Are you planning a trip to Iceland? Iceland is an enchanting destination that everyone should visit at least once in his or her life. Visitors are always amazed and impressed by the breathtaking scenery, friendly people, and unique island culture in this westernmost country of Europe.
However, with that in mind, some might be surprised to learn that the population of this capital city is just over 133,000 people. Don’t let the small-sounding size of this city dissuade you, though. After all, the population of Iceland overall is just 369,000, which means under a third of Icelanders live in the capital city.
Further, according to legend, Reykjavik was founded in 874, so it’s had quite a few years to grow and develop into the exciting and special city it is today.
But where to stay in Reykjavik? Many visitors are surprised at the number and variety of neighborhoods in this relatively small city. If you’re planning a visit, you may wonder which of these areas is best for you to stay in.
Truly, they are all lovely and offer options to suit various interests. Still, each has its character, so some may match better with your personality and preferences than others.
Read on to learn more about some of the different neighborhoods in Reykjavik and some of the best hotels in each. After reading this post, You’ll be better prepared to choose and reserve.
Show Table of Contents
- Downtown Reykjavik/City Center
- Where to Stay in Downtown Reykjavik
- The Old West Side
- Where to Stay in the Old West Side
- Where to Stay in Vesturbaer
- Where to Stay in Seltjarnarnes
- Where to Stay in Hlemmur
- Where to Stay in Hlidar
- Where to Stay in Fossvogur
- Where to Stay in Laugardalur
- What is the main shopping district in Reykjavik?
- Where in the world is Reykjavik located?
- Is Reykjavik, Iceland, expensive?
Downtown Reykjavik/City Center
Many first-time or returning visitors to Iceland stay in downtown Reykjavik. As you might imagine, this area is the city center known as Midborg. It’s a great place to stay in Reykjavik, as many things are within easy walking distance from the popular hotels.
There are dozens of excellent bars and restaurants, so if you wish to check out Icelandic nightlife, this is the best place for you to be. During the day, there is plenty to do in downtown Reykjavik.
Again, this is the city center, so many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions are in downtown Reykjavik as well, including the Church of Hallgrimir, the Reykjavik Art Museum, the Harpa Concert Hall, several art museums, and more.
Where to Stay in Downtown Reykjavik
Kvosin Downtown Hotel
This great little property is one of the best budget hotels anywhere. It’s located just behind Reykjavik Cathedral, and the Icelandic Parliament, and everything is within easy walking distance.
The building dates back to 1900. Free continental breakfast is served every morning, and there are even kitchenettes in most of the rooms. There’s a bar in the building and a terrace on the roof. You can’t go wrong with this hotel, and it’s very affordable, too.
There are a number of apartment hotels in Reykjavik, and they’re a great choice; you can spread out a bit in the extra space and enjoy the benefits of a kitchen in your room.
The Skolavoroustigur Apartments is a great mid-range option of this type. It’s close to everything and has on-site restaurant, city views, and free WiFi. Rooms are spacious, and many have balconies.
Hotel Borg by Keahotels
The historic Hotel Borg is one of the most impressive older hotels in Reykjavik, if not the most impressive. It opened in 1930 and it is beautiful inside and out.
It was designed in Art Deco style and stepping inside will transport you to a different time.
Many historical events have occurred here over the last one hundred years and many famous people from all over the world have slept within its walls. Join them by booking one of this hotel’s 99 rooms during your stay in Reykjavik – you’ll be glad that you did.
Luxury Suite Apartment in Downtown Reykjavik
This two-story rental sleeps six in two bedrooms and is roomy and modern.
It’s right in the city center and is immediately adjacent to the Church of Hallgrimir and the Jonsson Sculpture Museum is very close as well. The kitchen is fully equipped and there is free private parking downstairs.
See Related: Do You Need a Car in Iceland? Things to Know
The Old West Side
The Old West Side neighborhood of Reykjavik is adjacent to the Downtown Reykjavik/City Center area and is easy walking distance from it. Still, you might prefer to stay in this area instead of the busy downtown.
