Thor's Tips for Reykjavik

Thorlakur
Thor's Tips for Reykjavik

Food scene

A very nice café close to my apartment. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, informal dinner or drinks after enjoying the swimming pool across the street.
122 locals recommend
Kaffihús Vesturbæjar
20 Melhagi
122 locals recommend
A very nice café close to my apartment. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, informal dinner or drinks after enjoying the swimming pool across the street.
Great place for informal lunch or dinner, friendly staff and excellent food.
114 locals recommend
The Coocoo's Nest
23 Grandagarður
114 locals recommend
Great place for informal lunch or dinner, friendly staff and excellent food.
This excellent restaurant, located in The Marshall house art centre, is a personal favourite. Even though it is a relaxed place it would be in the fine dining category, and therefore slightly pricier than other listings. Good for lunch or dinner, but not open all week.
15 locals recommend
La Primavera Ristorante
20 Grandagarður
15 locals recommend
This excellent restaurant, located in The Marshall house art centre, is a personal favourite. Even though it is a relaxed place it would be in the fine dining category, and therefore slightly pricier than other listings. Good for lunch or dinner, but not open all week.
Sometimes all you crave is just a hamburger and fries, and in that case this would be the place to visit. A short walk from my home, this tiny little place doesn't disappoint.
90 locals recommend
Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar
Geirsgötu 1 Geirsgata
90 locals recommend
Sometimes all you crave is just a hamburger and fries, and in that case this would be the place to visit. A short walk from my home, this tiny little place doesn't disappoint.
When you are in the mood for a nice Ramen, this tiny little place is where to go. A great option for vegan travelers and those who need a little warmth in their bodies after a long cold day.
9 locals recommend
Ramen Momo
16 Tryggvagata
9 locals recommend
When you are in the mood for a nice Ramen, this tiny little place is where to go. A great option for vegan travelers and those who need a little warmth in their bodies after a long cold day.
You have probably heard about this place before, and that is for a reason, it serves (as the name implies) the best hot dogs in town. Distinguished clients include Bill Clinton among others (ask to see his picture).
133 locals recommend
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
1 Tryggvagata
133 locals recommend
You have probably heard about this place before, and that is for a reason, it serves (as the name implies) the best hot dogs in town. Distinguished clients include Bill Clinton among others (ask to see his picture).
A cosy place with an excellent team of chefs is a great option to enjoy food and wine. Given its popularity and small size, booking ahead is advised.
8 locals recommend
Hosiló
12, 101 Hverfisgata
8 locals recommend
A cosy place with an excellent team of chefs is a great option to enjoy food and wine. Given its popularity and small size, booking ahead is advised.
For those who enjoy or want to explore traditional Scandinavian dishes are well advised to visit this place, either for lunch or dinner. A visit there is a fixture in the Christmas preparation for many in Reykjavik so becomes extremely busy in December and booking ahead is advised.
21 locals recommend
Jómfrúin - Scandinavian Kitchen
4 Lækjargata
21 locals recommend
For those who enjoy or want to explore traditional Scandinavian dishes are well advised to visit this place, either for lunch or dinner. A visit there is a fixture in the Christmas preparation for many in Reykjavik so becomes extremely busy in December and booking ahead is advised.
If you want to enjoy some nice fish for lunch in a place where the fishermen come to eat, then this would be the place.
10 locals recommend
Kaffivagninn
10 Grandagarður
10 locals recommend
If you want to enjoy some nice fish for lunch in a place where the fishermen come to eat, then this would be the place.
If you want to go out for drinks (and maybe a dance) on the weekend then this place is already an institution. Becomes busy on weekends, with lines forming outside, so showing up early makes good sense.
106 locals recommend
Kaffibarinn
106 locals recommend
If you want to go out for drinks (and maybe a dance) on the weekend then this place is already an institution. Becomes busy on weekends, with lines forming outside, so showing up early makes good sense.
A close-by bakery that serves both things sweet and savoury. The Poor Man's Offer is an economic way to handle breakfast or lunch.
DEIG workshop
18 Tryggvagata
A close-by bakery that serves both things sweet and savoury. The Poor Man's Offer is an economic way to handle breakfast or lunch.
This is a recent addtion and I have just tried this once. The emphasis is here to serve a wide array of creative and fresh fish, with a small selected menu and wine list. This bright restaurant sits dead-center in town, and just watching out the window is worth a visit. Everything was moderately priced for a restaurant of this caliber.
8 locals recommend
BRÚT Restaurant
8 locals recommend
This is a recent addtion and I have just tried this once. The emphasis is here to serve a wide array of creative and fresh fish, with a small selected menu and wine list. This bright restaurant sits dead-center in town, and just watching out the window is worth a visit. Everything was moderately priced for a restaurant of this caliber.

