a fancy house in Iceland

In this read, we’ll give you the lowdown on the top 10 cities in Iceland and what sets each of them apart. Iceland has a bunch of places to explore, from easy-to-say spots like Vik to tongue-twisters like Fáskrúðsfjörður. Continue reading to explore the unique experiences each of this cities in Iceland has to offer.

Reykjavik: The Heart of Cities in Iceland

Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik

Reykjavik, the heart of  Iceland, holds most of the country’s people. It’s a vibrant city, painted with history and quirky little nooks.

The main drag for shopping and dining is Laugavegur (which belongs to postal code 101), but the real treasures are scattered all over the place. Reykjavík’s got these must-sees like swimming pools, Hallgrímskirkja Church, the Harpa Concert Hall, the Grandi District, the city pond, and the famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins bestu.

Picture this: strolling through Reykjavík, taking in that fresh air, with these neon-bright iron houses popping up at every turn. And the street art? It’s like the city’s tattooed in creativity. Artists get paid big bucks to deck out the downtown area.

The vibe here? Lively yet laid-back, and folks are friendly as can be. You could wander around Reykjavik for days on end, and it’ll still manage to surprise you each time you turn a corner.

Kópavogur: A Delightful Stop

sky lagoon in Kópavogur

Kópavogur, this Icelandic town close to Reykjavik, has quite the charm. It’s got a cool bay, earning it the nickname ‘Baby Seal Bay,’ and it’s known as a laid-back family-friendly spot. There are some neat spots to check out here, like the swimming pools – Kópavogslaug and Salalaug – plus the mall Smáralind and Gerðarsafn, the local art museum.

Tyying to keep things budget-friendly while exploring cities in Iceland? Kópavogur’s got your back. It’s just a short 15-minute ride to Reykjavik, easy to hop on a bus (they call it Strætó) or drive there with your rental.

Hafnarfjörður: Lava, Vikings, and Local Charms

viking decorations

Now, let’s chat about Hafnarfjörður – it’s got a rep for lava tales, elves, and Vikings. Nestled in the capital region, it’s the westernmost part of the area. It’s one of those cities in Iceland that’s absolutely brimming with life and character. The locals dig it so much they rarely venture out of town.

There’s a bunch of cool stuff to explore in Hafnarfjörður – check out the local swimming pools, especially Suðurbæjarlaug. When you’re hungry, don’t miss spots like Pallette, Brikk, and Tilveran. And if you’re into history, the Sívertsenhúsið heritage museum is worth a visit.

Oh, and there’s this epic Viking festival in mid-June. But even when that wraps up, you’ve got the Fjörukráin Viking pub that keeps the Viking vibes alive. They’re all about the Icelandic meat soup and decking the place with intricate Viking-era décor.

Reykjanesbær: Iceland's Vibrant Hub

sunset in music festival in september

Alright, let’s talk about one of the cool town in Iceland – Reykjanesbær! You might know it better for its famous Keflavík town, the one where the international airport is all named after. So, when you touchdown at Keflavík airport, Reykjanesbær is the first spot you’ll catch sight of – perfect for a chill night before you jet off or right after landing.

There’s plenty to do here! You’ve got a whole lineup of cool museums to check out, from the Museum of Rock and Roll to The Viking World Museum, The History Museum, The Maritime Centre, and even the Duushus café and art museum. Plus, the area’s not just about Keflavík – there are other nearby spots like Njarðvík, Grindavík, and Sandgerði all in this lively municipality. Oh, and let’s not forget, it’s all nestled in the lava-covered Reykjanes Peninsula. You’ve got to swing by the famous Blue Lagoon, just a hop away from Reykjanesbær.

Their highlight? The Light Festival! Happens every year, a blend of music and arts, usually rocking the first weekend of September.

Akureyri: Northern Gem Among Cities in Iceland

Akureyri iceland

Akureyri is quite the standout, sitting up north, far from Reykjavík. It’s like the big player of the North, given its size and importance compared to other towns up there.

You’ll find a lot of history, artsy vibes, skiing adventures, and let’s not forget Brynja ice cream – seriously, the best around.
This town? It’s one of the gem cities in Iceland you can keep revisiting and still find something totally fresh every time. Akureyri has this deep history, like it’s been a hub for trading for ages.

Come winter, locals dash to Hlíðarfjall for some slope action, and when the sun’s out, they take over the local pool, bragging it’s one of Iceland’s best. Oh, and Akureyri folks have this thing for french fries. Seriously, they put them on everything, like in burgers or stuffed into hot dog buns. But trust me, once you taste it, you’ll get it!

