Reykjavik is the perfect jumping off point to explore the various natural wonders of Iceland – from thermal baths to forested walks, vintage shopping, quirky bars and trendy restaurants…
There is something for everyone in the country’s capital – and it’s one of the not to miss cities of Iceland!
After touching down in Reykjavik airport, it was apparent that Iceland followed suit with countries that I had visited like Sweden and Germany – efficient, friendly and easy to navigate as a traveler.
I bought a FlyBus Plus ticket right outside Baggage Claim for about $20USD (you can buy one online here). From the airport, the bus goes to the main FlyBus terminal where I then hopped in a minibus which dropped off at the door of my Downtown Reykjavik hostel… all within about an hour and a half of landing!
Easy, breezy, seamless.
Staying in Downtown Reykjavik at Bus Hostel
Within minutes of checking in to the ultra-chic Bus Hostel, I was out again following the directions of the helpful front desk agent to explore Downtown Reykjavik on foot. Like many European cities, the city is set up more or less around a central church which is an extremely helpful point of reference while walking the city.
Cute vintage shops, tempting restaurants and craft beer and wine bars line the streets of artsy Reykjavik. Street art is celebrated with many shops and buildings boasting colorful murals and the city center streets are regularly closed off to cars which makes for the perfect Sunday Shopping Stroll or a Saturday Bar Hop.
The Lebowski Bar
My top bar in Reykjavik is The Lebowski Bar, commemorating the cult classic (and one of my all time favorite movies) The Big Lebowski. The bar specializes in variations of “The Dude’s” favorite drink, White Russians. They have over 15 different types of White Russian inspired drinks to choose from including the White Chocolate Russian which is actually made with white cocoa and the Tropical Russian made with Malibu Rum and coconut sypup. To any Big Lebowski fan or even just travelers fond of quirky bar experiences, The Lebowski Bar is not to be missed.
Reykjaviks thermal bath
About a fifteen minute walk from Bus Hostel in the opposite direction of downtown, (or a eight minute bike ride if you choose to use one of the free bicycles offered by the hostel) there are lovely forested trails and the city’s local thermal bath. Set right on the ocean, you can relax in the naturally heated spring water while watching kids play in the sand. Even on a cold and cloudy day (maybe especially on a cold and cloud day!) you can find local families barbecuing, unwinding and spending time in the baths.
Bus Hostel is the best spot in town to really get a feel of Reykjavik and to plan the rest of your Icelandic adventure. With their helpful staff, impeccably clean hostel, comfy beds and Black Out blinds (a must with the almost 24 hour day light during the summer) I was able to recharge and regroup after every long day of adventures in a place that felt ‘homey’ right from the start.
One of my favorite things about the hostel (besides the staff who were phenomenal!) was the fact that every morning as my alarm went off, all I had to do was shuffle to the kitchen which was centrally located on the upper floor, flip on the coffee maker and shuffle back to my room in my socks and pajamas. By the time I had brushed my teeth and gotten ready, there was a pot of coffee ready to help me start my day- it really felt just like home!
The staff is fantastic and able to help guests find the best things to do in the city as well as organize tours and rental cars throughout the country. As we pulled a lot of late nights and early mornings during our time in Iceland, it was also really nice to be greeted with a smile every time we walked in the door by the 24 hour front desk agent.
While I was there, the bar hadn’t formally opened yet but judging by the amount of open space and the vintage chic feel of the place, I predict that ‘Boogie Wonderland’ will definitely live up to it’s name.
Not matter what you do or where you go while you’re in Iceland, funky downtown Reykjavik is absolutely worth a day or two of exploration.
With unique bars, low key nature activities and friendly locals, Reykjavik may just become one of your favorite stops in Iceland.