Sightseeing

The pools in Reykjavik are almost a religion to the locals, frequented from daybreak until well into the night. This one is my local one and only a short walk from my apartment. Adhere to the pool rules, including showering without your swimsuit before you enter the pool, otherwise you may irritate the locals.
286 locals recommend
Vesturbæjarlaug
107 Hofsvallagata
286 locals recommend
The pools in Reykjavik are almost a religion to the locals, frequented from daybreak until well into the night. This one is my local one and only a short walk from my apartment. Adhere to the pool rules, including showering without your swimsuit before you enter the pool, otherwise you may irritate the locals.
This eccentric museum is a personal favourite. The building is almost a mausoleum around the work of Symbolist sculptor Einar Jónsson and his fairytale like sculptures. The sculpture garden is also a nice oasis in the city on a summer's day or when impregnated with snow in the winter.
62 locals recommend
The Einar Jónsson Museum
62 locals recommend
This eccentric museum is a personal favourite. The building is almost a mausoleum around the work of Symbolist sculptor Einar Jónsson and his fairytale like sculptures. The sculpture garden is also a nice oasis in the city on a summer's day or when impregnated with snow in the winter.
The cathedral of the small Catholic minority in Iceland is to be found in my street, and most likely you will hear its bells sometime during your visit. Try to find the small statue of my namesake St. Thorlak, the patron saint of Iceland.
19 locals recommend
Landakotskirkja
19 locals recommend
The cathedral of the small Catholic minority in Iceland is to be found in my street, and most likely you will hear its bells sometime during your visit. Try to find the small statue of my namesake St. Thorlak, the patron saint of Iceland.
Masterpiece of architect Guðjón Samúelsson this is the tallest building in Reykjavik. The minimalist interior is a fine expression of Lutheran aesthetics and a trip up to the bell tower offers a fine panoramic view over Reykjavik.
388 locals recommend
Hallgrimskirkja
101 Hallgrímstorg
388 locals recommend
Masterpiece of architect Guðjón Samúelsson this is the tallest building in Reykjavik. The minimalist interior is a fine expression of Lutheran aesthetics and a trip up to the bell tower offers a fine panoramic view over Reykjavik.
If you want a fine dose of contemporary art then a visit to The Reykjavik Art Museum is recommended. Split into three buildings, the main one is a short distance from my home, while the other two will take you a bit further out. Your ticket will be valid for all three buildings.
20 locals recommend
Reykjavík Art Museum
20 locals recommend
If you want a fine dose of contemporary art then a visit to The Reykjavik Art Museum is recommended. Split into three buildings, the main one is a short distance from my home, while the other two will take you a bit further out. Your ticket will be valid for all three buildings.
You have probably realised by now that I like a book or two and so you will understand why I like this bookstore. This labyrinthian antiquarian bookstore is a real gem.
Bòkin Books
25, 101 Klapparstígur
You have probably realised by now that I like a book or two and so you will understand why I like this bookstore. This labyrinthian antiquarian bookstore is a real gem.
An alternative pool to the close by Vesturbæjarlaug. This is Reykjavik's oldest and the indoor (male) dressing rooms are a real sight. Recent renovations have included an outdoor pool and a new female dressing room.
273 locals recommend
Sundhöllin
45a Barónsstígur
273 locals recommend
An alternative pool to the close by Vesturbæjarlaug. This is Reykjavik's oldest and the indoor (male) dressing rooms are a real sight. Recent renovations have included an outdoor pool and a new female dressing room.
I love going to the cinema in a foreign city. I would recommend Reykjavik's only arthouse cinema, that also frequently screens Icelandic films with English subtitles. They also serve beer and wine to enjoy your film a little better.
66 locals recommend
Bíó Paradís
52 Hverfisgata
66 locals recommend
I love going to the cinema in a foreign city. I would recommend Reykjavik's only arthouse cinema, that also frequently screens Icelandic films with English subtitles. They also serve beer and wine to enjoy your film a little better.

