My personal recommendations for REYKJAVIK and ICELAND:
Written in winter 2013.
Ask me to send this by e-mail after you book since Airbnb messes with all the links.
RESTAURANTS in Reykjavik:
All located downtown Reykjavik, within 10min walking distance of one another.
Grillmarkaðurinn: (website hidden)
(very nice interior, great location, trendy)
Snaps bar: (website hidden)
(trendy, cozy bar area, popular in the weekends)
Kol: (website hidden)
(new, trendy, popular)
Kopar: (website hidden)
(New since spring 2013, good, trendy)
Glo: (website hidden) (the one downtown, on Laugavegur)
(Delicious health food, raw, vegan, but also chicken, organic)
Other few resturants, popular, well reviewed:
Fiskmakaðurinn: (website hidden)
(same owner as Grillmarket, seafood specialized, great interior)
Sjávargrillið: (website hidden)
Rub 23: (website hidden)
Fiskfélagið: (website hidden)_FishCompany
BARS / LOUNGES / Cafes
All located downtown Reykjavik, within 15min walking distance of one another.
Stofan Cafe: (website hidden)
Kaldi Bar: (website hidden)
Slippbarinn: (website hidden)
Snaps bar/Hótel Óðinsvé: (website hidden)
101 bar: (website hidden)
In the area where you have Marina slippbar and Kopar by the harbor there are many small restaurants.. The Burger joint is a famous one, also Cafe Haiti, and Sægreifinn.
Also, for restaurants and bars in Reykjavik see Tripadvisor:
Another great thing to do while in Reykjavik is try out some of the swimming pool complexes (total 18), I like them all. They usually have a combination of a big pool, several different heat hot tubs and steam and or saunas. Entrance fee is quite low, normally about 4 Euros.
I mostly use Vesturbæjarlaug (right by my house), Laugardalslaug, Arbæjarlaug.. but the other ones are also nice many of them. Laugardalslaug also has a large gym with more expensive spa (website hidden)_default.aspx
Then there is the Blue Lagoon (website hidden) which is a must go - the entrance fee is 40 Euros (still worth it at least to experience it once)
My personal recommendations for things to do in ICELAND:
First of all make sure to try out as many geothermal swimming pools as you can, one per day the least ;) use it as your shower. They are very popular and the price should be around 2-3 Euros each entrance. I am referring to two types of pools. The man made swimming pools inside towns and villages (still often with geothermal water, there are 20 such complexes in Reykjavik alone). And the natural hot springs and pools right in nature where you can go and bathe. Ask locals for directions to such pools as you drive around, and here is a link with 5 good recommendations for natural hot springs to bathe in: (website hidden)
Assuming you arrive in Reykjavík make sure to check out the abundance of culture, nightlife, museums, restaurants, cozy little bars and design shops. I can tell you more in person.
Assuming you have 2-3 weeks for a roundtrip around Iceland:
Starting from Reykjavik drive round Reykjanes stop in the BLUE LAGOON (must go bath there, its a unique place) then drive through Grindavík - Krýsuvík (nice fenced area with great colors in the ground, geothermal) and continue to Hveragerdi (nice swimming pool there with natural steam bath) - then drive on and right before Selfoss turn left and make a detour:
That concludes REYKJANES.
to Thingvellir (must see, Unesco Natioanl park and the first parliament in the world) –from there drive through Lyngdalsheiði to Laugavatn - then GEYSIR which erupts every 10min or so - then GULLFOSS beautiful waterfall (must see both of these) -
then from Gullfoss back down to the shore for example through Selfoss, from there continue to the following:
Start SOUTH ICELAND
Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Thorsmork and Westman Islands - must see all of these, the first two are waterfalls, Þórsmörk is one of my favorite places beautiful landscape you can stay in a cabin in Básar for example or Langidalur. There is problem getting all the way over there though unless you have a Jeep or take a bus or get a lift. Þórsmörk (Eyjafjallajökull) is also the home to the famous volcanic eruption of 2010 which stopped all air traffic in large parts of Europe. Close by is Westman Island, quite beautiful in my opinion, in 1974 they had a volcano erupt and the whole village had to evacuate in an instant but nobody got hurt. You take a ferry to get there.
