Check out these five things that will help you keep your budget during your visit to Reykjavík. I recommend you spend the krónur you save on more beers for you and all the new friends you are going to make.
#1 The hot pots in Nauthólsvík
Imagine yourself lying at a white sandy beach, with the sound of shrieking children and smell of salty waters lingering in the air. There are people swimming in the sea, muscular bodies doing their daily workout on a grassy hill close by and excited children building sand castles in shorts and tank tops. Now move this images to Reykjavík where the sea is 12°C at best and the chilly northern wind is almost always present. You’ve found yourself at Nauthólsvík beach.
Located next to Öskjuhlíð, the forested hill where the Pearl stands tall and watches over Reykjavík, this geothermal beach with its imported white sand and hot water pumped into the sea to make it warmer is both one of my favorite places in Reykjavík and mindbogglingly odd. It’s one of the many things you can say only in Iceland about and shake your head and I love it. Using the beach and the service house where you can shower and change clothes is free of charge during summer, even a shitty one like the one we are having now, and so are the hot pots located next to it. You can even kick back in the sauna for free. Be warned though that when the sun finally shows its face the place is packed with families (wasn’t kidding about the shrieking children) and during winter the prices is the same as for other pools in Reykjavík.
#2 Stúdentakjallarinn student pub
A lot of people complain about the prices of food in Reykjavík and are constantly looking for the next great bargain. I don’t neccessarily agree with these views as I think you can get amazing meals for pretty low prices all over town, at least when you earn your salaries in Euros or British pounds. I went on a food tour via Icelandic Mountain Guides with Inga from Tiny Iceland and Davíð from The Food Pervert earlier this summer and I remember Davíð mentioning that the real problem with food prices in Iceland is the fact that there such a little price difference between a really good meal and a less thrilling one. Now that I think about it, I think that’s something I can agree with.
Anyway, if you are on a tight budget and you would like to get something to eat that is a step up from noodle soup from Bónus and a hot dog but still doesn’t break your wallet and leaves you full and at least somewhat content I would recommend you try out Stúdentakjallarinn. Stúdentakjallarinn is located at the University of Iceland and like most Student pubs offers cheap food and beer and good atmosphere. You can get a burger with everything for less than a 1000 ISK (a rarity in this town) and a really filling bowl of pasta for 890 ISK. It’s no Deli but does the trick.
#3 The waterfall in Elliðaárdalur
Most visitors that come to Iceland come for the nature and people seem to like waterfalls in particular. If you can’t afford buying a tour or renting a car to go see Gullfoss or Seljalandsfoss you can always consider hopping on board a city bus (number 3 or 11) and make our way to Elliðaárdalur valley. There you will find Indjánagil (Indian gully) and a pretty little waterfall in the Elliðaá river. It’s not the most spectacular waterfall you’ll ever see but it’s pretty and I always find it very interesting that you can find such a thing in the middle of a nation’s capital. It’s also a pretty nice park so you can cash in on your bus ride over there by taking in all the surroundings that won’t cost you a dime.
#4 Wannabe geyser Strókur
If the waterfall in Elliðaárdalur was not enough to make up for a missed trip to the Golden Circle and you’ve already visited a man-made geothermal beach you might as well finish this strange odyssey by visiting Strókur in Öskjuhlíð. Basically it’s a 30 meter deep hole that was drilled into the ground and a pipe put down there to simulate what happens in a geyser (like Strokkur ) when it goes off. Strókur struts its stuff quite frequently and you are one to multitask you can watch it from the viewing deck of Perlan while eating ice cream from the cafeteria. Geyser – check. Perlan – check. Icelandic ice cream – check!
#5 Three for one at the Reykjavík Art Museum
If you are an art lover and you plan to visit the Reykjavík Art Museum you should hit the first location early in the morning because your ticket is valid for all three location on the day of purchase. What that means is that for lousy 1200 ISK you can spend a full day taking in Icelandic art in many forms and from many different eras. While you are there you should also pick up their brochure because it has a map showing you how to get from one museum to the next with sculptures and outside art pieces on the way . You can look at it as an artsy scavenger hunt.