When you’re reading this, it’s probably already too late. You booked your ticket to Iceland with the idea of seeing the midnight sun, the glaciers, and walk all the way up to the top of the mountains.
But you arrive in Reykjavík with the wind blowing all your courage out of you to do any of the hikes planned, do not fret. There are many things to do around the area that don’t cost that much, and in that way, you get to spend time around the area as a local would.
Because you can’t hide inside for a whole day, one of the pools around the city might be a good and not too expensive solution to spend part of the day. I can’t promise a tan, but at least you can soak in some hot pots and relax. There are many different pools around that all have their own charm. If you’re with children, Laugardalslaug or Árbæjarlaug are the ones they might prefer. Those pools have slides and separate pools where the children can play. Otherwise, there are pools such as Vesturbæjarlaug, Sundhöllin and many more.
If you’re not into swimming pools, or you are soaked enough and want some food, there’s this new foodhall that just opened up about a month ago called Grandi Mathöll. It seems like they had the Icelandic weather in mind when coming up with the idea. The nice aspect of this hall is that it serves street food and therefore isn’t that expensive. They serve dishes from Vietnamese to Korean, and from veggy to fish. Another option might be more convenient if you took the bus downtown and got off at Hlemmur, as this square has its own food hall which sells ice cream, beers, pastries and more.
When you just stuffed that last piece of food after having told yourself you were already full, it’s time for something else. If it is still raining, you can hide in one of our shopping malls Kringlan or Smáralind. Both have nice stores, coffee places, wi-fi - and again, if you are with children, in both of these shopping malls there’s a playground where you can leave them for some hours while you go shopping or just hang around. In case you don’t want to go to far from the city center, there’s a market - Kolaportið - that sells all kinds of second hand clothes and more. This market is however only open during the weekend.
If you want to be really Icelandic you could finish the day by going to one of the ice cream shops close-by. There are many good ones around the city, but the one that’s been claimed one of the better ones is Valdís, located at the old harbour. It’s a habit here to go for a drive, buy some ice cream, and drive around to catch up with friends.
Still another day to fill? The Icelandic artscene is very varied and therefore definitely worth checking out. There is an endless range of museums, but also bars that hold regular concerts, comedy shows and so on. One bar worth checking out is Loft Hostel, which hosts speed dating, water colouring, upcoming bands, foosball tournaments and more.
Jóhanna Pétursóttir is Icelandic but has lived most of her life abroad.
Being Icelandic, she knows the ways around and the local way of living, but she often sees it from a foreign perspective.
Working in the field of tourism and having studied intercultural cooperation, she is very eager to know people's experience of Iceland.