Last updated on December 27th, 2023 at 11:31 pm
With an increase in tourism over the past few years (thanks to an erupting volcano and the rise of digital nomads), now’s the best time to visit the land of fire and ice. A colorful capital city full of differing areas, local restaurants, and buzzing bars, it’s difficult to decide where to stay in Reykjavik- especially as a first time visitor.
A small city, Reykjavik has a lot to offer tourists in so many ways. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway, easy access to the ocean, or to be in the hustle and bustle of it all, Reykjavik’s various areas offer something for everyone.
After visiting the beautiful country 5 times, one of the most common questions I get asked is “where do I stay in Reykjavik?” With its array of day tour options and boutique hotels, Reykjavik is a great hub to start your Icelandic adventures.
If it’s your first time visiting, you’ll want to stay in the central part of the city. While Reykjavik is relatively small, Midborg spans from the coastal walk to Reykjavik International Airport. Here you’ll find the famous Hallgrimskirkja church, Braud bakery, and the National Museum of Iceland.
The heart of Reykjavik, locals frequent this area often- especially during the city’s happy hour times. Icelandic restaurants and quaint bars line the streets of the city center.
Stroll along rainbow road or enjoy the views from Hljómskála Park. (Tip; download the “Appy Hour” app if you want to browse the daily happenings and save yourself a lot of money in Reykjavik!)
Things To Do In Miðborg
- Climb to the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church
- Eat your way through Braud Bakery
- Explore the National Museum of Iceland
- Take a dip in Nautholsvik geothermal beach
Where To Stay In Miðborg
On the very edge of Reykjavik’s shopping street of Laugavegur sits the Hlíðar neighborhood. Steps from the city center without the business, this area is home to few hotels, rentals, and hostels. Tree-lined streets provide a hideaway from the evening liveliness of Reykjavik.
The indoor food hall, Hlemmur Mathöll, can be found here next to the main bus station. Visit any time of the day to experience an array of cuisines from around the world, and a local favorite amongst both tourists and locals.
Things To Do In Hlíðar
- Admire the Icelandic Art Museum
- Stroll through Klambratún Park
- Try the different cuisines at Hlemmur Mathöll
Where To Stay In Hlíðar
Both trendy and historic, Vesturbær encompasses the Old West Side and Harbor area. With its seafood shacks, traditional architecture, and boat tours, there’s no shortage of things to do in this area.
Whale Watching tours allow guests to experience nature’s beauty by day, while Northern Light tours provide a magical experience to witness a true wonder of the world.
Start your day with a coastal walk to the city center. About 10 minutes away, you’ll pass fishing boats, food shacks, and the distant view of snow-capped mountains along your way.
Things To Do In Vesturbær
- Visit one of the area’s interactive museums: Whale Museum, Saga Museum, Maritime Museum
- Make your own chocolate bar at OmNom Chocolate Factory
- Enjoy local brews at a women-empowered space: Lady Brewery
- Experience Iceland from above at Fly Over Iceland
- Walk the hill of Þúfa, for the best views of the city