I’m not sure I’ll ever grow out of using budget airlines simply because I love the long layovers they have in various cities! My flight from DC to Barcelona afforded me 12 hours in one of my favorite little quirky towns: Reykjavik, Iceland. I was in Reykjavik for a couple days last August with my dad, to launch our Ring Road roadtrip, so I knew it well enough. I spent the day revisiting some old spots and discovering some new ones. Such a great day, despite the spitting rain/wind/intermittent sunshine, in true Icelandic fashion (and my totally unseasonal airport outfit of leggings and a chambray shirt that screamed “American!” … oops.)
(I apologize if any of these images are still rotated- WordPress is being glitchy!)
Here’s how I would spend 12 hours in Reykjavik: **
- Ease your jet lag with an incredible breakfast at Bergsson Mathús. Opens at 7am, which is early by Reykjavik standards! Get the breakfast platter- fresh sourdough bread, prosciutto, soft boiled egg, fruit, Skyr yogurt, berry preserves, salad, hummus, literally drooling just remembering it…
- Walk down the street to Harpa, and spend a half hour meandering through this stunning glass honeycomb concert hall.
- Stroll up the main shopping street towards Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik’s iconic church which is modeled after Svartifoss, with its geometric lava columns (highly recommend going up to the top! I just didn’t this time because I had already done it)
- Head to Reykjavik City Hall to see a cool 3D model of Iceland’s wild topography
- Experience Icelandic cafe culture (i.e. your grandma’s living room) in Stofan Kaffihús
- Walk along the old harbor and eat an incredibly fresh lunch of lobster soup and fish kebabs (you pick the raw fish skewers out from the fridge and they prepare them in front of you!) at Sægreifinn. My dad and I loved this place, and it was even better the second time!
** If this is your first time ever in Iceland, I would totally do the Blue Lagoon on your way in from the airport! Only 20 minutes from Keflavik and while touristy, it’s like going to Paris and ignoring the Eiffel Tower because of the crowds. Suck it up and enjoy!
On to Barcelona to spend some time with my favorite middle-sister!