Note: I am continually updating this list. Also, see my other citytrip tips.
Reykjavik – my favorite places to eat
- Svarta Kaffið 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
- There are two Reykjavík Roasters places in Reykjavik. They have a love for great coffee (and it shows).
- Kaffihús 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. Húsavík), 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 Reykjavíkurtjörn (small lake in the center).
- Hallgrímskirkja. Walk up Skólavörðustígur 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 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
- Elliðaárdalur is a beautiful green valley quite close to the city (it was 3 kilometers for me from the Galaxy Pod Hostel).