Tips For Travelers
Following are a few items we recommend you bring along on your trip to Iceland. This is a non-exhaustive list that focuses only on the most essential items. Please note that if you are going snowmobiling or on an ATV, the outfitter will supply snowsuits.
- Water-proof hiking boots or shoes. Semi-stiff. Good ankle support. Sneakers are not sufficient.
- Warm socks (2-3 extra pairs)
- In summer: Rain pants and rain jacket (to use as an outer layer – it’s often windy and rainy at the same time)
- In winter: warm winter parka and waterproof cover pants.
- Hiking pants (usually better than jeans when traveling outside of Reykjavik)
- Warm sweater (wool or fleece)
- Gloves and warm hat (year-round)
- Swimwear (geothermal pools!)
- Towel (for those nature pools)
- Long thermal underwear (highly recommended in Winter and essential if snorkeling/diving as layer under dry suit)
- Casual clothes for Reykjavik and evenings
- Daypack (for camera, water, gloves, hat, etc.)
- Re-usable water bottle
- Eye cover sleep mask during summer months. (Hotels have black-out curtains but it may still not be pitch-dark).
The rule about Icelandic weather is that it is VERY changeable. The weather that you wake up to in the morning is probably not the weather you will have all day. Always be prepared for rain and wind, as well as sudden shifts in temperature.
In the Summer months (May-Sep) the temperature is typically between 40-60 F (10-15 C).
In the Winter months (Oct-April) the temperature is typically between 25-40 F (-5 to 5 C).
Visit the following Web page for information about current weather forecast: http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/areas/
There are big differences between winter and summer daylight hours. From May to August, you won’t see much darkness. Conversely, in mid-winter, expect only about four to five hours of daylight each day. Spring and fall daylight hours are roughly the same as in Europe and North America.
For information about daylight hours, visit: http://www.sunrise-and-sunset.com/en/iceland/reykjavik
The Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon, caused by an interaction of particles from a solar flare with the earth’s atmosphere above the magnetic poles. These interactions cause bright dancing lights in the sky, also known as the Northern Lights in the northern hemisphere.
The best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is from September through March. A viewing of these lights can never be guaranteed, it requires a big solar flare as well as a dark and cloudless sky.
For information about the Northern Light Forecast, visit: http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/
Here are suggested tipping guidelines for a guide in private tours:
|Group size||Per person, per day|
|1-2 pax||$25-$40 ($50-$80 per day per couple)|
|3-5 pax (family)||$20-$30 (e.g. $80-$120 per day for a family of 4)|
For other services, service fee is usually included in the price. This applies to restaurants, taxis, room service, etc. Tipping is never expected, but of course always appreciated.
Here are a few of our favorite fine dining restaurants in Reykjavik. We recommend that you reserve a table. Please let us know if you like us to help secure a reservation.
Vesturgata 2a, http://www.fiskfelagid.is/en/
Beautiful restaurant located in a historic building in the heart of Reykjavík. They offer a delicious around Iceland menu, where the chefs take the guests on a trip around the country, without them having to leave their tables.
Geirsgata 3, http://www.koparrestaurant.is/en/home-2/
Excellent restaurant located by the picturesque old harbor of Reykjavík. On the menu is a variety of dishes, where new methods and classic recipes converge, using traditional ingredients together with some surprising new ones.
Adalstræti 2, http://matarkjallarinn.is/en/
Gourmet Icelandic brasserie-style food located in a historic building in the heart of Reykjavík. Their secret menu will take you to heaven and back!
Apotek Kitchen & Bar
Austurstæti 16, https://apotekrestaurant.is/?lang=en
An exciting restaurant located in one of the most beautiful corners of Reykjavík. The menu is a fun mix of Icelandic and European cuisine with a smoking hot Argentinean grill as well as a lively cocktail bar where award winning “pharmacists” mix together exciting artisan cocktails.
Kol Kitchen & Bar
Skolavordustigur 40, https://kolrestaurant.is/en/
An exciting restaurant located close to the Hallgrímskirkja Church. The chefs at Kol have put a twist on the classics and up-scaling what might be called comfort food to a fine dining level, creating tasty dishes to satisfy a wide range of diners. They are also one of the leading bars in the rapidly growing Reykjavík craft cocktail scene.
Laugavegur 77, https://brasserie.is/
An excellent restaurant located in a building formerly owned by the Bank of Iceland. The menu at Eriksson Brasserie has a European style with a special emphasis on Italian cooking. The have a great wine collection in the cellar, located in the old money vault, where you can find a collection of about 4.000 bottles.