Neighborhoods

Örfirisey (don't try to pronounce it!) used to be an island separate from Reykjavik until the early 20th century. Now an integral part of Reykjavik this industrial and harbour related area has undergone rapid development in the past decade or so. Home to nice restaurants (La Primavera, Cuckoo's Nest and also home to other attractions such as The Marshall House, Flyover Iceland, The Maritime Museum and The Whale Museum. Also a good place for a stroll along the harbour to watch the boats go in and out. Furthermore this is the area where you want to go for the discount stores to buy your groceries.
Grandagarður
Örfirisey (don't try to pronounce it!) used to be an island separate from Reykjavik until the early 20th century. Now an integral part of Reykjavik this industrial and harbour related area has undergone rapid development in the past decade or so. Home to nice restaurants (La Primavera, Cuckoo's Nest and also home to other attractions such as The Marshall House, Flyover Iceland, The Maritime Museum and The Whale Museum. Also a good place for a stroll along the harbour to watch the boats go in and out. Furthermore this is the area where you want to go for the discount stores to buy your groceries.
I am of course a bit partial to my own neighbourhood, wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Primarily a residential area that stretches from downtown Reykjavik all the way south to the ocean. Home to Vesturbæjarlaug pool, Kaffi Vest (café) and Melabúðin for grocery shopping, a stroll down to and along the street Ægisíða is a great way to enjoy the shore view, and perhaps a peek all the way to Snæfellsjökull glacier.
7 locals recommend
Vesturbær
7 locals recommend
I am of course a bit partial to my own neighbourhood, wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Primarily a residential area that stretches from downtown Reykjavik all the way south to the ocean. Home to Vesturbæjarlaug pool, Kaffi Vest (café) and Melabúðin for grocery shopping, a stroll down to and along the street Ægisíða is a great way to enjoy the shore view, and perhaps a peek all the way to Snæfellsjökull glacier.

City/town information

For a short trip out of Reykjavik, Stykkishólmur and the Snæfellsnes peninsula can be recommended. This small town gives you a glimpse into the architecture of 19th century Iceland and has excellent restaurants for fresh seafood. Overlooked by many visitors to Iceland, this town is about 2,5 hours drive out of Reykjavik.
12 locals recommend
Stykkishólmur
12 locals recommend
For a short trip out of Reykjavik, Stykkishólmur and the Snæfellsnes peninsula can be recommended. This small town gives you a glimpse into the architecture of 19th century Iceland and has excellent restaurants for fresh seafood. Overlooked by many visitors to Iceland, this town is about 2,5 hours drive out of Reykjavik.
May not be the most exciting town in Iceland, and overlooked by many travellers heading out for the attractions of South Iceland, this town yet offers many surprises. This would be your destination if you want to hike up to Reykjadalur geothermal pools, but also has its own excellent swimming pool (see image). Also has several eating options, including Matkráin bistro, that is definately recommended. Less than an hour's drive outside of Reykjavik, and also connected into the bus service.
24 locals recommend
Hveragerði
24 locals recommend
May not be the most exciting town in Iceland, and overlooked by many travellers heading out for the attractions of South Iceland, this town yet offers many surprises. This would be your destination if you want to hike up to Reykjadalur geothermal pools, but also has its own excellent swimming pool (see image). Also has several eating options, including Matkráin bistro, that is definately recommended. Less than an hour's drive outside of Reykjavik, and also connected into the bus service.

City advice

Ways to save

Discount Stores

Melabúðin is the closest grocery store to my place and satisfies every need, but may not be the cheapest ones. For those who want to save on their grocery shopping then discount stores Bónus and Krónan can be recommended. Nettó is also an option and has longer opening hours. The discount stores can be found close to each other in the Grandagarður region (see Neigbhorhoods).
Customs & culture

Do Drink the Tap Water!

Nothing says tourist as loudly as someone buying water in a store in Reykjavik. The tap water is pure and recommended for drinking. Buying water in plastic containers is a waste of money and bad for the environment.
Getting around

Transport from the airport

I recommend taking the Flybus (or other bus operators) from Keflavík International airport to BSÍ bus terminal in Reykjavík. From there you can take a taxi the short ride to my apartment. Taking a taxi all the way from the airport will cost you a small fortune.
Book before you go

Blue Lagoon

If you intend to visit The Blue Lagoon on your trip to Iceland, then booking well in advance is sound advice, as it is a very popular destination.
What to pack

Bring Clothes for all Weathers

This is Iceland after all, so packing clothes that will protect you from the cold and rain is sensible. For those who are going to spend extended time outdoors, plan ahead, even in the summer. For hiking, avoid all clothes made of cotton, but opt for clothes made of wool or specialised synthetics. Cotton absorbs humidity and takes a long time to dry, which can be deadly in extreme conditions.