Reykjavik

Travel Guide Europe Iceland Southwest Iceland Reykjavik

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Introduction

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik

© Utrecht

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and, not without reason, has become more popular in recent years. Still more travellers find their way to one of the smallest capitals in Europe and although many combine a visit to the city with some sights inland, like the Golden Triangle (Gulfoss, Thingvellir and Geysir), other travellers choose to visit Reykjavik only as a weekend trip. It has numerous bars and restaurants, but especially the alcoholic drinks don't come cheap here, so be prepared! Apart from nightlife and shopping, the city has several cultural things to see as well, like the Hallgrimskirkja and the famous house where presidents Gorbatsjov of the Soviet Union and Reagan of the USA met in 1986. It's even a good place to visit in winter, as temperatures are surprisingly mild this time of year and you might enjoy the nordic lights (aurora borealis). In summer though, the sun shines 24 hours a day, and although still not warm, people enjoy being outside on the main shopping street or one of several squares in the centre of town.

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Sights and Activities

Reykjavík's old town is small and easy to walk around. The houses have some very distinct features, most notably their brightly colored corrugated metal siding. Plan to spend at least a couple hours just wandering around, taking in the city. And for further feasts of the eyes, there are several museums and art galleries in the city, most of them within easy reach of the downtown area.

Parks and open areas

Tjörnin (The Pond). A small lake in the centre of the city where young and old often gather to feed the ducks. The Icelandic name, Tjörnin, literally means "The Pond". Tjörnin is mostly surrounded by a park called Hljómskálagarðurinn (Music Pavilion Park) which gets very popular in good weather. The southern end of Tjörnin links it to the Vatnsmýri swamp, a small bird reserve with paths open to the public except during egg hatching season. Built into Tjörnin on the northern side is Reykjavík City Hall.
Austurvöllur. A small park (or square, depending on definitions) in the heart of Reykjavík. It's many locals' favorite place to spend sunny days, either at one of the cafés lining the north of the square or simply having a picnic on the grass. The parliament and the national cathedral both stand by Austurvöllur. edit
Klambratún. Klambratún is a park just east of the city centre on an area which remained farmland while the city was built up around it. The area was later converted into one of the largest public parks in the city and often hosts various events. One of the houses of the Reykjavík Art Museum, Kjarvalsstaðir, is inside the park.
Reykjavík Botanical Gardens (Grasagarður Reykavíkur), In Laugardalur. The Reykjavík Botanical Gardens are not large, but they're nice for a short stroll and a good place to see some of the plants that grow in Iceland. Free.
Viðey. Viðey is a large island in Kollafjörður, the fjord to the north of Reykjavík. It used to be inhabited, and in the early 20th century it had a small fishing village. Nobody lives there anymore apart from the birds, but it's a popular way to get away from the city without leaving it. During the summer, a café is operated in one of the houses on the island. The building was built for Skúli Magnússon, an 18th-century politician often called "the founder of Reykjavík" and designed by the same man as the royal palace in Copenhagen - although it is not quite of the same scale. Among its more modern architecture, Viðey is home to the Imagine Peace Tower by Yoko Ono (see below). To get to Viðey you must take a ferry from Sundahöfn, some distance from central Reykjavík (on bus route 5). The schedule and prices can be found here.
Grótta. At the far western end of the peninsula on which Reykjavík sits there is a small island. This island, called Grótta, is connected to the mainland on low tides and open to the public most of the year (closed May 1-Jul 15). Just make sure you don't get stuck on the island when the tide comes in!

Buildings

Reykjavík has a very eclectic building style, which is mainly the result of bad (or no) planning. Many of the oldest houses still standing are wooden buildings covered in brightly coloured corrugated iron. Don't be surprised to see that the next buildings down the street are an ultra-modern functionalist cube followed by early 20th-century neoclassical concrete. Some of the most interesting buildings you'll see in Reykjavík are those you find wandering about. Some deserve a special mention, however.

Alþingi, Kirkjustræti (by Austurvöllur). On the southern edge of Austurvöllur is a small building of hewn stone, but don't let its size fool you. This is the building of the Icelandic parliament, known as Alþingi. The institution has in fact long since outgrown the building which was built in 1881 for a nation of a little over 60,000. Today the upper floors of most houses on the north and west sides of the park also house parliamentary offices. The Alþingi building today houses only the debating chamber of the unicameral institution and the party meeting rooms. When Alþingi is in session it is possible to go up to the viewing platforms and follow the debates, otherwise it is necessary to be part of a group to see the building from the inside.
Reykjavík Cathedral (Dómkirkjan í Reykjavík) (by Austurvöllur). The church beside the parliament is Reykjavík cathedral, the head Lutheran church of the country. Similarly deceptive in size, it has been beautifully renovated both inside and out to reflect its original 18th-century architecture.
City Hall (Ráðhúsið), Tjarnargata 11 (on the northern edge of Tjörnin). One of the best examples of late 20th-century architecture in Iceland, built into Tjörnin (The Pond). On the ground floor, which is open to the public, there is a large relief map of the whole country as well as a café and an exhibition hall.
Hallgrímskirkja, Skólavörðuholti, ✉ hallgrimskirkja@hallgrimakirkja.is. Mass: Sunday 11:00; Church tower open daily 09:00-20:00. This can't miss attraction towers over the city on top of a hill. In front is a statue of Leif Ericsson (Leifur Eiríksson in Icelandic), the Norse explorer who sailed to North America in the 10th century. The United States gave this statue to Iceland in 1930, in honor of the 1,000th anniversary of the Althingi, the Iceland parliament. Admission to the tower: 900 kr, children (7-14) 100 kr.
Harpa, Austurbakki 2, ☏ +354 528 5000. Open daily 10:00-00:00. Harpa is a new concert hall and conference centre at the heart of Reykjavík. It is the home of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and regularly host to other acts as well.
Perlan (The Pearl) (on the top of Öskjuhlíð). 10:00 - 21:00. An iconic building on top of a wooded hill called Öskjuhlíð, to the southeast of the city centre. Perlan is built on top of five hot water storage tanks and offers fantastic views of the entire city from a viewing platform open to the public and from a rotating restaurant at the top. If the restaurant is too expensive for you (it is for most), there is also a small cafeteria on the same floor as the viewing platform.
Imagine Peace Tower, Viðey Island. Yoko Ono's memorial to John Lennon, projecting a "tower of light" into the air that can be seen from around Reykjavík. The tower is turned on October 9-December 8, December 21–28, December 31 and March 21–28.
Christ the King Cathedral (Landakotskirkja). The Catholic cathedral of Iceland.

Museums

There are several museums of art and of history found around the city.

