The airline now operates flights out of 15 airports in the U.S. and Canada, from Anchorage to Washington, D.C. Many passengers are dipping their toes into Iceland, metaphorically speaking, to see what the island has to offer for a one-night stay — or even just a few hours, if timetables allow it. So what can you do in a day?
Keflavik International Airport is an easy 45-minute drive from Reykjavik, with shuttle buses meeting flights and with taxis and rental cars also available. Reykjavik is smaller than most European capitals, with a population of only about 120,000, but it has plenty to offer. There are several museums, including the National Museum of Iceland, the Reykjavik Art Museum, the Vikin Maritime Museum and the Reykjavik Open Air Museum.
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The city’s distinctive architecture includes the Hallgrimskirkja, which is the largest church in Iceland, completed in 1986 after 38 years of work. Its remarkable design is said to resemble an Icelandic lava flow. The equally remarkable modern architecture of the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre is also worth seeing, in its setting by the waterfront.
Reykjavik is a compact city that is easy to walk around and has a good variety of hotels, bars, shops and restaurants. Some of these serve a traditional Icelandic menu, which might include smoked puffin, marinated minke whale and smoked shag. Needless to say, the seafood is excellent — but Icelanders also have a liking for hot dogs! The most popular eating place on the island is the hot dog stand Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, which has been near Reykjavik Harbor since 1937.
Be sure to join a tour of some kind that takes you out into the unique Icelandic landscape. It isn’t surprising that the country was chosen as a filming location for “Game of Thrones,” as the country definitely has an otherworldly feel to it. Nothing prepares you for Iceland.
Three Icelandic highlights:
These hot springs in a lava field are one of the island’s most popular attractions. The Blue Lagoon is only a 20-minute drive from the airport, and many people combine a visit here with their airport transfer.
Several companies offer this popular tour option as a daytrip from Reykjavik. It takes in the Gullfoss waterfall, several geysers, a volcanic crater, the Thingvellir National Park and other natural and man-made attractions.
The second-largest national park in Europe is filled with natural wonders, such as the Skaftafell ice cave and the peak of Hvannadalshnukur, the highest point on the island at 6,921 feet.