3-Day Best of Reykjavík Itinerary

With quaint museums, cool music venues, and top-notch restaurants, Iceland’s small capital city makes a big impression. This 3-day Reykjavík itinerary will take you through the best sights and activities to enjoy on a long weekend.

view of Reykjavik buildings and harbor from above
The city of Reykjavík. Photo © Paul van den Berg/123rf.

Day 1

Explore downtown Reykjavík and all the shops, galleries, restaurants, and coffeehouses the city has to offer. Walk down the street Skólavörðustígur to the landmark church Hallgrímskirkja to check out the amazing interior, beautiful organ, and view from the top. Grab coffee or lunch on Skólavörðustígur at Café Babalu, which makes tasty lattes and light meals like crepes and panini. The street is also where you can pick up a traditional Icelandic sweater at the Handknitting Association of Iceland.

Walk down the main street, Laugavegur, and pop into the Hrim stores for Icelandic design and Mál og Menning for books, T-shirts, and other tourist wares. Walk toward city hall and stroll around the man-made pond Tjörnin, where you can check out swans, ducks, and other birds.

For dinner, consider one of the city’s trendy restaurants, like Fiskfelagid for the freshest catch of the day or Bambus for Asian fusion. Reykjavík nightlife is epic, and venues like Húrra and Kex Hostel are perfect for checking out local DJs or live bands and dancing the night away.

view of Harpa at night
Harpa was designed by Icelandic/Danish artist Ólafur Elíasson. Photo © Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson, courtesy of VisitReykjavik.

Day 2

Reykjavík’s harbor has a lot to see. Have breakfast at Café Haiti and watch boats enter the harbor. Sign up for a whale-watching or bird-watching excursion for a chance to spot minke whales, dolphins, fin whales, blue whales, and seabirds (depending on the season). Once back on land, walk to the Saga Museum to learn about Iceland’s history and enjoy a coffee and snack or light meal at the in-house restaurant, Matur og Drykkur. Walk over to Harpa concert hall to take in a concert or just check out the amazing interior and architecturally striking exterior.

Walk back downtown and explore the Reykjavík Art Museum, then have dinner at wildly popular sushi restaurant Osushi. Stop by Bar 11 to hear some local live music.

people in a steaming mineral pool in Iceland.
A rejuvenating soak at the Blue Lagoon is a great way to end your trip. Photo © Ivanguart/Dreamstime.

Day 3

Go to Mokka café on Skólavörðustígur for breakfast—the waffles with homemade jam and fresh cream are delightful. Then visit Reykjavík’s best record shops: Head to 12 Tónar, a few doors up from Mokka, and Lucky Records near Hlemmur bus station.

Instead of going directly to the airport, sign up for a bus transfer to the Blue Lagoon to enjoy the glorious waters. Then head to Keflavík for your flight.

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