Almost everyone who travels to Iceland will begin their journey in Reykjavik. It’s tempting to head straight for the green cliffs and giant waterfalls, but Iceland’s capital city is not to be missed! I’ve outlined the perfect itinerary for a day in Reykjavik so that you can experience the best that the city has to offer, even if you’re short on time!
PICK UP YOUR RENTAL CAR
After your flight lands, pick up your rental car from the airport to begin your day in Reykjavik. There are a few counters inside the terminal, but you’ll most likely need to ride the shuttle to get to your agency’s office. We got this cute little Kia from Enterprise, and affectionately named her Tina!
EXPERIENCE THE BLUE LAGOON
Once you’re ready to hit the road in your rental car, head straight to the Blue Lagoon. Don’t wait until you get there to buy a ticket because you’ll most likely be out of luck! Buy your tickets here a couple of months in advance. My friend, Chelsea, and I opted for mid-morning tickets in case our flight was delayed. Everything was on time, so we reclined the car seats and unsuccessfully tried to nap in the parking lot until it was time to go in.
When we realized sleep was not an option, we went inside and had breakfast (AKA a giant chocolate muffin and a latte) at the cafe in the lobby. I was mesmerized watching the steam rise off the blue water … or maybe that was because I hadn’t slept in 24 hours.
Your entry ticket includes one drink, so make sure to hit that swim up bar!
I had read horror stories about what the mineral-rich Blue Lagoon water can do to your hair, so I was careful not to get it wet. When you shower before entering the lagoon, cover your hair in conditioner, and tie it in a high bun. That way your hair is protected in case it does get wet.
There’s a second swim up bar, but it’s not for drinks. It’s for mud! The complimentary silica mud masks are great for your skin … and super fun to take selfies in!
SEE THE CITY FROM ABOVE AT THE PERLAN
Once you’ve had your fill of exploring the Blue Lagoon, head back to the locker room and change for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to waste prime exploring time with doing my hair and makeup from scratch, so I decided on minimal makeup, a side braid, and a hat!
Hop back into your rental car, and drive to the Perlan museum. Although you can explore the exhibits while you’re there, the real attraction is the 360-degree observation deck where you can see the whole city!
This is only the parking lot view.
Have a late lunch at the restaurant on the top floor that overlooks the mountains!
Want to see where else I went with my time in Iceland? See the full itenerary here!
STARE UP AT HALLGRIMSKIRKJA
Before ending your day in Reykjavik, swing by the church Hallgrímskirkja. We didn’t pay to go inside, but if you do, don’t miss the view from the top of the steeple!
SEE THE SUN VOYAGER
Just around the corner from the church is the famous Sun Voyager sculpture with an amazing view in the background!
CHECK INTO YOUR AIRBNB
After your busy day, you deserve some rest. So check into your accommodation and get that beauty sleep! I highly recommend an Airbnb for your time in Reykjavik. This was the view from the balcony at our Airbnb!
HAVE COFFEE AT THE HARBOR
If you do have an extra morning in Reykjavik, you can book a whale watching tour. Head down to the harbor early, and have a coffee with a view of all the colorful boats! We didn’t see any whales on our tour, but we sure did rock the photo poses!
TAKE A WHALE WATCHING TOUR
On our way back into the harbor, we got the perfect view of Harpa concert hall!
What was your favorite part of Reykjavik? What do I need to see the next time I’m there? Leave a comment, and let me know!