Reykjavik on a budget | What to see and do

Reykjavik , the capital of Iceland, is a small but vibrant city with friendly residents, great nightlife,  and lots to explore. The city has an abundance of shops -the main shopping street is Laugavegur-, museums and culture spots, souvenir shops and coffee shops on every corner. The name of the city  means smoky bay. The name comes from the ancient past when the first settlers arrived and found hot springs all over the place from which steam and smoke was rising. I visited  Reykjavik in October, the weather was very windy, like a typical winter day in Iceland. The winter in Iceland starts in October, so I was aware of  what to expect. Despite the freezing cold temperatures,  we were lucky enough to get some sunshine.

https://www.instagram.com/evbeing/
Citywalk tour

The Citywalk tour was a brilliant choice.The Tour is free but a donation is highly recommended. Nanna, our tour guide, a fresh young girl full of joy provided us with plenty of information regarding the sights, the history and the life of the city.

Ingolfur Arnarson's statue

During our walking tour we stopped by  Ingolfur Arnarson’s statue. Arnarson was a Norwegian Viking and the first settler in Iceland. Anderson and his fosterbrother Hjoerleifur picked a fight with the sons of a powerful earl in Norway and murdered  both of them. After that, he had to leave Norway and sailed to Iceland  with  his wife, Hallveig Fróðadóttir,  their families, slaves and their belongings. This took place around the year A.D. 870.

Northern Lights tour

One thing not to miss, when visiting Iceland, is seeing Northern lights. We had to drive one hour outside Reykjavik. The night was partly cloudy and  the chances of  seeing the lights according to the forecast were 50%. After a long wait in the dark and  freezing cold waiting  for the northern lights to appear, well worth our effort, we had the chance of seeing them.

Such a great adventure and night to remember. The next day, after experiencing a heavy rain, stormy weather and windy as hell ,the lights where even visible in Reykjavik town. How amazing that was !! The Northern Lights tour prices start from €36-€40.

 Skolavordustigur

One of the most popular streets is Skolavordustigur, a lovely shopping street  in Central Reykjavik, nearby to Laugavegur Street, the main shopping area, and all the way up to Hallgrimskirkja Church.

Hallgrimskirkja
Hallgrimskirkja church

Hallgrimskirkja is a Lutheran parish church, one of  Reykjavik’s main landmarks. The Tower of the church at 74.5 metres (244 ft) provides an amazing 360° view  all over the city. There is a always a queue to the lift up, however the tower view is totally worth your time. The ticket to the top costs around €10. Here is a view not to be  missed!!

Sun Voyager
Sun Voyager

Sun Voyager, is an impressive striking steel scuplture, located at Sæbraut Road by the seaside of the city, designed by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason, that resembles a Viking long ship, however is best described as a dreamboat, an ode to the sun. Walk by the seaside,  admire the view to the mountains on the other side of the harbour. The city of Reykjavik has plenty of statues, graffiti and art spots.

Unknown  Bureaucrat
One of the most popular sculptures is  the “Unknown  Bureaucrat”  by Magnús Tómasson.
 Iceland, fish
Fresh salmon, cod and delicious mussels.

When it comes to food in Iceland, fish is the absolute choice. Fresh salmon, cod and delicious mussels , fish soup, all so fresh that simply melt in your mouth. Amazing food, tasty flavours, accompanied by warm bread and fresh butter. Innovative decoration that captures the eye, fish lamps in front of  a blackboard showcasing  menu and prices and a cosy seating with a view to the harbour. The prices per person are of € 35-€40.

A little gem just outside the center of the city, just 15 min driving, is the area of Elliðaárdalur waterfalls. So much beauty and absolutely stunning nature, a beautiful park, located between two rivers  and great hiking trails, just outside the capital. A place ideal for a  walk in nature.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
When is comes to hot dog in Reykjavík there are many choices but most popular is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Widely known as the  best hotdog in town, Bæjarins is made mostly from Icelandic lamp, along with a bit of pork and beef. Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur became globally popular when, in 2004, President Clinton visited Reykjavik, stopped for a hotdog and  ordered the one with everything “ein með öllu” Good taste and a queue always to be expected (€4) .

TIPS:

-If you travel on a budget, you better avoid taxis, which are extremely pricey.The buses accept only cash. I had to take a 4  km taxi service that cost me 17.

-The cheapest and most convenient way  to commute from the airport is Flybus (40).

-Iceland air offer competitive flight prices.

-Accommodation in central Reykjavik prices start from €40-€55 per night.

-The Bonus Supermarket  offers excellent value and cheap eats vs in 10-11 (super market) the prices are 30% up.

-If you love art visit for free art living museum.

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Contemporary art exhibition @ art living museum

Kaffibarinn is one of the popular spots in the weekend, a great socializing spot usually crowded.

-Visit kaffi and te @ Laugavegur 27 and taste tea or coffee and delights after shopping.

Harpa

Harpa

Harpa is a concert hall and conference centre, covered by  glass facade and designed by renowned visual artist Olafur Eliasson .Worth visiting inside as well . There is a lovely elegant coffee shop and an amazing art -gift shop

-Icelanders do love meat of lamb. Lamb soup is a must during freezing cold days. Available for take away in 10-11 super market from 5.

-If you fancy antiques and old stuff, foodies and clothing, visit Kolaportid, flea market, located in the old harbour and open on the weekend.  You can get clothes and sweaters in cheaper prices. Wasn’t excited but worth a quick look.

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Tap water in Iceland comes from springs in the ground and  is of great quality.

TIPS:

Revolut has simplified currency exchange in my travel. Definitely worth it! Top up in pounds and exchanges money without fees in 29 different currencies. All you have to do is check daily the rates. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/2y9KNUN

2 thoughts on “Reykjavik on a budget | What to see and do

  1. No worries about language Everyone speaks fluent English everywhere coffees,restaurants . Icelanders are friendly and welcoming &iceland is one of the safest countries in the world.Definitely is an expensive destination but not impossible to visit if you plan and book ahead. You can save on flights (icelandair is great and affordable if you book ahead) and accommodation (e.g guesthouses ). Definitely avoid local transport, especially taxis and rent a car plus go for Bonus supermarkets, not 10-11.If planning on visiting reykjavik message me to provide you with helpful info

    Liked by 1 person

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