National Gallery of Iceland (Listasafn Íslands), Fríkirkjuvegi 7 (by the eastern bank of Tjörnin), ☏ +354 515 9600, ✉ list@listasafn.is. Tu-Su 11:00-17:00 daily. The national art gallery with a large collection of contemporary artworks by Icelandic 19th- and 20th-century artists, both paintings and sculptures. 800 kr, free for children under 18.
Reykjavík Art Museum - Hafnarhús, Tryggvagata 17, ☏ +354 590 1200, ✉ listasafn@reykjavik.is. Th 10:00-20:00, F-W 10:00-17:00. By the old harbour in Reykjavík, Hafnarhúsið hosts a rotating exhibitions of the work of Icelandic artist Erró and temporary exhibitions often showcase other local artists. Adults: 1000 kr, students under 25: 500 kr, children under 18: free.
Reykjavík Art Museum - Kjarvalsstaðir, Flókagata (in Klambratún park), ☏ +354 517 1290, ✉ listasafn@reykjavik.is. It is safe to say that Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972) is the single biggest name in Icelandic painting. Kjarvalsstaðir hosts a collection of his work, as well as hosting other temporary exhibitions. Adults: 1000 kr, students under 25: 500 kr, children under 18: free.
Reykjavik Museum of Photography (Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur), Grófarhús, Tyggvagata 15, 6th floor. M-F 10:00-16:00; Sa Su 13:00-17:00. A very small museum with a nice library and reading room where you can find some older (but good) books about photography and current and past issues of photography magazines. It also has a huge collection of Icelandic photographs.
National Museum of Iceland (Þjóðminjasafnið), Suðurgata 41 (Bus no. 1,3,4,5,6,12 and 14 stop in front of or near the museum), ☏ +354 530 2200, ✉ thjodminjasafn@thjodminjasafn.is. This museum, by the University of Iceland campus, takes the visitor through the history of a nation from settlement to today. Includes a café and a museum shop. General admission: 1500 kr, senior citizens and students: 750 kr, children under 18: free.
Reykjavík City Museum (Árbæjarsafn), Kistuhyl (Bus nr. 19 from Hlemmur), ☏ +354 411 6300, ✉ museum@reykjavik.is. 1 Jun-31 Aug: daily 10:00-17:00; during winter there are guided tours M W F at 13:00 s price=1000 kr, free for children under 18. In the suburb of Árbær, and frequently called Árbæjarsafn (Árbær museum), this open air museum contains both the old farm of Árbær and many buildings from central Reykjavík that were moved there to make way for construction. The result is a village of old buildings where the staff take you through the story of a city. The staff are dressed in old Icelandic clothing styles and trained in various traditional techniques, for example in making dairy products or preparing wool.
871±2 (The Settlement Exhibition), Corner of Aðalstræti and Suðurgata, ☏ +354 411 6300, ✉ museum@reykjavik.is. Daily 10:00-17:00. Run by the Reykjavík City Museum, this exhibition in central Reykjavík was built around the oldest archaeological ruins in Iceland. As the name indicates, these ruins date to around the year 870. This interactive exhibitions brings you the early history of the area that today forms central Reykjavík. 1000 kr, free for children under 18.
The Culture House (Þjóðmenningarhúsið), Hverfisgata 15, ☏ +354 545 1400, ✉ thjodmenning@thjodmenning.is. Daily 11:00-17:00. This grand building, previously housing the national library, is today home two world class exhibitions. On the ground floor is one of the most important collections of medieval manuscripts in the world, including many of the oldest copies of the Icelandic Sagas. The top floor has an impressive exhibition on the Volcanic island of Surtsey, backing the Iceland's campaign to get it recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is fully interactive and a great introduction to the geological hot spot that is Iceland. Adults: 700 kr; senior citizens, disabled and handicapped: 350 kr; school-age children accompanied by adults: free. Free on Wednesdays except for groups..
The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Hið Íslenzka Reðasafn), Laugavegur 116 Reykjavik, ☏ +354 561 6663, ✉ phallus@phallus.is. Daily 10:00-18:00; extended hours in summer. A museum dedicated to Phallology, the study of penises. This museum features phalluses of numerous animals from various whales to a human specimen. 1500 kr/adult, 1000 kr/concession.
Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant (Hellisheiðavirkjun), Bæjarhálsi 1 (on Suðurlandsvegur half way to Hveragerði). 09:00-17:00. Get a tour of the geothermal power plant that provides Reykjavik with heating and hot water 900 kr, 600 kr for tour guests.
Icelandic Punk Museum (Pönksafn Íslands). M-F 10:00-22:00, Weekends 12:00-22:00. A small museum devoted to the history of punk music in Iceland, located in a former underground public toilet facility. In the final room you can listen to Icelandic punk musinc through headphones, and there are guitars and leather jackets to try on and pose with.

There is a lot to do in Reykjavík, despite being a small city. There is a vibrant music scene with concerts most evenings in the centre of the city. For theatre enthusiasts the city boasts two main theatres staging around 10 domestic and foreign plays a year each, and a number of smaller theatre groups specialising in different kinds of modern theatre. There are a number of opportunities to experience at least a bit of Icelandic nature without leaving the city itself, and outdoors activities in the immediate vicinity of the city are easy to find. And no visit to Reykjavík would be complete without going to at least one of the geothermal pools.

Music and theatre

Reykjavík has a remarkably active cultural scene for a city of its size. There are a number of art galleries, theaters and concert venues. Some of these are listed below, but many of the places mentioned in the “drink” section below also frequently host concerts. There are no dedicated literary locations listed here, but for book readings it may be best to visit book stores and libraries and ask the staff what's coming up.

Nordic House (Norræna húsið), Sturlugata 5 (in Vatnsmýri, south of Tjörnin), ☏ +354 551 7030, ✉ nh@nordice.is. Exhibition space open Tu-Su 12:00-17:00, irregular opening hours for other events but the building is generally open during office hours. A cultural centre in Vatnsmýri designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, just south of the city centre. Art exhibitions, concerts, poetry readings and other cultural events frequently take place here.
Harpa, Austurbakki 2 (just east of the old harbour), ☏ +354 528 5050 (tickets). The new home of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and regularly host to other acts as well. Delayed by the economic collapse, this building was under construction for several years before finally opening in May 2011. This marked the end of a long wait for the symphony orchestra, who had been using a cinema as their main venue the last 50 years. Today the symphony plays a concert every Thursday evening from September through June (although often at other times as well), but the building is rarely empty at other times with Iceland's lively music scene having embraced this new location.
National Theatre of Iceland (Þjóðleikhúsið), Hverfisgata 19, ☏ +354 551 1200 (tickets). A theatre in the centre of Reykjavík, in many ways the focal point of Icelandic theatre. The repertoire is a mix of Icelandic and international plays, both new and old.
Reykjavík City Theatre (Borgarleikhúsið), Listabraut 3 (adjecent to Kringlan shopping mall), ☏ +354 568 8000 (tickets). Like the national theatre, the city theatre puts on a mix of new Icelandic plays and highlights of international theatre.
Vesturport, Tjarnarbíó, Tjarnargata 12 (on the west bank of Tjörnin), ✉ vesturport@vesturport.com. This experimental theatre group has toured the world and won many prizes for its daring productions which include Romeo and Juliet, and Woyczek. They have also made films including the acclaimed Children and Parents, in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

