When we visited Iceland earlier this year, we didn’t budget much time to spend in Reykjavik thinking we’d rather be out exploring. And while that turned out to be mostly true, we also loved the time we spent in Reykjavik and wished we had longer to spend in the city. This is a quick guide of where we stayed and what we did, which was probably the bare minimum. But for one or two days in Reykjavik, this should see you through!
We were going for cheap here. And available. Most hotels in Reykjavik are nice, but also expensive and book up early. We needed somewhere to stay both our first and last nights in Iceland.
Skuggi Hotel | Walking distance to downtown and free underground parking. Ask for a top floor room and you might get a balcony with a city view!
Kex Hostel | Housed in an old biscuit factory with a cool, eclectic vibe Kex has private rooms and dorms, depending on your budget. But the best part about this hostel is the bar and gastropub. Both the atmosphere and food were amazing. We were lucky enough to have live music when we visited.
Hallgrimskirkja | Climb the church tower for that famous view of Reykjavik’s colorful rooftops.
Harpa Concert Hall | Such a cool building, inside and out.
Eat the hot dogs. They’re probably one of the cheapest meals you’re going to find in Iceland and they are amazing. I never want to eat a hot dog without fried onions again. Aside from that, here are some other cool places we found.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur | This is the famous hot dog stand. We didn’t have to wait in line at all, but I’ve heard it can be a problem. Honestly didn’t taste a difference between all the hot dogs we ate, but they really are delicious.
Brauð & Co. | Seriously, so good. Anything you get at this tiny bakery will be awesome.
Reykjavik Roasters | I want to say this is the best coffee in Reykjavik, but of course I haven’t tried all the coffee in Reykjavik. However, it was very good and I normally don’t even like coffee that much.
Sæmundur í Sparifötunum | This is the restaurant at Kex Hostel. It’s not too fancy, but also not cheap with a focus on local ingredients. We had our best meal in Reykjavik here.
Just buy one of the Icelandic sweaters. I know they’re really expensive, but I still wish I had gotten one. Get one on your first day there so you can wear it the rest of the trip. It will keep you warm and make the best souvenir. Besides, we found even the secondhand stores to be ridiculously overpriced, so there really isn’t a way to make shopping in Iceland cheaper.
Handknitting Association of Iceland | This is where to buy your Lopapeysa or Icelandic sweater, handknit by locals from Icelandic sheep’s wool.
Hrím Hönnunarhús | Housewares and such. Some Danish design, some Icelandic but all very cool and a good place to buy gifts.
Reykjavik’s Cutest | The cutest gift shop. I’m not 100% sure this store still exists because they don’t have a website. But it’s worth a look!
Stigur | An art gallery and shop featuring Icelandic artists. My favorite pieces were the ceramics by Bjarni Sigurdsson (shop pictured above).
Farmer’s Market | Icelandic clothing label. Only issue is that it’s kind of far from the other shops in downtown Reykjavik.
Geysir | A bit too pricey for me, but thought I’d include it anyway. It is definitely one of the coolest shops in Reykjavik with gorgeous wool sweaters and blankets in modern designs.
More Iceland posts to come soon, including our full itinerary!