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View of Reykjavik from Hallgrimskirkja | © Cali4beach / Flickr
View of Reykjavik from Hallgrimskirkja | © Cali4beach / Flickr

How to Spend 48 Hours in Reykjavik

Picture of Vala Árnadóttir
Updated: 5 April 2017

Reykjavik is a colourful and charming city with lots of activities to keep you busy. From where to find the best views, to who has the best hot dogs, here’s a handy guide to help you get the most of your stay in Iceland’s capital.

Day One

Morning and afternoon

Before you put on your walking shoes, a nice brunch at the popular Laundromat Cafe is a good start to the day. Shortly after, you can start burning those calories on a stroll through beautiful Reykjavik. Walk down the shopping street Laugarvegur and enjoy the old city, perhaps with a bit of shopping thrown in.

On your way down make sure you stop at nearby Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland’s tallest church. Get up to the tower and from there you can enjoy breathtaking scenery of the whole city. Keep exploring, visit the stunning building, Harpa which houses the symphony orchestra. If you feel hungry along the way, a quick stop at Baejarins Beztu, the hot dog stand, is essential. This is often referred to as the most popular restaurant in the whole of Iceland. It is located just opposite the Harpa.

Make sure you stroll through the small but charming harbour area as well, there are a few restaurants there if your stomach is craving more.


After a long walk and lots of sightseeing, a stop at Nautholsvik is a relaxing way to end your day. There, you will find Iceland’s own white sand, geothermal beach. You can jump in the ocean, or dip your toes in the heated lagoon if you prefer. An alternative is to unwind in the geothermal jacuzzis and enjoy the view. One thing is for sure, that you will be craving some more Icelandic food after the swim and a meal at Nautholl restaurant next door will not disappoint.

Day Two


Start the day at Arbaejarsafn museum. It is made up of over 20 old homes, arranged to look like a village, each offering a unique exhibition. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor museum and try the Icelandic pancakes.

Afternoon and evening

Relax a bit, have a beer and stroll around Reykjavik to unwind. Check and see if there are any live concerts nearby. Dinner at Sushi Social, Fish Market, Snaps, 3 Frakkar are all excellent choices, but remember to book in advance.

If you are thinking of going out after dinner, downtown might look a bit quiet, but wait. Icelanders tend to go to pubs very late – around 1 am – as they often begin the night with private parties at home. So as far as bars are concerned, it takes a while before they get busy, but once they do, you’ll soon start realising why Reykjavik is so well known for its nightlife.