What to see in Reykjavik in 3 days

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

The northernmost capital in the world as well as the capital of Iceland, it is the nation's most populated city, the political and economic heart of the island. Young and in full expansion it has become one of the favorite tourist destinations in recent years thanks to its fantastic fairytale landscapes, its colors, its natural reserves, the wealth of art and the cultural institutions that characterize it.
Here is a itinerary to visit Reykjavik in 3 days!


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. How much does a weekend in Reykjavik cost
  5. User questions and comments

1 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Hallgrímskirkja Church and statue of Leifur Eiríksson

We spend our first day discovering the center of Reykjavik. After enjoying a breakfast at Reykjavik Roasters, a classic hipster café with vintage furnishings for a cost of about 500 ISK (about € 4,00), a few meters away we will find what we could call the symbol of the city: the Hallgrímskirkja Church. Almost 75 meters high, it is the fifth tallest architectural structure in Iceland and therefore easily visible from every corner of the city. Built in 1945 after the end of World War II, it took 38 years to complete. Inside there is an imposing 5.275 pipe organ easily visible as the interior of the church is essentially simple, almost bare. The strongest point of interest is certainly the top of the tower, reachable thanks to an elevator inside the church, from which it will be possible to enjoy a fantastic view of the whole city and its surroundings. The cost of the ticket is around ISK 900 (around € 8,00) for adults and ISK 100 (around € 1,00) for children aged 7 to 14.
Just in front of the church is the statue of Leif Erikson, the first explorer to land in North America 500 years before Columbus.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch and The Culture House - Museum

A few minutes walk from the church we find the Café Loki, where we suggest you stop for a typical Icelandic lunch, especially based on fish, for a cost of about 1800 ISK (about € 13,00). A five minute walk will then arrive at The Culture House - Museum which has been part of the National Museum of Iceland since 2013. Formerly the home of culture, it offers exhibits dealing with Icelandic history; but being also a cultural center, inside it is possible to visit a beautiful library where it will not be uncommon to have ancient manuscripts on display. As explained as an institution belonging to the National Museum, by purchasing the entrance ticket, it will be valid for both attractions. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00, the cost is 2.000 ISK (about € 15,00) for adults, 1.000 ISK (about € 7,50) for those Over 67 while it is free for under 18s.

3 - Evening: Sun Voyager, dinner and Harpa Concert Hall

With the sunlight fading by now, we head towards the Sun Voyager, a huge stainless steel sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason depicting a boat on a granite base. With this work the artist intended to depict a ship of dreams to convey a dream of hope, progress and freedom. This is the best time to admire it, because if you are lucky you can admire it with a fantastic sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
Less than 10 minutes on foot, all that remains is to visit the harpa Concert Hall. One of the main landmarks of Reykjavik, center of culture and convention, it is a structure built entirely of glass which takes inspiration from the beautiful Icelandic basalt landscapes. The evening is certainly the most suggestive time to visit it, as thanks to the colored glass facade, fantastic plays of light are created which then reflect on the ocean. Inside it is also possible to dine in an exclusive restaurant, the Kolabrautin, which combines Icelandic and Mediterranean cuisine for a cost starting from 9800 ISK (approximately € 71,00).
The restaurant closes at 22pm while the facility remains open to the public until midnight; the cost of the ticket to visit it is 1.500 ISK (about € 12,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,7 km / 33 min
  • Places visited: Hallgrímskirkja Church (€ 8,00 with elevator), statue of Leifur Eiríksson (free), The Culture House - Museum (€ 15,00), Sun Voyager and Harpa Concert Hall (€ 12,00 with guide)
  • Reykjavik City Walking Tour
  • Breakfast at Reykjavik Roasters (Get Directions), Lunch at Café Loki (Get Directions), Dinner at Kolabrautin (Get Directions)

2 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast and National Museum of Iceland

Our second day begins at the National Museum of Iceland. The National Museum was established on February 24, 1863 and over time has often changed its name to become a single institution since 2013 when it also acquired The Culture House - Museum. The exhibitions hosted are varied, but one is always present where various artifacts found in different areas of the island are exhibited, and where its story is told from the Vikings to today. On the ground floor of the museum there is a café, the Café Kaffitár, where it will be possible to have breakfast before proceeding to the visit for a cost of about 450 ISK (about € 3,50).
As mentioned in yesterday's afternoon itinerary, the ticket purchased for The Culture House - Museum is also valid for the National Museum and vice versa; the opening hours and costs are therefore the same.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch and Cathedral of Christ the King

After our visit to the museum, moving on foot for not even five minutes we can enjoy, for a cost starting from 4000 ISK (about € 30,00), a complete lunch at Mìmir Restaurant, a restaurant known for itsexclusive use of Icelandic natural ingredients.
After our lunch we go to the Cathedral of Christ the King. The cathedral is just under a quarter of an hour on foot, if you do not want to walk we recommend the use of bus 11, very convenient as the starting point is exactly in front of the restaurant, the Hotel Saga stop, and in about 10 minutes it will take us to 5 minutes from our destination. The Cathedral of Christ the King, aka Landakotstún church, is the main place of Catholic worship not only in Reykjavík but in all of Iceland. Completed in 1929, the year of its consecration, by the Icelandic architect Guðjón Samuelsson, the same who also built the Hallgrímskirkja, it is built in a complete neo-Gothic style; takes its name from the name of one of the three bells present in the belfry.