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Events and Festivals

Culture Night (Menningarnótt). Third Saturday of August. This is the biggest date in the cultural calendar of Reykjavík. What started out in 1996 as only an evening celebration today starts already in the morning with the Reykjavík Marathon. The day progresses with ever more cultural activities, most of them free, in central Reykjavík and culminates in several huge concerts and a fireworks show by the harbour. Attendance is usually around 100,000 or half of the population of the city.
Gay Pride (Hinsegin dagar). Early August. Icelanders are proud of their LGBT community, and every August they show it with one of the biggest annual festivals in Reykjavík. Typically a parade will wind its way through the city with floats of varying degrees of outrageousness. It then ends at Arnarhóll with a large outdoors concert. Gay bars and bars that normally don't self-identify as gay alike tend to be very full this evening. In the preceding days there are various events celebrating LGBT culture.
National Day (17. júní). It may come as a surprise, but the National Day celebrations on June 17 every year are probably the smallest of the three festivals mentioned here. Nonetheless, it is a public holiday day of festivities in the city where people (especially families with children) celebrate the date Iceland was declared a republic in 1944. The date itself was selected because it is the birthday of the Icelandic independence hero Jón Sigurðsson. edit
Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF). Late September. Several days of excellent cinema. Screenings of most Icelandic productions of the last year, short and feature length as well as documentaries, and the best of what's happening around the world. The main prize, the Golden Puffin, is awarded in a category called "New Visions" which is limited to directors' first or second films.

  • Þrettándinn (06 Jan 2014) - The Twelfth Night, the last day of Yule, is celebrated in a colourful festive manner like New Years. Dinners, bonfires, parades and loads of fireworks celebrate the end of the Christmas season. It's a time for friends and family to gather around bonfires and share Icelandic folklore.
  • Dark Music Days (Lat January/Early February) - This contemporary music festival has performances from the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, choir performances and various workshops and other concerts occur too!
  • Museum Night (08 Feb 2014) - All of Reykjavik's museums stay open late into the night, often past midnight with a special night bus that travels between the museums. All entrance is free in the celebration of culture and is a fantastic opportunity for tourists and locals to check out the museums in a unique way. Special events, such as theater, visual arts and dance are put on as well making it a fun night.
  • Imagine Peace - Yoko Ono's work of art to commemorate John Lennon is in the form of a wishing well with a tall tower of light emerging from within. The words Imagine Peace are inscribed on the well in 24 languages. The light will be relit on October 9th 2012 by Yoko Ono and will relight every night until Dec 8th, then Dec 21st–28th & Dec 31st 2012.
  • Thorrinn (25 Jan 2015 - 22 Feb 2014) - Full of laughter and fun, this festival celebrates the annual Thorrablot (the Midwinter Feast). Thorrablot takes place in the coldest dark days of the year and is a Scandinavian tradition with lots of Viking history. Traditional Viking food is served, followed by Brennivin which is a strong Icelandic spirit. Dancing in the evening continues into the early morn where the celebrations end.
  • The Iceland Airwaves Festival (31 Oct 2013 - 04 Nov 2013) - It's Scandinavia's largest music festival that is spread in 8 main venues in downtown Reykjavik. Some of the World' most exciting artists have performed here.
  • Reykjavik Art Festival (Mid-May) - It is one of Northern Europe's oldest and most respected arts festivals as it has been going annually since the 1970's. For two weeks, international and national artists/performers host concerts, exhibitions, dance, theater, and opera performances to promote Icelandic culture and art.
  • Festival of the Sea (First Sunday in June) - The history of sailors and the sea is of great importance to Iceland's economy and people. This festival celebrates by bringing every ship into harbour and allowing every sailor the day off. There is a diverse program of events which include sailors competing in rowing, strongmen competitions, Ocean Rescue demonstrations, arts and crafts, sailing and aerobatic airplane stunts. It's a light hearted day of fun for everyone.
  • First Day of Summer (19 Apr 2014) - Icelanders celebrate the First Day of Summer with parades, sporting events and entertainment. The arrival of summer is always welcomed after a cold Icelandic dark Winter.

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Weather

The weather in Reykjavík is notoriously unpredictable. One minute the sun may be shining on a nice summers day, the next it may change into a windy, rainy autumn. Temperatures in Reykjavík are quite bland: They don't go very high in the summer, nor do they go much below zero during winter. It follows that the differences between seasons are relatively small compared to what people experience on either side of the Atlantic.

January is the coldest month and usually has some snow, while there is frequently no snow on the ground during Christmas in December. Summer is without a doubt the favorite season of most Reykjavík inhabitants. Many of them seem to imagine their city is slightly warmer than it really is and it takes little to get them to start wearing shorts and t-shirts, or to go sunbathing in parks. Don't think too much about how silly it may seem, just join them in enjoying the season!

Wind is the main problem with the Reykjavík weather. The city is quite open to the seas, and the winds can be strong and chilling to the bone. Windy spots generally feel significantly colder than those with more shelter.

Temperatures in Reykjavik rarely drop below -12 °C in winter and rarely rise above 15 °C in summer. 20 °C is almost a heatwave and if it gets this warm, it is mostly just a matter of days (or hours!). You can have literally 4 seasons in one day.

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Getting There

By Plane

International
Keflavik International Airport, about 50 kilometres from the capital Reykjavik is where you will land when visiting Reykjavik or Iceland as a whole.
The national carrier is Icelandair which has flights to most major destinations in the western half of Europe and the eastern half of North America. Note that off season (wintertime) some destinations might not be served or have a reduced schedule at least.

In addition, Wow Air has budget flights to and from U.S. and European destinations, including Amsterdam, Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Copenhagen, Dublin, London and Paris.

Domestic
Air Iceland operates regular scheduled flights from Reykjavík to major domestic airports in all parts of the country, like Akureyri and Egilsstaðir. Landsflug also has flights to smaller airstrips around the country, for example several daily flights from Reykjavík to Vestmannaeyjar.

To/from the airport
Buses travel between the airport and Reykjavik on a regular basis, taking around 45 minutes. Expensive taxis are available as well and there are many options with rental car companies like Hertz and Avis.

By Train

There are no train services to and from Reykjavik.

