Are you ready for an extraordinary 12-day backpacking adventure through Iceland’s stunning landscapes? While nature will be your constant companion on this journey, your visit to Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city, offers an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture, savour mouthwatering cuisine, and relax in comfortable accommodations before or after your epic hiking trip.
This post has been written thanks to our guides’ expertise & the experiences of our previous travellers. Get ready to dive in!
Visit Reykjavík, the Icelandic capital
Visiting Reykjavík before or after your 12-day backpacking adventure in Iceland is a wonderful idea. This vibrant capital city serves as the perfect introduction or conclusion to your journey. Before you hit the hiking trails, immerse yourself in local culture, savor Icelandic delicacies, and unwind in comfortable accommodations. And after your epic adventure, Reykjavík offers the ideal setting to reflect on your experiences, celebrate your achievements, and pamper yourself. It’s a city that seamlessly blends urban charm with the magic of Iceland’s natural wonders, making your entire Icelandic experience truly unforgettable.
Accommodation in Reykjavík
After an exhilarating adventure on the Hidden Trails, you’ll want a comfortable place to rest your weary feet, or are you maybe looking for a place to stay before your adventure? Reykjavík offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. You can choose from cozy guesthouses, boutique hotels, or luxury resorts, depending on your preferences.
Our personal selection includes:
- Reykjavík Treasure B&B (Category: Bed & Breakfast / Gueshouse)
- Apartments on AirBNB: You can find hundreds of homestays on this famous website, although several of our travellers have recommended this one.
- Hotel Alda (Category: Hotel)
- Icelandair Marina hotel (Category: Hotel)
- Canopy Hotel by Hilton (Category: 5-star Hotel)
- The Reykjavík Edition (Category: 5-star Hotel)
These accommodations provide a blend of modern amenities and traditional Icelandic charm, making your stay as remarkable as your backpacking adventure. Even though we recommend these accommodations, please note that Reykjavík has a gigantic display of new & experienced hotels/guesthouses/apartments where you can stay after or before your trip.
Dining in Reykjavík:
Reykjavík boasts a vibrant culinary scene that’s perfect for food enthusiasts. Don’t miss the chance to taste traditional Icelandic dishes at local restaurants like Kaffivagninn, where you can savor the freshest seafood in the oldest restaurant in Iceland. Up for a taste of the local street food with a twist? try a lamb burger in the Indian-Icelandic fushion restaurant at Funky Bhangra, a popular hot dog stand. Looking into treating yourself? Then check Lóa restaurant or Sjávargrillið restaurant.
If you are into the new food halls trend, then for sure you need to check:
- The Hafnartorg Gallery (MUST): situated in the heart of Reykjavík’s newly developed harbor district completed between 2021 and 2023, serves as an ideal destination for food enthusiasts. This culinary hub offers a diverse range of options, whether you’re in the mood for delectable street food, gourmet dishes crafted by master chefs, or a pre-show drink. Indulge in outstanding ramen at the Black Dragon restaurant or savor the city’s most exceptional burgers at Brand restaurant. With its prime location and a variety of culinary experiences, Hafnartorg Gallery has become a go-to spot for food lovers seeking a memorable dining experience in the city.
- Posthús Mathöll: Posthús Mathöll stands out as a cherished culinary haven, capturing the hearts of both locals and city visitors alike. It finds its home within the venerable walls of the historic old post office, an iconic landmark in the heart of downtown Reykjavík. The old post office’s walls now resonate with the sounds of laughter, clinking glasses, and the sizzling of pans, providing a truly unforgettable dining experience.
Relax after 12 days hiking?
For those who are looking for a more relaxed adventure, unwind in the newly-famous Sky Lagoon geothermal spa, close to Reykjavík downtown and inspired on the Icelandic nature, a place where the sea meets the sky. Treat yourself to a few hours of pure relaxation, where you can soak in the rejuvenating vistas of the boundless horizon during The Ritual experience. Begin in the infinity lagoon to relax your mind and body. Afterward, invigorate your senses with a refreshing dip in the cold pool and cleanse your skin in the sauna. Rejuvenate in the cold-mist space, then pamper your body with Sky’s unique sea-salt scrub. Follow up with a healing steam room session to moisturize your skin. Conclude with a shower and a final soak in the ocean-view infinity lagoon for a truly revitalizing experience.
Have some extra time to kill and want to relax away from Reykjavík? Then the Hvammsvík hot springs are the best option for you. A mere 45-minute drive north of Reykjavík reveals a breathtaking natural hot spring nestled in pristine, crowd-free wilderness. Immerse yourself in eight natural hot springs that seamlessly merge with the ocean, cocooned by towering mountains and black sand beaches, creating an unparalleled and unspoiled retreat. Probably Hvammsvík is the home of best hot springs in Iceland.
Go local! Reykjavík public pools
Looking for something more authentic?
Try the local pools in Reykjavík! The vibrant capital of Iceland boasts a selection of geothermal swimming pools that are both a source of relaxation and a hub of local culture. These local pools, often referred to as “Sundlaugar” in Icelandic, are scattered throughout the city and offer a unique and rejuvenating experience.
One of the most popular options is the Laugardalslaug, situated in the expansive Laugardalur Park. This pool complex features hot tubs, a steam bath, and even a water slide for the whole family to enjoy. Adjacent to it, you’ll find the Reykjavík Botanical Gardens, making it an ideal spot for a day of relaxation and exploration.
For those looking for a more tranquil experience, Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach is a remarkable choice. This beachfront lagoon combines seawater and hot geothermal water, creating a comfortably warm oasis even during the chilliest Icelandic seasons.
If you seek a more local and authentic vibe, the Sundhöll pool & the Vesturbæjarlaug pool in downtown & the western part of Reykjavík are great options. These ones are favourites among residents and offer a glimpse into Icelandic daily life. These pools are particularly charming, as they capture the essence of a local community gathering spot.
Reykjavík’s local pools provide not only a place to relax and unwind but also a unique insight into the Icelandic way of life. They are a true reflection of the country’s love for hot water, nature, and communal well-being, making them a must-visit for any traveler exploring the city.
While in Reykjavík, consider enhancing your trip with complementary tours. Explore the iconic South Coast of Iceland & combine it with some glacier hiking, where you can witness the power of nature with visits to the waterfalls & outlet glaciers.
Our favourite? Check the tours led by our partners from Hidden Iceland, a Reykjavík’s based travel company renowned for its specialization in small group tours, and premium self-drive itineraries. The company’s founders instilled their unwavering belief that a dedicated and seasoned team could elevate a meticulously planned tour into an experience that is genuinely unforgettable. This guiding principle has solidified Hidden Iceland’s standing as a trusted and dependable name in the guiding community, revered for its exceptional offerings.