Iceland - How to Make the Most of Your Layover

How I Made My 17 Hour Layover an Experience of  a Lifetime


How Long is a Layover?

I myself had roughly 17 hours during my layover. Of those 17 hours I did sleep about 3 hours because I landed around 3 am and then spent the remaining 14 really diving into Iceland.

My advice, if you can spare more time for a layover in Iceland the more you can do but at minimum I would recommend at least 10-14 hours and you'll be able to visit at least 3 major sites in Iceland. 

1st - Reykjavik

2nd - Harpa Hall

3rd - Blue Lagoon

1st Site - Reykjavik

When you visit Iceland, most people tend to stay in Reykjavik which is the Capital of Iceland and practically the only major city. Kevflavik Airport is about 40 min from the center of Reykjavik, which is roughly the same for other small towns near the airport.

When you arrive into Reykjavik you'll notice it looks just like any other small city but extremely compacted into a tiny space. I wasn't too impressed by the city so I didn't take too many photos. What is really impressive is what is at the coastline. As you approach the coastline you start to see a massive mountain in the distance that towers over the entire city. Mount Esja sits right off the coast of Reykjavik and dwarfs everything around it. I visited in February and was lucky enough to see it completely covered in white snow surrounded by deep blue water creating this surreal view from the pathway along the coast. 

As you walk along the coast, following Mount Esja, you'll find a magnificent sculpture of a skeletal ship pointing directly at the Mountain. It was a very powerful setting and one of my favorite sites in Iceland. 

After your first stop, you don't need to travel too far for the second major site to visit.

2nd - Harpa Hall

Our second major must see site is Harpa Hall. As an architect by training, Harpa Hall is one of the most beautifully designed concert halls I've ever seen during my travels. The best part is that it is also located along the coast line of Reykjavik, roughly a two min walk from the ship scuplture. 


Reykjavik architecture is very beautiful. From it's churches to observatories, Icelandic people take pride in inquisitive design. Harpa Hall is full of mind boggling design features, from its complicated facade pattern to its complicated ceilings. You're probably thinking, really ceilings...just wait until you see them and you'll be happily surprised. For your second stop, be it to get out of the cold after visiting the coastline of Reykjavik, to have dinner, or see a concert, Harpa Hall is number 2 on the must see sites during your layover.

3rd Site - Blue Lagoon

Our third and final stop is of course, Blue Lagoon. There was no way I was visiting Iceland and not seeing the world famous Blue Lagoon. Blue Lagoon is not located in Reykjavik, it is located in Grindavik which is south of Kevflavik Airport. I made the mistake of staying in Grindavik instead of Reykjavik because I really wanted to see the Blue Lagoon but I didn't realize that there are shuttles from Reykjavik directly to the Blue lagoon that run all day and I highly recommend this option. The town of Grindavik reminded me of that movie 40 days of Night where vampires take over the town and eat everyone, but if you're into that kind of scene then Grindavik would be perfect for you. 

The Blue Lagoon is a thermal hot spring that is actually not natural as many believe. It is actual created by runoff from the geothermal power plant right next door. Regardless, the Blue Lagoon is definitely a site to see for your own eyes. DON'T FORGET TO BOOK YOUR TIME SLOT WELL IN ADVANCE OR YOU WILL NOT GET IN!!

You can book here

And you can stay longer than one hour but you must book a time slot to even get in. 

If you have a short layover in Iceland and you get a chance to visit these 3 sites I promise you'll have a great experience in Iceland. I left out how beautiful the journey from Reykjavik to Grindavik is so you can experience it for yourself!

Be Sure to Subscribe to my Blog to keep up with my Latest Work In Progress! 

Leave a comment below about your Iceland experiences or if you have any questions you want to ask me!!


Cody Soodeen2 Comments