Hotels in Reykjavik

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Best Reykjavik Hotels

Reykjavik Hotels

Brave the chill of Icelandic weather before diving into bubbling natural pools, explore Reykjavik's museums and art galleries behind modern facades to discover Iceland’s unique history, and challenge your taste buds with Hakarl, a pungent cured shark meat best washed down with schnapps. From its packed city streets where modern living is affluent and unique, to the windswept crags and spouting geysers of its outlying terrain, Reykjavik is mysterious and intriguing, rich in Neolithic culture, natural geological attractions, and fascinating traditions.

Things to see

Lined with contemporary office blocks, white-fronted stores, and multi-storey apartment buildings that overlook the packed city streets, Laugavegur narrows to a one-direction glass and concrete-built outdoor mall that’s regarded as Reykjavik’s oldest shopping precinct. Modern fashion stores, boutique furniture shops, and urban cafés pack their way along this lengthy boulevard as it slopes its way upwards from the sea. This city is well regarded for its modernistic creations, and nowhere shows off such progressive design as the towering mirrored structure of its Harpa concert hall. Opened in 2011, it’s lit at night with a purple hue, visible for miles across the water. A year-long schedule of events includes performances by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, as well as major international music stars. Not far from the heart of Reykjavik, the Laugardalslaug is a geothermal pool that’s part leisure facility and part therapeutic spa. On the coldest of winter days the pool is all but obscured by the haze of rising mist as the hot water meets the crisp air. If you’re tough enough to dive into this outdoor pool in one of the chilliest of the world’s countries, you’ll be rewarded with several waterslides to whizz down, a relaxing steam bath, and traditional ‘hot pots’ to soak in.

Hotels in Reykjavik

There are so many hotels in Reykjavik you’ll have no trouble finding accommodation that suits your lifestyle as well as your budget. From lavish inns with exclusive fitness centers, to discount hotels with comfortable rooms, even this city, which is renowned as an expensive place to visit, has a choice of affordable options. Typical luxury hotels in Reykjavik are designed with exclusivity in mind, without breaking from the almost minimalist design that Iceland is famous for. Lavish guest bedrooms, satellite televisions, spa baths, designer linens, and fine-dining restaurants are all traditional features.

Where to stay

Most of the hotels in Reykjavik are located close to the harbor, enjoying idyllic views over the ocean while benefiting from a central location. The crowded, bustling inner-city streets are fit to burst with trendy loft hostels, modern architectural hotels, and converted seaport warehouses. A little further east, homely guesthouses and bed and breakfasts make an appearance, still a short walk from boutique fashion stores and tempting coffee shops.

How to get to Reykjavik

Almost in the center of the city, Reykjavik Airport is the main entry point for travelers arriving on this tiny northern island. The benefit is the shortened traveling time to reach local hotels, and while buses and taxis are available, it’s perfectly possible to walk the distance between the two. Public transport is ideal for getting around the city, although hiring a car is a preferable option to explore the outlying island attractions. You can hire a car for a day or two of your holiday rather than the whole time you’re away, and it’s worth checking to see whether your hotel has parking facilities in a city that’s notoriously cramped.

When are the best times to travel to Reykjavik?

All the seasons are equally appealing in Reykjavik. Those seeking the ethereal beauty of the northern lights should head here between the months of September and April, when you have the greatest chance of gazing up at the swirling, psychedelic greens and yellows in the sky. Summer, meanwhile, brings the seemingly endless days – Iceland’s position on the planet makes it the land of the midnight sun during the height of summer, and there’s no more magical time to go on a whale-watching cruise off the coast of the city.

What are the top must-see attractions in Reykjavik?

If one building can be counted as an icon of this city, it’s Hallgrímskirkja. This avant-garde church was designed to resemble lava flows, sweeping up into the sky to loom over the landscape. Then there’s the natural serenity of Tjornin, a lake so popular with people feeding birds that it’s fondly dubbed the biggest bread soup in the world. A hit with photographers, it’s even more impressive when frozen over in the winter. Meanwhile, you can wander through time by visiting the 19th-century cottages of Arbaer Open Air Museum.

What are the best types of food and restaurants in Reykjavik?

Hotels in Reykjavik will put an array of very different restaurants on your doorstep. If you want to sample examples of New Nordic cuisine, you’re in luck – some of the young chefs here are gaining global acclaim for using the traditional smoked fish and foraged herbs of the region to winning effect. Some fine fish restaurants can be found around the Old Harbour in particular, but watch out for hakarl – the fermented flesh of sharks which is considered a culinary rite of passage in Iceland.

What are the top things to do in Reykjavik?

Basking in pools and hot tubs is a popular pastime in Iceland. The largest pool in Reykjavik is Laugardalslaug, which features different swimming sections, saltwater tubs and steam baths – perfect for relaxing in after a hard morning’s sightseeing. If that puts you in the mood, head out of the city to the famous Blue Lagoon, where you can enter the mineral-filled waters and indulge in luxury health treatments. Then there’s the National Museum of Iceland, which boasts the majestic Valthjófsstadur door, an ornately carved wooden door dating to the 12th century.

What are some fun facts about Reykjavik?

The steam rising from hot springs is said to have inspired Reykjavik’s name, as it translates as “smoky bay”. Being located on the cusp of the Arctic Circle, Reykjavik is the most northerly capital city of a sovereign state in the world. Animal lovers will be fascinated to learn that dogs were actually banned in the city for much of the past century, due to worries about disease.

What kinds of public transport are there in Reykjavik?

To travel in Reykjavik, you should get the comfy shoes on, because it’s a pleasure to see the city on foot. That said, the public bus network is top-notch, with regular and punctual services to the city’s major attractions. Speaking of which, you’ll need to get a bus or a taxi from Keflavík International Airport, as there are only road connections between the airport and the city.

Reykjavik Travel Guides & Things To Do

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