3 Days in Reykjavik

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With three days in Reykjavik, you have plenty of time to soak up the city’s atmosphere, see the historic sights, and journey into the surrounding countryside to see some of Iceland’s most famous natural attractions. Here are a few ideas for how to spend three days in Reykjavik.

Day 1: Explore the City’s Sights and Lights
Walking tours are an enjoyable way to explore Reykjavik and get your bearings, thanks to the city’s compact size and the close proximity of attractions such as Hallgrimskirkja Church and Harpa Concert Hall. Alternatively, hop-on hop-off bus tours allow you to set your own itinerary with 24-hour tickets, so you can spend the whole day exploring at your leisure.

In winter, you’re likely to be able to see the northern lights. To maximize your chances, leave the city on an aurora borealis night tour. It’s a good idea to schedule this for the first night of your trip as, if you do not see the aurora that night, some tours offer a complimentary second tour the following night. If visiting outside winter, book an evening visit to the Blue Lagoon instead.

Day 2: Head into the Country
Traversing the Golden Circle is a must-do. The route, which is easily accessible from Reykjavik, is made up of three main attractions: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. Most guided Golden Circle tours take a full day, with some including additional excursions, such as snowmobiling on a glacier or visiting the Secret Lagoon.

Iceland’s south coast is another popular day-trip destination. Visit on a full-day private or group tour to see Seljalandsfoss waterfall (which you can walk behind) and the black-sand beach and basalt columns of Reynisfjara.

Day 3: Meet Iceland’s Animal Inhabitants
The Icelandic horse is famed for its hardiness, charming looks, and uniquely smooth gait, called tölt. You’ll likely see some as you travel the countryside, but for a closer experience, book a horseback riding tour. These typically include transportation from Reykjavik to a countryside farm and continue into scenic surroundings of mountains and lava fields.

If you prefer to watch animals from afar, join a whale-watching cruise from Reykjavik’s Old Harbour, offered year-round but with the most frequent sightings from April through October. In summer, some cruises include visits to nearby Akurey to see its puffin colony. Whale watching and horseback riding can even be combined with one full-day tour.
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