By Car

Reykjanesbraut (Road 40), enters the city from the west linking it to Southwest Iceland and Keflavík International Airport;
The Ring Road (Road 1), enters the city from both east and north.
If you're driving into town from South Iceland or West Iceland, beware of some quite heavy traffic jams on Sundays when people are going back home after a weekend away. This mainly applies during the summer, and becomes even worse on Mondays after three-day weekends, not to mention if the weather has been good.

By Bus

There is an extensive bus service to most parts of the country and seasonal to the highlands. The Flybus travels between the international airport in Keflavik and the capital Reykjavik. Note that bus services are limited from October to May. June to September is your best bet.
Check BSI for an overview on bus companies. Otherwise check the bus companies directly: Austurleid for South and East Iceand, SBK Travels for the Keflavik and Reykjanes area, Stjornubilar for the Westfjords and Trex for West and North Iceland.

By Boat

Several cruise liners stop in Reykjavík each summer, mostly arriving in Sundahöfn, which is 3km east from the city centre.

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Getting Around

By Car

Driving in Reykjavík is the preferred method for most residents there. As a tourist though, you should be able to manage without a car if you're only staying in the city. Driving is recommended though for travel outside of Reykjavík and its suburbs.

By Public Transport

Reykjavík has a public bus system that is clean and reliable, called Strætó.

By Foot

Walking in Reykjavík is highly recommended, the downtown is very compact and many attractions are within walking distance from most hotels. The city is very beautiful, and the sidewalk and pathway system is first-rate. Reykjavík drivers are in general very friendly, and will sometimes stop for you even when there is no crossing facility.

Unknown to many tourists a very long and scenic pathway for walking and cycling circles almost the whole city. A good starting point is anywhere where the city touches the sea. The path leads by an outdoor swimming pool, a sandy beach, a golf course, and a salmon river.

By Bike

It is easy to get around Reykjavík by bicycle, if you can deal with sometimes strong headwinds and a few hills. There are not many dedicated bicycle paths and so most cycling is done on the street or on the sidewalk (both are legal). When cycling on the street you must obey the same traffic rules as cars. When cycling on the sidewalk it's important to be considerate of people who are walking there, they have the right of way.

Where there are specially marked paths for cyclists these are frequently shared with pedestrians, with a painted white line indicating the division between the two forms of transport. In these cases the narrower section is the bicycle path. Dedicated bicycle paths are a new phenomenon in Reykjavík but their number is increasing every year. These mostly link the city centre with the suburbs.

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Eat

Food in Iceland can be expensive. In order not to break the bank, you'll need to be smart when eating. On the budget side, you're mostly looking at international-type fast food options common to what you'd find in Europe and America.

10-11 is a chain of convenience stores (open 24/7) with plenty of ready-to-eat items such as sandwiches, wraps, and surprisingly enough, tacos. 10-11 is always open but also more expensive than supermarkets, that's why you see most Icelanders shop for food at Bónus (open 10-18), a low-cost supermarket chain. Even better, you can find a fish shop which will sell you some ridiculously fresh and absolutely delicious fish, at a very reasonable price, and cook it yourself with some potatoes and vegetables. It will be really nice. The fish shop could be in Kolaportið, a downtown market which only opens on weekends, or alternatively you could look up one of the many fish shops (fiskbúð) all around town.

Try one of the hot dog places that are found everywhere. This German import has become thoroughly Iceland-ized. A dog should set you back 250-300 kr. Ask for "Eina með öllu", a hot dog with everything on it. Delicious.

Apart from the usual suspects such as KFC and Subway (McDonald's was recently re-branded Metró by the local franchise holder, but the menu remains the same) and the hot dog stands mentioned above, Reykjavík has a number of home grown fast food restaurants. In the city centre many are open 24/7 in weekends, serving the partying crowd. Names include Nonnabiti and Hlöllabátar (subs and sandwiches), Kebabhúsið and Ali Baba (kebabs), Serrano (burritos) and Pizza Pronto (you can guess what they sell). You should be able to fill your stomach at each of these for 1,000 kr or less.

The most local street food you can find is kjötsúpa, Icelandic meat soup. It is a spicy vegetable soup with lamb meat. They have a vegetarian version of it too, that is just the same soup minus the meat. You can find vans selling it next to the Hallagrimskirkja and at the northeastern corner of Tjörnin. A small bowl costs about 700 kr and a large one 1,100 kr as of August 2014.

Thais form, along with Poles, the largest immigrant community in Reykjavík and as a result there are a lot of good and cheap Thai restaurants around the capital, often run by Thai families. You will usually get large portions without paying much more than 1,000-1,500 kr. Options in central Reykjavík include Krua Thai (Tryggvagata 14) and Núðluhúsið (Laugavegur 59, 2nd floor).

There are tons of cafes everywhere in the city that are relatively inexpensive and a great place to sit, relax, and warm up. You can also check your e-mails if you bring your computer, as there is free Wi-Fi in most of them. Kaffitar and Te & Kaffi are comparatively large chains and serve great barrista style coffee, that might however be on the expensive side.

Bæjarins beztu pylsur, Hafnarstræti 17 (by the harbor). 24/7. The name of this popular hot dog stand literally means "Town's Best Hotdogs" and, based on the queues, it seems to deserve the name. Hot dog 450 kr, soda 250 kr.
Mýrin Mathús (BSI Bus Depot), Vatnsmýravegi 10. Large restaurant in the bus depot near the downtown airport. Large selection of prepared foods to grab for your bus ride and a large menu of hot food selections to eat in the restaurant. Reasonable prices and a fun place to hang out with working class Icelanders for those wanting a non-tourist experience. For the more daring, Svið is on the menu daily. Formerly known as Fljott og Gott.
Hamborgarabúllan, Geirsgata 1 (by the harbour), ☏ +354 511-1888. Small hamburger cafe next to the old harbour designed in the traditional American diner style. Very popular with locals and a reliable alternative to the absent international burger chains.
Múlakaffi, Hallarmúli 8. A bit away from the city centre, this place is very like an office cafeteria. It prides itself on selling authentic Icelandic home cooking. The sparse menu varies between days. Due to its location surrounded by offices, it caters more to a lunch than dinner and closes at 20:00 weekdays, 14:00 Saturdays and is not open Sundays. It also seems to stop serving main meals some hours before closing.
Perlan. In addition to its famous restaurant, Perlan also has a café offering food. You can eat with (almost) the same view and a much cheaper price. edit
Sægreifinn (Seabaron), Verbúð 6 (At the harbour, near the whale watching kiosk). Winter: 11:30-22:00, Summer: 11:30-23:00. An extremely authentic seafood place, serves a wonderful lobster soup and offers grilled cod, whale, shrimps, salmon, etc. 800 - 2500 kr.
Tian, Grensásvegur 12, ☏ +354 568-1919. to 22:00. This little Chinese restaurant near Laugardalslaug parc and the Arctic Comfort Hotel is a sweet quiet little spot with great food and friendly service. The prices are quite low so it fits in well with your budget needs.
Café Haiti, Geirsgata 7b (At the port near the whale watching kiosks). A cafe serving coffee and light food. Note that this is not their original location, although you can see their sign still painted on the side of nearby building where they began. They roast their own coffee.
Kaffismiðja Íslands, Kárastígur 1 (Down Frakkastigur, to the left when you are on the road and facing Hallgrímskirkja. Will be on your left), ☏ +354 517-5535. M-F 08:30-17:00; Sa 10:00-17:00. This cafe supposedly employs some of Iceland's best baristas, and does indeed serve great coffee. Also offers a selection of French and Icelandic pastries. On the small side with just a few tables, but big windows let in lots of light. Friendly staff and student clientèle.
Kaffiport (inside Kolaportið, the flea market). Sa Su 11:00-17:00. The small eatery inside the flea market is one of the cheapest places to eat in the city. They have kjötsúpa (Icelandic lamb soup), pylsa (hot dogs), some desserts and drinks.
Kolaportið (flea market). Sa Su 11:00-17:00. If you're fortunate enough to be in Reykjavik on a weekend, don't miss the farmers market. Many vendors have free samples of Icelandic chocolate, Icelandic liquorice, Icelandic desserts, and even hakarl (fermented shark). Even without the free samples, the prices are reasonable since working Icelanders shop here too.

