Making a quick stop in Iceland’s capital? There’s a lot to see and do in Reykjavik; if you only got one day there, you definitely need to make the most of it. Among the highlights of any Reykjavik itinerary, be sure to include stops at Laugavegur street (during the day for shopping and in the evening to experience Icelandic nightlife), the Sun Voyager statue, and Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand for one of the best dogs in town. Let’s look at the best way to spend your morning if you only have 24 hours in Reykjavik.
First Stops: Breakfast at Sandholt Bakery and Views from Hallgrímskirkja
Sandholt has consistently been voted one of the best bakeries in Reykjavik and tops many foodies’ lists of places to go. Check out their Instagram page to see their inspiring and mouthwatering creations. After dining in this cute eatery (or just grabbing something to go), head over to Reykjavik’s iconic Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church. This is the cathedral that you’ve seen in all those pictures of Reykjavik that resembles a pipe organ. In fact, the unusual structure is home to Iceland’s largest pipe organ, so perhaps the organist will be tickling the ivories the morning you stop by. Hallgrímskirkja sits atop a small hill, and you’ll be able to get a lovely view of the city below.
Optional Stop: Perlan Observation Deck and Planetarium
An alternative to Sandholt pastries for breakfast and views from Hallgrímskirkja Is to visit the Perlan dome’s observation deck and planetarium. This bubble-like structure on a hill has educational exhibitions about nature in Iceland and the Perlan View 360º observation deck. You’ll get amazing views of Reykjavik and the surrounding areas. They’ve also got a cafeteria where you can grab breakfast.
Other Possibilities: Breakfast at Grái Kötturinn Café or Coffee at Kaffitár
If you’re looking for heartier fare, why not try out one of Björk’s favorite cafes: Grái Kötturinn on Hverfisgata street. This six-table establishment is known for its breakfast and brunches. It opens quite early but it’s tiny, so be prepared to wait if you arrive when it’s busy. If a cup of joe is more your speed, you’ll want to head over to Kaffitár on Bankastræti. Coffee snobs will find some of Reykjavik’s best coffee here. Not only are they passionate about their brews, but they are also committed to the environment.
Walking Around the City
Reykjavik is not a huge city, and you can get around by foot pretty easily. After you’ve filled up on breakfast, now is the time to explore. You can do this in the morning or the afternoon, but whichever you choose make sure that you include stops along the water to see the Sun Voyager statue and the architecture at Harpa Concert Hall. Make sure you also take a walk further inland to see the colorful houses that Reykjavik is so well known for. You can also stroll down Iceland’s famous Laugavegur street, but we’re going to include that in the post about how to spend your afternoon (hint, it involves shopping and eating).
Whale Watching Tour
Last but not least we have whale watching. Tours start at 9 a.m. from April to September and last between two and a half to three and a half hours. There are multiple departure times, so check which one you want to do in advance and plan your morning around it. In the winter, there’s usually just one tour that leaves around 1 p.m. Family-owned Elding tours is probably your best bet for whale watching in Reykjavik. Be sure to dress warmly with plenty of layers and get ready to spot some whales.
24 Hours in Reykjavik: How to Spend Your Morning
That concludes our list of suggestions for what to do in the morning if you’ve only got 24 hours in Reykjavik. We’ll continue in the afternoon with ideas for shopaholics and museum lovers. And of course, no day in Reykjavik would be complete without a stop at the iconic Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand for lunch. Get the mustard and Icelandic ketchup ready; ein með öllu! (I’ll have one with everything).