I’m not gonna lie, I love Iceland. It seems like everybody just got back from Iceland or is planning an upcoming trip to Iceland. I firmly believe you can spent a whole week just in Reykjavik and never get bored, but you’d be missing out if you don’t rent a car since it’s a great way to explore all the great stuff outside of the city. Plus, it’s a 45 minute drive from the airport to downtown Reykjavik, so you’re better off renting a car to avoid paying for a shuttle. Here are my picks for what to do with 5 days in and around Reykjavík.

Table of Contents

Reykjavík

Vík

Grindavík

reykjavik iceland travel guide

Reykjavík

Hallgrímskirkja

This active Lutheran church is one of the most well-known structures in Iceland but don’t let that stop you from visiting. You can go up to the observational deck for just 900 ISK and from there you’ll get a seriously awesome view of the city. The building was constructed from 1945 to 1986 and the design is said to be based on the stacks of basalt rock you’ll find throughout the country, such as on the beaches in Vík, which formed from lava flow.

Adventure Playground

You’re probably not too old to enjoy this adventure playground complete with tire swings, forts, and even a boat! Chances are that you’ll stumble across this yourself if you spend a day or two wandering around the city, but just in case, it’s worth checking out if you don’t happen across this on your own. We were in town in the middle of October and it was totally empty. I can’t say the same would be true in the middle of the summer, but I doubt it’s ever packed.

Chuck Norris Grill

Um, it’s a fast food restaurant named for Chuck Norris (unauthorized, I assume). Even if you don’t eat here  you have to walk by it. We initially laughed, then ended up coming for dinner one night and were shocked to find that the burgers and fries were delicious. They serve beer and have a seriously impressive collection of hot sauces.
Chuck Norris Grill

Vík

Solheimasandur Wreckage

The US Navy DC-3 super bus plane crash landed in 1973 (everyone survived). The wreckage was left on this isolated beach outside of Vik. It’s a desolate 4 km walk through a barren landscape on a black sand beach and you won’t be able to see the plane until you’re nearly to the ocean. You’ll probably feel as though you’re lost or maybe walking in circles. This is easily one of the coolest thing I have ever seen.

Reynishverfisvegur

This black sand beach was formed from the lava flows of the Katla volcano (last eruption was in 1918). Pictures of the Gardar basalt column cliff don’t do it justice, it’s something you really need to see in person to appreciate.

Seljalandsfoss

There are so many waterfalls in Iceland and if you have the time you should visit as many as possible. The Icelandic word for waterfall is “foss” and as you’re driving around you’ll see signs directing you to another foss all over the place. Skógafoss is probably the most famous, but everybody knows about that. Seljalandsfoss is on the way to Vik and not far off Highway 1 so you won’t lose a lot of time for the detour. Oh, and it’s spectacular.

Seljalandsfoss

Grindavík

Hópneshringur Circle

While it might not look like it, you can drive your car right up to and through this gravel road. You’ll probably see some ATVs and horseback riders making their way along the path as well. You’ll pass by old shipwrecks that washed ashore, giving you a good idea about how bad the weather can get around here. You’ll also see some ruins from an old fish works industry and the bright orange Hópsnesviti lighthouse  at the end of the peninsula. There are also a ton of sheep along the road (be careful, one of them chased us back into the car).

Practical Matters

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