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Healthy Things to Do in Reykjavik:

Wondering how to stay fit and healthy during your travels in Iceland? There is no denying that the eccentric nightlight and lavish restaurants beckon visitors to Reykjavik. However, during my recent visit to Reykjavik I chose a few health conscious alternatives to boozy nights and decadent meals. Here are some of the healthy things I did while visiting Iceland’s capital city.

Take in a Class with Reykjavik Yoga:

Reykjavik yoga offers multiple classes per week at their downtown studio. The owner Baddy is just lovely and embodies exactly all the right qualities you could want in a yoga teacher!  She exudes positive energy and creates a warm and trusting environment for her students, while offering up opportunities for a playful practice!

Baddy has practiced in Bali, and brings elements of this into her teachings, while also mixing in spirituality through meditation. I highly recommend taking in a class with her during your stay in Reykjavik!

Grab a juice:

Whether you are nursing a hangover or just want to indulge in something a little more green, Lemon is the holy grail of juices! With 12 different fresh juice options on their menu, there is sure to be something that you will love. I tried the honey bunny juice which has pineapple, orange and fresh passion fruits.

They also offer healthy food to fuel you up for an adventurous day – I had the vegan spicy sandwich with falafel, paprika, red curry and pesto – 100% win. It was SO delicious and guilt-free!

Get some fresh Icelandic air:

Visit the ‘Bakkatjorn Nature Reserve’ in the Seltjarnarnes neighbourhood for a beautiful and crisp nature walk along the beach. I believe fresh air is good for the soul, and you will definitely get a good dose of it here with the costal winds – be sure to dress warm!

Searching for the whale bones 🙂

In 2015, supposedly a whale skeleton washed up on the shores of the Seltjarnarnes beaches, offering a unique addition to the neighbourhood sands, though I couldn’t find it – maybe it has since been swept away?

I parked at the ‘Grotta’ parking lot close to the lighthouse. It is possible to walk over to the lighthouse but will depend on the wave conditions. While I was there the water was too strong, which meant you had to walk along the rocks to get across (which could be dangerous and slippery).

View of Grotta lighthouse from opposite side

Instead I walked all the way along the beach to the opposite end of the Seltjorn bay where the Sudurnes golf course is situated. On the south of the tip of the reserve, close to the golf course is the smaller Sudurstrond beach.

View from Sudurstrond beach

Detox in a hot pool:

Vesturbaejarlaug pool is in the heart of Reykjavik, yet remains a less ‘touristy’ local favourite. I chose Vesturbaejarlaug instead of the blue lagoon because it is a fraction of the price and does not require pre-booked time slots, meaning you can go more spontaneously and stay as long as you like. It’s also the perfect option to warm up after one of the walks or hikes I have recommended (It is just a few km drive away from Grotta).

Vesturbaejarlaug was recommended to me by Baddy to get a glimpse of true Icelandic hot pool culture. For 950 kr, the facilities offer one large heated swimming pool and 4 smaller tubs (one cold tub, one 38-40 celcius, one with jets at 38-40 celcius and one 40-42 celcius); there is also one larger hot tub with two split areas (one at 36-38 celcius and one 38-40 celcius).

The pool has slides, a basketball net and play area for kids and swimming lanes for those who want exercise. There is an outdoor changing area with showers, and an indoor change area. Though there is a water fountain outside, it is awfully cold to get out of the hot tub to get water so I would recommend bringing a bottle out with you to stay hydrated.

Note the change room rules: All visitors must shower with soap WITHOUT a bathing suit on prior to entering the pools for hygiene reasons….this means shamelessly baring it all inside the change rooms. At first I was a little thrown off, as in Canadian culture we are typically modest even in dressing rooms and don’t walk around naked, but as they say ‘when in Rome’.

Be inspired:

It’s not hard to be inspired in Iceland with the fresh air and mountain views nearly every where you look. One can simply walk along the marina to see the mountains, Sólfarið (famous Viking ship sculpture) and the architectural wonder Harpa…but why not take this one step further?

The Harpa concert hall was showing a short film exhibition in their expo pavilion while I visited on the diverse and stunning landscapes of Iceland (from waterfalls, to glaciers to volcanos). It is especially unique because the film plays on the 4 walls of a cube shaped room, for a 360 degree, floor-to-ceiling adventure film experience! For 1500kr, this is a great option for mountain and adventurers alike, and can be a preview of some of the places you could potentially explore beyond the city limits.


