because of it.
Close by a foot bath has been carved into a rock, where you can sit by and relax with a beverage of your choice to top off your visit to this western part of the capital area.

Valdís Ice Cream
3. Grab some ice cream
Icelanders love their ice cream. If you want to mix with the locals, you hunt down the ice cream. We have specific ice cream stores all over Reykjavík. The classic thing to get at an ice cream store in Iceland is Bragðarefur. It is a locally made ice cream mixed with candy and fruits of your choice. If that sounds like a little too much for you, there is always ice cream with mouth-watering dips and a new ice cream store at Grandi that specializes in gelato. But I warn you, the Icelandic ice cream is so good you might never want to leave the country.

Cinema Seats

4. Catch a movie
Here’s an interesting fact for you. Iceland has the highest yearly cinema attendance per capita of all the countries in the world. Going to a movie while in Iceland might not be the most thrilling thought but if you truly want to live like a local that’s what you should do. We have quite a lot of theatres to choose from and selections ranging from the newest blockbusters to indie documentaries. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Some movie theatres offer cheese popcorn which is not on the menu so you have to ask for it specifically. Do that. You will not regret it.

Esja Mountain

5. Go Hiking at Esja
Icelanders are overall pretty active people. We like our nature and we love to fill our lungs with fresh air. Mount Esja dramatically dominates the Reykjavík skyline and is just as gorgeous up close as it is seen from the capital. From light purple to deep blue, white and grey to golden, the mountain changes its colors depending on the season and weather conditions. If you ask the locals we might tell you Esja’s colors change with its mood.
Several hiking trails wind their way around Esja and there are big maps at the parking lot by the mountain roots that will help guide your way. You can also just follow the locals you meet while there or even join their hike, we are friendly people.

Related stories

Clean and Safe

Hreint & Öruggt – Clean & Safe

Við hjá Mountaineers of Iceland tökum sóttvarnir okkar viðskiptavina alvarlega. Þess vegna tökum við þátt í verkefninu Hreint & öruggt hjá Ferðmálastofu.

We at Mountaineers of Iceland are concerned about our clients’ health measures. That’s why we take part in the Icelandic Tourists’ board project, Clean & safe.

Read more »
Standing on a glacier

Iceland’s Main Glaciers

A Brief Summary of Iceland’s main Glaciers.

Iceland has multiple glaciers and some of them have become very famous. Glaciers have formed on our island over an extended period of time and are receding heavily.

Read more »
Snowmobiles in a row

Why Snowmobiling on a Glacier Should be on Your Bucket List

When travelers think of visiting Iceland, the main agenda on the top of their list is an adventure

So, why should you include snowmobiling on a trip to Iceland?

Well, whereas in other countries around the world, tour guides will take you to mountainous terrains and vast snowy tundras, here in Iceland we’re a little different.

Known as the land of fire and ice, you’ll have the opportunity to experience snowmobiling in Iceland on top of some of the world’s largest and most dramatic glaciers, which frequently sit on top of some of the world’s most active volcanic systems.

Read more »
Mountaineers of Iceland

Að nýta Ferðagjöf hjá Mountaineers

Allir einstaklingar 18 ára og eldri hafa fengið Ferðagjöf að andvirði 5.000 kr. Við hjá Mountaineers of Iceland tökum á móti Ferðagjöf og bjóðum ferðir okkar á veglegum afslætti til þess að hvetja fólk til þess að ferðast innanlands.

Read more »

Gullfoss – Golden Falls

Gullfoss Falls or “the Golden Falls” are arguably considered the king of Iceland’s waterfalls. Standing at 32 meters high and with an average water flow of 110 cubic meters per second, it is indeed worthy of that title.

Read more »