Iceland’s Capital City Reykjavik has plenty to offer. From stunning architecture to breathtaking natural wonders, we can’t forget about the warm and welcoming locals. Reykjavik is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience something unique.
This guide offers a carefully chosen selection of the best places to visit and activities to do when you only have one day in Reykjavik. Get ready to discover the wonders this capital has to offer!
This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclosure here.
How To Spend One Day In Reykjavik
Walk The Waterfront
One day in Reykjavik wouldn’t be complete without walking the waterfront. The Reykjavik waterfront features breathtaking views of Mount Esja and the gentle sounds of lapping waves. While strolling, you’ll encounter the sculptural masterpiece ‘Sun Voyager’, which symbolizes hope, dreams, and the spirit of discovery.
There are various coffee shops with cozy benches to enjoy a warm drink while staring at the ocean. This is definitely something you don’t want to forget when spending a day in Reykjavik!
Pick A Museum To Visit At Old Harbor
One of the top things to see in Reykjavik in one day is Old Harbor. The Old Harbor is home to several museums, each offering a unique take on Icelandic culture.
Perhaps the most well-known museum is the FlyOver Iceland, in which you’re suspended in a harness with your feet dangling, in front of an impressive four-story spherical scene. This is an interactive museum that plays a video that takes you through Iceland’s majestic landscapes.
Another excellent one to visit is the Phallological Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of penises, with over 200 specimens from different types of mammals, including humans.
Whales of Iceland allows you to learn more about the sea’s gentle giants, featuring life-sized models of 23 whale species found in Icelandic waters. On the other hand, the Saga Museum recreates crucial events in Icelandic history, allowing visitors to step into the shoes of Vikings. Finally, the Maritime Museum delves into the importance of fishing in Iceland’s economy and culture.
So, when you’re in Old Harbor, make a museum visit a part of your one-day in Reykjavik itinerary.
You may enjoy: Best Small Towns In Iceland
Visit Hallgrímskirkja For The Views
Hallgrímskirkja, is the tallest structure in the city and is a tribute to the nation’s renowned poet, Hallgrímur Pétursson. It is a church with a unique design, said to mimic the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscapes.
It features a one-of-a-kind centerpiece of a colossal pipe organ 15 meters tall with a weight of 25 tons. Its 5275 pipes create a profound sound that reverberates through the entire church. You can take an elevator ride to the top of the church’s tower for a small fee and enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city and the surrounding mountains.
Visit Perlan Museum
Perlan Museum is located on the hill of Öskjuhlíð and features an iconic glass dome perched atop six hot water storage tanks. It has interactive exhibitions that will allow you to explore Iceland’s natural wonders and scientific advancements.
One of the most popular attractions at Perlan is the man-made ice cave, where you can experience what it’s like to walk through a glacier.
Eat An Icelandic Hotdog
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is a hot dog stand that has been a staple in Reykjavik since 1937 and offers the best hotdog you’ll ever have in your life. The hotdogs are made with lamb, pork, and beef, which gives them a unique flavor, and they’re topped with raw onions, crispy fried onions, ketchup, sweet mustard, and remoulade sauce.
Stroll And Shop In Old Town
Reykjavik’s Old Town has brightly colored buildings, quaint shops, and little coffee cafes. I recommend you stop by the Hallgrímskirkja church and admire its unique architecture, as well as try Icelandic delicacies like smoked fish and traditional pastries.
Gawk At The Harpa Concert Hall Architecture
When spending one day in Reykjavik be sure to visit the captivating Harpa Concert Hall. The Harpa Concert Hall has a unique façade that is designed to resemble the basalt landscapes native to Iceland. This concert hall is an emblem of Reykjavik’s innovative spirit, built from a steel framework clad with geometric-shaped glass panels of different colors.
The architect intended for the building to interact with its surroundings therefore during the day, it reflects the sky and the harbor, and in the evening, the building comes alive with mesmerizing LED lighting that mimics the famous Northern Lights.
Harpa Concert Hall is an architectural and cultural masterpiece and hosts various events such as concerts, exhibitions, and conferences. Its four halls are named after Norse gods, with the largest one, Eldborg, designed for orchestral music
Related post: Iceland Captions
Grab Some Seafood Soup At Seabaron
Seabaron is located in the Old Harbor and is well-known for its legendary lobster soup and secret recipe.
It is a rich and creamy soup with chunks of lobster that was freshly caught the same day. The seasoning perfectly complements the sweetness of the lobster, resulting in a warm, comforting dish that will leave you wanting more. It’s served with traditional Icelandic rye bread.
This place also offers other seafood options like skewers, which include everything from shrimp to minke whales.
Soak In The Geothermal Waters At Sky Lagoon
When spending one day in Reykjavik, indulge in one of Iceland’s geothermal waters.
There are various places where you can soak in geothermal waters, but Sky Lagoon is by far the best one thanks to its breathtaking views and luxurious amenities. It features steamy pools that overlook the ocean, and the water is heated with geothermal energy (known for its healing properties and mineral content).
Apart from this, Sky Lagoon offers a swim-up bar, spa treatments, and an exquisite restaurant that serves delicious Icelandic cuisine.
Have A Glass Of Wine At Vínstúkan Tíu Sopar
Vínstúkan Tíu Sopar is a prestigious wine bar in downtown Reykjavik, known for its extensive wine list with a selection from all over the world, but with a special emphasis on Icelandic wines. The knowledgeable staff can guide you in choosing a glass (or bottle) if you need.
This place has an amazing interior, with wooden decor and soft lighting, perfect for unwinding after a busy day of touring the city.
You may enjoy: Glacier Captions
FAQs For 1 Day In Reykjavik
Is One Day in Reykjavik Enough?
Reykjavik can surely be toured in a day, however, as with any other destination, it is always best to spend a few days to properly visit each spot. One day in Reykjavik will give you a glimpse of its vibrant culture, architectural marvels, and culinary delights.
Is It Worth Spending One Day in Reykjavik?
Yes! No matter if you spend a single day or an entire week, Reykjavik is a magical place that will grant you an unforgettable experience.
When to Visit Reykjavik?
Reykjavik is an all-year-round destination, although each season offers unique opportunities to explore. For example, summer (June to September) is perfect for enjoying long daylight hours and mild temperatures. However, winter (December to March) is the ideal time to witness the Northern Lights and do some winter activities.
How to Get to Reykjavik?
Reykjavik is easily accessible by air, and the Keflavík International Airport serves flights from various international destinations. After arriving, you can take a taxi, or rent a car from the airport to reach the city center, which is about 50 km away. This Reykjavik airport transfer guide will give you all the details you need.
Where to Stay in Reykjavik?
Reykjavik offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences, including luxury hotels, cozy guesthouses, and budget hostels.
I use booking.com to easily find accommodations within my budget.
Things To See In Reykjavik In One Day – Conclusion
In conclusion, spending a day in Reykjavik should be added to your bucket list. It can easily be toured with this itinerary. You’ll have plenty of activities to choose from that will add fun and value to your trip.
Book your trip to Reykjavik today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure. See you soon in the land of fire and ice!
Enjoy Europe? You may be interested in these other European destinations:
- Germany: One Day In Munich
- Denmark: One Day In Copenhagen
- Greenland: Things To Do In Nanortalik, Greenland
- Portugal: 2 Days In Porto Itinerary