Garðabær: A Closer Look at Iceland's Suburban Charm


Garðabær is like that posh neighbor sandwiched between Hafnarfjörður and Kópavogur in the capital region. It’s got these fancy homes where Iceland’s big shots reside. Recently, they’ve spiced things up with new local food joints, but it wasn’t long ago that your only meal option was Swedish meatballs at IKEA!

If you’re into hiking, this place rocks! Nature trails aplenty. But hey, bus rides can be a bit wonky here, so having your wheels, like a rental car, is the smarter move.

Now, they’ve got this awesome swimming pool and guess what? A Costco just landed! Yep, right in one of the cities in Iceland! Bring your membership card; you’ll save a bunch, especially on gas.

Mosfellsbær: Retreat Near Reykjavík

botanical garden in Reykjavík

Mosfellsbær is this sweet little town, almost like a cozy farm spot, snuggled right next to Reykjavík. It’s for those who want that peaceful vibe but still be close enough to the city. You’ll find big gardens, a real connection to nature, all that good stuff.

One cool thing here is the Álafoss factory, which is like the OG of wool in Iceland. It’s where you score those iconic wool sweaters, warm blankets, and even these super cool sheepskins. Plus, there’s this cute café right nearby, so it’s easy to chill there for a while.

Oh, and get this: Mosfellsbær sits right under Mt. Esja, this hiking hotspot. Loads of folks hike up the mountain and then swing by this town. It’s like a tradition to hit up Mosfellsbakarí, this bakery joint, and grab some goodies before tackling Esja. And guess what’s waiting for you after the hike? The Mosfellsbær swimming pool. Seriously, it’s one of the best in the cities in Iceland. You’ve got to try it out!

Árborg: One of the Vibrant Cities in Iceland

Árborg, or commonly known as the Selfoss municipality, is one of those cities in Iceland’s Ring Road that you can’t miss. As you roll into town, the Ölfusá River greets you, boasting its status as the country’s most voluminous river. Selfoss is a hub along the South Coast, serving up some fantastic spots to eat and a killer swimming pool. If you’re up for shopping, this place is gold. Souvenirs? Check. 66°North sweater? Absolutely. You can even snag a locally knitted wool sweater.

And let’s talk about the food scene – the hot dog stand by Dominos and Subway is a hidden gem. Their hot dogs, subs, sandwiches, and pitas will kick-start your carb cravings in the best way possible.

Mark your calendar for mid-June when Kótilettan, a smashing BBQ festival, lights up the town. Oh, and here’s a quirky tidbit: there’s an Árborg in Manitoba, Canada too!

Akranes: Hidden Gem by the Sea

Akranes lighthouse in Iceland

Hey, so have you checked out Akranes yet? It’s this gem of a town a bit off the Ring Road. You just hang a left at the roundabout after popping out of the Hvalfjörður tunnel. It’s one of those cities in Iceland that’s got its own unique vibe, especially if you’re into sports.

But that’s not all. The place is packed with some seriously amazing diners, restaurants, and cafés. And let’s not forget about the shops – they’re fantastic. Oh, and you’ve got to try out their swimming pool; it’s top-notch.

Now, the real star in Akranes? It’s gotta be the Akranesviti lighthouse. Not just because the lighthouse itself is super cool, but the lighthouse keeper is a legend! Seriously, the guy is super sweet and knows everything there is to know about the place. Definitely worth a visit if you’re exploring cities in Iceland.

Fjarðabyggð: Gems of the Eastfjords

reindeer in Fjarðabyggð

So, have you heard about this place called Fjarðabyggð in the Eastfjords? It’s pretty unique – actually, it’s the only spot from there that’s getting any buzz lately. Now, it’s not just one place; it’s a bunch of cool little cities in Iceland all bundled together.

We’re talking Eskifjörður, Neskaupsstaður, Reyðarfjörður, and a few others. Neskaupsstaður’s the biggest of the lot within the municipality, but if we’re looking at the Eastfjords as a whole, Egilsstaðir is where it’s at. That place is kind of in a league of its own.

Oh, and there’s like over 7000 people living in Fjarðabyggð. The really awesome part? It’s the only city in Iceland where you can see wild reindeers just roaming around – how cool is that?

Now, if you’re ever cruising around the Ring Road, seriously consider dropping by any of these towns. Each one has this charming, small Icelandic fishing village feel that’s just super inviting. Definitely worth a visit!

Robert Robertsson

Hey, I'm the founder of Airmango. My love affair with travel and entrepreneurship kicked off in 1994 in Iceland. Fast forward through two decades, and I've been lucky enough to weave my career through five different countries. Each place has left its mark on me, not just in my personal life, but in how I approach business too. With Airmango, I'm bringing all those global insights and experiences to the table – it's like seeing the world through a business lens.