There are many fantastic fish restaurants in Reykjavik. The more expensive ones are down by the harbour or in the centre, if you're not so rich try heading towards the old town. Though generally not listed here, most bars serve some food, often better than what you would expect from the look of the place but generally with relatively uninspired menus: Expect to see a few burgers, a pasta dish or two, some salads and maybe a burrito. Plan on at least 2,000 kr for any meal not in a budget/fast-food restaurant. Seriously.

Austur-Indíafjelagið (East India Company), Hverfisgata 56, ☏ +354 552 1630. One of few Indian restaurants in Reykjavik. It serves very good food though and can be compared to the top tier Indian restaurants in London. 4,000-5,000 kr.
Caruso, Þingholtsstræti 1 (corner of Laugavegur and Þingholtsstræti), ☏ +354 562 7335. M-Th 11:30-22:00, F Sa 11:30-23:30, Su 17:30-22:00. A cozy Italian restaurant with good food. They sometimes have live guitar music, which together with the dimmed lighting makes for a very romantic setting. 3,000-5,000 kr.
The Icelandic Bar (by Austurvöllur), ☏ +354 578 2020. Serves delicious traditional Icelandic food at a very reasonable price, the lamb shank in particular is a must try as is the simple but extremely tasty skyr dessert. Set menus are available from around 4000 kr for a three-course meal. The restaurant is lovely with outside tables available overlooking the small park across the road and catching the afternoon sun. 2,000-4,000 kr.
Icelandic Fish & Chips, Tryggvagata 8 (down by the harbour). An organic bistro with a friendly atmosphere that makes a slightly healthier version of this famous fast food, so don´t expect to find any mayonnaise or Coca-Cola there. Their dishes are all home made from the freshest ingredients, by some said to be the best fish and chips in the world. The restaurant is semi self-service and child friendly, but can become very busy during summer. 2,000 kr.
Restaurant Reykjavik, Vesturgata 2, ☏ +354 552 3030, ✉ kaffireykjavik@kaffireykjavik.is. A good central restaurant, aimed a little more toward the tourist crowd it does however deliver decent food. The lamb is good. Also contains an ice bar. 3,000-5,000 kr.
Shalimar, Austurstræti. A small family-owned Pakistani restaurant packed into a tiny building in the oldest part of town. Delicious food, and a very friendly wait staff. 3,000-4,000 kr.
Vegamót, Vegamótastíg 4, ☏ +354 511 3040, ✉ vegamot@vegamot.is. A decent fast food restaurant during the day and a happening nightclub after hours. The age limit of 22 on Friday and Saturday nights is somewhat of a buzzkill even for those of legal drinking age here. The lobster pasta is the restaurant's signature dish and well worth tasting.
Þrír frakkar hjá Úlfari (3 Frenchmen (or overcoats) at Úlfar's), Baldursgata 14. A nice seafood restaurant. Serves big meals for a moderate price. Their lunch plokkfiskur special is legendary. They serve whalemeat, both raw (as sashimi) and cooked, to those willing to try. This is a convenient price; whale is less expensive in other port towns. They serve a strange (and delicious) traditional cake, skyrterta, made from the Icelandic skyr, this cake alone is worth the visit. Rumour has it that this restaurant has seal steaks available as well, but they are not on the menu and must be requested a day ahead of time. 3,000-5,000 kr.
Fjalakötturinn, Aðalstræti 16. This restaurant mostly focuses on fish and seafood, though there are a couple of meat alternatives to choose from. There are also different three and four course menus to choose from and the wine list is more extensive than you would expect on Iceland. The service can be slow, but the food is tasteful and the servings are beautiful - in other words, if you want a large serving of fast and cheap grub you'd better go elsewhere. 4000-6000 kr.
Kaffihús Vesturbæjar, Hofsvallagötu and Melhaga., ☏ +354 551 0623. M-F 08:00-23:00; Sa Su 09:00-23:00. Very cosy cafe and bistro. Some tourist but most local clientele. Free Wifi 300 kr mains.
Messinn, Lækjargata 6b, ☏ +354 5460095, ✉ messinn@messinn.com. 11:00–15:00, 17:00–22:00 daily. Generous portions of beautifully cooked fresh fish served in a friendly, warm atmosphere.

If you're willing to spend the money, you'll have no problem finding world class dining in Reykjavík. In addition to some great fish restaurants, most of the world's popular cuisine is represented in Reykjavík's up-scale dining in one form or another.

