Top Things to Do in Reykjavik in 3 Days

6 min read

Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and the largest city in the country. It is considered to be a completely different city than any other European cities. The city is small yet vibrant, fascinating and brimming with culture. Its name means ‘smoky bay’ and it is believed that its first inhabitants had started to live in Reykjavik around AD 874.

While Reykjavik is beautiful all year round, you should consider visiting Iceland in March in general. Do bear in mind though that even in the summer, the temperature doesn’t go above 12 degrees Celsius in Reykjavik. Also, Reykjavik's daylight hours during the summertime is about 21 hours and 5 hours during the winter season, which makes it a little bit more difficult to travel around during the winter months. However, if you don't mind the shorter days and are looking for a unique place to visit, then Reykjavik can be the perfect adventure for you any time of the year.

This itinerary showcases the best attractions and around Reykjavik that every visitor to the city has to visit while staying there. During the 3 days, you are going to experience Icelandic culture and visit places that you can’t find anywhere else.

  • 3 day itinerary
  • Average of 4 stops per day

Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik Highlights

Viking Ship Statue in Reykjavik by carolinw

Your first day in Reykjavik is going to be filled with excitement and interesting sites. You are first going to visit the famous Blue Lagoon resort spa that is located only a short ride from central Reykjavik. You can rent a car or take a bus to get to the lagoon. After soaking yourself in the natural hot springs, return to Reykjavik to explore the city itself further.

Once in the city, you will visit several of the most famous sites there, such as Hallgrimskirkja Church, which have made Reykjavik well-known all around the world. You can explore these locations on your own or join a free tour that is available through hotels/hostels and the Tourist Information Centre. Also, transportation isn’t needed for this part of the day.

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The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a famous geothermal spa that has bright blue water that is surrounded by beautiful scenery. Different packages are available to visitors, such as entrance tickets to the Blue Lagoon’s hot springs, spa treatments (massages and/or body scrubs), or the ability to book an overnight stay at the Lagoon's own hotel.

Do note that the Blue Lagoon is an expensive and luxurious experience. Therefore, be prepared to pay quite a lot for it.

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Back at Reykjavik, your first stop will be Hallgrímskirkja, which is a Lutheran parish church and an iconic landmark in the city. It is the largest of Iceland’s churches and is one of the tallest buildings in the country. It has a height of 74.5 meters.

Make sure to also go inside the church as it has a magnificent interior.

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National Museum of Iceland

The National Museum of Iceland is located in the centre of Reykjavik and has a massive collection of Icelandic exhibits. It has a very creative display that depicts Iceland’s history very well and you can easily learn more about it just by walking through the museum. If you're eager to learn more about glaciers and ice specifically, before you see them in person anyway on Day 3, then head over to the Perlan Museum - a relatively new museum all about glaciers and ice! The Perlan Museum is also one of the best museums to visit if you're exploring Reykjavik with kids.

Do note there is an entrance fee.

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Harpa Concert Hall

The Harpa Concert Hall is located close to the harbour and has a very unique glass-shape that looks like a honeycomb. It holds famous conferences and concerts every evening. Harpa is also known for its night lights and is a popular place for an evening stroll.

Also, close to Harpa Hall, there are numerous chic restaurants serving traditional Icelandic food and great bars, so do make sure to check them out.

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Golden Circle of Iceland

Waterfall in the Golden Circle by Dodaheem

The second day in Iceland is all about the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is a tourist route just outside of Reykjavik and north of the city. It is called the Golden Circle because almost every route goes in a circle as you visit the most scenic locations.

During this tour, you can expect to visit natural and beautiful sites close to the capital. You are going to visit destinations, such as Þingvellir National Park, Öxarárfoss, Geysir Hot Spring Area and Gullfoss Waterfall.

The Golden Circle can be done by booking a tour with any company in Reykjavik, or you can rent a car or campervan and do the tour at your own pace.

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Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir National Park) by D L

Þingvellir National Park - Thingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir National Park) is the only designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in mainland Iceland. It is a very important location for Iceland’s geology and allows visitors to see geological processes in person at any time of the year. Þingvellir National Park is also famous for its continental drift as it is only at this national park where you can see the edges of tectonic plates very clearly. Iceland is also the only country that has a rift above sea level.

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Öxarárfoss - Game of Thrones Filming Location

Öxarárfoss is a waterfall situated within Þingvellir National Park and is 13 meters high. It also has a lovely natural rock pool. The waterfall is usually classed as a separate stop from Þingvellir National Park as it attracts crowds of people due it being a Game of Thrones filming location.

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Geyser Strokkur

Strokkur Geyser is the most famous and the most visited active geyser in Iceland. It is located in the Geysir Hot Spring Area (Geysir Geothermal Area) and is a part of the Golden Circle. It erupts regularly and the water usually reaches a height of at least 20 meters.

Close by, you will find a lovely café and a great gift shop where you can purchase gifts related to the Strokkur.

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Gullfoss Waterfall (Golden Falls) - The most Beautiful Waterfall in Iceland by Deanna Tan

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss (Golden Falls) is considered to be the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. The waterfall has two cascades - the shorter cascade is 11 meters and the taller one is 21 meters. During the summer, the falls become heavier and wilder, which make the cascades a more impressive sight to see at this time of year.

Note, this waterfall is the most popular location in the Golden Circle, so be prepared for crowds.

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Natural Beauty of the South Coast

Black Sand Beach at Iceland's South Coast by falco

Your last day in Reykjavik focuses on travelling to the South Coast of Iceland to see at least a small part of the natural beauty that attracts thousands of tourists to this end of the country every year. You will visit four of the most famous locations in this area at a slower pace, so you will be able to fully explore the natural beauty in this area.

It is highly recommended to rent a car, or if you can’t drive, rent a driver with a car that can take you to the remote locations in Iceland’s South Coast.

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Seljalandsfoss is a very iconic waterfall that can be viewed from behind or in front. It has a drop of 60 meters and is one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland. Also, many postcards from Iceland use this iconic waterfall for its picture. It is also a famous filming location for various music videos and TV shows.

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Dyrhólaey and Puffins

Dyrhólaey is a rocky peninsula that is famous for a massive black lava arch that is located in the sea. The peninsula point is 120 meters high and offers spectacular views. Dyrhólaey is also home to cute puffins who come here to nest and raise their chicks.

Bear in mind that Dyrhólaey is closed from mid-May to mid-June due to puffins nesting.

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Eldhraun Lava Field

Eldhraun Lava Field is the biggest lava flow in the world and it occurred when volcano Laki erupted from 1783 to 1784. It is a 565 square kilometres field and is considered to be the second largest lava field in Iceland. Also, Eldhraun Lava Field is famous for being a place where the Apollo 11 crew came to train for the moonwalk.

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Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a lagoon filled with blue icebergs that look like diamonds from afar. This place is one of Iceland's most famous locations and is widely known outside of the country.

You can explore the lagoon further by taking a boat in the spring or summer or by joining an ice cave tour in the autumn or winter.

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This article was first published on Jul 13, 2019 20:41 UTC.

Written by Agne Civilyte

031226hug WRITER I am a Lithuanian living in the UK and trying to travel all around the world. I love visiting places that are still not well-known to tourists. My favourite part of the world is Southeast Asia as I can find beautiful mountains and temples there. My absolute favourite country is South Korea as I feel at home there.

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