The Reykjavik City Card: is it worth buying?

Planning a trip to Reykjavik? Want to see all the sights for as little as possible?

Well, you probably already know that Iceland is not the cheapest country to visit. And perhaps you’re on the look out for some bargain ways to save a few krónur during your travels.

Is the Reykjavik City Card worth buying?
Bill Herndon (CC)

Here’s some good news: the Reykjavik City Card offers a handy way to see the sights and save some cash in the process.

This all-in-one discount card offers free entry to a variety of museums, attractions and thermal pools, along with unlimited bus transport and discounts at selected attractions, restaurants and shops.

But is the Reykjavik City Card really worth buying? And will it really save you money? 

We’ve worked out how much you would pay on a typical 48-hour trip in Reykjavik, and how much you’d save with the card. So read our review to find out all you need to know about the Reykjavik City Card.

So, what is the Reykjavik City card?

Also known as the Reykjavik Welcome Card, the Reykjavik City Card is a pass that is issued by the city tourist board and gives you free entrance and discounts to a variety of attractions, including the city zoo and the ferry to Viðey Island. 

The Maritime Museum is included in the Reykjavik City Card.
Reykjavik Maritime Museum / © Amanda Tomlin

You can buy it in advance, then just show it as the entrance of any of the participating attractions in Reykjavik – or as you get onto the bus – and you’ll be waved straight through.

What’s included with the pass?

Entrance to most of Reykjavik’s top museums and attractions is covered by the Reykjavik City Card. For more info on Reykjavik’s museums, read our guide to the 13 best museums in Reykjavik.

There’s also free unlimited bus transport within the city centre – this can be really handy if you want to reduce the amount of walking you’re doing, or if you happen to be staying a little further out from the main attractions.

The ferry to the island of Viðey is also free with the card. It runs daily every hour from mid-May to the end of August, and at weekends only in winter. 

But in our opinion, one of the best perks of the Reykjavik card is free entrance to all the city’s thermal heated pools – both indoor and outdoor. 

Laugardalslaug thermal pools are included in the Reykjavik City Card.
Laugardalslaug thermal pools / Meltwaterfalls (CC)

These vary from the large Laugardalslaug pool complex with indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, hot tubs and children’s pools, to the low-key, friendly Vesturbæjarlaug in the centre of the city, where locals gather to swim and chat. 

Most of the pools are open til around 10pm, so you can join the native Reykjavíkings in sitting under a starry sky in a steaming hot tub.

So, if you’re thinking of visiting any geothermal pools, the Reykjavik City Card is a definite plus. There are some more suggestions for hot springs and thermal pools in this guide we made!

Attractions that are included with the Reykjavik card

Here’s a quick run-down of the museums and attractions that are included on the Reykjavik card for free:

  • National Gallery of Iceland
  • National Museum of Iceland
  • Árbær Open Air Museum
  • Reykjavík Maritime Museum
  • Reykjavík Museum of Photography
  • Three of Reykjavík’s art galleries – Ásmundarsafn; Hafnarhús; and Kjarvalsstaðir
  • Gerðarsafn Art Museum 
  • Reykjavík Settlement Exhibition
  • Sigurjón Ólafsson Museum
  • The Culture House
  • Ásgrímur Jónsson Collection
  • Reykjavík Zoo and Family Park

Other perks included with the Reykjavik City Card

  • Free unlimited travel on city buses
  • Free access to the city’s thermal pools
  • Free ferry trip to Viðey island

Discounts you can get with the City Card

There are also a load of other places that offer discounts to holders of the City Card, from shops, restaurants, cinemas, tours and trips. Discounts ranging from 10 percent up to 50 percent are available at the following places.

Museums and attractions

The following museums and attractions give a discount on admission.

  • The Perlan museum offers a discount on its Wonders of Iceland and Áróra northern lights planetarium shows
  • Harpa concert hall gives a discount on its light installation
  • The Saga Museum
  • Aurora Reykjavík
  • Minigolf at the Grafarvogur Activity Park
  • The Iceland Symphony Orchestra gives a discount on concert tickets
  • The Cinema at the Old Harbour give a discount on tickets
  • The Icelandic Phallological Museum 

Shops, cafés and restaurants

The following shops, cafés and restaurants give a discount or special offers to City Card holders.

  • Handknitting Association (for more on Iceland’s iconic jumpers, click here)
  • Systur & Makar
  • Fish Company
  • Kopar
  • Lebowski Bar
  • Ning’s
  • Pho Vietnamese restaurant
  • Restaurant Reykjavík
  • Rossopomodoro
  • Seafood Grill

Tours

The following companies give City Card holders a discount on their tours and trips. For more on trips and tours, see our guide to Day tours from Reykjavik.

