With a remote wilderness that is distinctly Scandinavian, it’s no wonder Iceland has become an incredibly popular destination in recent years. The capital Reykjavik is small (around 120,000 folks) yet one of the coolest cities on earth; full of creative souls, incredible food and world class design. I’m dying to return! For more photos of this wonderful place, see an overview of my trip and all my posts on the area.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
Icelandair – national airline, with free stopovers in Iceland when flying between the US and Europe.
Keflavik Airport – the main airport in Iceland is outside of the city and has a pretty range of souvenirs.
Flybus – 45 minute airport transfers between Keflavik to Reykjavik with free wifi included.
Extreme Iceland – an excellent tour operator offering all kinds of amazing tours around the country.
Kexland – also offers airport transfers and trips around the local area (ran by Kex Hostel).
Strætó Bus – operates both local and long distance buses from the main bus terminal at Hlemmur.
Kex Hostel – hipster hostel in an old biscuit factory with private and dorm rooms overlooking the water.
Bus Hostel – another hip hostel full of vintage decor, with private and dorm rooms on offer.
Loft Hostel – contemporary hostel with amazing shared lounge space for working or relaxing.
Hlemmur Square – a luxury hotel and upscale hostel, located right across from the main bus station.
Centerhotel Thingholt – a chain of modern hotels owned by a local family, this one is in the city centre.
101 Hotel – this gorgeous luxury hotel has monochrome rooms and a collection of local art on display.
Hotel Borg – old time elegance in the heart of the city, located near the famous cathedral.
AirBNB – so many beautiful homes are available around the country, still my favorite way to travel.
The Blue Lagoon – outdoor geothermal spa, located close to Keflavik Airport. Perfect for watching a sunrise!
Hallgrímskirkja – the largest church in the country is an impressive piece of architecture, with great views.
Hafnarhús – the Reykjavik Art Musuem is spread across 3 buildings, showing local and international artists.
Harpa – this concert hall is another architectural icon, home to Iceland’s symphony orchestra and opera.
Imagine Peace Tower – tower of light created by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon, open seasonally.
i8 Gallery – an excellent gallery featuring the work of both local and international contemporary artists.
Icelandic Phallological Museum – it’s a real thing, this museum has the worlds largest number of penises.
Bio Paradis – an independent cinema screening art house releases, documentaries and other specialty films.
Laugardalur Swimming Pool – this large pool complex is sprawling, with both indoor and outdoor pools.
Sundhollin Swimming Pool – this indoor heated pool feels like a museum as it hasn’t changed in decades.
Islenski Hesturinn – experience the tölt while riding beautiful Icelandic horses, gorgeous in the snow!
Reykjavik Roasters – with a couple of locations and offering various classes, these baristas know their coffee.
The Laundromat Cafe – outpost of the Copenhagen original filled with a rainbow of books and nice brunches.
Mokka Kaffi – midcentury interiors with copper lights at the oldest coffee shop in the city, try the waffles!
Te og Kaffi – this chain of cafes can be found around the country; the translation is simple – tea and coffee.
Puffin Coffee (closed) – Sverrir Sander sells coffee to passers-by out of his kitchen window for charity.
Grillmarkaðurinn – works with local farmers to offer items such as lobster, whale and puffin mini burgers.
Sæmundur í Sparifötunum – inside the Kex Hostel, gastro pub with delicious burgers and Nordic craft beers.
Fiskmarkaðurinn (Fish Market) – has a popular 10-course tasting menu that includes lamb and sashimi.
Fiskfélagið (Fishcompany) – offers two distinct tasting menus, ‘Around Iceland’ and ‘Around the World’.
Pearlan (The Pearl) – this dome shaped building offers views of the city and has a revolving restaurant.
Tiu Dropar Café – Grandma-style cafe with soup during the day and is a cozy wine bar in the evenings.
Forréttabarinn – this gorgeous cafe specializes in a wide range of appetizers with a cocktail menu.
Snaps – this French bistro and bar is often packed and lively, offering everything from bar snacks to steaks.
Bergsson Mathús – vegetarian friendly with great breakfast plates; think rye bread, egg and sliced meats.
Café Loki – traditional home-style food such as open sandwiches, meat soup, mashed fish and herring.
Tapas Barinn – the Icelandic set menu (puffin, whale, salmon, prawn, char, lamb) has everything!
Hamborgarabúllan – order the ‘Offer of the Century’ at this quirky stand and enjoy a burger, fries and coke.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur – famous for their hot dogs with crunchy onions; various stands around the city.
Sægreifinn (Sea Baron) – started by a retired fisherman Kjartan Halldorsson, serves delicious lobster soup.
Icelandic Fish and Chips – this British-inspired bistro offers fish of the day and hand cut potatoes.
Noodle Station – a menu with thai noodle soup in three flavors – beef, chicken and vegetable.
Vitabar – another burger bar; tucked away behind an unassuming exterior, try the blue-cheese burger.
Isbudin Haaleitisbraut – ice cream shop with a wide range of flavors and toppings such as licorice!
Mikkeller and Friends – from the Danish brewer, this circus-themed interior houses 20 beers on tap.
Kaldi Bar and Café – this Icelandic micro brewery serves their own beers on tap alongside light pub food.
Micro Bar – this bar offers a wide range of brews, check their website to see what’s currently on tap.
Slippbarinn – vintage styled space within the Icelandair Marina Hotel with a cocktail menu and pub grub.
Kaffibarinn – a long standing watering hole, full of candlelit tables, part-owned by Damon Albarn.
Prikið – this dollhouse-style building is a coffee shop by day and bustling bar by night with live music.
Geysir – my favorite store in the city; everything is absolutely beautiful from the clothing to the homewares.
Hrim Honnunar Hus – a totally gorgeous homewares store, where I pretty much want everything!
Spark Design Space – filled with all kinds of pretty design objects with a rolling exhibition program.
Kiosk – high end boutique featuring clothing by 8 local fashion designers, who take turns running the store.
Designer’s Pop Up Market – annual market with local designers goods, held at Harpa during Christmas.
Tiger – this Scandinavian chain can be found around the globe, full of all things cute and cheap.
12 Tónar – take a free espresso, settle in and listen to some records while you shop in this music store.
Rauði Krossinn – (The Red Cross Shop) – my favorite second hand treasure trove ran by the sweetest ladies.
Hertex (Salvation Army Shop) – fingers crossed and you might find an Icelandic sweater or lopapeysa.
Kolaporið (Flea Market) – this flea market is open on weekends; a mixture of vintage and handmade goods.
Spuutnik – second hand clothing store with selected pieces, think vintage kimonos and birks.
Bónus Supermarket – for all your essentials (and local candy) this is the main supermarket in town!
Golden Circle – popular tourist trail that includes a national park, waterfall and the original geysir.
Jökulsárlón – large glacial lake, where chunks of ice float out to sea and are washed up again on the shore.
Vatnajökull (Vatna) – covers 8% of Iceland and is incredible; hike across or explore the crystal caves beneath.
Vik – picturesque town famous for its black sand beaches and iconic white church on the hill.
Viðey – an inhabited island close to the city with a Richard Serra installation, take the Elding ferry.
Sólheimasandur – this abandoned airplane wreckage on a black sand beach has become iconic.
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) – elusive but dazzling display of light that can be found during winter.
Midnight Sun – during summer the sun can set after midnight, meaning there is very little darkness!
Reykjavik Grapevine – this lifestyle magazine covers news, culture, events and travel better than anyone!
Visit Reykjavik – official tourist site for the city; includes accommodation listings, attractions and activities.
Visit Iceland – official tourist site for the country; a great reference for planning travel outside of the city.