Luxury in Reykjavík – Nature, Fine Dining & Private Tours

Harpa and Hallgrímskirkja

Luxury in Reykjavík is not hard to find, with the city offering countless ways to add a touch of class to your time here. So, which are considered the best-reviewed bars, restaurants, and attractions? Stick around to learn more about enjoying Iceland in style. 

When one thinks of Iceland, a number of words tend to form in the imagination.

AdventureFreedomNature. And, of course, luxury

Whether your idea of luxury is dining at the city’s finest restaurants or experiencing something truly unique, like a helicopter tour over the city, Reykjavík offers it all.

The choice as to how how you pamper yourself is entirely yours.

Below, you’ll find plenty of ideas as to what constitutes the most luxurious attractions and activities on this Nordic island.

Table of Contents

  The Sky Lagoon 

A couple at the spa
Photo: Sky Lagoon Sky Pass with Transfer

While the Blue Lagoon might be the big name when it comes to Icelandic geothermal spas, it is not without stiff competition. 

The Sky Lagoon has a number of advantages over its older, more famous cousin on the Reykjanes Peninsula, namely that it is so close to downtown Reykjavík.

Both spas offer soothing geothermal water, naturally heated and mineral-rich, as well as welcome amenities like swim-up bars, changing facilities, and on-site cafes. 

Sky Lagoon Iceland
Photo: Signe. Enjoying the luxurious surroundings of the Sky Lagoon

But visitors to the Sky Lagoon can also enjoy a futuristic infinity pool, allowing them clear views over the North Atlantic waves. 

To heighten your experience, we recommend participating in The Ritual. This seven-step process aims to bring bathers to whole new levels of relaxation. Those who take part in this add-on will have access to the saunas, steam rooms, and cold mist showers. 

You can read our feature article about this luxury spa here: The Sky Lagoon in Reykjavík

Top Nature Activities for Luxury Travellers 

 

There are plenty of things that VIP travellers can discover during their time in the land of ice and fire.

While some of these experiences may cost a pretty penny, there can be no rivalling them when it comes to the awe-inspiring sights they provide.

Step inside a real-life volcano 

An elevator descends into a dormant volcano in Iceland
Photo: Inside the volcano

The exhilarating Inside The Volcano experience takes guests into the magma chamber of Þríhnúkagígur volcano. Don’t worry – there’s no lava inside! 

To reach the site, you will have to hike for approximately forty minutes from the car park. 

This is an excellent opportunity to bask in Iceland’s intrepid natural scenery, as well as get your excitement bubbling for the underground adventure ahead.

Once you arrive at the entrance, you will take a small, makeshift elevator down into the depths of the earth. After a short descent, you will step out into a colourful and geologically magnificent realm. Make sure to bring your camera – you’ll have forty minutes inside, but the sights you see there are sure to stick in your mind for years to come. 

Soar high over the city with an Iceland helicopter tour 

Cockpit view over Reykjavik
Photo: Reykjavik Helicopter Private Tour of Volcanoes

Exploring Iceland’s capital at ground-level is all very well and good, but can it truly compare to flying over its streets and rooftops? 

Helicopter tours around Reykjavík have grown hugely popular over the last years on account that they offer both thrills and dramatic scenery in equal measure.

In recent months, that popularity has only heightened further thanks to volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula.


Truly, who doesn’t want to see shooting fountains of lava from way up above?

Looking through the windows of their whirlybird, visitors can’t help but revel in the vast, rural landscapes that surround Reykjavík. 

Farmer’s meadows. Odd patches of woodland. Distant mountain ranges. Wide ocean panoramas. All lie in wait for those daring enough to hop aboard and partake in a thrilling aerial adventure.

Oh, and remember that whole going-into-the-volcano thing we mentioned? It’s actually possible to combine that with a spot of flying with this Inside The Volcano Helicopter tour. One is hard pressed to think of an itinerary any more unique!

Choosing Private Tours 

Reykjavík in the evening
Photo: Golli. Reykjavík at dusk.

It is worth noting that many tours in Iceland are designed for groups, both for nature tours out of the city, and those within it. Guests will, no doubt, observe the many coaches that travel across the country each and everyday, most leaving from Reykjavík. 

The problem with larger tours, of course, is that they force one into a schedule, as well as having to share the guide’s attention between many people. This can make asking questions, or striking up a pleasant conversation, difficult. 

At an extra cost, these issues can all be solved by participating in a private tour.

A private guide leading tourists in RYK
Photo: Private Reykjavik Art Walking Tour

These come in many shapes and sizes, but rest easy knowing that almost all major activities have both standard and private options available. 

