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Travel tips

 
Here are some travel tips I used to send out to guests, maybe you can use them.  I haven´t updated them in a while though and please don´t take my words too seriously.  There are new car rentals, tour companies and restaurants popping up all the time and most of them I have not tried myself so I am rarely recommending from experience.  I've never heard bad things about any company around here so I'm just naming some that come to mind.

You can easily walk to and around all the interesting things downtown and don´t need a car for that, but if you want to get out of the city, it's great to have your own car for flexibility.  Car rental is really expensive in Iceland though, so most of our guests have decided to rent from the cheapest ones like:

Fair Car, Sad cars or Cheap Jeep

http://www.faircar.is/

http://sadcars.com/is/

http://www.cheapjeep.is/

Some of their cars are rather old and worn though (they have jokingly been called rent-a-wreck rentals) and even though cheap and adventurous can be fun, it is probably more reliable to go with chains like Budget or Procar etc.  I have also been hearing good things lately about:

http://www.bluecarrental.is/ and http://www.nicecars.is/

Even though it is fairly easy to find your way around, the street and town names may be confusing for you so some sort of navigation system in the car or on your smartphone is always nice to avoid fighting over a map with the person in the passenger seat.

Here is an Icelandic website where you can electronically hitchhike with
like-minded people:

http://samferda.is/

Regarding tours, there are plenty of day tours from the city and most companies pick you up from your guesthouse.  Just give them the address to be sure they have the right place and be ready by the front door or outside the house at pickup time (pickup time can last 30 minutes, cause they have to stop at many other guesthouses).  Try not to make the driver come all the way in to get you while you are lounging around inside the house and there is a bus full of people waiting on a one way street. 

I have not been on any tours myself, but my guests have recommended:

http://www.bustravel.is/

(because they are cheaper and smaller than the bigger companies)

and GTI and Iceland Horizon has been getting great reviews:

http://www.icelandhorizon.is/  &   http://gti.is/

(because they are small and friendly and not too expensive)

And for diving and snorkeling tours:

http://dive.is/

Then Iceland Excursion and Reykjavík Excursions are the biggest and most
popular ones:  

http://www.grayline.is/

and

http://www.re.is/

(but they have large groups on large buses so I hear those tours can be
rather impersonal)

Guide to Iceland is also a very useful and fun site with information but
also bookings for tours with all sorts of different companies:

http://www.guidetoiceland.is/

and also What's On in Iceland 

http://whatson.is/

If the tour compan require a phone number and you will not be using your own phone just give out your e-mail and check it a couple of times a day to make sure the 
tours are still on (sometimes they have to cancel due to weather or there is some change of plans).  Speaking 
of phones, if yours is not working or rates are too expensive to use while in the country, you can get a sim card
with an Icelandic number to use here from the Krambúðin supermarket across the street and then go to www.siminn.is
to refill the card and/or add a data plan so you can use the internet more on it.  

Most people arriving for the first time choose visit the Gullfoss waterfall,
Geysir geyser area and Þingvellir national park. All of these are close
together only about an hours drive away and is referred to as the Golden
Circle.

If you have your own car you could stop at some of the small towns nearby on the way that not many people know about like:

Reykholt

and visit the tomato greenhouse there for great atmosphere and tomato soup or and/or cocktails 

http://www.fridheimar.is/en

and Flúðir

to visit the oldest natural swimming pool in Iceland 

http://www.secretlagoon.is/

There is also an Ethiopean restaurant at Flúðir (Minilik) which is fun to try, especially in this tiny town in Iceland you would never expect it. 

The Blue Lagoon is considered a must though and it can be convenient to do that on your way to or from the airport because it is on the way.  

You could also just visit one of the Tourist information offices when you
get here, grab a few brochures, relax and decide over coffee or beer ;-D

For local tips, this nice Icelandic lady: Auður, is doing a tremendous job on her increasingly popular site:

http://www.iheartreykjavik.net/

Everywhere is good to eat, it just depends on what you are in the mood for.

Café Loki has more normal traditional food (even though it doesn´t sound great in English) 
like plokkfiskur (fish stew), rolled up sugared pancakes and kjötsúpa (lamb meat soup) with some weird twists
such as rye-bread ice cream and flat bread topped with sviðasulta (sheephead jelly) mashed beats and
bean salad, which sounds awful but I love it, especially accompanied by beer

http://www.textil.is/ENGLISH/

and Íslenski barinn / Icelandic bar serves all kinds of Icelandic delicacies in jars and has a really fun menu 

http://islenskibarinn.is/vefur/

Grillmarkaðurinn and Sushi Samba are some of the most popular ones to day (so book
ahead), crazy expensive, but then most things are around here 

http://www.grillmarkadurinn.is/

http://sushisamba.is/ (I haven´t actually been to that one yet)

Here are some seafood ones:  

http://www.sjavargrillid.com/ 

http://www.3frakkar.com/

http://fiskmarkadurinn.is/

and the most popular vegetarian one is:  http://glo.is/glorestauranticeland

The Noodle station close by on Skólavörðustígur has cheap and awesome
noodle soup

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189970-d2400356-Reviews-Noodle_Station-Reykjavik.html

and Roadhouse is my favorite for burger & beer:

http://www.roadhouse.is/

And then this awesome looking place just opened right across the street on Skólavörðustígur, I haven´t even been to that one yet either (can´t afford to go out much actually) but I hear great things

http://kolrestaurant.is/

But it really doesn´t matter what restaurant / café you try, they are all
great I think and if you don´t agree, just order more beer (Icelandic ones of course, from the brewery Borg for example http://www.borgbrugghus.is/)

And bring swim clothes. Lots of pools here as you may know, all heated and
with hot tubs and saunas. 

http://www.swimminginiceland.com/

There are almost always concerts and things downtown in the evenings (at least on
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays).  Most often the concerts are not planned
that far in advance though. Sometimes you can find them listed here:

http://listings.grapevine.is/ or https://world.timeout.com/ (if you are on facebook the events located around you will pop up through that app)

of course you will probably not recognise the names of the bands playing but that´s where YouTube becomes very useful and you can scope them out there first to see if it is something you may like 

Happy planning!  

Bedda from Our House