A little under 48 hours in Reykjavik, Iceland? Not sure of what to do first? Colorful culture, interesting buildings and incredible sites. Reykjavik sits further north than any other countries capital on earth. Comparatively speaking, it is a small place, easily graspable, yet rich with discoverable treasures. Seize the moment by checking these items off the list in our Reykjavik layover itinerary.
Make no mistake, Iceland’s remarkable beauty comes with a price; with a little careful planning however, the trip does not need to break the bank. Expect to pay anywhere from kr30,000 ($280ish) at the low end, and kr40,000 ($375ish) more on the expensive side (do take note of the slim range).
Leaving the airport…don’t worry about renting a vehicle if you’re going in the summer. One way tickets by bus will take you the entire 48km trip for around $22-25 U.S; each company has a different set of drop off points, so be certain of where your hotel is located.
As a starting off point, for transport around the city and it’s peripheral areas; we can begin with Straeto (www.bus.is). Their buses provide cost effective transport around Reykjavik and the peripheral areas (they will take you long distances as well). Everything ranging from a smartphone map to regimented schedules make this a very convenient choice. Expect them to run from 7pm to midnight ; expect lesser hours on Sundays however.
Hit the ground running! The first day is the most important (assuming you arrive in the morning). Jump into a tour as soon as possible and catch a glimpse of the real reason people jaunt over to Iceland. We recommend a full Golden Circle tour as it packs the most bang for your buck during your short stay, best done by Go to Joy, Iceland.
It starts from Reykjavík and you’re picked up from your accommodations at about mid morning to travel to your first destination, Thingvellir National Park. According to Trip Advisor, “The park is not only a site of geological wonder, located at the intersection of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, but also a place charged with history. Thingvellir is the site of the world’s first parliament that met there each year, beginning in 930 AD, and continuing until 1798. “
Geysir (below), erupting geysers and geothermal activity which will leave you in awe on the Golden Circle Tour.
- The inspiring waterfall, Gullfoss (Golden falls) will likely be the 4th stop in any Golden Circle Tour, and according to Go to Joy, Icelands tour company, it is Europe’s second most powerful waterfall. The waterfall drops down in two stages, 11m and 21m, before falling into a crevice making it look as if it disappears into the earth.
- Faxi, or ‘Vatnsleysufoss’, a waterfall located on the river Tungufljót, falling over 21 feet. This waterfall, is massive at over 240 feet wide. The Faxi waterfall is named after the farm, Vatnsleysa, meaning “shortage of water”.
Lastly on the tour according to Go To Joy is Kerið (Kerith or Kerid in English), a volcanic crater lake located in the Grimsnes area in south Iceland. One of several crater lakes in the area, known as Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone, which includes the Reykjanes peninsula and the Langjökull Glacier. It was created as the land moved over a localized hotspot, and is the one that has the most visually recognizable caldera still intact. The caldera, like the other volcanic rock in the area, is composed of red, rather than black, volcanic rock.
At night, step into Old Iceland Restaurant. It comes highly recommended by travelers and presents an accurate, yet high end portrayal of some of the best local cuisines. Fish, lamb, and what’s been labled as overall “heartwarming dishes by a place that has been dubbed the best restaurant in Iceland should do the trick. If cost effective is on your menu, Svarta Kaffid will hit the spot nicely. Bread bowl soups, and vegetarian friendly foods along with beer, and a hearty atmosphere. For the carnivores, Salt Kitchen and Bar is an excellent choice; fish, meat, and sometimes both together presented with all the locals charms one would want for a truly authentic experience.
The next day, head over to Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral (below) , an incredible landmark in Iceland providing remarkable views of the entire city as well as a hauntingly atmospheric experience. Massive vaulted ceilings, a giant pipe organ coupled with a predominantly white color scheme will strike a chord with those architectural enthusiasts out there. From there you can head over to the settlement exhibition and learn about the migration of people over to the island, while gazing out over mesmerizing countryside.
Before flying out, finish your day with Arbaer Open Air Museum. According to Trip Advisor,
Arbær was an established farm well into the 20th century, and the museum opened there in 1957. Arbærjarsafn is now an open air museum with more than 20 buildings which form a town square, a village and a farm. Most of the buildings have been relocated from central Reykjavik. Arbær Open-Air Museum tries to give a sense of the architecture and way of life and lifestyles of the past in Reykjavik and during summer visitors can see domestic animals.
Join us again soon!