  • Elding Whale Watching (for more on whale-watching tours, see our guide to Whale-watching in Iceland)
  • Reykjavík Bike & Segway Tours 
  • Gray Line Iceland
  • Reykjavík Sightseeing tour 
  • Reykjavik Bike Tour; Reykjavik Segway Tour & Bike rentals
  • Season Tours
  • Special Tours Wildlife Adventures

Thermal pools

Free entrance to Reykjavik city’s municipal thermal pools is included with the City Card. The following thermal pools in the Reykjavik area also offer discounts on entrance.

For more on Iceland’s best thermal pools and hot springs, read our guide.

  • Kópavogur Thermal Pools
  • Hafnarfjörður Thermal Pools
  • Seltjarnarnes Thermal Pool

How much does the Reykjavik City Pass cost?

The Reykjavik City Card comes in three different versions, with delightfully alliterative names! The Receive Reykjavik card is valid for 24 hours, the Revel in Reykjavik card lasts for 48 hours and the Relish Reykjavik pass is valid for 72 hours.


24 hours48 hours72 hours
Receive Reykjavik4600

Revel in Reykjavik
6400
Relish Reykjavik

7890
Costs (in ISK / Icelandic krónur) are for one adult (aged 18+) and are correct at the time of publication.

Where to buy the Reykjavik City Card

The best way to get the card is in advance online – you can then pick it up at any number of locations in central Reykjavik (see below for a list of handy places). 

The National Gallery of Iceland is included in the Reykjavik City Card
National Gallery of Iceland / Jason Paris (CC)

You can buy the card online from the tourist board in Icelandic krónur, or from Get Your Guide in other currencies. The price is usually similar whichever site you use, but both do occasional special offers and discounts, so it’s worth checking before buying.

Whichever site you use, the card works in the same way. You can either activate it when you pick it up or, if you’re not going to use it immediately, you can specify a time when you want to activate it. 

Either way, you’ll have a full 24, 48 or 72 hours (depending on which pass you buy) from the moment it’s activated.

Where do I collect the Reykjavik City Card?

Once you’ve bought the card online, you can pick it up at any of the locations below. Simply show your confirmation email, and they’ll give you your card.

  • Kjarvalsstaðir Art Museum, Flókagata, 105 Reykjavík
  • Ásmundarsafn Art Museum, Sigtún, Reykjavík
  • Hafnarhús Art Museum, Tryggvagata 17, Reykjavík
  • Árbær Open Air Museum, Kistuhylur, 110 Reykjavík
  • Reykjavík Maritime Museum, Grandagarður 8, 101 Reykjavík
  • Museum of Photography, Grófarhús, Tryggvagata 15, Reykjavík
  • The Settlement Exhibition, Aðalstræti 10 & 16, Reykjavík
  • Reykjavík City Hall,Tjarnargata 11, 101 Reykjavík (weekdays only)
  • Reykjavík’s Service Center Borgartún 12-14, 105 Reykjavík (weekdays only). 

The million-dollar question: is it worth buying?

Should you buy the Reykjavik card? Well, it really depends on how much sightseeing you want to do.

If you’re the sort of person who likes to just wander around the city, browsing the pedestrian Laugavegur (Reykjavik’s main shopping street) or walking along the seafront and simply drinking in the atmosphere, then you may not get your money’s worth from the card.

The ferry to Viðey island is included on the Reykjavik City Card
Reykjavik / © Matthew Hancock

It’s also worth noting that some of Reykjavik’s attractions, including the iconic Hallgrímskirkja (cathedral) and the Sun Voyager statue – are free anyway. 

For more on Reykjavik’s free sights, see our guide to 40 free and cheap things to do in Reykjavik.

But if you are visiting for the first time and want to see as many of the city’s sights as possible, as well as experiencing Reykjavik’s famous geothermal pools, then buying the City Card will almost certainly save you money.

Two days in Reykjavik: would you save cash?

We’ve compared how much it would cost to visit some of Reykjavik’s main sites independently, with the price that it would cost with a two-day Reykjavik pass. 

So take a look at the sample itinerary below to see whether you could save money by buying the Reykjavik City Card.


The DIY option48 hour Reykjavik pass
Upfront cost6400
Entry to the National Museum of Iceland2500
Entry to the Árbær Open Air Museum2150
Entry to the Reykjavik Art Museum: Hafnarhús2150
Entry to Laugardalslaug thermal pool complex
1210
Return trip on the Viðey ferry2100
6 single bus trips at 550 ISK each3300



Total cost in ISK13,4106400
Costs (in ISK / Icelandic krónur) are for one adult and assume a two-day trip to Reykjavik. All prices correct at time of publication.

