The capital of Iceland is small and compact but full of culture and astonishing contrasts. Explore this trendy port city on foot and get captivated by the various highlights. We are going to show you a way to spend a day in Reykjavík.
Breakfast at The Laundromat Café
Want to have breakfast like a king? Then you should try The Laundromat Café situated in the old town of Reykjavík. The classic American diner-style café with its unique charm offers delicious smoothies, sandwiches, healthy brunches, acai bowls, and other interesting flavor combinations.
Exploration of the Old Harbour
Belly full, you're off to the first highlight. After a five-minute walk, you reach the idyllic harbor in the northwestern part of the city. It is the starting point for many whale-watching tours and an ideal location for various museum visits. On weekends, there is also a flea market where you can purchase different souvenirs. So, go ahead and buy your hand-knitted Icelandic sweater here!
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre
During your visit to the old harbor, you cannot fail to notice the impressive glass building on the waterfront, which is the conference center and concert hall called "Harpa". A visit is worth it just for its extraordinary architecture alone. Admire the building from the outside and inside, and don't miss out on taking some stylish photos.
Sculpture and Shore Walk
After a stroll along the shore from Harpa, you'll find numerous remarkable pieces of art. The "Sculpture and Shore Walk" features sculptures such as the popular "Sun Voyager" by Jón Gunnarsson which resembles a Viking ship. Walk a little further east and you will reach Reykjavík's white guesthouse Höfði. This building was the site of a 1986 summit meeting which helped to end the Cold War. Continuing for a few more minutes, you reach the main shopping street, Laugavegur.
The Colourful City Centre
Besides the two main shopping avenues Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur, it is also worth exploring the many small and colorful streets in the city center. In addition to the painted pavement, you can find many stores, cafes, and bars that invite you to do some shopping and enjoy a good meal.
A Hot Dog for in Between
From the city centre, we head back towards the harbour. The next stop is the famous snack bar Bæjarins Beztu. The restaurant's name translates to "the best in town" and by that, they mean the delicious Icelandic hot dogs. After a well-balanced breakfast, this small bite is just the right treat for lunch.
A Stroll around Tjörnin
The city pond Tjörnin is just around the corner from the hot dog stand. This popular recreational space balances authentic urban development with peaceful nature. After the leisurely digestion walk in the park, your next halt will be the characteristic Hallgrímskirkja church.
The Impressive Hallgrímskirkja
Hallgrímskirkja Church, named after a famous Icelandic poet, towers over the centre of Reykjavík. This concrete church is one of the large buildings in the country, and we recommend not only visiting it for its spectacular exterior but also the interior. Furthermore, there's an elevator that takes you up to the top of the tower, where you will have a breathtaking view (fees apply). Next, we recommend a visit to one of the famous Valdís Gelaterias. The nearest one is a five-minute walk north of the church.
Exotic Ice Cream Creations at Valdís
Every day is ice cream day! Even if you don't necessarily associate Reykjavík with the frozen dessert, a visit to Valdís Gelateria is a must. Icelanders love this place and the many extraordinary savours it offers. There are no limits to creativity at Valdís Gelateria, as it serves ice cream flavoured with beer, lavender, and curry with coconut and chili, to name a few.
Breathtaking Views of the City
By now, the sun is slowly setting, and the perfect place to enjoy the evening atmosphere and the sunset is the Perlan. This structure, situated on a hill south of the city centre, is Reykjavík's hot water reservoir. The glass dome covering Perlan's water tanks allows the lights and mirrors inside to create a starry night sky atmosphere. Moreover, if you go outside and on to the observation deck, you can enjoy the mesmerizing view over Reykjavík and the inland.
Lunch at Sjávargrillið
For dinner, it's back to the city centre. The fish restaurant Sjávargrillið captivates not only with its cosy and authentic interior but also with the exquisite food combinations. Chef Gústav Axel Gunnlaugsson travelled the country for months to draw inspiration from the authentic flavours of Iceland, developing a unique menu in the process. Indulge yourself in his extraordinary creations.
To conclude the eventful day, it is best to dive into Reykjavík's nightlife. There are almost no big clubs here, but the various cafes downtown turn into bars in the evenings and later on into dance clubs. The numerous live bands that frequently perform in the pubs further contribute to the cozy ambiance. Furthermore, the streets and alleys in the heart of Reykjavík are bustling with activity since bar-hopping is particularly popular there.
- Header - Photo from Visiticeland.com
- Paragraph 1 - Photo by The Laundromat Café
- Paragraph 2 - Photo by The Laundromat Café on Facebook
- Paragraph 3 - Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash
- Paragraph 4 - Photo by Visit Reykjavík
- Paragraph 5 - Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash
- Paragraph 6 - Photo by Kristin Wilson on Unsplash
- Paragraph 7 - Photo by Federico Di Dio photography on Unsplash
- Paragraph 8 - Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash
- Paragraph 9 - Photo by Ludovic Charlet on Unsplash
- Paragraph 10 - Photo by Bæjarins Beztu on Facebook
- Paragraph 11 - Photo by sharonang on Pixabay
- Paragraph 12 - Photo by Gunnar Freyr on Visiticeland.com
- Paragraph 13 - Photo by Gashif Rheza on Unsplash
- Paragraph 14 - Photo by Valdís on Facebook
- Paragraph 15 - Photo by Garðar Ólafs on Visiticeland.com
- Paragraph 16 - Photos by Sjávargrillið
- Paragraph 17 - Photo by Prikið Kaffihús on Facebook