Argentína Steakhouse, Barónsstígur 11, ☏ +354 551 9555, ✉ salur@argentina.is. It's not exactly an Icelandic tradition, but Argentína is a great place to go for quality beef steaks. 6,000-8,000 kr.
Dill, Nordic house, Sturlugata 5, ☏ +354 552 1522. Part of a growing trend called “new Nordic food” (most famously promoted by Noma restaurant in Copenhagen), this small restaurant prides itself in using local ingredients, many of them sourced from a vegetable garden next to the building.
Fish Company (Fiskifélagið), Vesturgata 2a (across the street from the tourist information centre), ☏ +354 552 5300, ✉ info@fiskifelagid.is. One of the most recent additions to the flora of fish restaurants, in the basement of a recently renovated old timber house literally standing in the original harbour of Reykjavík. 5,000-6,000 kr.
Grillið, Hagatorg (in Radison Blu Saga Hotel), ☏ +354 525 9960. A classic French restaurant that has been open for service for over forty years.
Hotel Holt, Bergstaðastræti 37, ☏ +354 552 5700. A staple of the city's up-scale dining landscape. Thick carpets, art over dark wood panels, French cuisine, an extensive wine cellar, the country's most expansive collection of single malts. 5,000-6,000 kr.
Humarhúsið, Amtmannsstíg 1, ☏ +354 561 3303. Specialising in lobster (the name means Lobster House) and on the expensive end, but has exquisite food that the prices reflect. 5,000-6,000 kr.
Perlan, Öskjuhlíð, ☏ +354 562 0200. On the top of Öskjuhlíð, overlooking the city, sits Perlan with its rotating restaurant. It's an expensive place to dine but of course it's pretty unique and gives you a second-to-none view over Reykjavik so it's understandable how they can push the prices up. If you dine at the Perlan be sure to have the lamb, absolutely fantastic.

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Drink

Reykjavík is considered to have some of the best nightlife in all of Europe and it can be almost guaranteed that you haven't really "partied" until you've done it here. This fact is proven by the number of celebrities who come specifically for it.

Drinking is expensive - expect to pay between 600 and 900 Jr for a draft pint at a bar. Bottled beers and mixed drinks are more expensive, sometimes outlandishly so. Despite the cost, going out in Reykjavik is a fun experience. Since alcohol is expensive at Reykjavík bars and clubs, Icelanders usually buy their alcohol at the government owned liquor stores (Vínbúðin, called Ríkið by locals) and stay at home drinking until about midnight (or later), then they will wander to the bars. Do not expect bars and clubs to become crowded during weekends until about 1:00am (at least). Cover charges are very rare in Reykjavík, unless there is live music or some other sort of event going on. Note that although the legal age for entering clubs is 18, the legal drinking age is 20 and many places set higher entry age limits themselves.

Bars are open to 1:00am on weeknights, but most will stay open until 6:00 or 7:00am on Friday and Saturday. The clubs and bars themselves are mostly found in a very small area of the city centre, it's easy to just walk around and follow the crowds. You're sure to find somewhere to go, but if you're not sure, groups of drunken Icelanders will usually be eager to help a tourist out! During weekends, live music is easy to find in some of Reykjavík's bars. During the day, be sure to pick up the free English-language magazine The Reykjavík Grapevine for information on live music events for that evening. It is easy to find in shops, restaurants and bars around the city.

There is an ice bar in Restaurant Reykjavík where all the furniture and the bar are made from glacial ice. This seems like an interesting place to go, however, you will be charged 1,300 kr for entry which includes a single vodka-based cocktail in what is effectively an atmosphere and music-free deep freezer. You cannot bring in or buy more drinks, if you are keen for novelty it is good, otherwise perhaps not worth the money.

Bars

The distinction between bars and clubs is not very clear in Iceland, with most clubs being more like bars until a little before midnight. However, the following venues can be said to be purely bars - places to go and drink with your friends, rather than to dance or listen to music.

Bjarni Fel, Austurstræti 20. A sports bar, named for a famous Icelandic footballer and later sports commentator.
The Celtic Cross, Hverfisgata 26, ☏ +354 511 3240. An Irish pub, with several dark ales and booths where groups can sit and talk in relative privacy.
Den Danske Kro (Danska kráin, the Danish Pub), Ingólfsstræti 3. This place tries to imitate a Danish bodega, although it really feels much more Icelandic than Danish.
The English Pub, Austurstræti 12, ☏ +354 578 0400. Very popular English-style pub in the heart of the city, with a wide range of beers and a wheel of fortune. Beware troubadours in the weekends, though (they're very bad)!
Næsti bar, Ingolfsstræti. It may not look like much, on the outside or the inside. In fact, you may not even spot it unless there are people standing outside smoking. But it's spacious, and the staff are usually very friendly. The fact that it doesn't play loud music makes Næsti bar especially nice when you just want to go out for a drink and a chat.
Ölstofa Kormáks og Skjaldar (Ölstofan), Vegamótastígur 4, ☏ +354 552 4587. A small, cozy and extremely popular bar. The decorations seem to be taken from the living rooms of Icelandic grandmothers and include a number of cross stitched pictures. Uniquely for Reykjavík bars they have their own beer called Bríó, brewed for them by a microbrewery within the larger Egils brewery.
Tíu Dropar, Laugavegur 27. Tucked away in a basement and boasting lace tablecloths, by night they have an excellent selection of local bottled beer. Easy to miss. Look for the stairs beneath a huge painting of a teapot. Wheelchair friendly--let them know and they'll let you in through the back.

Clubs[edit][add listing]

Reykjavík has a large number of clubs and when one closes, another is usually very quick to take its place. There would be no point in trying to list them all, the following are only a small taste. Most of them are quite small - don't expect the big dance halls of many European capitals - but that's part of the fun, the intimate spirit of the Reykjavík nightlife.

Bar 11, Hverfisgata 18, ☏ +354 511 1180. A rock bar, often featuring live music during weekdays, and good DJs on the weekends.
Barbara, Laugavegur 22, ☏ +354 567 7500. A friendly gay bar/club on the second and third stories of an old wooden house.
b5, Bankastræti 5, ☏ +354 552 9600, ✉ b5@b5.is. Caters mainly to a slightly up-market crowd.
Dillon Rock Bar, Laugavegur 30, ☏ +354 578 2424. M-Th 16:00-01:00, F Sa 14:00-03:00. Dillon has become quite the attraction for the Icelandic music industry, rockers, students, family folk and famed Hollywood actors over the past decade. During the summertime you can enjoy a cold one in the sun in Dillon´s Beergarden and catch outdoor festivals over the summer. Catch a live band, have a chat with the friendly staff or join the mixed up group on Saturday nights when the 60-year-old DJ Andrea rocks the joint and join the family of friends at this century old house of fun.
Dolly, Hafnarstræti 4, ☏ +354 772 3253.
Faktorý, Smiðjustígur 6, ☏ +551 4499. A bar downstairs, and a dance venue upstairs with a soundproof door between the two.
Harlem, Tryggvagata 22. This small watering hole pumps up the volume during the weekends and turns into a very nice (if slightly shabby-looking) place to drink and dance.
Hressingarskálinn, Austurstræti 20, ☏ +354 561 2240.
Kaffibarinn, Bergstaðarstaeti 1, ☏ +354 551 1588. An old favorite, this club in a red two-story timber house has been around since the 1980s and remains hip as ever. It was for a period owned partly by Damon Albarn of Blur. Heavy drinking and heavy dancing.
Kofi Tómasar frænda, Laugavegi 2, ☏ +354 551 1855. In a basement on Laugavegur. DJs here play the most popular pop of all eras from the 1960s onwards, songs people can sing along with while they dance.