So, we’ve picked just three of Reykjavik’s museums, a boat trip to Viðey island and a visit to one of the city’s iconic thermal pool complexes. 

Add to that three bus journeys a day and you can see that buying the two-day Reykjavik City Card would save you just over 7000 ISK. 

Of course, if you visit more of the city’s attractions, you’ll save even more. 

And it’s worth pointing out that many of Reykjavik’s museums offer visitors a free cup of coffee so, once you’ve activated your card, there’s nothing to stop you popping into any of the museums on the list for a free cuppa!

Does the Reykjavik City Card get good reviews?

Generally the Reykjavik City Card gets good reviews (4.2/5, based on 192 reviews). Most people consider it good value for money, especially if you want to see as much of Reykjavik as possible in a short time.

The free city buses were considered good value, especially when compared to the price of a taxi.

Some reviews have pointed out that it’s worth checking in advance the closing days of any specific museums that you want to visit to make sure that they are open on the day/s that you have your pass. 

Is the Reykjavik card worth buying? 

Is the Reykjavik City Card actually worth buying? Well, if you’re planning to do a lot of sightseeing, you can certainly save some cash by buying the Reykjavik Card. 

The Reykjavik City Card gives discounts to concerts at the Harpa concert hall.
The Harpa Concert Hall / © Matthew Hancock

Of course, it’s worth working out exactly what you want to see, like we did above, and checking the individual prices of each attraction before you buy.

But realistically, you only have to visit a couple of museums, and take a couple of return bus journeys to make buying the two-day pass worthwhile.

Once you throw in a thermal pool or two plus a ferry trip, then it will definitely save you money. 

So, if you think the Reykjavik Card will save you money, you can buy it here.

And if you don’t want to buy the card?

If you’re on a very tight budget, or not interested in museums, thermal pools or free bus travel, you may decide that the City Card is not worth buying.

If so, there are plenty of free and cheap things to do in Reykjavik. You can take a scenic walk along the waterfront from the Þúfa at the far end of Grandi harbour round to the Sun Voyager sculpture on Sæbraut.

Or visit the dramatic Hallgrímskirkja cathedral, Iceland’s largest church.

If you want to see the city on a budget, why not download this guided tour by app, which will take you to the main sights and tell you all about them on the way? It costs a bargain $3.25.

Or, go on a treasure hunt and city tour with this interactive game ($4.33). Download the app, solve the clues and you’ll discover the city’s main sights while learning fun facts about them too! 

For more ideas about visiting Reykjavik on a budget, check out our useful guide to 40 free and cheap things to do in Reykjavik.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Reykjavik City Card active right when you buy it or not until its used?

Once you’ve bought your card online, you can pick it up at any of the locations listed above, but you don’t have to activate it immediately. You can specify a later time if you’re not going to use it straight away.

And because the cards are valid for 24, 48 and 72 hours, if you activate it at midday you can use it until midday the following day (or two or three days later), so you don’t have to cram all your sightseeing into one day.

Can I use the Reykjavik City Card at a geothermal spa?

The card is not valid at any of the privately owned spas in Reykjavik, but it does give free access to seven of the city-run municipal thermal pools, plus discounts at several thermal pools in the city’s suburbs.

Which is better: the 72 hour vs 48 hour Reykjavik City Card?

Well, that depends on how long you have to spend in Reykjavik. If you are on a whistle-stop tour and only have a couple of days, then the 48 hour pass would be most suitable.

However, if you are in the city for longer, then the 78 hour pass would allow you access to as many of the city’s museums, pools and attractions as you can cram into your trip!

Is the city card valid on Reykjavik buses?

Yes, it’s valid on all buses within the city centre. Just show your card to the driver as you get on. Note that the city card doesn’t cover the #55 bus in from or out to the airport.

Does the Reykjavik City Card include the Iceland penis hall of fame?

Entrance to this peculiarly Icelandic attraction, perhaps better known as the Icelandic Phallological Museum, is not included on the Reykjavik pass. The card does, however, give you a 20 percent reduction on the cost of admission to the museum.


Is there a children’s Reykjavik City Card?

No, there’s no specific City Card for children, but most of Reykjavik’s museums are free for under 18s, and the city’s thermal pools are free for under 16s. Under 12s go free on buses and 12–17 year-olds pay half price.

See also:
Whale-watching in Iceland: when, where and how
The best boat tours and cruises from Reykjavík
40 free and cheap things to do in Reykjavik
Self-drive tours in Iceland
The hottest volcano tours in Iceland

 

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