Laekjargata 2a, http://www.grillmarkadurinn.is/en/
One of the finest restaurants in Reykjavík, offering culinary delight straight from the loca l farmers. We highly recommend the Grillmarket tasting menu.
Tides at the Reykjavik EDITION
Austurbakki 2 https://www.editionhotels.com/reykjavik/restaurants-and-bars/
Tides is one of the newest fine dining options in Reykjavik. Located on the ground floor of the 5-star Reykjavik EDITION, it is headed by Michelin-starred chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason (who founded the famed Dill Restaurant) and offers a seafood-focused menu of modern Icelandic cuisine using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.
Laugavegur 28 http://sumac.is
A lively modern brasserie with on-trend concrete walls, burnished leather banquettes and a charcoal grill. Icelandic ingredients are given a Middle Eastern twist, with influences ranging from North African to Lebanese. Cooking is rustic and full of flavor; go for the meze sharing menus.
Laugavegur 28 https://ox.restaurant/
Find yourself back in time in an Icelandic kitchen, where you and 10 other adventurers will be seated around a chef table as he prepares your plates. A seat at ÓX costs ISK 32.500 per person. This price includes a full meal from the chef’s table including wine pairings & Coffee/Tea
The dining experience is available at 19:15 Thursdays-Saturdays
Reservations can only be made online with a payment card.
No Show fee is 32,500 ISK per person.
Laugavegur 59, https://www.dillrestaurant.is/en/home/
Nordic cooking with Icelandic ingredients and traditions.An authentic Icelandic journey, one deeply rooted in our captivating culture. Dill was first restaurant in Iceland to be awarded a Michelin star. Open Wednesday-Saturday from 6:00 PM.
Reservations can only be made online with a payment card.
No Show fee is 11,900 ISK per person.
Posthus Mathöll(i.e. Posthus Food Hall)
Posthusstræti 3-5, https://www.posthusfoodhall.is/
Excellent food hall in the center of town located in the grand old post office building. Selections include sushi, burgers, pizza, cocktail bars, bistro food and more.
Hafnartorg Food Hall
Upscale food hall located next to the EDITION hotel. Ambitious restaurants by many of Iceland´s top chefs. A good selection of food and drink from around the world.
Hlemmur Mathöllin (i.e. Hlemmur Food Hall)
Laugarvegur 107, http://www.hlemmurmatholl.is/english/
All kinds of food for all kinds of people. Hlemmur Food Hall is inspired by the great European food halls. Here, ten ambitious vendors provide samples of the best food Iceland has to offer.
Le Kock 2.0,Burgers
Tryggvagata 14, https://www.lekock.is/
Voted as the best burgers in town by our office staff. This place offers great atmosphere, affordable street food (not just burgers), where everything is made from scratch. After the meal, try their delicious doughnuts, you will not regret it.
Grandagardur 11 & Hlemmur Food Hall http://flatey.pizza/
True Napoli pizzas are now a reality in Reykjavík, with a pizzaiola from Naples, a custom electric oven that cooks pies in seconds, high-quality ingredients atop every signature thin slice, and leopard spot blistering.
Snaps is a favorite amongst locals. This French style bistro and bar is the perfect choice for brunch. The menu includes omelets, classic egg benedict and croque monsieur.
Baejarins Beztu (i.e. The Best Hotdog in Town)
The hot dog is Iceland´s favorite fast food. This tiny little hot dog stand, in central Reykjavík dates back to 1937 and is a local favorite. Hot dog condiments in Iceland include ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remoladi (a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish). Do as the locals do and ask for “eina með öllu” literally meaning one with everything.
Braud & Co, Bakery
Frakkastíg 16, http://www.braudogco.is/
An authentic bakery located close to the Hallgrímskirkja church. Delicious healthy bread and heavenly pastries that are made right in front of you in an open bakery. Try their cinnamon buns, you will not regret it
Grandagardi 21, http://valdis.is/index.php/is/
Icelanders love ice cream, no matter the weather. Valdis is an ice-cream shop located at Grandi (old harbor area) in Reykjavik. This shop was an instant hit with the locals, serving Italian Gelato with a variety of interesting flavors.
