Q&A: What to do on a long stopover in Reykjavik?

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I’ve bought a cheap flight to the US but have a hefty stopover in Reykjavik. What’s the best way to spend my time?

A long layover is an opportunity to add a little adventure to your trip. Stopping over in Reykjavik offers many:

Reykjavik’s Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Spa, Iceland
Blue Lagoon Spa (c) Sharron Livingston

This is a great opportunity to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon – one of Iceland’s best-known geothermal baths. It’s located about 20km south of Keflavik and several bus companies can shuttle you there from the airport. Alternatively you can pick up an excursion at the airport kiosk. Entry is a little expensive (35 euros) but imagine how good it would feel to experience the surreal nature of the amazing blue-water. Its colour is derived from the skin-brightening silica. Avoid queues by booking in advance.

Read also: Iceland Ring Road – Iceland’s road to natural phenomena

Fish and chips

For lunch take the bus to Reykjavik and pop into Icelandic Fish and Chips on Tryggvagata 11, where chips are roasted in the oven and fish is fried in spelt batter and down with organic beer.

Lamb hot dog

Or head to the Old Harbour to Baejarins Beztu Pylsur where they serve a lovely lamb hot dog (Bill Clinton loved his). You can eat it on the hoof as you stroll along the harbour where colourful boats bob on their lees. Perhaps check out the street-art scene around Hvefisgata.

Whales of Iceland Museum

Whales of Iceland Museum, Reykjavik
Whales of Iceland Museum, Reykjavik (c) Milan Nykodym

It may be too chilly to go whale watching (or perhaps you can’t fit it in) so the alternative is to see 23 life-size model Moby Dicks at Whales of Iceland Museum (24 our – get 15% discount when booking online).

Flea market

If you happen to be there over the weekend you could check out the covered Kolaportid flea market for a souvenir or a woolly jumper.

Coffee at Reykjavik City Hall

The Reykjavik City Hall built in 1992 may look a bit drab but inside is a massive 3D map of Iceland. You can grab a coffee here while taking in the view over Lake Tjornin outside while the swans float across it.

The best view over the city

View from Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik (c) Christine Zenino

Talking about views the best is to be had at Hallgrimskirkja, the largest – and most recognizable – church in Iceland. It took 38 years to build the Expressionist styled building and from its 73-metre high spire you can see an expansive view over the city.


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