Wondering what to do in Reykjavik city in one day? Keep reading to find out the best way to spend a relaxing day in this charming city that is the perfect place to get a feel of the country before moving on for more intense adventures.
As usual, this blog was born out of my love for travelling and writing. None of the posts are sponsored in any way and are our own honest opinions and recommendations.
With that said, lets begin!
Iceland is a dream destination and visiting the place should be on any travel lover’s bucket list. Reykjavik is the capital city and will be your port of entry no matter where you are coming from. A lot of tourists make their way from the airport directly to the popular tourist spots, bypassing the city completely. While Reykjavik may not be filled with attractions like other European cities, it surely deserves at least a day from you. The city is small and easily explored by foot making it ideal for travelers who want to explore at a relaxed pace. One day is enough to recover from your jet lag while getting a taste of Iceland before you start your hardcore sightseeing in the coasts and the countryside.
We have written a whole separate post on all the Travel tips you need to know for Iceland so make sure to check that out!
FUN FACT: DO YOU KNOW REYKJAVIK IS THE WORLD’S NORTHERN MOST CAPITAL CITY !
ALL THE ESSENTIALS
AIRPORT : Keflavik International Airport which is 40 kms away from the city. Take the FLYBUS to travel to your preferred bus stop in the city. Taxis are prohibitively expensive.
ACCOMODATION : We wanted to stay near the city centre and chose REYKJAVIK GUEST HOUSE for it’s location. It is basically a shared apartment with clean rooms and all amenities. We even had a view of the church from our room! You can also choose Hlemmur square which is near the main street and has quite a few good hotels and hostels.
TRANSPORTATION : You can easily explore the whole city by foot.
WHAT TO DO IN REYKJAVIK CITY IN ONE DAY
The whole point of your day in Reykjavik city is to relax before getting started on your Iceland adventures. So make sure you are well rested after a good night’s sleep. I am going to suggest three things that you must do in Reykjavik.
- VISIT THE HALLGRIMSKIRKJA CHURCH AND GO UPTO THE BELL TOWER
The Hallgrimskirkja church is the symbol of Reykjavik and definitely a must see here. It is the tallest church in Iceland (244 ft high) and visible throughout the city. Designed by architect Gudjon Samuelsson, it’s construction took forty one years. The design is certainly unusual and resembles something of an alien structure in my opinion. Take note of the outer columns in the church: they were meant to be inspired from Iceland’s famous basalt columns dotting the landscape. The statue in front of the church is of of Leif Erikson, an Icelandic explorer. He was the first known European to have set foot on continental America (before Christopher Columbus).
After visiting the interior, ride the elevator to the top to get expansive views of Reykjavik city. You can see the colourful houses spread all over the city. Check out the first picture of this post : it has been taken from the rooftop.
Note: Entry to the church is free but going upto the roof costs 1000 ISK per person. Opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm (October to April) and from 9 am to 9 pm (May to September).
2. WALK THROUGH LAUGAVEGUR MAIN STREET
Walking is one of the best ways to explore a new place and getting to see all the local sites and people. Laugavegur is the main shopping street in Reykjavik: a total hip and trendy thoroughfare. Filled with colorful and artsy cafes, chic boutiques and hip bars, this is downtown Reykjavik at its coolest! Empty your wallets at any one of the expensive stores or simply people watch to have your fun. There are a number of vintage shops too. Pose for pictures in front of the eclectic murals adorning the place. Take a break at Noodle station for a bowl of warm Thai noodles or have a drink at Kiki Queer bar, Kaldi bar or Loft bar.
Also do not forget to check out the ‘Iceland Phallological Museum’ which is the only museum of it’s kind in the world!
3. WALK DOWN TO THE WATERFRONT AND CHECK OUT ‘THE SUN VOYAGER’
Another modern day icon of the city is the ‘Sun Voyager’ statue located on the waterfront. With the majestic Mt Esja in the background of the the bay, the place is a perfect photo spot, especially at sunset. Created by sculptor Jon Gunnar Arnarson, the sculpture is meant to represent a dream boat and pays homage to the Sun, symbolizing light and hope. Maybe you can go crazy clicking selfies here like us !
Apart from these, there are a number of other things you can do depending on how busy or relaxing you want your day to be.
Check out the beautiful Harpa concert hall (very near to the Sun voyager) where you can also watch concerts and Northern light shows.
Take a soak at one of the many pools and saunas dotting the city.
Go on a whale watching tour during summer and on a Northern lights hunting tour in winter.
Go on a food tour/bar tour and sample some of the local delicacies.
There are numerous things to do in Reykjavik and you must definitely spend a day there. We certainly enjoyed our time there and loved walking around the city. It gave us a little taste of what was to come !
Hope you liked this article on what to do in reykjavik in one day. Have you been to Reykjavik before ? Is it on your list of places to visit ? Share your views and stories with us in the comments !
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Full time Doctors, part time travelers : We are Two Flashpackers out to explore all we can in the little time we have ! We travel independently, without resorting to tour packages as we feel this is the best way to truly explore a place. Our blog focuses on mid budget and short term travel for working couples and how to make the most of limited vacation days. All our articles, posts,itineraries and guides are written to inspire you to travel and explore places on your own while balancing your job and family commitments. Happy Travelling ♥