For example, take this Private Reykjavik Street Art & Photo Friendly Walking Tour. For two hours, your own guide will take you through the city, pointing out the best landscape shots, street art, and sharing stories from Iceland’s past. One simply cannot beat focused attention like that.

It’s possible even to elevate your experience from having a private guide to your very own chauffeur. This Private Tailormade Chauffeur Sightseeing Tour in Reykjavík will see you taken around the city at your leisure in approximately four hours. 

Top Bars & Restaurants in Reykjavík

Dill restaurant in Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. Fine dining, Dill restaurant.

An integral part of any vacation experience is the food you will eat. 

Thankfully, Reykjavík boasts plenty of sophisticated eateries. Being Iceland, fish and lamb are considered the top menu options, but guests will find delicacies from around the world. 

Two of the classiest bars in Reykjavík are the SKY Bar and Petersen Svítan. These fine establishments offer a rooftop drinking area from which to enjoy surrounding views of the city. 

Nearby is Sólon Íslandus, which can be found at the intersection of Laugavegur shopping street and the rainbow road, Skólavörðustígur. They might claim to offer familiar dishes, but there is little chance you’ve tasted any steak, schnitzel, or stracciatella the likes of which Sólon offers.

A delicious dish of Icelandic cuisine
Photo: The Reykjavík Food Walk

If you’re hoping to sample Icelandic cuisine particularly, then might we advise stopping in at the Old Iceland Restaurant. Here, all manner of traditional meals have been revitalised for modern times, made all the better by the restaurant’s communal atmosphere and rustic aesthetic.  

Jungle cocktail bar is also somewhere you might also be interested in stopping by given that is often frequented by celebs, such as superstar chef, Gordon Ramsey. Given the man’s fiery reputation for demanding outstanding standards in customer care, you can imagine you’ll be well cared for during your visit.

If you’re a true foodie, then you’ll be seeking out Michelin stars. Well, good news on that front, as there are plenty to find in Iceland’s capital.

For example, Sümac’s menu focuses on Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. These have become so popular that the restaurant released its own cookbook, giving you some idea as to just how delectable their culinary creations are.

Other worthy mentions all boasting their own Michelin ratings include: DILL, ÓX, Matur og Drykkur, and finally, Brút.

A quick word on lavish accommodation in Reykjavik…

 
Austurvöll architecture
Photo: Golli. Buildings in the city.

It would be remiss not to divulge the swankiest suites in RYK. Of course, what one considers luxury when it comes to their sleeping quarters can vary wildly.

If you’re looking for more gentile lodgings, the boutique Sand Hotel offers rooms with terraces that overlook the city, as well as a classy restaurant on the ground floor. In the same vein, another well-suited choice might be Apótek Hotel Reykjavík.

On the other end of the scale, the newly-built Reykjavik Edition offers guests all that and more. This 5-star hotel on the waterfront offers a  fitness centre, 24/7 front desk service, private parking, and even a currency exchange.

Harpa concert hall in RYK
Photo: Golli. Harpa concert hall.

The Reykjavík Edition is right next door to the exquisite Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, which just so happens to be a fantastic location to host sophisticated and modern business events.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Reykjavík is certainly not short of accommodation that caters to more opulent travellers. Other excellent choices downtown include: Black Pearl Apartment Hotel, ION City Hotel, Canopy by Hilton, and the urban eco-hotel Eyja Guldsmeden.

Just outside of Reykjavík, we would recommend Hotel Berg, which is located just by Keflavík Airport. An alternative choice would be the Retreat, which is part of the Blue Lagoon, keeping guests nice and close to soothing geothermal goodness.

So what are you waiting for? 

 
New Year's Eve Fireworks in Reykjavík, 2017.
Golli. New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Reykjavík

In conclusion, Reykjavík stands out as a world-class destination for luxury travellers. With its eclectic dining options and world-class spas, not to mention exciting activities like private glacier tours and helicopter rides, the city offers experiences that cater to all tastes.

Whatever it is you hope to find in Reykjavík, the city is sure to make your stay nothing short of extraordinary.

So, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of city-break in Iceland any longer! Jump headfirst into the natural beauty and sophisticated amenities that define this cool, calm, and collected Nordic capital by exploring our large variety of tour options today.

Out of Their Shell

aurora abalone reykjanes

The Reykjanes peninsula is barren, even for Iceland. About two-thirds of it is covered by lava fields, nary a tree to be seen. The skyline stretches flatly in most directions, the mountains more modest than elsewhere in the country. The peninsula juts west into the North Atlantic, first in line to receive the low fronts […]

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The 10 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Iceland

Dill restaurant in Reykjavík

Iceland offers a culinary scene as diverse and captivating as its famous landscapes. While the traditional Icelandic cuisine is rooted in the heritage of fishing, farming and preservation techniques the fine dining scene is ever evolving and embraces creativity and innovation. 

