How to Spend 1 Day in Reykjavik

Updated August 14, 2020.

This Throwback Thursday, I’m throwing it back to one fun day in Reykjavik, Iceland, with my sweet husband, my great friend from college, and his sweet wife who now live in Reykjavik! We had a blast, and I think we came up with a pretty fantastic itinerary if you have just one day to spend in the world’s northern-most national capital!


If you are staying in Reykjavik, you won’t have to worry about where to park–you’re already there! But if you’re like us and you’re driving in for the day, you’ll need to park somewhere. We parked outside out friends’ house on the street, and there appeared to be a lot of parking around for free. We saw some parking meters downtown, but the farther you get from downtown, the more likely you’ll find free street parking. Just keep your eyes peeled!


Try out Sandholt for breakfast and coffee. It’s right downtown and not far from your first stop! Have a hearty breakfast, grab a coffee to go, and maybe order one of their incredible pastries to take with you for a snack later in the day!

Tourist Information Centre (Open 8:00am-8:00pm)
and Lake Tjornin

Start your day here so you can get a lay of the land and see beautiful Lake Tjornin. The nice people here can help you make the most of your day, and you can get a 1-, 2-, or 3-day pass here for several of the museums and attractions in town as well. Be sure to look up on a rainy day. You might see a beautiful double rainbow over the lake as we did!

Double rainbow!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Iceland

(Open 9:00am-9:00pm; Closed During Worship Times)

My sweet husband and I both enjoy finding the tallest place in town and getting out bearings–and a great view! This church is easy to find and makes for a great landmark during your day of walking around the city, and it’s only 900 ISK ($8.50 USD) for a ticket to the top. You have to purchase your ticket in the gift shop, then get in line for the elevator. Don’t forget to look around the sanctuary as well.

The view from inside
The view at the top
Read on: What to Pack for Iceland in Fall: Women


Believe it or not, you have to try the hot dogs at BBP! This hot dog stand has been here since 1937, and it’s the place to get cheap eats in Reykjavik. You can get two for 900 ISK ($8.50 USD). You know it’s good when there’s a line like this:

The line for this cute little kiosk
Out hot dogs! Fixin’ options are ketchup, mustard, hollandaise, chopped onions, and fried onions
Still hungry? Check out What to Eat in Iceland!

If you’re in Reykjavik on a Saturday or Sunday, also stop into the Kolaportid Flea Market for some free samples and perhaps to buy some donuts, Christmas cake, or even shark! Everyone will tell you not to try it, but you might be the rare person who likes it!

If you’re still hungry, choose any restaurant around. Reykjavik has a fantastic foodie scene, so take advantage! You can find traditional Icelandic dishes alongside your typical European and North American fare as well.


Take a walk down to the Harpa Concert Venue. There are lots of shows to choose from if you have an evening to fill, and there are shops inside as well. It’s a beautiful place to get out of the cold! It’s a sight to behold! Here is a closeup:

The Harpa
More here: What to Pack for Iceland in Fall: Men

Reykjavik Waterfront

Take a walk along the lovely waterfront. You can see an incredible mountain on an island across the water, find the Solfar, or Sun Voyager, and glimpse the lighthouse on the point!

Reykjavik Waterfront
Read on: 10 Reasons to Visit South Iceland

Aurora Reykjavik and Saga Museum

Worried you won’t see the Northern Lights on your trip? Then a visit to Aurora Reykjavik is the place for you! And while you’re at it, walk around to the Saga Museum as well to learn a little bit about the Vikings and their history here on Iceland and throughout the Nordic countries.

More here: Tips for seeing the Aurora Borealis: Iceland’s Northern Lights


I definitely recommend Reykjavik Fish for suppertime! It’s in a great old building, the people working there were kind, and the food was awesome! I had the Plokkari (mashed potatoes and fish with brown bread), my friend Victoria had hearty seafood soup, and our husbands both had the biggest fish and chips I think I’ve ever seen! Decided you’re not into the straight-up Icelandic fare? There are tons of restaurants to choose from for any kind of palate!

Plokkari: Mashed potatoes with fish mixed in!
More here: The Ultimate Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Ready to take on Reykjavik in a day? We hope you love it! Check out my Iceland Page for more.

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