Walk the city streets:

Explore Reykjavik by foot, checking out the interesting architecture, city parks, cute shops and café culture.


You can also take in a free walking tour that runs daily to orient yourself to the city and Icelandic history told by a local. If you’re not familiar with city walk’s tours, they operate around the world on a tip only basis, so essentially you can anonymously tip at the end of the tour whatever amount you think it was worth. This is a great option for those on a budget, and also great for the tour guide who gets to pocket the cash. Here in Reykjavik, they run multiple times per day, but it is essential to reserve your spot online ahead of time as they are very popular and often reach capacity.

Go for a Hike:

Approximately 20-25 minutes from the Reykjavik’s centre is Öskjuhlíð Hill, the perfect little nature hike; so much so that you may even forget your still in the city.


Remaining wall from WWII inside the woods

Even though it was drizzling rain the day that I went, I still spent a good 1 or 2 hours wandering through the wooded trails before I headed up the hill to Perlan. They are currently renovating the inside of the building to create an Icelandic glacier museum that will open summer 2017. At the moment it is only open to the public for its café and free observation deck. I’m not sure whether it will remain free once the museum opens, but it was sure worth a trip there for this view!


View from Perlan observation deck

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healthy and alternative things to do in Reykjavik iceland

In the spirit of transparency, some of the featured content in this post was sponsored.

All opinions are honest representations of my own travel experiences.

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Reasons to Fall in Love with Iceland in 2017

