Q: I’ve got a stopover in Reykjavík on my way to Banff, Canada, on April 17-18 and again on May 2-3 on my return journey. What do you recommend I do or visit during my stopover? This will be my first visit to Iceland.
A: Since this is a short stopover and it’s your first time to Iceland, I would recommend stopping for a couple of hours at the Blue Lagoon on your way from the airport to Reykjavík (there are direct buses, with for example, Reykjavík Excursions).
Of course it depends on what time of day you’re arriving, but once in Reykjavík, you could take a walk around town, down by the old harbor and up to Hallgrímskirkja church (check out the view from the top). Then, you should head to the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden, located at Eiríksgata 3, just a couple of minutes’ walk away (you can also check out the museum). Next on the program should be a trip to Sundhöllin swimming pool, the oldest public baths in the country, to soak in the outdoor hot tubs before heading out for a bite to eat.
Depending on how much time you have the following day you could take a day tour from one of the many tour companies operating from the capital. The Golden Circle is by far the most popular, but there are plenty of other options too.
On your return trip, you could spend another day in the capital. You could, for example, visit Reykjavík Art Museum, housed in three buildings spread across central Reykjavík. artmuseum.is If you head to Ásmundarsafn, you could add a trip to Laugardalslaug swimming pool, which is located just a few minutes’ walk away. The Kjarvalsstaðir museum has a small café and you’ll find other eating options throughout town.
If your accommodation is located downtown, on your walk back you could walk down by the sea, making a stop at Sólfar (Sun Voyager) sculpture, though, as the name suggests, this is a great spot to watch the sunset, which is at about 10 pm in early May. From there, it’s a short walk to Harpa Conference and Concert Center on the way back into town. Guided tours of the building, which has received several international architecture awards, are available during the day. This leaves you with an extra day to take another day trip out of town.
Of course it really depends on what you’re interested in and what kind of traveler you are, as well as how you’d like to get around—not to mention the weather—but Reykjavík has a lot to offer.