When I was in January 2017 I had planned to travel low budget. Iceland is known for its high prices. That's why I have a lot of tips for you to enjoy Reykjavik and Iceland without spending a lot of money. Also if you have a bit more budget to spend, of course, it's nice to get my tips but maybe you want to eat some more extensive food or in a hotel sleep instead of a hostel? Of course, you're completely free to do that, but I want to keen to prove that Iceland does not have to be very expensive, so that the more accessible to more travellers. Read also my other blog Northern Lights spotting and road trips in Iceland for my adventures outside the city.
What's there to do in Reykjavik?
Reykjavik is a reasonably small and uncluttered city, to get lost you have to do your best Do. The shopping street runs right through the city and as you walk on you'll run into more eateries and cafes. There is also a supermarket in this Street. Picture above I took from a park near Perlan, you have here's a nice view of the city and you can take a refreshing walk there Create. In the middle of this park is a restaurant that you will from the city can recognize by the exuberant lighting.
Don't forget one of the world famous hot dogs to eat at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (I had to look up). Bill Clinton ate a hot dog here in 2004 and 2006 was named the best hot dog state in Europe. My judgment: very tasty hot dog, affordable, but certainly not a full meal. Tip: take there 2 immediately "with everything". Would I fly to Iceland specifically for it? No, that Not even.
If you're there, then it is worth while to see if the nearby market hall is open, where you can buy various local delicacies such as fermented shark and cinnamon Rolls. The former can taste for free and most people leave it there also at. Cinnamon rolls were really my favorite and are ideal as budget breakfast or snack in between.
On the north side of the city there is a promenade overlooking the island of Engey, on which you can see snowy peaks. At the end (or beginning) of the boulevard you will find Harpa, a modern concert hall that you can visit for free. In the photo below you can see the concert hall in the far away. Furthermore, there are daily "free tours" which will help you get to know the city and its history better. This is highly recommended, but you can also easily explore the city yourself because everything is close together.
Food and drink in Reykjavik
It's not cheap to eating out in Iceland, but living on hot dogs for a week is also a little too much of the good. And after all that walking in the cold, a hot cup of coffee is also very Welcome. Here are therefore a few suggestions:
For the coffee and possibly lunch I can recommend Café Babalú. This is a very cozy and homely coffee bar where you can literally stick for hours to chat or read a good book. You can go here for large mugs of coffee (also refills), some goodies for adding and international lunch dishes. See the picture below for an impression of the atmosphere. It's not a flattened tourist hotspot because it's slightly behind the shopping street and you really need to know that this place exists. That's why you'll find a lot of locals there. There is wifi and the toilet has a Star Wars theme.
Svarta Kaffið is a soup restaurant and is ideal for people who fall into the stress of extensive menus. You can only choose from 2 types of soup. The soup is served in a hollowed-out round bread and is quickly on the table, ideal for an affordable lunch or as an evening meal. Big eaters probably won't be full.
Another restaurant of the same caliber budget friendly and limited choice is Noodle Station. You're coming here not to dine extensively, but to have a healthy hot lunch Eat. In Reykjavik you will find surprisingly many Asian restaurants; for Japanese, Thai and Indian food is fine here. A similar restaurant is Ramen Momo.
Tip: If you're in the evening what you want to drink, keep an eye on the Happy Hours, so you save Quickly a few hundred Icelandic Crowns! An app is available (Appy Hour from The Reykjavík Grapevine) which tells you exactly where and when happy somewhere Hour is. And yes, you write that without "H." Skál!
Blue Lagoon, Secret Lagoon and a hidden gem
If we're talking about hot springs, i.e. geothermal baths, then of course we can't get around the Blue Lagoon. For many, this is a must go when they visit Iceland. I'll tell you right away that I didn't go there and unfortunately you can't tell if it's worth it or not. What I can tell is why I decided not to go.
The first reason is that it is very touristy (duhh!). A lot of people take this for granted, but if it can be a bit then I'd rather avoid this. I'd like to experience what it's like to live as a local resident and you shouldn't go to the Blue Lagoon for that, because Icelander won't get to it any time soon. This is a personal thing and it may well be that this argument does not matter to you.
The second reason is that it is very pricey. For an entrance ticket you quickly lost 50-80 Euro. I find that quite pricey for a swimming pond. The third reason is that it was constantly full, so it was necessary to book in advance. So I wouldn't have done that and turned out to be sensible afterwards if you wanted to go here.
Finally, two more reasons to go. Reason 1: it seems to be lovely to relax a day in the Blue Lagoon before you fly back and add a massage and sauna. Reason 2: It's a unique experience. Blue Lagoon is very luxurious and has all kinds of wellness activities. If you don't want to use this and a more authentic experience, the Secret Lagoon might be something for you.
I also have a very budget-friendly plan B for you. Admittedly a lot more sober, but a real local experience (see photo). If you walk around Reykjavik's local airport – not the airport where you landed – you'll get to a beach called Nauthólsvík Beach. Below is a hot spring, where a small bath is made on top. For about 5 Euros you have a ticket and you can admire the Icelanders who go swimming in the freezing sea with crazy hats and "warm" swimwear. Believe me, I tried to stay barefoot in the seawater for more than 10 seconds, but I really couldn't. Luckily the bath is nice and warm and you won't get cold there. There is also a sauna that you can use for free. Nice to go for a few hours, a whole day might be too much. Check out the opening hours in advance to avoid disappointment. An absolute must for if you like local activities. If you liked to read this blog, check out my other blog: Spotting northern lights and road trips in Iceland.