I’ve been to Iceland so many times, it’s ridiculous. I’ve been there, seen the Northern Lights and bought the big wooly jumper. Now, that’s all good and well but we wouldn’t be the best travel blog if we just told you about the most obvious things to do. So here is a best-travel-blog-worthy guide to Reykjavik and Iceland’s finest cafe’s, bars and hangouts.
These places will show you a great time, even if the aurora isn’t shining. Trust me, after a freezing morning looking at Geyser and Gullfoss, you’re going to need a hot chocolate to warm you up. We want to help you make all the little moments, in between seeing the world famous sights, just as good.
Don’t forget, you can listen to our Iceland Travel Music Playlist whilst hanging out too.
Kex – Possibly the coolest hostel in existence. I’ve seen some great bands play here whilst Iceland Airwaves festival was on. I’ve not stayed here yet but it would be a very social place to bunk down in Reykjavik. It has a great ambiance. Visitors are welcome in the bar and eatery. When = in the evenings or at the weekends.
Braud & Co Bakery – A take away baked goods joint that is so so sweet. You’ll spot it from the colourful exterior and amazing smell. Just follow your nose. When = in the morning.
Stofan Kaffihús – I couldn’t find this place last time I was in Reykjavik. I thought it had closed. Turns out they have just moved to slightly bigger premises due to their success. It hasn’t ruined the place though – it’s still a laid back café by day with a comfy bar feel at night. When = in the afternoon.
Reykjavik Roasters – Turn up, get a coffee, maybe a pastry, pick a nice vinyl record from their collection, put it on and maybe read a book. Not a bad record collection at all. When = all day.
(Kate at Reykjavik Roasters)
Kaffibarinn – For years I believed this place was owned by Damon Albarn – it’s not. It is one of the best bars in Reykjavik though. Quiet early in the week but hotting up with progressive house and cool beats at the weekend. When = evenings and weekends.
Prikid – Not every place in Reykjavik is cute and cozy. Prikid is an edgy burger joint with hip-hop soundtrack and loud customers. Go here if you like a great milkshake and some US import culture. When = for dinner.
Sandholt Bakari – This bakery is equally great to walk in and take away some baked delights, or if you’ve got time, sit in and enjoy a plate of vegetarian deliciousness, served to you. When = for lunch.
Smekkleysa / Bad Taste Records – Home to Bjork, Sigur Ros and loads of other Icelandic music. A great record store and historical part of the Iceland music scene. When = in the day.
Babalu Café – I’d recommend you head upstairs at this place, to find a cosy mishmash of furniture and board games on the first floor. Another café that’ll serve you a nice cold beer as you relax next to the choice portrait of two old Icelandic men kissing. When = afternoon or for a quiet evening.
Mokka – The oldest café in Reykjavik, this place is also one of the best cafe’s in Icland. It features on the cover of one of John Grant’s albums and is worth visiting just for that but the coffee is good and the environment, peaceful. When = in the afternoon.
Grái Kötturinn – This tiny café is worth popping in for breakfast one morning for great pancakes. It takes ages to get served, is under-staffed and the open whenever they feel like it but it’s the kind of casual place where people with relaxed attitudes love. When = in the morning.
The Laundromat – Everyone comes across this diner, due to its prime position. It doesn’t detract from it being a great value eatery with nice food and lots of options. Pop downstairs for a look too – it is an actual Laundromat. When = for lunch or dinner.
12 Toner Records – They offered me a coffee when I walked in. Browse the wonderful music of Iceland in this friendly record shop. When = in the day.
I also made a video on my last trip to Iceland which features a lot of these places. Check that out below.
(A backpacking & adventure travel blog with music, films & words)