Exploring the fine dining of Reykjavík

In the capital city of Iceland you will find a vibrant dining scene that caters to all tastes and preferences. The city is home to numerous acclaimed restaurants offering an impeccable fine dining experience for the foodies of the world. 

 

1. Brút, Reykjavík

One of those restaurants is Brút. Helming the kitchen is Chef Ragnar Eiríksson, former head chef at Dill, who became the first Icelandic chef to earn a Michelin star. Alongside him is Sommelier Ólafur Örn Ólafsson, co-owner of Brút, whose expertise complements Ragnar´s culinary mastery perfectly. Together they have given us one of Reykjavík´s most extraordinary culinary destinations. 

 

2. The Fish Market, Reykjavík

For those craving some delicious fish-dishes, The Fish Market is a must-visit restaurant. Chef Hrefna Sætran´s New Style Seafood Cuisine uses fresh ingredients to prepare a modern menu from the freshest ingredients. 

 

3. Sümac, Reykjavík

At Sümac, an extraordinary culinary adventure awaits, guided by the talented chefs Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon and Jakob Zarioh Baldvinsson. Together, they skillfully blend pristine seasonal Icelandic ingredients with exotic spices, creating a harmonious fusion of flavours and cultural influences. Let yourself be transported on a sensory journey from Reykjavík to the vibrant coastlines of North Africa and Lebanon, promising an unforgettable dining experience.

Chef´s at work in a kitchen.
Photo: Golli. Chef´s at work.

 

Michelin star restaurants in Reykjavík, Iceland

4. Dill, Reykjavík

The first ever restaurant in Iceland to be awarded a Michelin star was Dill. Aiming to deliver a unique and memorable experience of Iceland, they respectfully but uniquely honour Icelandic ingredients. Dill certainly pushes culinary boundaries delivering dishes as unpredictable as the Icelandic weather. 

 

5. ÓX, Reykjavík

Hidden behind a cocktail bar in the city centre of Reykjavík you will find ÓX, a magical 17-seat restaurant. Chef Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon takes his guests on a unique multi course journey in this very intimate and exclusive setting. 

 

6. Moss, Reykjavík

The Michelin-starred restaurant Moss is located at the famous Blue Lagoon. They have a seasonal set menu, an amazing selection of wines and an exclusive Kitchen´s Table experience. 

Moss Restaurant Agnar Sverrisson
Photo: Moss Restaurant / Facebook. Executive Chef at Moss Restaurant Agnar Sverrisson

 

Beyond Reykjavik: Fine Dining Across Iceland

While Reykjavík may be the culinary centre of Iceland, fine dining can be found in every corner of the island. From the charming town of Stykkishólmur to the remote wilderness of the Westfjords, there is enough for adventurous foodies to discover. 

 

7. Sjávarpakkhúsið, Stykkishólmur

Venturing to the west you will find the charming town of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. With a breathtaking view of the colourful old harbour you will find Sjávarpakkhúsið restaurant. Here, diners can indulge in a menu of small dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, perfect for a fresh and delicious sharing dinner. 

 

8. Eyja, Akureyri

Moving on to the north of Iceland you will find Eyja, an amazing little wine bar and bistro in the heart of Akureyri city. With a great selection of wines and amazing food this cosy restaurant is the perfect place for a memorable night out in the north. 

 

9. North, Akureyri

For the ultimate fine dining experience in the north you should consider booking a table at restaurant North. They aim to share an exceptional dining experience with local ingredients, sustainable ways all the while reflecting the compelling characteristics of their land. 

 

10. Umi, Hvolsvöllur

Nestled in Hvolfsvöllur village in the scenic south of Iceland, restaurant Umi beckons as a culinary gem where traditional Nordic and Icelandic cuisine intertwine with the artistry of Japanese culinary techniques. Set amidst the untamed beauty of the southern landscape, diners are invited to savour exquisite flavours while being captivated by breathtaking views. 

 

From the bustling streets of Reykjavik to the remote corners of the countryside, Icelandic restaurants proudly use locally sourced ingredients, ensuring that every dish tells a story of the land and sea. Whether you’re indulging in innovative cuisine in the capital city or savouring traditional flavours in a cosy village setting, one thing is certain: dining in Iceland is an experience like no other.

Discover more of Iceland´s great restaurants here