In contrast to its somewhat bustling neighbor, the Old West Side is quiet and residential. This neighborhood developed after downtown Reykjavik and was historically home to some of the many captains and sailors of Iceland. Many of the homes are quite beautiful.
You won’t find much to do in the Old West Side and you won’t find many places to eat, either, but its proximity to downtown makes it an attractive option for accommodations for visitors and you’ll feel more like a local than a tourist in this neighborhood.
Where to Stay in the Old West Side
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
This hotel isn’t “budget” according to our normal standards for this category, but it’s not cheap to stay on the Old West Side, and this is the cheapest hotel in this neighborhood on our list.
It’s still affordable for most, and it’s in a great location that’s within walking distance of most of the major attractions of central Reykjavik. There’s a fantastic on-site restaurant and also a separate onsite bar for you to enjoy.
Even more interesting, the hotel was built on top of a Viking-era longhouse, and Iceland’s oldest human remains – which date back to the year 870 AD – are on display along with other information about this historical and archeological site.
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
This property is classy for the price, and many rooms have balconies and views of the sea and the harbor. Everything is close, and it’s popular with business travelers and tourists alike. There’s a restaurant, gym, and bar on-site, and rooms have refrigerators and free WiFi.
Black Pearl Apartment Hotel
The Black Pearl is another apartment hotel, one of the more expensive accommodations in Reykjavik. You’ll get what you pay here as this hotel is very nice. It’s located right by the harbor, and every room is decorated with comfortable furniture and great color combinations.
There’s also free parking. You can choose from a studio, a one-bedroom, or a two-bedroom apartment, with the largest rooms being over 1,500 square feet. Many rooms have balconies, too.
House of the Snowbird
This apartment rental is small and only sleeps two but you’ll feel like a real local when you stay at House of the Snowbird.
The house was built around 1900 and is owned by a family of artists who have left their personal touches everywhere. The location is excellent and you’ll be close to galleries, cafes, restaurants, the harbor, and more.
The Vesturbaer neighborhood actually includes the Old West Side neighborhood, but it also extends to the city’s southern coast, and it is Reykjavik’s westernmost neighborhood other than Seltjarnarnes.
Like its Old West Side section, much of it is also quiet and residential, and much of it is within easy walking distance from the attractions and restaurants in the downtown area.
However, because the University of Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland are in Vesturbaer, you will find it to be a bit more happening than the Old West Side.
You’ll encounter locals and tourists in this area and plenty of places to get a bite to eat, too. If you like culture and college neighborhoods, Vesturbaer may be perfect.
Where to Stay in Vesturbaer
Refurinn Reykjavik Guesthouse
This budget hotel is not as inexpensive as some of the hostels in Reykjavik, but you can enjoy a private room here for a bit more.
Rooms and amenities are rather bare-bones, but everything is comfortable and pleasant. There’s a shared kitchen space for you to use, and bathrooms are also shared. Rooms come with linens and free parking, and WiFi, too.
Grandi by Center Hotels
This colorful and comfortable property is near the western edge of Vesturbaer and the marina, so it’s not as close to downtown as some others on this list, but it’s a lovely choice nonetheless.
Rooms are average in size and a buffet breakfast is included. There’s also a concierge and tour desk on-site to help you schedule some activities for your Reykjavik adventure.
Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
The Reykjavik Konulat Hotel is a beautiful high-end property located in the perfect spot in Vesturbaer but also so close to everything you’ll want to see and do in Midborg. Every room has a balcony, and the views are spectacular.
You’ll only be a few minutes walk from everything, or you can enjoy your meals in the onsite restaurant or via room service in your room.
You can even exchange currency at the front desk. The rooms are very comfortable, and you’re sure to get a great night’s sleep here every night.
Centrally Located Apartment with Sea Views
This three-bedroom, split-level apartment is within walking distance from downtown and popular geothermal pools.
There are also wonderful shops, restaurants, coffee houses, and bakeries nearby. You can see the sea from the apartment and you can also enjoy the property’s shared garden as well.
Seltjarnarnes is the westernmost neighborhood of Reykjavik. It’s a bit far from the city center, and it’s not exactly walking distance, but if you have a rental car, it can be an excellent place to stay.
