Take the FlyBus (or rent a car) from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik 101 (downtown). This is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s bars, restaurants, cafés, museums, and galleries. Very walkable. Explore your surroundings and take a stroll along the harbor or Tjornin Pond. To keep costs down (as hotels can be quite expensive), an Airbnb with a kitchen might be more budget-friendly. There are several small markets in the area (Ginger, etc.) Wine and alcohol are sold separately at the Vinbudin.
Either via car, or with one of the many tour companies that offer day tours, take the Golden Circle Tour. This includes the expansive waterfall Gullfoss, the still-erupting geyser named Geysir (yes, this is where we get the word), and Thingvellir National Park where the North American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates meet. This was the site of Iceland’s earliest parliament over a thousand years ago, as Thingvellir literally means Assembly Fields. For the more adventurous, don a dry suit and snorkel between the two plates, although you will have to arrange for this in Reykjavik.
Back in Reykjavik, visit the National Museum for a historical perspective of Iceland, The Settlement Museum to view ancient Viking longhouses, and the Kjarval Museum (Kjarvalsstaðir) to view the incredible talent of Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval, one of the most prolific and important Icelandic artists. In the evening, a 40-minute drive takes you to the Fakasel Icelandic Horse Show where you can dine while watching these incredible creatures (they have 5 gaits, including the tölt which is unique to this breed.)
Head out towards the Snaefellsness peninsula. Icelandic horse riding is available at Breidivík. Near Arnarstapi, a coastal trail leads to Hellner, or a tour of the Snæfellsjökull glacier can be arranged. This volcano last erupted in 200 A.D. and is the setting of Jules Verne’s ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth.’ Drive along the north coast of Snaefellness and spend the night in Stykkishhólmur, a charming town of colorful houses and delicious seafood.
In the morning, take the Baldur ferry to Flatey Island for the day (or spend the night if you chose). This is a small island with a rich history and sheep and puffins galore. The church’s interior is painted with scenes of the island’s life, created by a Spanish painter, Baltasar Samper, in the 1960s. The island also inhabits the oldest and smallest library in Iceland, established in 1864. This library was once home to the Flatey Book, the largest of medieval Icelandic manuscripts.
On your return to Reykjavik, visit Langjökull to explore tunnels and caves, or go snowmobiling. A visit to Iceland’s Nobel Prize in Literature Halldor Laxness’ home and museum at Gljúfrasteinn can also be arranged.
Explore the many stores and galleries along Laugavegur, Bankastræti, and Austurstræti or bathe in the Blue Lagoon before heading back to Keflavik airport and home.