The only thing I did know is that people who had been before seemed to really love it. Which I’ve learnt can only ever be a good thing. And let me tell you now that it did not disappoint. In fact, Iceland exceeded my expectations ten times over, and each day it surprised me in a different way- be it from the food, the breathtaking landscapes or even the people. There’s a reason why this place stays so high on bucket lists and travel guides, and I’ve been so excited about sharing our adventures with Small Luxury Hotels over the last week here. So let’s start at the beginning shall we?
After catching a bleary eyed 6am flight from Gatwick last week, fuelling up on porridge and sugary tea- we boarded our Norwegian flight to a chilly, but crisp, Reykjavik. With the flight being just under three hours north of London, it really feels like no time at all- and with the promise of wifi and cinnamon buns (!!!) on board (in case you can’t catch forty winks)- it couldn’t really be easier (or more delicious) to get to either.
After arriving at Keflavik Airport and being picked up by our charming drivers (both of which came from our hotel), we set off. Our first stop was an evening at Tower Suites (105, Katrínartún 2, Reykjavik, Iceland), a suites only hotel situated atop one of the countries tallest buildings- meaning the most unbelievable panoramic city and mountain views for days. With the hotel only having 8 rooms- it felt like a complete treat to be staying the night here- with everything from Apple televisions (and UK channels) to a fresh breakfast delivered every morning (naturally I opted for avo on toast) and 24 hour room service too- to say we were looked after is a total understatement.
Our second night was spent amongst the hubbub in the gorgeous Sand Hotel (Laugavegur 36, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland). Sitting amongst one of the cities main streets, the hotel feels like it’s totally in amongst the action and acts like the most perfect base- just without the noise. Converted from a collection of historic townhouses- the hotel boasts streamlined yet cosy contemporary design- as well as a local sharing-style restaurant, and the iconic Sandholt bakery right next door- making for the perfect space to explore the city before we moved on to the south.
This spot was somewhere all of the locals we spoke to recommended to us, and somewhere to go for the most delicious health-fuelled dishes. With everything from vegan lasagne’s (with pasta people!) to gluten free cakes and homemade salads, there’s truly something for everyone in this little spot- and it’s the perfect place to people watch whilst warming up.
Laugavegur 20b, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Although I’m not a coffee drinker, so many people suggested this spot- and it’s the perfect hideout for a hot drink and delicious cake. I’ve also heard their cinnamon scones are worth sampling too, so take note cinnamon lovers!
Brautarholt 2, Brautarholt, Reykjavik, Iceland
Brauð & Co.:
If you can’t see this place coming, you can be sure that you’ll smell it. With it’s bright facade and twinkling fairy lights, the outside is almost as special as what’s inside (almost, not quite)- and the sweet smell will pull you in quicker than the promise of warm cinnamon buns (ahem, almost). With fresh bread, rolls and buns throughout the day- you’ll be hard pushed to find somewhere that does baked goods as this spot.
16,, Frakkastígur, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
If you’re after somewhere a little more special for dinner in the city, I can highly recommend the gorgeous Kopar, nestled next to the old harbour and overlooking the boats and starry sky. With a mixture of traditional dishes and some more contemporary modern offerings- the menu spans everything from fresh fish to zuccinni spaghetti and the most delicious Daim cheesecake- making it a perfect taste of Iceland, no matter what your taste.
Geirsgata 3, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Laundromat is by definition what I’d call the ultimate ‘all rounder’ cafe. Whether you’re in need of a delicious breakfast, elevenses, a great coffee, lunch or dinner (or even a book to read)- this spot has it all. It’s the ultimate combination of cool, comfortable and cosy- whilst oozing the most incredible decor too- a big thumbs up from Liv!
Austurstræti 9, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
If you’ve got the space…
Bæjarins Beztu: Rumour has it these guys are the creme de la creme of hotdogs
Kaffi Vinyl: Am I ever one to say no to a cafe and record shop? Absolutely not, and this ticks both boxes
If you’re after amazing cruelty free and vegan products (all in a gloriously pink shop)- then Nola is the right stop. Stocing some Icelandic beauty favourites (on top of some new discoveries) and my favourite’s Herbivore- it’s the perfect hidden gem stocking some serious beauty treasures.
Höfðatorgi, Katrínartún, 2105 Reykjavík, Iceland
Although I know you wouldn’t necessarily go to Iceland for delicious French delicassies, Hyalin happen to stock everything from chocolates, to cheese to candles- which in my opinion, can only ever be a good thing. With a stunning interior, and even more gorgeous goods and groceries- it’s worth noting down when visiting some of the independent shops here.
Stofnað 2017, Hverfisgata 35, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Spúútnik/ Gyllti Kötturinn Vintage:As well as celebrating great indie boutiques, Reykjavik also has a bit of a vintage scene going on. With Spúútnik and Gyllti Kötturinn both being worth noting for great vintage finds (all the Nordic knits)- you’ll definitely discover a few more if you stroll along Laugavegur (which you definitely will)- so keep your eyes peeled!
Laugavegur 28, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland / Austurstræti 8-10, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
P.S When we were in Iceland, we also had a little tour with I Heart Reykjavik– who has tonnes more amazing tips on her site!