I spent a week in Iceland in 2018, hiking the Laugavegur trail and visiting Reykjavik. Thanks to my buddy Mark van der Heijden for the tips:

Reykjavik – my favorite places to eat

  • Svarta KaffiĂ° is a simple place where you can get two daily soups in a bread-bowl. By chance, two of my favorite things 🙂 Great for a quick lunch or afternoon bite.
  • Sandholt is an artisan bakery and eatery in the main shopping street. Definitely a place to visit, but always very busy.
  • Hlemmur Food Hall has 10 different vendors, ranging from pretty decent Pho to local specialties and from a nice cocktail bar to an amazing coffee place.
  • There are some nice places (especially for lunch) at Grandagardur street. There is a good pizza place (Flatey Pizza) as well as some great sandwiches and local food.

Reykjavik – my favorite places to go out for a drink

Reykjavik Roasters - super coffee
Reykjavik Roasters – super coffee
  • There are two ReykjavĂ­k Roasters places in Reykjavik. They have a love for great coffee (and it shows).
  • KaffihĂşs Vesturbæjar is not directly in the city center but is a very relaxed and family friendly place to have some great coffee or breakfast/lunch (the pancakes are really good).

Reykjavik – my favorite places to stay

Staying in Reykjavik is pretty expensive.

  • To cut costs, I stayed several days in the Galaxy Pod Hostel. Especially for a solo traveler, this is a very good option. It has pod-like beds in dorm-style large rooms, Pods are simple and clean, the noise is actually ok, there are large communal areas where you can cook, eat or have drinks.
  • I stayed one night in the Sand boutique hotel (honestly mostly to dry my tent after a hike with a lot of rain). Not cheap, but with great service, a truly amazing continental breakfast and conveniently located in the main shopping street (without the nightly noise by the way).

Reykjavik – my favorite things to do

  • Whale watching. Although there are other places in Iceland where whale watching is better than in Reykjavik (e.g. HĂşsavĂ­k), whale watching is an amazing experience. Consider taking the small boat (zodiac) option rather than the regular boat. I went with Elding.is.
  • Visit the Harpa Concert Hall. A truly amazing architectural masterpiece. Try to attend at least one show – the sound is amazing.
  • Walk around the ReykjavĂ­kurtjörn (small lake in the center).
  • HallgrĂ­mskirkja. Walk up SkĂłlavörĂ°ustĂ­gur towards it and while you’re at it stop at Reykjavik Roasters.
  • If you have some time to spare, please get out of the city. Iceland is such a beautiful country. I can definitely recommend taking a day trip or multi-day trip to hike the Laugavegur trail (but please prepare well).
Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik in Iceland
Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik in Iceland
  • Blue Lagoon spa. Well, this is a difficult one. The spa is beautiful and it is supposed to be one of the highlights in Iceland. However, I found it to be a bit over-crowded (especially with Americans) and over-priced, while there are plenty quieter, authentic places to have a great spa experience all throughout the country. It wasn’t bad -it is clean, team is nice, etc-, but well … if you’re going, be well aware it is because of it’s reputation/brand rather than the best possible experience.

Reykjavik – my favorite places to go out for a run

  • ElliĂ°aárdalur is a beautiful green valley quite close to the city (it was 3 kilometers for me from the Galaxy Pod Hostel).
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