How To Spend 24 Hours In Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjavík, Iceland. Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

Reykjavik, the vibrant capital of Iceland, may be compact in size, but it’s bursting with culture, history, and natural beauty. With just 24 hours to explore this charming city, here’s how to make the most of your time in Reykjavik.


Start your day with a hearty Icelandic breakfast at one of Reykjavik’s cozy cafes. Fuel up with traditional dishes like skyr (Icelandic yogurt), rúgbrauð (dense rye bread), and smoked salmon, paired with a strong cup of Icelandic coffee. After breakfast, head to Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik’s iconic church and one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Take the elevator to the top of the church tower for panoramic views of Reykjavik and beyond, including the colorful rooftops of the city, the surrounding mountains, and the sparkling waters of Faxa Bay. Next, explore Reykjavik’s vibrant arts and culture scene with a visit to the Reykjavik Art Museum. Housed in three distinct locations across the city, the museum showcases contemporary Icelandic art, as well as works by international artists.


For lunch, head to the Old Harbour area and dine at one of the seafood restaurants overlooking the waterfront. Sample fresh Icelandic specialties like lobster soup, fish and chips, or grilled local fish, while soaking up the maritime atmosphere of this historic district. After lunch, take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade of Sæbraut. Admire the striking modern sculpture of the Sun Voyager, a symbolic representation of Iceland’s Viking heritage and maritime history, before continuing on to the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. Marvel at the stunning glass façade of this architectural masterpiece, which hosts concerts, events, and exhibitions throughout the year.


As the sun begins to set, head to the Laugardalslaug geothermal swimming pool for a relaxing soak in the warm waters of the outdoor hot tubs. Located in the Laugardalur Valley, this popular swimming complex also features indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, and steam baths, making it the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. After your swim, indulge in a traditional Icelandic dinner at one of Reykjavik’s top restaurants. Sample local delicacies like hákarl (fermented shark), smoked lamb, or Icelandic lamb soup, paired with a glass of Icelandic beer or schnapps. Finish your evening with a stroll through downtown Reykjavik, where you can explore the city’s lively nightlife scene.