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Sleep

Be warned that there is very little in the way of affordable lodging in Iceland, particularly if you are traveling with a family. The cheapest option in Reykjavík, by far, is to stay at the city's only campsite. If that's not for you, there are several hostels with affordable dorms located in and around the city centre. Fortunately for the traveller on a budget, this seems to be the fastest growing type of accommodation in Reykjavík. Most of these hostels also offer single or double bedrooms, and a few small guesthouses have rooms at similar prices. Just as there are surprisingly few cheap accommodation options in Reykjavík, there are surprisingly many expensive ones.

Guesthouse Aurora, Freyjugata 24, ☏ +354 899 1773, ✉ siggi@danol.is. A friendly little guesthouse in a residential part of the city centre. 15,000 kr.
Guesthouse Sunna, Þórsgata, ☏ +354 511 5570. Great guesthouse located in one of the most iconic places in Reykjavik, right across the square from Hallgrimskirkja. Very clean, very comfortable, with friendly service, and internet. They also include breakfast in the morning, with fresh bread baked on the premises. A little on the expensive side—11600 kr for a single room. Another great feature is their airport/tour bus service. Summer: 15,600 kr double room; winter: 8,900 kr double room.
KEX Hostel, Skúlagata 28, ☏ +354 561 6060, ✉ booking@kexhostel.is. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. A hostel that was opened in a former biscuit factory down by the sea. Very cozy and looks distinctly unlike a hostel, which is not surprising given that a set designer created the appearance. Has a bar and restaurant which serve non-residents as well. Staff are very helpful. Dorm: 3,000 kr winter, 5,100 kr summer; double room: 8,000 kr winter, 14,400 kr summer.
Laugardalur Campsite, Sundlaugavegur 34, ☏ +354 568 6944, ✉ info@reykjavikcampsite.is. Open 15 May - 15 September. The cheapest place to stay in Reykjavík, and an approximately 30-min walk from the city centre, or a short bus journey. The campsite is big and offers decent washing and cooking facilities and people often leave their leftover camping stove fuel for others after leaving Iceland. (Fuel is really expensive in Iceland!) On cold and rainy days, Iceland's biggest pool is situated right next door. Clothes can also be washed at the neighbouring youth hostel. 1,100 kr per person, per night.
Reykjavík Downtown Hostel, Vesturgata 17, ☏ +354 553 8120, ✉ reykjavikdowntown@hostel.is. A hostel in an old apartment building right next to the city centre, by the harbour. 3,500 kr dorm.
Víkingur Guesthouse, Þverholt, ☏ +354 896 4661, ✉ ghviking@simnet.is. Just outside the city centre. In addition to accommodations, they also offer car rental services. 13,990 kr double room.
Guesthouse Tunguvegur, Tunguvegur 23, Reykjavik, ☏ +354 8647504. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 10:30. Clean, spacious guest house with impeccable bathrooms, plus kitchen, dining room, living room and terrace. Excellent & free WiFi. On a main road into the centre if you want to drive, if not there is bus 11. €78, twin or double room.
Atlantic Apartments & Rooms, Grensasvegur 14, Reykjavik, ☏ +354 6997313. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. Large budget hotel with bathrooms in the corridor on each floor. Fridge & microwave in each room, but no crockery. Excellent & free WiFi. Very near the 41 & 49 roads, so easy to reach from Keflavik. Various restaurants in the same street and a few minutes' walk to a large shopping area. Staff are not always at reception, but guests are e-mailed a code to open the front door. €79, twin or double room.
Hlemmur Square Hostel, Laugavegur 105, ☏ +354 415 1600, ✉ booking@hlemmursquare.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. The ground floor is reception, a bar and restaurant and the upper floors are for hotel rooms. In between, on the 3rd and 4th floors are multi-bed dorm rooms with bunk beds. Each bed has it's own drawer that can be locked with a padlock. Linen is included unlike many hostels in Iceland. The bathrooms have soap and shampoo.
Reykjavik City HI Hostel, Sundlaugavegur 34, ☏ +354 553 8110. While it takes about 30 mins to walk into downtown, the cheaper accommodation cost more than make up for the minor inconvenience. It has both 2-person private room as well as dorms. A bonus for this hostel is that it is located right beside Laugardalslaug (the heated public swimming pool).
Fosshotel Lind, Raudarastígur 18, ☏ +354 562 3350, ✉ lind@fosshotel.is. Located one minute walk of the city centre close to the main shopping street Laugavegur. Rooms on the upper floors have great view of the Hallgrimskirkja. There is a restaurant at the hotel called Confusion. It offers aperitivos for reasonable price. Tours are bookable at the reception. 10,000-30,000 kr.
Best Western Hotel Reykjavík, Rauðarárstígur 37, ☏ +354 514 7000, ✉ info@hotelreykjavik.is. Just outside the city centre, 10–15 minutes walking, but well located with regards to the bus system. 17,000-30,000 kr.
Fosshotel Baron, Barónsstígur 2-4, ☏ +354 562 3204, ✉ baron@fosshotel.is. Located on the eastern edge of the city centre close to the main shopping street Laugavegur. Rooms on the upper floors on the northern side have great views across the sea. There is a 24/7 supermarket right behind the hotel. There is a restaurant, bar and tour desk. There are many types of rooms and price ranges. 10,000-30,000 kr.
Hótel Björk, Brautarholt 22-24. A 15-minute walk away from the city centre in an office neighbourhood. 15,000-30,000 kr.
Hótel Frón, Laugavegur 22a, ☏ +354 511 4666, fax: +354 511 4665, ✉ info@hotelfron.is. By Laugavegur, the main shopping street. 20,000 kr.
Hotel Klöpp, Klapparstígur 26, ☏ +354 595 8520, ✉ klopp@centerhotels.is. In a side street close to Laugavegur. Very close to a number of bars and clubs, but surprisingly quiet apart from one bar across the street which often has live jazz or folk music on weekends. Part of the CenterHotels chain like Hotel Plaza below.
Hótel Leifur Eiríksson, Skólavörðustígur 45 (facing Hallgrímskirkja), ☏ +354 562 0800, fax: +354 562 0804, ✉ info@hotelleifur.is. A rather basic hotel, but at a good price given its location just across the street from Hallgrímskirkja. Rooms have satellite TV which includes one English-language channel. The hotel also has a bike rental. 21,000 kr.
Hotel Óðinsvé, Þórsgata 1 (by Óðinstorg), ☏ +354 511 6200, fax: +354 511 6201, ✉ odinsve@hotelodinsve.is. In a side street a few meters off Skólavörðustígur. Comfortable rooms which include free wi-fi and satellite TV, but breakfast is not included in the price. 17,000-27,000 kr.
Hotel Plaza, Aðalstræti 4 (By Ingólfstorg square in the city centre.), ☏ +354 595 8550, ✉ plaza@centerhotels.is. Literally in the centre of Reykjavík, by the oldest street in the city (Aðalstræti) and the Ingólfstorg square. Close to the heart of the nightlife, and so noise is to be expected (at least in rooms facing the square). Free wi-fi. Part of the CenterHotels chain like Hotel Klöpp above. 15,000-25,000 kr.
Grand Hotel (Grand Hotel Reykjavik), Sigtún 38, ☏ +354 514 8000, fax: +354 514 8030. The largest, certainly the tallest hotel in Iceland. A variety of rooms are offered, from a "budget" room to a presidential suite. Essentially better the room quality, the higher up it is in the hotel, giving you an outstanding view of Reykjavik. Some of the higher quality hotel rooms have free Wi-Fi, the username and password being your room number. The internet speed is good, it may stop working during long stays, however a quick call to the reception will reconnect you. Rooms are furnished in traditional Scandinavian fashion. The hotel staff speak good English (yet again, who doesn't in Iceland?) and are very polite. Free parking is available, over and underground, often very unoccupied. Excellent food is served during breakfast. A Spa is available at an additional fee, and a gym is also available. It is close to the center of Reykjavik, it stands by the Hilton Hotel and towers above it.
101 Hotel, Hverfisgata 10, ☏ +354 580 0101, fax: +354 580 0100, ✉ 101hotel@101hotel.is. Named after the postcode for central Reykjavík. 40,000 kr and upwards.
Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Pósthússtræti 2, ☏ +354 599 1000. New hotel in an old building built in 1919 which housed the head offices of the shipping company, Eimskip. Eimskip's pre-World War II logo was a blue swastika, and this used to adorn the front of the building. When it was converted into a hotel a sign was put over the swastika, but as it's a listed building the swastika could not be removed and is still there, behind the sign.
Hótel Borg, Pósthússtræti 11 (by Austurvöllur square), ☏ +354 551 1440, fax: +354 551 1420, ✉ hotelborg@hotelborg.is. By the same square as the parliament and the cathedral. Built in the 1930s but renovated, Hótel Borg is a Reykjavík landmark in its own right famed among other things for its World War II history. 40,000 kr. and upwards.
Hótel Holt, Bergstaðastræti 37, ☏ +354 552 5700, fax: +354 562 3025, ✉ holt@holt.is. By a quiet street in the centre of town. When it opened in 1965 the hotel restaurant was one of the first fine dining locations in Reykjavík. 30,000 kr and upwards. edit
Hilton Nordica, Suðurlandsbraut 2, ☏ +354 444 5000, fax: +354 444 5001, ✉ Res.ReykjavikNordica@hilton.com. Premises include a spa (NordicaSpa) and a restaurant called VOX. The hotel is outside the city centre, but the area is well served by buses. 30,000 kr and upwards.
Radisson Blu Saga Hotel (Hótel Saga), by Hagatorg, ☏ +354 525 9900, fax: +354 525 9909. A large hotel just outside the old town (a 10-minute walk from the city hall), by the University of Iceland campus. The building (rather than the hotel occupying most of it) is called the "Farmer's Palace" (Bændahöllin), referring to the fact that it was originally erected by the powerful farmer's association and still houses their offices.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

