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Like many other capitals around the world, Reykjavík also offers the Hop on Hop off buses, providing a flexible and convenient way to explore its wonders, ensuring you experience its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere at your own pace.
Written by:
Viktória Komjáti
Content creator
21 Mar 2024
Guides, Travel tips

Welcome to the magical world of Reykjavík!

A city perched on the edge of the Arctic, where vibrant Nordic culture intertwines with a mesmerising landscape shaped by centuries of geological drama. A place where the sun barely sets in summer, while winter nights are enchanted by the ethereal Northern Lights.

While you might stroll through the downtown area in an hour or two, braving the elements isn't always appealing. But don't worry. Like many other capitals around the world, Reykjavík also offers the Hop on Hop off buses, providing a flexible and convenient way to explore its wonders at your own pace.

Far from your typical city tour, they are your pass to freedom and flexibility. Our guide offers insights into the various stops and areas the bus visits, ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of the journey ahead.

Reykjavík started as a modest cluster of turf houses in the 9th century. With only 600 residents by 1801, it began to grow after the first wool workshops were established here and slowly became Iceland's political and cultural hub.

The city's development accelerated during World War II, with the arrival of British and American troops bringing newfound activity and influence, including the construction of Keflavík Airport. This period also indirectly hastened Iceland's journey to independence in 1944.

From these humble beginnings, it has flourished into Iceland's cosmopolitan heart, a vibrant centre of creativity and innovation, and a profound respect for its historical roots. Today's Reykjavík, largely constructed over the past few decades, continues to evolve at a remarkable pace, more so than perhaps any other European capital.

When you visit, the most striking feature will be the ongoing construction. Everywhere you look, new buildings are springing up – from residential homes to hotels, all fuelled by the booming tourism industry. This growth is transforming Reykjavík, which holds the unique title of the world's smallest capital, into a city that is changing more rapidly and dramatically than any of its European counterparts.

Explore Reykjavik Stop by Stop

As you set out on the Hop on Hop off bus in Reykjavík, each stop is like turning a new page in the city's fascinating storybook.

Your journey starts at the Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre, a masterpiece that seamlessly blends Iceland's natural beauty with architectural innovation. Its glass structure shimmers like the Northern Lights, capturing the essence of the Icelandic landscape.

Next is the Reykjavík Old Harbour. This lively spot brims with character, combining the old and new. Here, the Maritime Museum tells tales of Iceland's seafaring past, while the nearby Whales of Iceland exhibition brings you closer to the giants of the deep.

A stroll away is the National Museum of Iceland, a gateway to the country's soul. Wander down Lækjargata, buzzing with energy, and find yourself amidst the iconic Hard Rock Café and the eclectic Laugavegur shopping street, where every shop has its own story.

The journey wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Kjarvalsstaðir Art Museum, a haven for art lovers. Then, Hallgrímskirkja Church awaits with its majestic presence. Climbing its tower rewards you with a view that stretches across the city - a moment to cherish.

The next destination is the BSÍ Bus Terminal, a crossroads for travellers and locals alike. Then, prepare to be wowed at the Perlan, where the Wonders of Iceland exhibition and a Northern Lights show await, topped off with a stunning city panorama from the observation deck.

For those who love to shop, Kringlan Shopping Mall is a treasure trove, followed by the culturally rich Reykjavík City Theatre. Stop by the Hilton Nordica Reykjavík for a cosy coffee break with scenic views.

Further on, Laugardalur Valley invites you to a world of leisure and beauty - think of it as Reykjavík's playground. The tranquility of Skarfabakki Harbour is perfect for a leisurely walk, and if you're lucky, you might hop on a boat to Viðey island.

The tour wraps up at the historic Höfði House, a symbol of peace and diplomacy.

The beauty of the Hop on Hop off bus service is that it puts you in control of your itinerary. You can alight and board the bus at any stop that piques your interest. With the option of 24 or 48-hour passes, you're afforded the flexibility to tailor your sightseeing to your own pace and preference.

Is Hop on Hop off better than regular public transport?

The Hop on Hop off bus service really stands out when compared to regular public transportation, and here's why it's such a fantastic choice.

First off, they've got an audio guide available in multiple languages that gives you valuable information and interesting facts about Reykjavík, from the sights to its culture and history. You won't find this feature on your typical city bus ride, that's for sure!

Additionally, riding on a double-decker bus gives you a unique and comfy way to take in all the city views. Unlike those regular buses that take you through all sorts of areas, some not so exciting, the Hop on Hop off service is all about hitting up the top attractions, making sure you're never too far from the best Reykjavík has to offer.

Expert Tips for Maximizing Your Hop-On Hop-Off Experience in Reykjavík

To make your hop-on hop-off tour in Reykjavík truly memorable, we've compiled a few tips for you.

Plan Ahead: As with any travel experience, planning is key. Check the timetable and route in advance to get a sense of the tour's flow. Tour during mid-morning or late afternoon for the best experience. Avoid peak times to ensure you have enough time to explore. Remember to book your tickets online ahead of time - it's easy, efficient, and allows you to skip the queue.

On-board Experience: For the best views, grab a seat on the right side of the bus. This is especially important when touring areas like Perlan or Hallgrímskirkja Church, where the views are simply stunning. Bring a pair of comfortable headphones for the audio commentary. It will enrich your experience and deepen your understanding of the sites.

Safety is important when visiting Reykjavík. Weather conditions can be unpredictable. It is wise to pack multiple layers of clothing. A raincoat should also be included. Our double-deckers are not open-air, so you'll be protected from the elements. However, take caution when moving around the bus while it's in motion. Your safety is paramount!

Questions and answers about Hop-On Hop-Off Busses in Reykjavík

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