I really like a detour here into the wilder area of the country. You might be able to do it on your car depending how you do it. Basically it means going Fjallabaksleid Nyrdri (and Sydri which is really nice but needs a jeep or big adventure bus) and sleep in Landmannalaugar (really nice wild area, natural pool, sleep in cabin house). This would be your one tour into the inland. And Thorsmork is almost a part of this route, but it can also be done separately.
(The other inland tour you could do is book a trip from Myvatn in the north to Herdubreid area and Viti (I haven't done that myself)).
But on with the roundtrip. Assuming you just finished the Landmannalaugar detour you will now end up somewhere on the shore again. Continue driving east, places on the way could be Kirkjubaejarklaustur (should have good camping). Then Vik i Myrdal which has Reynisfjara, Reynisdrangar and Dyrholaey all quite nice and does not take long to see.
Then drive to Skaftafell. They have good camping. Must do a walk from the camping ground towards the glacier Skaftafellsjokull, you should be able to hear it move once you are there, not so long walk. Then close by is Jokulsarlon one of icelands most famous places with big glaciers floating around, James Bond was filmed there once.
That concludes SOUTH ICELAND.
After that you drive towards the East Fjords. Höfn í Hornafirði, Egilsstaðir, Hallormsstaðarskógur, Atlavík are all good places to see. Also some of the villages in the fjords such as Seydisfjordur where Norræna ferry stops (you can take your car from mainland Europe, rental cars are very expensive in Iceland)
That concludes EAST FJORDS.
From Seyðisfjörður drive counterclockwise, the first important things to see:
Asbyrgi & Hljodaklettar & Dettifoss. Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, the beginning of Prometheus was filmed here, and in Gullfoss. - must see all three of these (Ásbyrgi has good camping)
Mývatn (good camping I think) - go bath in (website hidden) geothermal, Also nice colors in the ground near the geothermal activity close to Myvatn (Krafla area) - Also go walk a bit in Dimmuborgir
Eyjafjörður - stay in Akureyri (icelands 2nd largest town, but still small), visit Laufás old church place.
Drive through Dalvík - Ólafsfjörður - Siglufjörður
That concludes NORTH ICELAND.
then you have option to go to Vestfirðir (big high mountains, no trees)
For example drive from Blönduós to Isafjordur - long drive (once there you can sail to Vigur island, half hour) - then drive through Bildudalur - Talknafjordur - Patreksfjordur (small fishery villages), close to there is Látrabjarg the westermost part of Europe, big cliffs, white sandy beach - then drive to Brjanslaekur
That concludes VESTFIRDIR.
Then take the ferry from Brjanslaekur to Stykkishólmur (pretty little town with old well kept houses) - now you are in SNAEFELLSNES (nice area which you can drive around) - drive to Grundafjordur - Olafsvik and around the Snaefellsnes Glacier - there you land in Hellnar, there is a small restaurant by the sea nice environment - then land in Arnarstapi quite close by (stay there, nice surroundings, high cliffs to the sea) - and close by is Budir with pretty little church and upscale hotel, and from there you can drive up to the glacier and get rides on a snow scooter on the glacier if you like -
That concludes SNAEFELLSNES.
Concluding the roundtrip around Iceland drive from Budir, through Borgarnes and end in Reykjavik again. Either through the tunnel or do a bit longer drive and drive the fjord Hvalfjordur (1-2 hrs), then you end in Reykjavik as well.
Places where you could sleep on the roundtrip:
Laugarvatn (on way back from they Geysir and Gullfoss)
Landmannalaugar (or Westman Island)
Vik i Myrdal