Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Planning on spending some time in Iceland’s cultured capital? Then the Reykjavik City Card could well be for you. The card is an excellent citywide initiative that gives you access to many of the capital’s top attractions. With it you can gain entry to the top museums and galleries. From contemporary art galleries to outdoor museums and more. You will also be able to lounge in a vintage thermal hot spring and cruise to an island nature reserve. There are all sorts of benefits to investing in a city card. It is guaranteed to enrich your visit and it will also save you money along the way. If you want to get out and explore the capital even for just a day then we highly recommend it.
What does the Reykjavik City Card include?
Here are the top line perks:
· Unlimited travel on city buses and a return trip on the ferry to Viðey island
· Entry to over ten museums and galleries
· Entry to seven thermal pools within the city limits
· Entry to Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park
· A changing roster of discounts and offers on restaurants, entertainment and cultural venues
How does it work?
There are three possible durations for your Reykjavik City Card. 24, 48 or 72 hours. To really make the most of the card (and the city) we suggest you take two clear days to explore. Longer is better but you should be able to pack quite a bit into your 48 hours. The card is activated for one of these durations and you can then use it to swipe your way around the city and its attractions. Simple. Getting to know this vibrant city doesn’t get much easier than this!
How do I get one?
You can order and pay for your Reykjavik City Card online and then pick it up in the capital once you arrive. Alternatively you can buy it once you’ve arrived in the city. There are dozens of convenient sales points for the cards, including hotels, museums and information centres. The main pick up point for cards ordered online is Reykjavik City Hall right in the heart of the city. If you prefer you could also pick up your card at several of the main museums. The card is either activated when you pick it up or you can ask for it to be activated at a later date and time of your choice.
What exactly is included and why is it helpful?
City transport on the Reykjavik City Card
For starters you will have access to unlimited travel on the city buses. Although Reykjavik is a very easy city for walking there are several places further afield that you may like to visit. The buses are also great for tired feet at the end of a day of sightseeing. Or for getting somewhere quickly or for dodging a downpour if the heavens suddenly open! Having the card with you is really convenient as you can simply hop on the bus and swipe it. There’s no need to worry about finding the right change etc.
Another journey included on the card is a return boat trip to Videy Island. This is a lovely tranquil island just a short ferry ride from the mainland. Once there you can enjoy nature and art trails either on foot or by bicycle.
Arts and Culture
Back in the city there are a whole host of museums and galleries to enjoy. Head to the National Museum of Iceland and The Settlement Exhibition to find out about Iceland’s fascinating past. You’ll discover what life was like for the very first settlers. You will certainly wonder at their perseverance on this wild and sometimes inhospitable land.
Arts and culture vultures should head to The Culture House for a mix of contemporary art and counterculture exhibitions. Other excellent art galleries include the three separate sites of the National Gallery of Iceland. The Museum of Photography is a great all rounder charting social history as well as artistic endeavour and the natural world.
Talking of which Reykjavik’s Natural History Museum is wonderful for getting a handle on Iceland’s unique habitats and natural features. It offers a fantastic grounding in geology and the natural world before you head out and see it all for yourself. All of these places are free to enter with the City Card and offer an excellent insight into the cultural scene and vibrant life of Iceland. Don't forget that there are always new discounts and offers running for events and restaurants. You can find out about the current offers when you pick up your card.
Hot spring pools and thermal baths
With seven pools to choose between you should try at least one a day on your visit. Swimming and bathing is a big deal in Iceland's hot springs and pools. It is a frequent leisure activity and there is a hot spring pool to suit everyone’s tastes. There are several family friendly pools with slides, shoots and paddling pools. As well as others open late where adults can go and lounge in peace.
Things to do with kids
All of Reykjavik’s main galleries and museums offer free admission for children under 18 years old. As such the children’s city card costs a good deal less than an adult card. Entry to the museums is free but the kid-friendly animal zoo and family park carries a charge. This place is a big hit with younger children and it lies on the outskirts of the capital. Bus travel and entry is covered on the card so this is a great option for a family day out.
Kids also love the Arbaer Open Air Museum. Again this lies on the outskirts of the city and is a fun day out with entertaining real life exhibits and lots of space to play. Another big hit with kids in Iceland (and adults) are the thermal pools dotted around the city. There are seven included on the card all are a little different. Again they also carry entrance fees for children and this is included on the city card.