With Iceland more popular than ever cruise ship layovers are frequent. Most of these layovers are short so travelers who want to get the most out of there layover in Iceland have to plan ahead! Here are some tips about your layover and suggestions on things to do on a layover in Iceland.

Skarfabakki harbor

Or "the cruise ship harbor" as it's often called is really conveniently located. Only about 5 minutes drive to the city center or a short 50 minute walk (if you are lucky to get good weather during your Iceland layover). From there you can be picked up for day tours or you can pick up your rental car. Whatever your plan is make sure you get the most out of your Iceland layover!

Skarfabakki Harbor

What to do during your Iceland layover?

It really depends on your budget. To make your planning easier you can basically narrow it down to these three options:

1. Rent a car and go explore Iceland on your own.

2. Take a taxi or walk downtown and spend your day exploring the Reykjavík central area.

3. Join a day tour or send us a message for a custom made private tour

Rent a car and go explore Iceland on your own

There are a lot of things you can do in one day in Reykjavík and a short drive from Reykjavík. For example Iceland's most popular self drive day tour, the Golden Circle Day Tour, is usually done in one day. So for many travelers this is an easy choice. You will still have time to drive back to the city and go for an amazing dinner at one of Reykjaviks fine restaurants. For sushi I recommend Sushi Samba, for tapas I recommend Tapas barinn, for steak I recommend Grillmarkaðurinn and for fish I recommend Fiskmarkaðurinn.

Gullfoss Iceland

If you want to visit the blue lagoon during your layover in Iceland you have to remember to book! I wrote a short blog about a visit to the blue lagoon. Since the lagoon can (and will) be really busy I would always start your layover with the 40 min drive there. From the blue lagoon there are a lot of interesting places. I recommend going for a lunch in Grindavík and then driving the south shore to Krýsuvík.

Blue Lagoon to Krýsuvík drive

The drive is truly amazing and the geothermal area there is not as busy as for example around the Golden Circle.  From there you can drive a fun route to Reykjavík and drive pass a beautiful lake, Kleifarvatn, where you can stop and have a picnic if you're in the mood :) Or you could drive to Heiðmörk, a popular hiking area and a really fun drive.

Kleifarvatn Iceland
Krýsuvík to Heiðmörk

Another option would to do a self drive tour of Snæfellsnes. You would be spending most of your time in a car but Snæfellsnes is like a miniature version of Iceland where you will find everything from a glacier to waterfalls and amazing mountains and scenery.

Take a taxi or walk downtown and spend your day exploring the Reykjavík central area

This is probably the option I would choose if I would be in the position of having one day to spend in Iceland. I'm probably biased since I have seen almost every inch of Iceland. I love to walk around in new places and the walk from the cruise harbor to Reykjavík central area on a beautiful day is totally worth it. On a clear day I would recommend following the walking trail alongside Sæbraut heading west close to the sea.

From Skarfabakki to downtown Reykjavík

You will have views of mountains on the other side of the ocean and Snæfellsjökull glacier can be seen far far away. You'll walk past Höfði on your left side which is best known as the location for the 1986 Reykjavík Summit meeting of presidents Ronald Reagan of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That effectively was a step to the end of the Cold War.

Höfði Iceland

You'll than pass Sólfarið, a beautiful sculpture located on a perfect spot to take pictures. Your first stop after that will be Harpa concert hall, a beautiful enormous building that the Icelandic nation loves to hate (because of how much it costed).

Sólfarið Reykjavík

From there you could walk to Bæjarins bestu and taste our world famous hot dogs. With a full stomach and after a good healthy walk you can walk up the main shopping street Laugavegur and visit the penis museum and Hallgrímskirkja or go to Austurvöllur and enjoy an ice cold beer or an ice cream in the sun.

Reykjavik Iceland

Join a day tour or send us a message for a custom made private tour

This if our specialty so if this will be your option check out our wide range of tours here. If you want a private tour or any kind of a custom made adventure please click here and we'll help you make memories that will last a lifetime. We have arranged everything from private family day tours to bachelor parties and weddings so whatever you desire contact us now!