Whale Watching from Reykjavik with ELDING Tours

An Easy Day Hike in Reykjavik: Öskjuhlíð Hill

What are your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * said:
Thanks Kayla :) Glad the article was useful for ya!
March 5, 2017 at 10:15 am said:
Yes, in a country notorious for being expensive it was splendid to find activities that were fun and cheap :)
March 5, 2017 at 10:14 am
Kayla said:
Iceland is next on my bucket list, so I will most certainly be keeping this article in mind! Love finding healthy hidden gems to do in a city :)
March 4, 2017 at 12:03 pm
Elise said:
Wonderful ideas! And many of them cheap/free which is ideal in somewhere like Iceland! Thanks for the tips!
March 3, 2017 at 8:13 pm said:
Thanks Nina, great to hear the tips are useful
March 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm said:
Thanks Alex!! :) Definitely lots of opportunities to get outdoors
March 3, 2017 at 5:45 pm said:
Eric, no hot dogs for me, but it definitely seemed like THE thing to do! lol Agreed with the love for the outdoors :)
March 3, 2017 at 5:44 pm
Eric || The Bucket List Project said:
so eating hot dogs isn't healthy?? haha, loved Iceland. I hiked all throughout the southern & southeastern coasts and loved being outdoors. I may have to skip the yoga because that would put me in traction
March 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm
Alex Kallimanis said:
Awesome post! Iceland seems like the perfect destination for a healthy getaway!
March 3, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Nina Frambuesa said:
These are some great tips I will keep in mind if I ever travel to Iceland. Thank you!
March 3, 2017 at 3:29 pm
Stephanie said:
It's a fun and different way of discovering a city!
March 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm said:
I was surprised too! There were so many times I felt like I wasn't even in a city! Thanks for stopping by my blog :) -S
March 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm said:
Hi Diana, I totally agree! I couldn't believe how clean and green Iceland is, as well as its untouched beauty :)
March 3, 2017 at 12:22 pm
Diana - MVMT Blog said:
I'm going back to Reykjavik tomorrow night! What a timely read. I've never heard of Öskjuhlíð before but would love to check it out. Overall Iceland strikes me as a very healthy place. Lots of outdoors activities, very little pollution or damage from people. The land is just so raw and authentic and unspoilt! One of my favorite places in the world.
March 2, 2017 at 4:09 pm
Carola Bieniek said:
What a great post & different take on exploring a city! I can't get over how easy it seems to be to leave Reykjavik behind you and get lost in nature. Those coastal shots are just stunning! Happy continued travels, C
March 2, 2017 at 12:22 pm said:
Thanks for such kind feedback Lisa :D
March 2, 2017 at 9:32 am
Lisa said:
Such a great post! I love the way you've setted it up, definitely motivates me to go there! :)
March 2, 2017 at 9:28 am said:
Totally agree Susanna, thanks for stopping by my little corner of the web :D
March 2, 2017 at 8:02 am said:
Thanks for commenting Shannalyn! Out of curiosity, how do you normally find access to barbells during your travels? Do you find gyms or get more creative with weight training? :)
March 2, 2017 at 8:01 am
sophie said:
I would definitely prefer a Yoga class with icelandic air. It is a perfect combination for my mind an my body. Thanks for sharing this post. I loved it! Cheers!
March 2, 2017 at 6:53 am
Susanna said:
LOVE this post! I did most of these things in Reykjavik, except for the yoga and little hike and I wish I had. Reykjavik really does have the best of both worlds with the awesome nightlife and the health culture. Thanks for sharing!
March 2, 2017 at 3:09 am
Shannalyn West said:
I love this! I always try to incorporate in some fitness on my travels. Usually it involves barbells, but this sounds like an amazing alternative.
March 2, 2017 at 1:13 am said:
Hi Jamie, sounds like a great plan indeed! Wish I thought of the juice on the beach idea :D
March 1, 2017 at 6:38 pm said:
Thanks Brianne! So happy the post inspired some wanderlust :) hehe
March 1, 2017 at 6:37 pm said:
Oh great!! I hope you enjoy your trip, it is such a special place. Glad the post was helpful :)
March 1, 2017 at 6:35 pm said:
Thank you Ashley! It sounds like we may have just missed each other, I was there late Feb.. and I totally agree, I put on so many miles while I was there.
March 1, 2017 at 6:33 pm said:
Thanks Lauren! :)
March 1, 2017 at 6:31 pm
Jamie said:
This is a unique way to really enjoy a city. The juice would be first on my list, and I'd drink it while walking along the beach!
March 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm
Brianne said:
I'm dying to go to Iceland, and your photos are evoking some serious wanderlust! I'm happy to see there's a variety of healthy activities to do while visiting! Looks like fun!
March 1, 2017 at 2:02 pm
Livi Bee said:
This could not have come at a better time. I'll be visiting Reykjavik in May, and I will definitely be interested in trying a few of these out. I'm about to research city walk tours as we speak. I've racked up several hundred in activities, and I haven't even arrived yet!! Thank you!
March 1, 2017 at 11:57 am
Ashley said:
Great post! I just got back from Reykjavik last week! I also loved just walking through the city streets because the scenery was so beautiful! This helped walk off the calories of all the delicious food! :)
March 1, 2017 at 11:43 am
Lauren said:
Cool! What a different perspective on an up-and-coming destination. :)
March 1, 2017 at 11:43 am said:
Katie there are so many healthy food options; I was really surprised! I didn't write about them because I didn't have enough time or money to try all the places I found, but there are definitely tons of veg/vegan options and healthier meat options as well. Plus grocery stores are plentiful if you would rather cook for yourself.
February 26, 2017 at 6:04 pm said:
Hi Meghan, I 100% agree. If I am traveling long term I usually bring my yoga mat so I can practice as much as possible, but taking local classes are always great options too. Thanks for stopping by my corner of the web!
February 26, 2017 at 6:01 pm said:
Leigh, you will definitely have so much to do in 24 hours :) I know how you feel though, I had 8 days and I am already dying to come back!
February 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm said:
Hi Lindz, Thanks so much for the tip. The hot spring sounds unbelievable, definitely a must do for next time :)
February 26, 2017 at 5:58 pm
Katie @ The Budget Backpack said:
I was actually just researching Iceland and was a little worried about finding healthy food options - so knowing that there's at least one juice/healthy food option is awesome!!
February 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm
Meghan said:
So many healthy things to do in Iceland! I love the suggestion of doing yoga. I do yoga here at home and it is very relaxing! It's a great way to be active, but still get your vacation on!
February 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm
Leigh | Campfires & Concierges said:
What a great list - good to know there are alternative options to the Blue Lagoon. I have a 24 hour layover in Reykjavik this summer...I know it is just a tease and I'll be dying to come right back!
February 25, 2017 at 8:47 pm
Lindz @ I've Been Bit! said:
So many of these adventures sound like a blast!! It makes me want to get back to Iceland even more now. Especially to try Lemon - looks so tasty! If you really like hiking, there's an awesome hike at the northern tip of Hveragerði called Reykjadalur which takes you to a natural hot spring. Both times I've visited Iceland it's been a highlight for me, however it is being built up a little bit. It's still worth a visit if you're ever that way!! :)
February 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm