Reykjavik is a beautiful city and very tourist-friendly, with many restaurants, shops and cultural attractions all within walking distance of each other in Reykjavik’s city center.
Iceland is very easy to get around, so when you arrive at Keflavik airport, rent a car so that you can take advantage of tourist attractions near Reykjavik. We stayed in a small, contemporary hotel on Laugarvegur, the main thoroughfare in Reykjavik. Find a hotel on this street and you’ll be centrally located for many restaurants, shops and galleries.
Check in, drop your bags and head right out again! If you arrive during the day, begin with a coffee and a treat at a local coffee shop. The locals are friendly and many speak English, so strike up a conversation and you’ll find out what’s going on that night. When you’re all done with your coffee break, it’s time to go shopping!
Laugarvegur has tons of small designer shops with great finds that you will not see in the United States. So, freshen up your wardrobe, and while you’re at it, check out the art galleries. You’ll also find children’s boutiques, and beautiful housewares.
Now that you’ve gotten the important stuff out of the way, stop for another coffee to gear up for a museum visit. Head over to the National Museum to learn about Nordic and Icelandic culture and history. Look for the church door, dated to the year 1200, which has a Nordic battle scene carved into it. Pretty cool!
It’s been a long day, so head back to your hotel, drop off your shopping bags and get dressed for dinner. There are many excellent restaurants to choose from in Reykjavik and I highly recommend going for seafood. It will be the freshest thing on the menu, most likely, and well-prepared.
After you’ve indulged in a good dinner, head out to the bars and nightclubs, many of them within walking distances to the hotels on Laugarvegur. The nightclub I went to was typically European, with strobe lights flashing and playing electronic music and popular Top 40 songs from the US.
After you’ve explored Reykjavik, why not spend your second day taking a road trip to nearby attractions? We went to the Blue Lagoon and it was an amazing experience. It is a 40 minute drive from Reykjavik. If you want to relax and unwind after your plane ride, you can head there straight from Keflavik, a 20 minute trip. At the Blue Lagoon, you’ll find a geothermal spa where you can pamper yourself to your hearts’ content. You’ll change into a bathing suit and enter the lagoon from the changing room. It is a sight to behold– the steam rising off the pool, surrounded by the beautiful rugged landscape of Iceland. Let yourself float through the water and be sure to rub the clay all over your skin for a natural skin treatment.
On your way back to Reykjavik, follow the ring road to see the geysers at Geysir and Strokkur. Strokkur erupts every five minutes or so and is quite a show, so have your camera ready! A few miles away, you’ll also find Gullfoss, a beautiful waterfall with 105 foot drop. You can hike the trails around the waterfall but be sure to wear a raincoat and sturdy footwear. Keep following the ring road and you’ll find yourself back in Reykjavik in no time.