Mr Nordic
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24 Hours in Reykjavik: A Quick Guide to Iceland’s Capital City

Reykjavik, Iceland’s charming capital city, is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. With its vibrant culture, picturesque landscapes, and unique way of life, Reykjavik offers an experience that is truly one-of-a-kind. For those who have only 24 hours to spend in this stunning city, it can be hard to decide what to see and do.

“One day in Reykjavik is all it takes to fall in love with this charming city.”

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the best way to spend your time in Reykjavik, from exploring its iconic landmarks to indulging in some of the city’s most delicious food and drink. So buckle up and get ready for an adventure that you won’t forget anytime soon!

Table of Contents


Start your day with a traditional Icelandic breakfast at one of the city’s many cafes. Try some skyr (a type of Icelandic yogurt) topped with fresh berries or granola for a healthy and delicious start to the day.

“From the colorful houses to the stunning landscapes surrounding the city, 24 hours in Reykjavik will leave you breathless.”

white and brown concrete buildings near body of water during daytime

My personal recommendations for breakfast cafes in Reykjavik:

  • Café Babalú: This cozy café is known for their delicious pancakes and waffles. They also have a great selection of coffee and tea.
  • Mokka Kaffi: A classic Icelandic café that’s been around since 1958. They serve up strong coffee and traditional Icelandic pastries like kleina and pönnukökur.
  • Sandholt Bakery: This bakery/café is famous for their sourdough bread, but they also offer a delicious breakfast menu with options like eggs benedict and avocado toast.

“Even with just one day in Reykjavik, you can experience the unique culture and vibrant energy that makes this city so special.”

After breakfast, take a stroll down Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s main shopping street. Here you will find everything from local boutiques selling handmade wool sweaters to popular international brands.

Drone Shot of Cars Parked outside Buildings

Here are some local boutiques in Reykjavik that you might want to check out:

  • Aurum – specializes in handmade jewelry with a modern twist
  • Geysir – offers clothing and accessories made from high-quality Icelandic wool
  • Hrím – sells contemporary and sustainable fashion pieces for men and women
  • Kiosk – a concept store that showcases local art, design, and craftsmanship

“A day spent exploring Reykjavik’s museums, cafes, and hidden gems will leave you feeling inspired and refreshed.”


For lunch, head to the harbor area where you can sample some of Iceland’s famous seafood dishes like fish and chips or a hearty bowl of fish soup. From there, take a short walk to the Harpa Concert Hall for a guided tour or simply admire its unique architecture from the outside.

a couple of people that are standing in a building

My personal recommendations for lunch places in Reykjavik:

  • Brauð & Co.: This bakery is known for their delicious sourdough bread and pastries, but they also have sandwiches and soups that are perfect for lunch.
  • Mathús Garðabæjar: A cozy café with a great selection of healthy options such as salads, sandwiches, and soups. They have vegetarian and vegan options available too.
  • Noodle Station: If you’re in the mood for something warm and comforting, Noodle Station serves up delicious bowls of noodle soup with your choice of meat or vegetables.
  • Reykjavik Chips: This small restaurant specializes in Belgian-style fries served with a variety of dipping sauces. They also have burgers and hot dogs on the menu.
  • Kaffi Vinyl: A vegan café where you can enjoy tasty plant-based food while listening to some vinyl records. Their menu includes sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups.

“Don’t let a short amount of time fool you – a 24 hour trip to Reykjavik will be packed with unforgettable experiences and memories.”

Next up, it’s time to soak in one of Reykjavik’s geothermal pools. The most famous one is the Blue Lagoon, but if you’re short on time try one of the smaller local pools like Sundhöllin or Vesturbæjarlaug.


As night falls over Reykjavik, make your way to Hallgrímskirkja church for panoramic views of the city below. The church’s architecture is inspired by the basalt lava flows that are common in Iceland, giving it a unique appearance. Visitors can climb to the top of the church’s tower for stunning views of Reykjavik and its surrounding areas.

If you’re feeling adventurous, book a helicopter tour or head out into the countryside for a chance to see the Northern Lights.

panoramic photography of village near water

Finish off your day with dinner at one of Reykjavik’s many restaurants offering modern twists on classic Icelandic cuisine. Don’t forget to sample some Brennivín (Icelandic schnapps) before calling it a night.

“Reykjavik’s food scene is a true reflection of the country’s unique and diverse culinary heritage, where traditional dishes are reinvented with a modern twist.”

My personal recommendations for great restaurants in Reykjavik:

  • Fiskfélagið: If you’re in the mood for seafood, Fiskfélagið is a great option. They offer fresh, high-quality seafood dishes with a modern twist. The restaurant also has a cozy atmosphere and friendly service.
  • Kopar: For those looking for something upscale and elegant, Kopar is a great choice. They serve contemporary Icelandic cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant also offers stunning views of the harbor.
  • Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur: If you’re looking for something more casual and affordable, then Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is a must-visit place for hot dogs – Iceland’s most famous fast food item that locals love.
red and blue concrete building

Reykjavik is a city that can be fully explored in just 24 hours. From the iconic landmarks such as Hallgrímskirkja and Harpa Concert Hall to the charming streets of downtown filled with cafes and shops, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

From exploring the vibrant street art and delicious food scene to relaxing in one of the city’s many geothermal pools, Reykjavik has something for everyone.

Overall, Reykjavik may be small in size but it packs a big punch when it comes to culture, food, and natural beauty. So if you ever find yourself with just 24 hours in this charming city, make sure to soak up as much as possible – it will be worth it.

Make sure to come back and explore all that Iceland has to offer!

Last Updated on May 13, 2023

Mr Nordic

Mr Nordic

I'm a passionate travel blogger captivated by Scandinavia's stunning landscapes, diverse cultures, and Viking history. I explore offbeat destinations in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, providing authentic insights into Nordic life. When not adventuring, I share my experiences, photos, and love for Scandinavian cuisine. Join me as I uncover Scandinavia's hidden gems and magic!

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About Mr Nordic

Mr Nordic loves the Nordic. He travels all around Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden to find the greatest adventures, the most beautifull places and most exciting experiences. Here on you can read all about it. From food to living and from outdoor to culture, Mr Nordic covers it all.