24 hours in Reykjavik, Iceland

In En-Route, Europe, Iceland, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by Janis2 Comments

Pick & choose which suits you best.

Of recent years Reykjavik is becoming more and more popular. Initially, it was as a city break destination and a base from which to tour the Golden Circle, back in 2007.

Northern Lights dancing in the sky at Reykjahlíð, Eastern Iceland

However, fast forward to 2018, and I now feel the adventurous side is coming out more in people, and often time is limited in Iceland’s colourful capital.

Reykjavik is now frequently used as a landing point before heading off on a full Ring Road adventure around the rugged country. Or like us it was the last destination of our 12-day discovery in 2018.

Janis with a big diamond on the beach, Iceland

So, what can you fit in?

My first choice would be, and really this applies to most destinations, and that is “hit the streets”. It’s the best way to explore and appreciate the culture of a place.

A useful guide to Iceland

If you're tempted to tour the Land of Fire and Ice and would love to discover the whole country, then take a look at this  DK Eyewitness book. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide is invaluable, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

You can now grab the revised copy.

Heart of Reykjavik

The main street that runs through Reykjavik city is Laugavegur, along here you’ll meet the hustle and bustle of the town day and night. Plenty of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants; a fantastic place to start.

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Did you know?

That beer was banned in Iceland until 1st March 1989 due to the Prohibition in Iceland, it’s now celebrated as “Beer Day”

They’ve made it easy

Hallgrímskirkja (the church on the hill) is the centrepiece to Reykjavik and certainly worth a visit. I would urge you to include the full tower experience. It costs ISK 1,000 which is around £7/€8/$9.

They’ve even built a lift inside so you only have a few steps at the top to climb. The view from the 73-meter-high tower is incredible, and you can wander around the top to get the full 360-degree view.

You’ll get unobscured views of the mountains across the ocean and the colourful city centre below.

Why not?

Start creating your own Icelandic adventure and discover the Northern Lights yourself, easyJet & British Airways are just a couple of options.

Head to the harbour

If time allows, then take a whale watching tour, but wrap up warm, even in the summer months. Not only may you get to see a whale or two, but you’ll also catch a glimpse of the local puffins.

However, if you don’t have your sea legs then take a stroll around the working harbour and marina, fishing is a big industry in Iceland.

You’ll come across The Sun Voyager a stainless-steel sculpture by Iceland’s Jón Gunnar Árnason, looks very much like a Viking ship. Also, along here is the colourful Harpa concert hall opened in 2011.

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Tempted to?

Discover Iceland’s enchanting Ring Road with its rugged landscape or the waterfalls and geysers around the Golden Circle for yourself. You can do it all on a road trip, Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

Into Town

Keeping with the wandering theme, head through the streets passing all the brightly painted buildings and some interesting statues along the way.

Finding yourself in Austurvöllur, this is a large public square, which has been the scene of a few protests over the years.

Here you have Reykjavik’s eye-catching white Cathedral and Parliament House.

A few good ideas for your Icelandic trip

Here's a few things we picked up ahead of our trip to make things a little smoother for us.

From the low tech traditional foldout paper map, a cigarette USB charger, and a USB chargeable torch.  

All simple stuff that may be helpful on your travels.

  • Fold-out paper map

  • Mini Dual USB Car Adapter

  • USB rechargeable LED Flashlight

Got the munchies?

Well, if you made the incredible decision to visit Iceland, then you’ll be aware that it’s not going to be cheap to get fed and watered.

Quite popular in Iceland is a hot dog, you won’t be the only one to have made that choice.

Point to Note

In regards to food prices - We all know in Iceland food & drink can seem expensive. Gary and I found that if you are choosing a restaurant, then the difference between fine dining and convenience is less than you may be used to so you may just as well splash out and enjoy it.

Blue Lagoon

We visited the Blue Lagoon when we first visited Reykjavik in 2007, we slotted it in, on our way to the airport before heading back. It’s not too far and a pleasant way to relax before your journey home.

Blue Lagoon tip

Don’t be caught out, the Blue Lagoon needs to be booked online in advance during busy times. Otherwise, you may not get in or get the time you require. It’s become very popular.

The time slots early or later in the day have the cheaper deals.

Street Art

Gary and I love to appreciate intriguing street art, and we found that Iceland, in general, had some great pieces, although, Reykjavik was alive with it.

Where we stayed

For the one night, we were based in Reykjavik; we stayed at Skuggi Hotel by Keahotels. The hotel is modern, (you can’t currently find it on street view). It has underground parking, which was our main reason for choosing it and it was in a reasonably central location.

Why Not?

Catch up with our full 11 day Icelandic Ring Road tour

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Inspired to visit Reykjavik?

Catch the bright lights of Reykjavik, or tour the infamous Ring Road, you won’t regret it.

Why not checkout the latest deals on Booking.Com?

24 hours in Reykjavik, Iceland

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    1. Thanks Annette, yes, there was so much street art it was difficult to narrow them down. I do particularly like the ones on the side of the warehouses.

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