Whether you are a city slicker catching a break over the long weekend or a nature explorer looking to explore the beautiful trails, odds are you are flying into Reykjavik to begin and end your Icelandic travels.
We used Reykjavik as a hopping pad –
- Day in Reykjavik and getting some last-minute supplies like pastries and stove fuel for a 6-day hiking / backpacking trip
- Back to Reykjavik for 1 night after the hike to get the rest of our luggage (and shower!). Rent a car from the city for 3 days to see more sights along the ring road.
- Back to the airport through Reykjavik
We will share with you our favorite sights, restaurants and transportation options so you can make the most of a day or week in Reykjavik!
Start your trip with the tallest church in Iceland. You can spot it from most places in and around the city. The structure is pretty unique and resembles basalt flows. If you are planning to head to the southern coast checkout the Svartifoss falls in Vatnajökull National Park which was the original inspiration for the church.
Entry is free but elevator to the top costs 900 ISK which we decided to pass on.
Braud and Co / Reykjavik Roasters
While you are visiting some of these sights, grab a cup of coffee from Reykjavik coasters and don’t miss out on the otherworldly cinnamon buns from Braud and Co….yummm.
Not just the cinnamon buns, all the baked goods that we found across Iceland were fabulous! I wonder why this isn’t a more well known point…
Harpa concert hall & Solfar (Sun Voyager)
If you are visiting in relatively warm weather, its nice to walk by the harbor front and see the iconic Harpa concert hall and admire the unique design.
Another nice sight located a few minutes further is Solfar which is an ode to the sun, and the promise of undiscovered territory and freedom.
If you are craving a bite, stop by at Pylsuhusid Hot Dog House, Hlöllabátar or Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur for a quick and delicious snack. For a snack between 800 and 1500 kr ($8 to $15), this is as cheap as Iceland gets.
Blue Lagoon Spa
This seems to be a recurring spot to visit on most itineraries but seemed like a totally wrong idea for us.
The concept of lounging in a geothermal spa seems amazing until you put on the reality filter on it. This commercialized spot is now on every organized tour list. Bathing with hundreds of other tourists who are trying to get selfies is as good as torture for us.
Instead – we vote for the geothermal springs at Reykjadalur or Landmannlaugar which are free, much more scenic and away from the crowds!!
Everyone has different preferences so if the crowds are not a turn-off, Blue Lagoon Spa may be a good experience to add to you list.
It is located in Gridawick which is between the airport and Reykjavik. If you plan to visit the most efficient route would be to stop on the way to, or from the airport. You can choose between the comfort and premium options.
If you are looking to stretch your legs, you might consider going to Grotta lighthouse which is located at the edge of the island – 4.4 km (2.7 miles) from the city center. It is very peaceful and scenic location to wander around. Might not be as nice in frigid, cold weather.
If you have more time, explore some of the sights in the southern part of Iceland which are relatively close to Reykjavik.
Hiking / Camping supplies
If you need any last minute supplies for hiking such as fuel or trail maps before heading off to one of many beautiful trails, stop by at Iceland Camping Equipment which is located very close to the Laugavegur street and the city center.
Getting to Reykjavik
Taxi from airport to city center costs around 15.000 krónur (97 euros/126 US dollars).
Instead go with Flybus (Reykjavik Excursions) which departs from airport to city center bus terminal every 30 min, it is quick and convenient. Prices range from 2950 to 4000 krónur per person one way.
Note that there is a transfer at the BSI bus terminal so you will have to change buses to get to your final destination. We opted for a 15 – 20 min walk to our hotel which crossed the beautifully landscaped city park and pond, which was very pleasant stretch of the legs after a 5 hour flight and 1 hour bus ride.
You can also rent a car at the airport for the duration of your stay. We were hiking for about 6 days so we opted to rent a car after we had finished camping. It was simple to shuttle to/from the trail heads with Reykjavik Excursions bus routes, and more sensible to just rent a vehicle back in Reykjavik after the hike and then return the car to the airport.
For car rental, search on Priceline or other sites. We booked an automatic, 2WD from Europcar for 3 days which cost – E227.66 after discount.
Where to Stay
Lodging can be quite pricey in Iceland, and the capital city is no exception. We enjoyed the central location and hospitality at Hotel Hilda (Bárugata 11, Reykjavik, IS-101, Iceland) which allowed us to easily gather supplies by walking to nearby stores and enjoy a basic continental breakfast before our early morning departure for the hike. The rooms were quaint (small) as it is a converted 3 level home and made organizing our trekking packs and luggage a bit challenging. This economical option was perfect for us since we did not spend much time in the room.
Many luxurious and swanky options abound, as well as a handful of hostels for those of you wishing to keep the weekend getaway budget under control. Here’s a shortcut for finding a suitable lodging choice in Reykjavik to suit your needs.
Regardless of where you choose to stay in Reykjavik, remember to let the tap water run for several minutes to help eliminate the sulfurous odor. The water is delicious, but a bit stinky when it first comes out.
You can visit this amazing country at any time!!!
In summer for the beautiful mountains, national park and spectacular trails
In winter to see the northern lights.
Where to eat
Iceland is one of my favorite countries and with cheap fares I cannot wait to go back. Just brace yourself for the expensive meals before heading there.
- Cafe Gardurinn – Nice café / lunch spot
- Cafe Babalu – Great lunch option
- Svarta Kaffid – Soups in bread bowls,, sandwhiches, nachos,etc.
- Bergsson Mathus – Nice café / lunch spot
- Hamborgarabulla Tomasar – Burger place (Seems to have good veggie burger)
- Kruska Reykjavik – Good option for dinner
- Glo – Good for Vegans
Message us with any comments or questions.
Love it? Pin it