Completely at odds with its size, Reykjavik actually is a fun city. Before or after exploring the rest & the best of Iceland, give it a chance. Have a day or two, ideally 48 hours, to get to know certainly the strangest capital of Europe. At first it does look as if nothing ever happens in here, but if you know the right places to go, you won't be disappointed. Once you are done with the cultural itinerary and shopping in Reykjavik, get ready to have some fun.
Start with seeing a show or a concert in Harpa, a beautiful venue with the impressive glass cover. I suggest How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes, the one-man, stand up comedy show. The show is performed in English, by Bjarni Haukur Thorsson who will teach you everything you need to know about being Icelandic, in just one hour. Important issues are elaborated, like why eating sour sheep balls might save your life. Get ready for hilarious observations of attitudes, habits, struggles and passions of a real Icelander, and, after one hour, become one. Another option is to see Icelandic Sagas - the Greatest Hits, an amusing and engaging show, that both newcomers and saga geeks love.
Picture © Credits to Lutique
An important question in Reykjavik is where to eat delicious food without having to rob a bank. There are always inexpensive ramen or noodles options, but for something truly Icelandic, go to the Lamb street food, Fish & co or Icelandic Street Food, where the traditional food is prepared as street food.
Picture © Credits to neurobite
Once you ate, a search for happy-hours starts. This is kind of a tradition for most of the bars in Reykjavik. Depending on a bar, happy hours start at 15:00h till the evening. As most of the bars are very close to each other you won't have troubles finding those with cocktails, house wines, and beer half price. Check out Petersen svítan, the best rooftop bar in Reykjavík with beautiful 360° view. Don't expect a skyscraper. In Reykjavik "rooftop" mostly means 3rd floor! Their happy hour is between 16:00 and 20:00. For some good live music in an interesting venue, continue to KEX. This is a funky hostel 10 minutes walk from the city center, made inside a former biscuit factory, with a cool bar and relaxed atmosphere. Besides concerts, they organise comedy evenings, pub quiz, karaoke and open mic nights. There are countless options for how to continue your night in Reykjavik, but one thing is sure. It must end with a famous Icelandic hot dog! Icelanders claim it's the best one you will taste in your entire life! A classic comes with onions, fried onions, mayonnaise and mustard but there are many other options. Seems like the most famous place to taste it is Bæjarins beztu pylsur. In the weekends it's open till 4:30 in the morning!
Picture © Credits to Marcin_Kadziolka
After an exhausting night of pub crawling, all you need is - a thermal swimming pool. This is a common way of relaxation in Iceland. Businessmen sometimes have meetings in the pools, people come here to catch up instead of going to a café. The tradition says that you first take a shower, naked, all together, then put your swim suit on and dip yourself in one of the warm pools, or go to a sauna. For a good price/quality ratio I suggest a place where mostly locals go - Sundhöllin (the "Swimming Palace"), near the rocket-like church Hallgrímskirkja. This is the oldest public bath in Iceland, opened in 1937. The architecture of the building is minimalist and the interior has been renovated recently. There is the main pool, and two hot tubs on the rooftop.
Once you are recovered, do the best possible thing that can be done in Iceland - go chase aurora borealis.
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