Most travellers agree that to see the essential parts of Reykjavík it takes just half a day; this is true if you’d rather spend the rest of your holiday enjoying the wild rural areas of Iceland. However, it can easily take two to three days to appreciate fully what the capital has to offer.
Where to sleep?
The city is full of hotels and guesthouses, and with the growing popularity of Iceland as a travel destination, most places are booked out throughout the year. We recommend you book your accommodation well in advance. Check out the popular website airbnb.com if you wish to rent a room or apartment. For more information on the cost of housing in Iceland, see our article here.
Where to eat?
The eating choices are vast, and most restaurants are located in the city centre. Fast food (Icelanders are fond of!), Cafes, gourmet restaurants, Icelandic specialties, French, American, Italian, Mexican, Thai, there is something for everyone and the prices vary! For breakfast, we recommend trying Grái Kötturinn, the buffet at Icelandair Hotel Marina or the Laundromat. Lunch time? Café Haiti, Saegreifinn or Bergsson Mathus are delicious choices! For a snack during the day (meaning a piece of cake and a hot drink),
Reykjavík has a bunch of really cool cafes. C for Cookie, Stofan, Babalú are among my favorites. For dinner, Þrir Frakkar, Fiskmarkadurinn or Fiskkompani are excellent choices and are expensive. Sushi Samba, Iceland, and Old Islenski Barinn serve good quality food at reasonable prices. For a drink in the evening, Kaffi Barinn, Hurra, and Dillon are good options -for older and more sophisticated customers, try Café Rosenberg, which is also a live music venue.
What to do in Reykjavík – What to see?
The famous Hallgrímskirkja church is at the top of the exclusive street Skolavordustigur. Its organ is beautiful, and a must see -you can also walk up to the church tower for a breathtaking view of Reykjavík city. You can continue your walk to Perlan and Oskjuhlid and if you feel wish do a sea dive followed by a hot bath at the geothermal beach Nauthólsvík. Back in the city center, a visit to the beautiful Harpa concert hall is necessary; the building which houses concerts and events is an architectural highlight. In addition to your tour, a visit to Lake Tjörnin is a favorite activity.
What to do?
A stroll through the shopping street Laugavegur will without a doubt keep your day busy. If you want to know more about Reykjavík city and discover the best places to visit according to the locals, you can join a guided tour of the city. The city walks vary in price ranges, and some tours you donate what you wish and can afford. Visit the harbor and the surrounding area, why not join a boat trip to go whale watching?
There are dozens of public swimming pools in Reykjavik – check them out! Vesturbæjarlaug is the darling of Iceland’s city center and is walking distance to the famous ice cream shop Ísbuð Vesturbæjar. From there you can go for a pleasant long walk or cycle along the shoreline at the end of Hofsvallagata and journey around the Seltjarnarnes peninsula.
Many museums are available around Reykjavík if you wish to learn more about the history and culture of Iceland. The D’Árbær museum consists of over twenty buildings that form a central square, a village and farm, and aims to show the Icelandic way of life at different time periods. D’Árbær is the only outdoor museum in the capital, but there are dozens more interesting ones to visit.
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