Although Seltjarnarnes is not technically a part of the city and is its own, separate town entirely, it’s adjacent to Reykjavik proper so many people consider it a part of it.
If you’re a nature lover, this is a great spot. Chances are, you’ll be headed out to the more rural parts of Iceland to view its natural wonders at some point, but in the meantime, visitors who stay in Seltjarnarnes can walk the local trails and take in the gorgeous coast.
Birdwatchers love Seltjarnarnes – over 110 different species have been spotted here – and this thin peninsula is also a great place to view the northern lights in the wintertime.
Where to Stay in Seltjarnarnes
Blue House B&B
This special bed and breakfast is affordable, only a four-minute walk from the beach and a five-minute walk from a popular geothermal pool. You can choose from rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens or a full apartment that is self-contained.
The property is spread out over three buildings. A continental breakfast is included for all guests. Lots of people stay here to view the Northern Lights.
Family House with Ocean View
This lovely, renovated 2,300-square-foot-home has five bedrooms and can sleep up to eight people.
There is a huge kitchen and area for gathering and a big balcony with a sea view. One of the best swimming pools in Iceland is a short walk from the house.
Hlemmur is a tiny neighborhood just to the east of the downtown area. Because of its location, it’s within easy walking distance of anything you might want to do in the city center, but you’ll be happy to hear that you can get great food right outside your hotel door; this area is great for foodies.
In 2017, the city refurbished the old bus station into a large, varied food hall, spurring much revitalization in the neighborhood overall. If you enjoy up-and-coming areas, then Hlemmur will be perfect for you.
Where to Stay in Hlemmur
Fosshotel Lind is in the middle of everything. It has free parking and offers a Scandinavian buffet breakfast every morning. If you need to get work done during your visit, there’s a computer lounge and free WiFi. in the rooms. Rooms are average in size, and many have great views.
This is a great accommodation option for people who have not been to Reykjavik before. This hotel includes free continental breakfast, brightly colored rooms, great views, private bathrooms, balconies, a car rental agency on-site, and a souvenir shop and tour desk.
The staff is very helpful and will aid you in booking tours. Everything is within walking distance, and there’s even service and WiFi for everyone, and you can exchange currency at the front desk, too.
Midgardur by Center Hotels
This hotel is located right on Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s main shopping area, and is also close to this city’s other top sights. The rooms at this hotel are spacious and comfortable; most rooms have a view of the sea, mountains, or city. The hotel restaurant is especially good and offers up fantastic Icelandic dishes.
Spacious, Downtown Reykjavik Apartment with Free Parking
This open, modern apartment rental will be the perfect place to stay during your visit to Reykjavik. It has four bedrooms and is 2,207 square feet in size.
A walk of only a few minutes will take you downtown, to the bus terminal, to the main shopping and dining street, or to an indoor/outdoor swimming pool with a sauna and hot tub.
Hlidar is a larger neighborhood to the east of downtown that actually includes Hlemmur. In general, this district is lively and diverse, but at the same time, it’s quiet and residential, too, so you can sleep well knowing you won’t be bothered by unnecessary noise at night.
You’ll find many budget hotels in this area, and hostels, too. There are a few casual restaurants in this neighborhood, but if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting or upscale, the downtown area is also within walking distance.
It’s also the home of the unique (but not-for-everybody) Icelandic Phallological Museum, where you can view a large collection of animal penises if you so desire…
Where to Stay in Hlidar
Bus Hostel offers dormitory options as well as affordable, private rooms with shared bathrooms. It’s very close to Perlan and the Saga Museum.
There’s a bar, an airport shuttle, free WiFi, and a shared kitchen. This is a great hostel if you want to travel on a budget and meet other travelers during your stay.
22 Hill Hotel
The 22 Hill Hotel is in an excellent location and has large, comfortable rooms with flat-screen televisions with international channels.
The WiFi and breakfast buffet at this property is top-notch, as is the onsite restaurant – it offers Icelandic cuisine combined with international flavors. The chefs try to use fresh, local produce whenever they can.