There's not much in way of employment opportunities in Reykjavík at the moment. Since the economic collapse of 2008, unemployment has risen to around 8% and unless you have special skills you're likely to be at a disadvantage as a foreigner in a job hunt. Additionally, it's extremely difficult for non-EEA citizens to get a visa unless they already have a job.

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Learn

Being the main population centre of the country, Reykjavík is also the location of most of Iceland's education institutions. Close to the city centre is the University of Iceland, which offers courses in Icelandic as a second language. Most degree programmes are in Icelandic, but there are some specialised postgraduate degrees available relating to sustainable development and to medieval manuscripts taught in English.

Reykjavík University was founded as a business school under the auspices of the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce. It has evolved into an institution offering a wide range of degrees in the fields of business, law, computer science and engineering, with a higher number of English-language programmes than the University of Iceland.

At pre-higher education levels, Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð (Hamrahlíð College) offers an IB programme in English. Several smaller schools offer Icelandic language courses for foreigners, including Mímir and IceSchool.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Most of Iceland is well connected. Most homes have ADSL connections which work well most of the time. There is however a firewall which can cause connections problems especially at busy times. Most hotels, guesthouses, hostels, cafés etc. have a working Wi-Fi network. Generally it's free of charge, but sometimes there might be a small fee or limited amount of time. There are a couple of public computers at the University of Iceland and the National Library that you can use for free and without the need to log in.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international telephone code is 354. National numbers in Iceland are seven digits long and generally written in the form xxx xxxx or xxx-xxxx.
There are no area codes in this closed numbering plan and the international call prefix is 00. Numbers of mobile phones tend to begin with either 6xx xxxx, 7xx xxxx or 8xx xxxx, while land line numbers start with 5xx xxxx (in Reykjavík) or 4xx xxxx (the country side). The Icelandic emergency number is 112 for all services.

Internally, phone calls in Iceland are very reasonable priced and most providers offer friends and family discounts or free calls/messaging to same network phones. International calling cards are available in most convenience stores which can significantly reduce the cost of international calls.

There are three main companies who supply personal internet connections: siminn Vodafone and Talk. It is very important to get full details of the charges and excess charges as it is very easy to run up a huge bill without being aware of it, especially on a mobile connection. You can buy a local SIM card, if you have an unlocked mobile phone. The major internet companies can supply 3G mobile internet on a monthly basis. If you are travelling be sure to check the coverage because the mobile connection is not as wide as the mobile phone connection.

Post

Iceland's Postal Service (tel. 580-1200) is reliable and efficient. General post office hours in Reykjavík are 9:00am to 6:00pm weekdays, but post offices close earlier elsewhere. Mailboxes are bright red and marked Pósturinn. Stamps are sold at many locations, including Nóatún supermarkets; N1, Olís, and Shell gas stations; and some bookstores. Mail typically takes 3 to 5 business days to reach Europe or the United States. If you are importing goods through the post, it takes a while to sort out the customs and tax based on the value of the item, so be sure to have receipts readily available. For sending packages you can also use international courier companies like TNT, UPS, FedEx or DHL, since they are fast, reliable and generally competitively priced as well.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 64.135338
  • Longitude: -21.89521

Accommodation in Reykjavik

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Reykjavik searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Contributors

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Reykjavik Travel Helpers

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