Reykjavik - the capital city of Iceland, with about 320.000 people this area has actually the 60 % of Iceland’s inhabitants.
Our first stop after getting our car was arriving to Reykjavik. The city is approx. 30 minutes from the airport by car. The city has a very lovely style with nice houses in a fishermen’s style. You can find several stores and restaurants in a wide range of prices.
A lot of people go to the Blue Lagoon on their way to Reykjavik from the airport. We didn’t go, because we had other things planned, so we spent a day exploring the capital city. You can explore the city in 1 or 2 days, depending on how much time do you have in Iceland.
Where can you park your car in Reykjavik?
Parking in Reykjavík can be very expensive if you park in the places marked with a big P (there are 3 parking zones, P1, P2, P3 - they are the zones where you have to pay).
- Red & Pink – Area P1; these are the most expensive areas to park, charging 250 ISK (1.8 EUR)
- Blue – Area P2; these areas of parking charge 125 ISK (0.9 EUR)
- Green – Area P3; these regions of the capital charge 90 ISK (0.6 EUR)
- Orange – Area P4; only valid during weekdays charging 125 ISK (0.9 EUR)
Areas P1, P2 and P3 all charge from 09:00 to 18:00 on weekdays, and from 10:00 to 16:00 on Saturdays. Outside those hours, it's free. The not coloured parts on this map are the free parking places, you only have to pay for parking in the downtown. Area P4 charges 08:00 to 16:00 on weekdays only, after hours and on weekends it's free.
For example the parking lot of the church is free, and we also found a lot of places in the surroundings that are not marked with a P (meaning they are free of charge). During our day and a half in Reykjavík we left our car in this parking lot and we didn’t have any problems. You can also ask at the reception of your hostel or hotel if there is a free parking lot near to them. As they are free, usually those streets are crowded, but if you spend a bit time searching for a free space, for sure you will find.
There is also free parking for eco-friendly cars in Reykjavik and there are exemptions for the smallest cars, which includes rental cars too. If your car qualifies then you will be able to make use of free parking in all zones. You should be able to identify whether you have free parking as there should be a clock shaped sticker in your window. You can find the parking zones and the free places on this website . It’s only in Icelandic, but you can choose your location and see if there are green places, which means the free places.
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Here are our favourite things to see in Reykjavik:
The Sun Voyager
This famous monument was designed by Jón Gunnar Ánarson and it is located next to the Saebraud road. It represents the feeling and significance of new discoveries, new hope and new dreams. This place is a beautiful photo spot, standing by this sculpture you get a wonderful view to the ocean as well.
From here you can just walk to the church, but you can also reach it by car (5 minutes by car).
Even if it’s called “The Cathedral of Reykjavik” due to its size, in reality it’s a church. It was designed by the arhitect Guðjón Samúelsson. The particular shape of the facade is like this because it represents the flux of basaltic lava from the Icelandic landscapes.
The entrance to the church is free, but you can also go up to the top and get an amazing panoramic view (they charge 10 euros for this).
The Oldtown of Reykjavik has a very particular style, so we really enjoyed to walk around there. It’s very different from other European capitals, the houses have this fisherman’s style that civer the houses with a metal plake against the water and the humidity. There are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops and souvenir shops where for sure you can find a nice postcard or a puffin plush toy!
This is the perfect place if you want to catch the Northern Lights closer to the city. The Grotta Lighthouse is a very beautiful spot during day as well, but it’s particularly famous because it’s a Northern Light viewpoint. So we came here as well, because February is in the “Northern Lights season”. Unfortunately we didn’t see the lights, but there were so many people waiting for it!
FUN FACT: The house of the famous singer Björk is close to this place, you will recognize it because it is a black painted house.
Where to stay in Reykjavík?
Accomodation in Iceland can be very expensive, but it depends on the season as well. If you book in advance, you can also spare some money.
If you're travelling with a group and you want to share the costs of an apartment, this is the best option for you. On airbnb you can also find great options if you're travelling solo or as a couple, and you feel more comfortable in room or flat just for yourself. The rooms and flats are rented by private people. Click here and get a discount for your booking with airbnb!
Booking.com is the biggest collection of hostels and hotels all over the world. Click here to explore all the accomodations in Reykjavik and book the best deal 🙂
Hlemmur Square - We stayed at a backpackers hostel called Hlemmur Square and we would totally recommend it. It was clean, it has a kitchen, a bar and a restaurant, and the staff is nice and helpful as well.
But if you want to find other accomodation that fits more to your needs, click on our Booking.com deals finder for Reykjavík: