In the last couple of years, it seems like everyone in my friend group has visited Iceland. And they’re not the only ones: According to a recent report from the Icelandic Tourism Board, the number of international tourists to Iceland has more than doubled since 2010, with an average yearly growth rate of 21 percent. Cheap flights have made visiting more appealing, along with the city’s natural beauty, vibrant culture, and stark Scandinavian architecture.
If you’re lucky enough to visit, know that there are so many incredibly Instagrammable sights that it might be hard to choose which to post, but here are 10 of our top picks.
Visit the Golden Circle.
No visit to Iceland is complete without doing the Golden Circle, a day trip from Reykjavik that covers about 186 miles and tons of stunning and iconic sights, including geysers (Strokkur and Geysir are two of the more famous ones), waterfalls, and national park vistas.
Take in Hallgrímskirkja.
Hallgrímskirkja is a 244-foot-high Lutheran church (one of the tallest buildings in the entire country) that towers at the top of Skólavörðuholtið hill. Take a tour, do a guided meditation, or just capture the sweeping Expressionist structure from the outside.
Grab a hole-in-the-wall breakfast.
Grai Kotturinn is popular with locals for its pancakes, bacon, and bagels, so be sure to get in on those at the tiny ’50s-style café before heading home.
Explore Reykjavik Art Museum.
The Reykjavik Art Museum is the country’s largest network of art museums (there are three locations in the city) and holds some of Iceland’s most iconic works, including modern and contemporary art, paintings, sculptures, and more.
Check out Harpa.
Harpa is a concert hall and conference center that’s home to the Icelandic Opera. Located by the old harbor, the striking, super-modern building was constructed by Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen Architects (also responsible for Copenhagen’s opera house) and the award-winning Icelandic firm Batteriid Architects.
Grab lunch at Bergsson.
For a simple but excellent Icelandic breakfast, lunch, or brunch, head over to Bergsson, where you won’t regret ordering—and snapping—the bread, cheese, ham, eggs, porridge, or coffee.
Stroll through Hrím.
Before leaving Reykjavik, you’ll want to swing by Hrim, a popular housewares store where you’ll find cute and clever Scandinavian home goods at affordable prices—the perfect place to pick up a souvenir for friends and family.
Enjoy a delicious bistro dinner.
At Snaps Bistro and Bar, expect a cozy atmosphere, good prices, and excellent food: The shrimp cocktail, steak, roast beef hash, and moules frites all get rave reviews.
Do a little Icelandic shopping.
If you find yourself in need of an extra layer while touring the Golden Circle, Geysir is the perfect place to find classic and traditional Icelandic apparel, from sweaters and denim to boots and bags.
At Kaldi, you’ll find a variety of local brews, a vibe that makes you want to sit and stay for hours, and an authentic Nordic bar experience with plenty of locals.