3 - Evening: Lake Tjörnin, Town Hall and Dinner

Starting from the Cathedral we head towards the old city. As before there are two options: the destination is about 10 minutes on foot or by public transport; if you want to opt for public transport, the bus we will take will be 13, at the Hofsvallagata / Hávallagata stop right in front of the Cathedral, until the Ráðhúsið stop. We will thus find ourselves in one of the oldest and most central neighborhoods in Reykjavik, and walking among characteristic buildings and gardens we will find ourselves admiring Lake Tjörnin, the perfect place for a moment of relaxation enjoying the beauty of nature.
In the surrounding park we find the Town Hall, seat of the mayor and city officials has a beautiful 3D map of Iceland inside. It is accessible for free from Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 19:00 and from 12:00 to 18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays.
After this afternoon walk, it's time to have dinner; we suggest the Skúli Craft Bar, just a stone's throw from the Town Hall, a comfortable place where you will find the most awarded beers on the island starting from around 1000 ISK (around € 7,50)

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,1 km / 38 min
  • Places visited: National Museum of Iceland (€ 15,00), Cathedral of Christ the King (free), Lake Tjörnin and City Hall (free)
  • Breakfast at the Museum of Iceland (Get directions), Lunch at Mìmir Restaurant (Get directions), Dinner at Skúli Craft Bar (Get directions)

3 day

1 - Morning: Thingvellir National Park

Anyone who goes to Iceland, for whatever reason, cannot leave without having visited the Golden Circle, a route of about 300 kilometers that includes three stages in what they are the most interesting natural reserves of the island. The route is very easy, but leaving the city it goes without saying that the only solutions to tackle it are to rent a car or rely on one of the countless guided tours from Reykjavik (from € 99,00 per person). As far as car rental is concerned, there are many car rentals you can turn to, but since the prices are not very cheap we recommend renting a car using the offers of the large international companies; prices vary according to the season, however it starts from around € 60,00 per day. Following the clear road signs from Reykjavik, in just over 40 minutes we will reach Thingvellir National Park, one of the two Icelandic UNESCO heritage sites, where Alþingi was founded in 930, the oldest parliament in the world. Here more info on what to see and how to get to Thingvellir Park.
The attraction par excellence of this park is definitely the Silfa Fissure (snorkeling with guide from € 125,00 - buy online), a crack between the continental faults, about 5 km long, where you can also admire the Öxaráfoss waterfall.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch and Gullfoss Waterfall

The second stage of the club, just over an hour away where we will arrive in the early afternoon, is there Gullfoss waterfall. Nicknamed "the queen of Icelandic waterfalls" it is definitely the most famous and imposing of the island; one of the main features is certainly that of being able to see it from above instead of below. If you are lucky, as well as enjoying the intoxicating mist created by the splashes of water, it will also be possible to admire beautiful rainbows. Near the waterfall there is the Gullfosskaffi Ehf: a fairly cheap restaurant, around 450 ISK (around € 3,50) where you can stop for a short lunch break.

3 - Evening: Haukadalur and Dinner

Third and final stage of the club is theHaukadalur geothermal area, where there are two very famous geysers: Geysir and Strokkur. The first is the largest geyser in Iceland and the most famous in the world; it is about 8.000 years old and its jets were among the highest ever seen, but unfortunately it has now been dormant for several years; the second is smaller but very active, in fact it erupts every 10 minutes with jets over 20 meters high.
At this point it will be late afternoon almost evening, in the Haukadalur area there is the Geysir Center where you can stop for a very quick typical soup-based dinner, costing ISK 1550 (about € 11,50), at Supa Geysir before returning to the city.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 82,1 km / 1 h 20 min
  • Places visited: Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and Haukadalur area
  • Golden Circle and Kerid Crater: tour from Reykjavik
  • being an on the road tour, packed lunches are recommended or there are refreshment points where you can have lunch and dinner in the attractions locations.

How much does a weekend in Reykjavik cost

Although tourism in Iceland has grown significantly in recent years, it is definitely not one of the cheapest destinations where to go, it is therefore necessary to organize yourself in time and choose the period that best suits your needs.

  • Costs to eat: about € 110,00 per day following our itinerary.
  • Costs for museums and attractions: around € 35,00 following our itinerary, excluding guided excursions to the Golden Circle.
  • Transportation: we suggest walking. Considering the cost of a single ride (around € 3,62), we recommend purchasing the Reykjavík City Card (around € 30,00) or the 24-hour pass from around € 6,00.
  • Hotels, accommodation and b & b: Hotel and b & b starting from € 90,00 per room -
  • Total cost of a weekend in Reykjavik: from € 850,00 for 3 days including hotel, transport and attractions

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Reykjavik: the climate is quite cold (-10 in winter, max 20 in summer), rainfall is quite common as well as wind. To see the Northern Lights the best months are September and April. For the rest, the city offers events all year round: the Reykjavik Arts Festival in June, the Reykjavík International Film Festival, between late September and early October, the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in October - more on the climate in Reykjavik .
  • the closest airport to Reykjavik is Keflavík International Airport (Flights from € 200,00 -). The connection with the city center, which is about 50km away, is the Flybus, (45 minutes, price around ISK 5.499 - € 40,00 round trip)
  • Reykjavik is very compact. If you want to be in the heart of the city we recommend the Midborg district, if you want to look for a slightly cheaper stay we suggest the Hildar district slightly away from the center or the Vesturbær and Laugardalur districts even if in this case the center is about 20 -30 minutes on foot - Hotel and b & b from € 90,00 per room -.
  • Getting around: it can be easily visited on foot. Alternatively, the recommended means are the strætó, buses with a characteristic yellow color consisting of 23 lines. They do not offer night rides, the ticket price for each single ride is 364,18 ISK (approx € 3,62) - more info on getting around Reykjavik

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