Welcome to Reykjavik, the northern most capital in the world! This quirky city may be small put it has a lot to offer! Follow these ten steps and you will have one wonderful day exploring Reykjavik.
Step One| Take in the best view of Reykjiavk at Hallgrímskirkja
Start your day off with a visit to the largest church in Iceland, Hallgrímskirkja. I recommend walking up the street Skólavörðustígur to reach Hallgrímskirkja, the view of the church in the distance is beautiful. Once you reach Hallgrímskirkja take the elevator up to the top tower where you will have one of the best views of Reykjavik, especially if it is a clear sunny day.
Step Two| Zig zag down the small streets from Hallgrímskirkja towards city center
Now that you have seen the city from a distance it is time to explore all those colorful streets you saw in your view at Hallgrímskirkja. The neighborhood in this area is full of colorful houses, street art and the friendly cats of 101. You never know what you will find while exploring these streets, but you most definitely won’t want to miss out on taking pictures of the neon colored houses you will pass.
Step Three| Shop till you drop on Laugavegur
Laugavegur, one of the oldest shopping streets, is where the action is. Wander in an out of quirky Icelandic design shops, browse through the several book stores and art galleries and just take in the action. Be sure to stop into one of the many cozy cafes on Laugavegur for a shopping break. I recommend Tíu Dropar, one of the oldest cafes in Reykjavik!
Step Four|Go for a stroll by the sea
Once you have finished up your shopping and enjoyed your coffee head towards the sea for a walk. There is a great path just 5 minutes from city center that is perfect for a walk next to the sea. I recommend stopping at the sculpture Sun Voyager, the perfect place for a photo of the beautiful Mt. Esjan.
Step Five|Visit Reykjavik’s concert hall, Harpa
One of the most interesting structures in the city, at least to me, is Harpa. The glass facade is a sight to be seen and the inside of the Harpa features the same unique glass design. By day the Harpa sparkles with reflecting light, and by night the Harpa is lit up with dancing lights. A must see while in Reykjavik.
Step Six|Sample Iceland’s favorite dish
The Icelandic hot dog, you either love it or you hate it. Icelanders love their unique hot dogs, they are sold everywhere! The best place to try one is from the hot dog stand right across from the Harpa. There is always a line but wait it out, you can’t leave Iceland without trying a hot dog while. Order one with all the toppings and decided if you are team love it or hate it.
Step Seven|Explore the old harbor
Full of boats of all sizes, shops and restaurants, and several tour operators, the harbor is an area not to be missed. Walk off lunch and check out all the interesting boats in the harbor. They often have a large boat pulled onto land that is being repaired. Before you say goodbye to the harbor area rent a bike from Reykjavik bike tours, your going to need it for the rest of your afternoon exploring.
Step Eight|Go for a bike ride to Grotta Lighthouse
Get back onto the path by the sea and take a 20 minute bike ride out to the westernmost end of Reykjavik. Soak your feet in the small hot pool while you take in the views of the lighthouse and Reykjavik from afar. This area is one of my favorites, perfect for a relaxing afternoon break.
Step Nine|Take a dip in one of the local pools
As you make your way back to city center stop at Vesturbæjarlaug, one of the local pools. Going to the pools is a big part of Icelandic culture. Year round Icelanders flock to the pools, once you soak in the perfectly warm water you will see why!
Step Ten|Feed the ducks at Tjörnin
Before your stomachs tell you its time for dinner take a walk around Tjörnin, the large pond in the middle of Reykjavik. The path around the pond takes you past sculptures, a large park area, and of course the ducks that are just waiting to be fed.
By now you have covered a lot of ground and are ready for a delicious meal to end the day. I recommend one of these restaurants for a great dinner to close out your day in Reykjavik.
To be sure you won’t miss any of these steps here is a map to help you along the way.
For more tips on visiting Reykjavik check out this post.