Newly Refurbished Duplex Flat
This townhouse is in a quiet, residential area of Hlidar and it sleeps seven people in three bedrooms. It’s 1,295 square feet in size and has one bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, and a dining area, as well as a small garden for you to enjoy.
Fosssvogur is southeast of the more populated parts of Reykjavik and is another great option for nature lovers. This area is quiet and serene and residential.
Perlan, a popular landmark, and museum are within walking distance, but downtown is slightly further off. However, if you stay in Fossvogur, you can spend some time in this neighborhood’s forest or walk along the geothermal beach nearby.
Where to Stay in Fossvogur
Bright and Cozy Studio Apartment
Because Fossvogur is mostly residential, you won’t find many hotels in this neighborhood.
That’s why it’s a great place to stay if you want to live like the locals. This studio apartment is inside a home but is private and is in a green area. It only sleeps two, but you’ll find that there’s plenty of space for you and you’ll love the large bathroom.
Largardalur is a large neighborhood of Reykjavik that includes all of the city’s northeastern coast and quite a bit of area inland as well. This area is popular with Icelanders as well as visitors because it’s beautiful and there’s a lot to do.
First of all, this area is just full of hot springs, hiking trails, and green, open spaces. The Reykjavik Zoo, Botanic Gardens, and ice rink are in this neighborhood as well, making it a great place for families. Get your own Reykjavík City Card to explore a selection of the best attractions and sights in the city.
The weather in this part of town is mostly mild, making it a perfect place for all those outdoor activities. And best of all? Even though you’ll feel like immersing yourself in nature in Laugardalur, you’re only a short distance from downtown and everything else.
Where to Stay in Laugardalur
This affordable property has simple but comfortable, modern rooms, and some have extra seating areas for relaxing.
All rooms at Hotel Muli have private bathrooms, and the hotel is in a central location in this neighborhood. It’s one of many Reykjavik hotels that offers family rooms and free WiFi in all areas, and there’s a cafe and bar inside the hotel, too!
R13 – A Townhouse Hotel
This boutique hotel has beautifully decorated chic rooms that welcome guests with warm colors that seem to fit in well in Reykjavik. It’s in a very good location near museums, the stadium, and shopping areas.
Continental breakfast is available daily and you can enjoy it while you watch the flat-screen TV in your room. Family rooms provide more space and kitchenettes that are great for groups or for guests traveling with children.
Grand Hotel Reykjavik
There aren’t that many luxury hotels in Reykjavik but the Grand Hotel is one of them! This property has rooms that look outward into the beauty of Iceland and others that look inward into the hotel’s atrium.
You can enjoy treatments at the on-site spa and try out the fitness center – access to the latter is free. There’s also a bar and a restaurant and a free shuttle into the city during the daytime.
Cozy Centrally Located Mid-Century Modern Villa
This modern house sleeps seven people in four bedrooms and has two full baths, a kitchen, a living room, and a deck. You’ll also enjoy a flat-screen TV, WiFi, and three balconies. Many attractions, shops, and restaurants are nearby, and a bus stop to take you downtown is right outside.
What is the main shopping district in Reykjavik?
The main shopping district in Reykjavik is Laugavegur. As the city’s oldest shopping street, it is known for a wide variety of shops, including boutiques, designer labels, and local Icelandic brands. It is a bustling, pedestrian-friendly area also filled with restaurants, cafés, and art galleries.
Where in the world is Reykjavik located?
Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland. It is positioned in the southwestern part of the country, on the southern shore of Faxa Bay. Despite its northern location, Reykjavik’s climate is tempered by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.
Is Reykjavik, Iceland, expensive?
Reykjavik, Iceland, is generally considered to be an expensive destination. The cost of living and travel expenses, including accommodation, dining, and activities, are typically higher than in many other countries. Despite this, the unique natural beauty and cultural experiences offered by Reykjavik often make it worth the extra expense for visitors.
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Christy is was born and raised in upstate New York but she has lived in Denver, Colorado for the past decade with her partner, Billy, and their cat, Lucy. Traveling is her favorite thing to do in the whole world, but she also loves writing, reading, being outdoors, seeing live music, cooking, creating art in many mediums, napping, spending time with friends and family, and laughing heartily as often as possible.