So many airlines now offer an extended layover in Iceland’s capital city and what a great place to be! If you only have 24 hours or a short period of time to explore Iceland’s capital, these are the sights you shouldn’t miss.
Shopping Along Laugavegur Street
Looking for souvenirs or a place to grab a bite? This street is Reykjavik’s main street full of restaurants, shops and people bustling around. If you love looking at unique stores, be sure to allocate a couple hours here as we lost track of time while wandering in and out of each shop.
Note: Most places close earlier but the souvenir shops (puffin stores) are opened much later.
Not far from Laugavegur street is the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church! The unique architecture of this building can be seen from the harbor as the church sits on top of a hill. For incredible views of Reykjavik, you can pay to go to the top.
Harpa Concert Hall
This concert hall shimmers and stuns against the ocean view. The design of this building captivates and easily draws people in. Once inside, you are able to see the amount of detail and work that was spent on each staircase and windowsill.
About a 5 min walk away from the Harpa Concert Hall is the Sun Voyager sculpture. The piece was created by Jon Gunnar Arnason and symbolizes a vessel of dreams and hope. The piece of art is located along the ocean front and is commonly mistaken as a Viking ship, which I can understand why. None the less, this famous artwork is worth checking out, especially when it’s so close to the other main sights in Reykjavik.
Marvel at the art and architecture
Now the Sun Voyager isn’t the only piece of work that can be found in the capital. This city is filled with art sculptures, museums and graffi! Keep your eyes peeled for gorgeous work on building walls and unique statues scattered around Reykjavik.
Whoever said Iceland doesn’t have great food has not tried their fresh seafood! Iceland’s food is so much more than just hot dogs from the local N1 gas stations. Although the food is priced higher than back home (Canada), if you’re aware of this, you won’t be shocked. There are definitely meals that can cost you an arm and a leg, but you can also find meals that are very affordable.
Fresh thick cut fries are the perfect snack on a windy cold day. Off the main Laugavegur street, you won’t miss the bright green wall advertising these delicious fries. With so many sauce flavors, you’ll want to try them all!
Bæjarins Bestu Hot Dog
When I asked those that have gone to Iceland what I should try, more often than not, everyone would mention the hot dogs. As you’re on the road driving to new locations, by the time you arrive at your destination most places have closed. This leaves you with the only place that’s opened – N1 gas stations. These places have an abundance of hot dogs and is probably the cheapest thing you’ll eat in Iceland.
The famous Bæjarins Bestu hot dog stand in Reykavik is extremely popular and quite tasty! If you’re not a fan of lamb, this may not be the place for you as I could taste the gamey lamb in my sausage. The mustard of Iceland is also unique in color and flavor as it is browner and sweeter than North American mustard.
Braud & Co
On the way to Hallgrimskirkja you will stumble upon a very colorful building full of graffiti. Most likely, you’ve found Braud & Co. This place has amazing cinnamon buns, patries in general and is the perfect spot to grab a snack for the road.
Reykjavik street food
This tiny little shop off the main street of Laugavegur was such a gem! You must try their seafood soup! It was a fan favorite amongst our group. The fish and chips as well as lobster soup were also a hit and the portions were generous. The owner was the sweetest man and supplied our table with Polo chocolate for dessert.
The big yellow grocery store! You’ll see Bonus almost everywhere you go. When you’re on the road and driving to each destination, you’ll want to ensure you pack some portable food for the trip as most food places close early in Iceland.
Trick: looking for souvenirs? Best places to get snacks are at Bonus!