The main shopping streets in downtown area, are Bankastræti, Laugavegur and Skolavördustigur. Here are a few suggested stores:
Hildur Yeoman(local design)
Skólavörðustígur 22, http://www.hilduryeoman.com/
With her dreamy patterns and lush textures, Hildur Yeoman’s boutique is a pleasure for all the senses. In addition to Hildur’s own pieces, the store sells a handful of accessories from international brands.
Austurstræti 18, www.eymundsson.is
Large selection of books in English.
66 Degrees North(Icelandic outdoor clothing)
Bankastræti 5, www.66north.com
Iceland´s most famous outdoor clothing brand.
Cintamani(Icelandic outdoor clothing)
Bankastræti 7, https://www.cintamani.is/en/
Technologically advanced, functional and fashionable outdoor clothing & everyday wear
Bankastræti 4, www.aurum.is
Icelandic jewelry inspired by nature.
12 Tónar (Record Shop)
Skólavörðustígur 15, http://www.12tonar.is/
12 Tonar is a friendly record shop and independent label, where you can sit down and listen to a wide selection of music both Icelandic and foreign.
Kolaportid- Flea Market
The perfect place to pick up a bargain or just watch the world go by.
The Flea-market is open every weekend from 11AM-5PM
FREE DAY IN REYKJAVIK: Activities, Landmarks & Museums
The following list includes our recommendations for a free day in Reykjavik.
Geothermal Swimming Pools
Swimming is very popular year-round in Iceland. The Reykjavik area has more than 10 high-quality outdoor swimming pools. The pools are filled with water from natural hot springs and many of them also have saunas, steam baths, and various "hot tubs" with water temperatures ranging from 36 to 44 C (96 to 112 F). The pools closest to the city center are Sundholl Reykjavíkur, Vesturbæjarlaug & Laugardalslaug.
Flyover Iceland –The Ultimate Flying Ride
Fiskislóð 43, https://www.flyovericeland.com/
FlyOver Iceland uses state-of-the-art technology to reveal some of Iceland’s most awe-inspiring and picturesque landscapes and destinations. Guests will hang suspended, feet dangling, while the ride virtually whisks them away on an exhilarating journey around Iceland. Open from 9AM to 9PM
Hallgrimskirkja –Lutheran Church
Hallgrímskirkja church is Reykjavík's main landmark and the largest church in the country. The tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city and provides a wonderful 360° view over Reykjavík.
Admission to the church is free. Admission to the tower is ISK 1.000 - ISK 100 for children (7-16). Open from 9 AM to 10 PM
Harpa – Concert Hall & Conference Centre
Austurbakka 2, https://en.harpa.is/
Harpa is an enchanting destination with grand-scale award-winning architecture. The building features a distinctive colored glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland and features stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean.
At Harpa you can go on a Guided tour, a visual tour called Iceland in a Box or go to any of the numerous events they hold every year some of which specially tailored to travelers, How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes, Icelandic Sagas The Greatest Hits & Reykjavik Classics.
Open from 9 AM to 10 PM
Magic Ice Reykjavík
Laugavegur 4-6, https://www.magicice.no/listings/reykjavik-iceland/
A Magical Ice bar in Reykjavík City Center. Have a drink in a sub-zero ice gallery with sculptures & a bar, all made in crystal-clear ice. Serves alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.
Open between 11:00 AM – 11PM
Perlan –Wonders of Iceland
An exhibition about the geological and natural wonders of Iceland. This place also includes a 360°observatory deck with great views over the capital. Open from 9AM to 7PM
The Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement exhibition displays a Viking-age longhouse from around 930 AD. The ruins of the longhouse and a part of a man-made structure – a turf wall – have been preserved and are now on display. These are the oldest archaeological findings in Reykjavik. Open 9AM to 6PM.
The National Museum
The National Museum of Iceland’s permanent exhibition, making of a Nation - Heritage and History in Iceland, is intended to provide insight into the history of the Icelandic nation from the Settlement to the present day. The museum is located next to the University of Iceland about 10 min walk from the center of town.
Open from 10AM to 5PM. (Closed on Mondays during Winter)
The National Gallery of Art
Frikirkjuvegur 7, www.listasafn.is
The main emphasis of the collection is on 19th and 20thcentury Icelandic art but international art is featured as well. The museum owns the most valuable collection of works by Icelandic artists in the country.
Open from 11AM to 5PM. (Closed on Mondays during Winter)
Whales of Iceland
Fiskislóð 23-25, https://www.whalesoficeland.is/
A display of lifesize whales with information about the different species of whales that are found in the ocean around Iceland. Kids absolutely adore this place. Open from 10AM to 5PM