If you are careful and plan accordingly, you can find cheap travel attractions in Iceland. The options will offset costs–food, alcohol and nightlife–to help keep your travel savings from diminishing. The options below will give you a taste of Icelandic culture without blowing your budget on your vacation in Reykjavik
The National Museum of Iceland: It’s all here. Everything that our school textbooks failed to mention about Iceland is in this museum. The Making of Nation is the permanent exhibition at the museum. A combination of photography and artifacts dating from the Settlement Age to the Present, including Bjork’s first LP, the exhibition showcases Iceland’s cultural heritage. Additionally, the museum also holds temporary exhibitions. Free on Wednesdays, the museum can be completed in a few hours, but like any museum, the longer you stay the more you will take away. The complex also offers free WiFi and has a cafe.
Nautholsvik Beach: Geothermal water is pumped into two hot pots (large Jacuzzis) and into the bay. A seawall surrounding the lagoon helps to keep the cold sea water out of the swimming area. The lagoon’s temperature is usually around 68 degrees (it’s not Hawaii, but definitely fun for a quick dip). In addition to the hot-pots, the complex at beach has changing rooms as well as cafe for beverages and snacks. Admission to the beach and facilities is free; though, a small fee is charged for lockers. The beach is open from May 15 to Aug. 31.
Hallgrimskirkja Church (Church of Hallgrimur): The church, which boasts a minimalist concrete design with clean lines and one heck of a pipe organ, is free; however, the observation deck costs about $4.50 to visit. So, For less than a pint of beer in a Reykjavik pub, you can experience the capital city’s version of New York’s Empire State Building. Rising 244 feet above Reykjavik, the church’s observation deck, has no competition. Views from the deck offer panoramas of the city, bay and distant mountains.
Free Walk of Reykjavik Tour: The tour’s name says it all. But is it worth your time? Yes! The 90 minute guided tour through Reykjavik is a great way to get acquainted with Iceland’s capital city. Great storytelling and an insider’s look into Reykjavik’s past, present and future are all hallmarks of this easy walking tour. While the tour is free, the guides do work for tips-500 krona (less than $5) is a reasonable tip. Because the tour is sponsored by GoEcco, there is some cross promotion for the company’s other city tours, but it is nothing that cheapens the experience. The tour departs daily at 1 p.m. from My Reykjavik, Austurstrti 6, during the summer (May 1 to September 15) rain or shine with no minimum number of guests needed. Due to limited numbers, there is no longer a free winter tour.
Laugardalslaug Thermal Pool: The complex, which borders the Reykjavik Campsite, contains a 50-meter outdoor pool, two water slides, an outdoor children’s pool, numerous hot pots, a thermal steam bath, indoor gym and, just for good measure, a mini-golf course (weather permitting). An all day pass to the pool costs approximately $2.50 (the locker rental is included in the price). Like the U.S. Post Office, the outdoor complex operates in all weather conditions. Laugardalsalug, Reykjavik’s largest geothermal pool, is a great example of why swimming is a national sport in Iceland despite its proximity to the Arctic Circle.