Thursdays are positioned uniquely in the week. It’s not quite party time yet, but it’s so close you can almost taste it. If you happen to be in Reykjavík on a Thursday, there’s a ton of things to do here, even though it’s still technically a school night.
The Icelandic word for Thursday is ‘Fimmtudagur’ which translates to ‘Fifth Day.’ In old Norse, the day was Þórsdagur or the day of the god of thunder ‘Thor.’ Native English speakers owe this day’s name to those Old Norse people who were so shaken by thunder in the sky, they decided to name a day after the god of it.
Thursdays in Iceland were traditionally a day to connect with family and friends. This may sound strange, but until 1987, there was no TV broadcast in Iceland on a Thursday. It’s believed that this came from a desire not to have a nation filled with TV-addicted zombies. As a result, many Icelanders born before 1987 joke that they were most likely conceived on a Thursday.
Reykjavík has a lively nightlife scene. There’s a show, concert or event almost every night of the year, but what can you do on a Thursday during the day?
If you’re in Reykjavík for a while, or just a short stopover, we’ve put together some fun, interesting and even relaxing things for you to do on a Thursday.
Take some time for a float
In a world where so much of our lives are dictated by bright screens, it can be difficult to completely switch off even when we don’t have anything we need to do.
Float tanks or sensory deprivation tanks have been around since the ’50s and were initially developed as part of neuroscience experiments into the effects of isolation on mental health.
Since then, float tanks have been widely recognised for their reparative qualities.
In modern times, the thought of being alone and cut off from the world with no ringing phones or Instagram ‘pings’ can seem quite novel, but in Reykjavík, it’s not just a concept, it’s a possibility.
The Hydra Float centre in Reykjavík opened in 2018 and has since become a favourite escape for athletes, performers, business people and all in between.
The concept of a float session is simple. You lie in body-temperature water in complete isolation for an hour. The experience, however, goes much further.
On arrival to this peaceful sanctuary, you are greeted by friendly staff who instruct you on how everything is done.
Rooms are private and each equipped with individual showering facilities; towels and necessary toiletries are provided.
The float tanks are huge, much larger than any claustrophobic person would imagine and the water inside them is rich in Epsom salts. The salt content is so high that the human body becomes as buoyant as a cork.
Once you have showered, you are free to slip inside. You close the lid yourself and the lights slowly dim.
Because of the temperature of the water, it’s difficult to know where the body ends, and the water begins. The only thing left to do is relax.
Each session is pre-timed, meaning that you just enjoy the experience until the lights in the tank come back on, at which point you can take your time to leave the tank, shower again and prepare yourself for the rest of your day.
The experience of a float is different for everyone. Some sleep, some meditate, some have incredible realisations or move through creative blocks. The most common experience though is a feeling of rest.
A float is a perfect way to start your trip to Reykjavík, especially after a long flight.
Break out from an Escape Room
The first dedicated escape room was established in Japan in 2007. Since then, this attraction has become a global phenomenon. It’s a group challenge that combines puzzle solving skills, story-based challenges and the thrill of fictionalised entrapment, all within a time limit.
Reykjavík has its own escape room attraction ‘The Reykjaík Escape,’ and since it opened in downtown Reykjavík, it has become a must-do for locals and visitors.
Reykjavík Escape offers six different games; Prison Break, The Scientist, Hollywood, The Hangover, The Bomb and The Taken Experience.
In the Taken Experience, participants are thrust into a scenario where they have been kidnapped by a strange old lady. You have been left in a creepy, dark children’s playroom and must work together to find a way out before the old lady returns.
Clues have been left for you by a little girl who was lucky enough to escape before you were kidnapped. It’s up to you and your group to solve puzzles and riddles to free yourselves from the room.
Escape rooms are a fantastic way to interact with family, friends and co-workers. It’s a chance to have fun with people in a way you haven’t really experienced before.
Whether you manage to succeed or not, you’re sure to have some intense and hilarious moments. The piece de resistance of this adventure is the group photo after it’s over, the triumphant, or the ‘we failed’ shot.
Best of all, this escape room experience will give you lots to debrief on over a meal and drinks afterwards. It’s also conveniently located in downtown Reykjavík.
See a Volcanic Landscape on Horseback
Icelandic horses are a unique and fascinating attribute of this country. As a breed, these horses have been purebred for over 1000 years here, since a law was passed in the year 982 banning the import of horses to Iceland.
Due to a lack of natural predators, the Icelandic horse is not spooked very easily and they are known for being friendly and enthusiastic. Their small, sturdy proportions make them perfectly adapted to the rugged Icelandic terrain.
Many wonder if it’s possible to ride an Icelandic horse when visiting here, but often they think that you need to travel to the countryside to do so. This is not the case. You can ride Icelandic horses not far from Reykjavík.
Just a short drive from the city, you can experience these magnificent creatures. On this tour, you are even picked up directly from your accommodation.
On arrival, you will be given all the necessary equipment you need including boots, helmet, gloves and a waterproof windbreaker.
Before you saddle up, you will be given an intro to riding. It’s a quick and informative session on things you need to know when riding. The guides of this tour are all incredibly experienced riders, specialising in Icelandic horses. They know the name and personality of each horse and pair them with the character and skill level of each rider.
You will then enjoy the volcanic landscape of Iceland on horseback and get to experience the unique step Icelandic horses can take called ‘Tölt.’
The best part of this tour is that it takes place all year round, so even in the snowy winter, it’s an exciting activity for a Thursday (or any day of the week).
Take a guided walk around the city – with food!
A great way to get to know a city is to go for a walk around it. Although Reykjavík might be small compared to other capital cities, there is indeed lots of it to walk around.
The streets of Reykjavík are filled with history, culture and art, and this tour ensures that you will get to see all of it.
It starts at the famous Perlan ‘The Pearl’ which sits on a hill overlooking Reykjavík. Here you meet your expert guides who will take you by foot through an exciting tour of the city.
An enticing feature of this tour is that loads of information and experiences are packed into just four hours. You’ll learn about Vikings, modern history and Icelandic folklore.
If you’re brave enough, you will have the opportunity to taste some Icelandic delicacies like the fermented shark and the Icelandic schnapps ‘Bennivín.’
Of course, you will make stops at some of the capital’s best-known landmarks like Hallgrímskirkja church, and the quirky Phallological Museum (Penis Museum).
The tour also includes some local culinary stops like one of Reykjavíks most famous bakeries. This is topped off at the end with a two-course meal and beer tasting. It’s the perfect way to get yourself ready for the weekend ahead.
Which of these would you be excited about the most? Let us know in the Facebook comments below.