This will be the second of three posts I’m going to write on my visit to Iceland last year. Part 1 covered the tours we went on with Reykjavik Excursions to the Golden Circle, South Shore and Blue Lagoon; Part 2 is our accommodation, food and drink, and some of the sights to see around Reykjavik including some of the amazing graffiti; in Part 3 I’ll show you some of the other places we visited including Halgrimskirkja, Harpa and a whale-watching tour with Elding.
We stayed at A Part of Reykjavik: Hverfisgata Apartments. I forgot to take photos but if you click on the link you can see theirs which are 100% accurate, they haven’t edited them to make the rooms look bigger or anything like you sometimes get. We actually stayed in two different apartments as there was a leak so we had to move a couple of times while they fixed it, but they were so sweet about it and gave us the presents in the photo above to compensate. The apartments are beautiful and well equipped, with washing machine, cooker, dishwasher, coffee maker etc – a real home from home. They are also fitted with great black-out blinds – important in summer when the sun never really sets! Check-in etc is all easy and efficient, and although there’s no reception area and we didn’t actually meet anyone in person, they kept in touch via emails and a sweet note (addressed “Dear Miss,”) left on our door to keep us updated on the progress of the repairs.
Food and Drink
I was a little surprised by the range of different cuisines to choose from in Reykjavik: Japanese, Thai, American, Mexican, Indian, British… and of course, some traditional Icelandic! My highlights were:
– Reykjavik Fish Restaurant (photo above) – we ate here two or three times, and my friend tried different dishes but I got stuck on the fish stew. It was delicious and the perfect warming meal after a windy or rainy day. The staff were friendly and helpful and the restaurant itself has a very welcoming and relaxed feel. They also have big glass bottles of water you can help yourself to, which we appreciated.
– Tiu Dropar – a little basement coffee shop / wine bar. They serve very tasty waffles and pancakes. Another very relaxed place and cosy too, perfect for catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
– American Style (photo above) – the Tripadvisor reviews of this place are a bit hit or miss, but it was definitely a hit for me. The place is styled like an American diner, with booths, bar stools and rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. I had a steak with pepper sauce, onion rings, green beans and a jacket potato, and it was fantastic.
– Café Haiti – a very friendly little place by the harbour, with tasty coffee and small lunches e.g. panini. Also has a nice outdoor seating area if you’re feeling brave!
– Lobster Hut – this is a little take-away street food van located near Harpa, serving lobster sandwiches and soup. The soup was very buttery and rich so I couldn’t finish it, but it was delicious and full of tender chunks of lobster. A must-try.
– Near the Lobster Hut is Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, a hot dog stand famous because Bill Clinton had a hot dog there – I must say I actually had a better hot dog from a service station we stopped at on one of our excursions, but I can vouch that the Icelandic people really know how to make a cracking hot dog. Thin buns, good sausage, crunchy fried and raw onions, ketchup and mustard, and the one I had from the service station was even wrapped in bacon! My mouth’s watering just thinking about it.
– The English Pub – we had such a fun night here. They have a “spin the wheel” game – you buy a spin and the barmaid/man spins the wheel, and depending on where it lands you can win a drink. Everyone at the bar gets very into it, especially as whenever someone wins they ring the bell. I don’t like beer, so made up for it with a lot of cocktails… I’m fairly sure there was also live music but, well, I had a lot of cocktails so I can’t be 100% certain!
Other Sights to See
We took a ride on the City Sightseeing bus to get our bearings, and after an early dinner on our last evening we decided to take a stroll to see some of the sights up close. We ended up wandering until around 1am! Reykjavik has some beautiful architecture – Harpa, which I’ll include in my next post, is my favourite building I’ve ever visited, I loved it even more than Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia – and really intricate graffiti. So without further ado, here are some pictures: