Reykjavik + Surrounding Areas, Iceland
We want to start off by making sure you understand that this guide is not just for the city of Reykjavik. While a majority of it is, please note that we are including some recommendations from a few surrounding regions including the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to the west, as well as a few spots towards the south coast near the towns of Hveragerði and Vík. It’s pretty simple, we LOVE Reykjavik. We first visited the northern most capital in the world on our honeymoon back in 2013, and then in 2015 we had the opportunity to live there for 3 months, during one of the craziest winters of our lives! Think wind so strong you could lean backwards and not fall.
Unlike most people who view Reykjavik as a stopping point to get to (x) place on the island, we were fortunate to have the time to really dig into the culture of the city, make some lifelong friends and get to know this little gem of a city in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean in a way that I don’t think we would have had we not been snowed in for 3 months, ha.
Since that trip though, we’ve returned back 3 other times. Needless to say, Reykjavik and the surrounding areas are a place that continues to call us back. It’s a home away from home.
Kex Hostel - If you can get a room at KEX, you definitely should. If you like good coffee, beer, music and food this is the epicenter for culture in Reykjavik.
Reykjavik Treasures B&B - A charming B&B a girl we met in Reykjavik owns. It’s beautifully renovated and is located in the center of town.
Hotel Ion - This hotel is only about an hour drive away from Reykjavik. This place looks like a spaceship set into the mountains. It is an incredible place with wonderful food, service, and rooms! We loved how quiet and still everything was. We just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves while we were there!
Kaffihús Vesturbaejer - When we lived in Reykjavik this was our favorite spot to wait out winter storms. The cauliflower soup with beer bread and cheese is UNREAL.
Kex Hostel - They have a great view and awesome food. You should try to stay here if you get a chance. It's not your typical hostel, you could also go there for just a coffee if you wanted.
Matur og Drykkur - It means food and drink in Icelandic. This place is great for lunch and dinner! It has a great atmosphere! Super cute and the bread is the best we had in all of Iceland!
Kaldilaekur - Located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula about 2 hours west of town, this coffee shop/cafe is owned and operated by some dear friends of ours, and is located in the quaint little town of Olafsvik. We highly recommend you check out this area of the country!
Vidvik - If you are looking for amazing food, with amazing views, look no further. Located in the small town of Hellissandur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this restaurant has an unobstructed view of the nearby glacier and some of the best food we've had in the country.
Reykjavik Roasters - Coffee first, right? They have two locations now, the original is in the center of town, the other is towards the main bus station. We prefer the original, but a seat can be hard to come by.
Brauð & Co- We simply do not know a better bakery. Follow the scent of cinnamon rolls and you'll surely arrive to this amazing little shop. Grab a baked good and head back to Reykjavik Roasters for a coffee.
Bergsson Mathus- This place has a great breakfast and lunch menu. Their food is really fresh and healthy. We would go here all the time to get work done and it was nice because we wouldn't have to leave when we got hungry. They have super tasty desserts too.
Hverfisgata 12 - This is a great pizza place located right above the restaurant called Dill. For a while it wasn't labeled but now you can find it easily on your maps.
Mikkeller & Friends- Bar above the pizza place. It's connected. Pretty small but has good beer!
Dill -This place is pretty pricey but they are the lead in the Nordic food scene in Iceland. We didn't end up getting to go eat here but we were told that what you spend is totally worth it!
Snaps - A great spot for a nice lunch or dinner. Try making a reservation because they tend to get pretty busy.
Hlemmur Bus Station - Confused? What was once a dump of the central bus station is now a reinvented food hall made up of a handful of great restaurants and craft bars.
Austur India - We know it sounds funny that there is an Indian food restaurant in the middle of the city but we really loved being able to go get food with all those great spices on them.
Valdis Ice Cream - An amazing little ice cream shop right on the harbor.
Coo Coo’s Nest - One of our favorite cafes located right next to Valdis.
Stofan- A cute house with coffee upstairs and a bar downtowns.
Sandholt- This place has great pastries and is on the Main Street downtown. It makes you feel like you are in France.
Taco Barrin- A good spot for tacos and margaritas.
Harpa Concert Hall - The Iceland Symphony Orchestra is shockingly talented. If you have the chance, you must check them out!
Reykjavik Pond - Located in the city center, walking the pond around town is a great way to enjoy the quiet city life.
Seltjarnarnes Lighthouse - On the outskirts of town, the lighthouse is set on a small area of land that is only reachable in low tide.
Hallgrímskirkja Church - The church you can see from any part in town is defitnitely worth the visit.
Reykjadalur Hot Springs - Located near the town Hveragerði. This hot river is about a 2 hour roundtrip trek, but totally worth every step.
Blue Lagoon - We know, it's toursity, but there is a reason some things are the way they are. It's the perfect way to relax before or after your flight.
The Secret Lagoon in Flúðir - A smaller hot spring located about 1 1/2 hours from Reykjavik.
Seljavallalaug - One of the oldest swimming pools in all of Iceland.
A Few More Spots to See
vik - in the south coast is the town of Vik, an iconic Icelandic city sitting right on the infamous black beaches. Please be careful and DO NOT get in the water as the tides are crazy strong.
Þingvellir national park - Just an hour from Reykjavik, this National Park is home to the meeting point of the European and North American tectonic plates, and some unreal natural beauty.
Olafsvik - A quiet sea town on the Snaefellsness Peninsula.
Budir - Home of the famous Black Church.
Farmers and Friends- This store has great clothes that are made in Iceland. We love going and checking out their newest trends!
Geysir- This clothing store is near the main church and has super cute clothes, shoes, candles etc.
Aurum- This store is on the main road walking up to the church and has fun things for the home.
My Concept Store- This store is really neat inside. It’s all black and has great coffee table books, candles, jewelry, and clothes. It always smells great too!
Hyalin - A brand new food and textile shop selling some amazing French goods.