Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland’s Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Live Like a Local in Downtown Charmers
No trip to Reykjavik is complete without spending time wandering the charming streets of the downtown area. Staying in an Airbnb right in the heart of the city allows you to truly live like a local and immerse yourself in Icelandic culture.
One delightful Airbnb option is a brightly-colored apartment on Laugavegur, Reykjavik's main shopping street. The lively pedestrian boulevard is lined with quirky boutiques, cozy cafes, and stylish bars and restaurants. Situated on the second floor, the apartment's windows open up to breathtaking views of the bustling street life below.
The homey one-bedroom flat comes well-equipped with everything you need to settle in and live like a real Reykjavik local. There's a full kitchen to whip up breakfast before stepping out to explore. In the evenings, pick up fresh fish and ingredients at the nearby market to cook dinner as the sun sets late into the night. After, cozy up on the plush blue sofa with hot cocoa to watch the midnight sun.
Venture outside and you're just steps away from the best of Reykjavik. Stroll to the striking Harpa Concert Hall and the Old Harbor area. Admire the colorful corrugated tin homes in the historical neighborhood of Gamla Bær. Stop for a coffee at the city's coolest cafes and peruse the many art galleries dotted around downtown.
When it's time for live music and nightlife, you won't have far to go. Downtown Reykjavik comes alive after dark, with live bands and DJs that pump up the energy on weekends. With a prime location, you can easily bar hop from lively pubs to dance clubs that go late into the early morning hours.
Getting around the city is a breeze on foot or using the highly convenient public transportation from the downtown central location. And when you’re ready to venture further to soak in the natural wonders, you’re already steps closer than those staying outside the city center.
What else is in this post?
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Live Like a Local in Downtown Charmers
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Oceanfront Stunners with Northern Lights Views
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Cozy Cabins Near Geothermal Pools
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Bright and Modern Digs in Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Arty Lofts in Quirky Old Reykjavik
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Designer Penthouses with Panoramic City Views
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Secluded Getaways Just Outside the City
- Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Budget-Friendly Stays Near Top Attractions
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Oceanfront Stunners with Northern Lights Views
For a truly memorable Icelandic escape, book an oceanfront Airbnb with incredible northern lights views. Waking up right along the shoreline with miles of open sea before you makes for an unforgettable experience. Laying eyes on the dazzling aurora borealis illuminating the night sky is an awe-inspiring highlight not to be missed.
Several exceptional oceanfront properties just outside Reykjavik offer both of these magical amenities. Imagine drifting off to sleep as the sound of crashing waves lulls you into peaceful slumber. Then get ready to be dazzled, as the swirling colors of the northern lights dance overhead through panoramic windows.
One outstanding option is a newly-renovated beach house perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in the small town of Álftanes. The home’s wall of floor-to-ceiling windows provides perfect views of the sea during the day. When darkness falls, it’s the ideal vantage point for northern lights viewing if conditions are right.
The three-bedroom house is bathed in natural light and finished in bright, minimalist Scandinavian style. Yet the real showstopper is the private outdoor hot tub on the deck overlooking the sea. Imagine gazing up at the night sky illuminated in brilliant tones of purple and green as you soak. Bliss!
Further west along the coast, it’s possible to find remote properties like a serene cottage only steps from a dramatic black sand beach. The surrounding landscape is dotted with lava fields and volcanic craters, creating an otherworldly aura. Huge picture windows face directly north, allowing ideal visibility when the elusive aurora makes its appearance.
One recent guest described sitting mesmerized well into the night, not wanting to miss a minute of the dazzling colors swirling overhead. They were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon while soaking in the outdoor hot tub!
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Cozy Cabins Near Geothermal Pools
Iceland is renowned for its abundance of natural geothermal pools and hot springs. What better way to experience these marvels of nature than by staying in a cozy cabin situated right by a steaming pool of mineral-rich waters? Several inviting Airbnb properties provide this quintessential Icelandic experience just outside Reykjavik.
Tucked among moss-covered lava fields in the countryside, this charming A-frame cabin has its own private geothermal pool in the backyard. The natural hot tub is constantly refilled with 36°C water straight from the ground. According to one delighted guest, there's nothing better than soaking under the stars in this secluded little oasis.
The eco-friendly cabin built from reclaimed wood sleeps four guests. A toasty wood-burning stove, fluffy wool blankets, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the valley create a wonderfully hygge atmosphere. The hosts provide bikes to pedal along scenic backroads to the nearby town. Here, you can pick up fresh produce and ingredients to cook dinner in the well-equipped kitchen.
Further north, escape to a remote hillside cottage on a family-run farm. Sheep graze in the surrounding fields during summer. In winter, views of snowy peaks and the northern lights take center stage. The property's showstopping feature is the volcanic crater right on site. Guests are welcome to take a dip in the natural hot spring swimming hole nestled inside. Be prepared for the occasional company of friendly farm animals stopping by the pool!
The charming cottage was hand-built by the owners using traditional techniques. Inside, artisanal touches like patchwork quilts and handwoven textiles create a wonderfully cozy vibe. A local landmark is the iconic Geysir geothermal area just 10 minutes down the road. Watch the Great Geysir erupt up to 70 meters high! Then relax any muscle aches away while soaking in the therapeutic mineral waters of the Strokkur hot spring.
For an indulgent escape, check into this adults-only eco-wellness resort. Guests stay in private suites with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the scenic countryside. The suites surround an outdoor geothermal pool continuously replenished with mineral-rich 39°C water. After a day of trekking or horseback riding, unwind with an al fresco soak under the midnight sun. The resort grows its own organic herbs and vegetables served in the healthy, locally-sourced meals. Wellness amenities like yoga, guided meditation and sound healing further promote deep relaxation. As one guest raved, "this special place is the ultimate reset button."
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Bright and Modern Digs in Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods
While downtown Reykjavik and the nearby oceanfront offer charming, historic areas to stay, some of the city's up-and-coming neighborhoods boast bright, modern Airbnb digs that put you right in the heart of the youthful energy. Neighborhoods like Laugardalur Valley and Vesturbær are undergoing transformation, with old warehouses and factories getting reinvented as creative communal spaces and hip mixed-use developments.
In the Laugardalur district, a revamped 1950s radio station now houses a trendy hostel, cafe, bar and creative businesses. Just next door, a former fish factory has found new life as a hub for local artists and designers. Airbnbs in this area often reflect the vibrant, modern aesthetic.
One prime example is a minimalist one-bedroom loft inside a former warehouse. With 15-foot ceilings, concrete floors and walls of glass, the vibe is urban-chic. Pops of color from Nordic designer furniture make the space Instagram-worthy. Yet it retains original industrial touches like exposed ductwork and pipes. Located in the heart of the up-and-coming Laugardalur Valley, you’re close to locals' favorite coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques. It's also walking distance to the geothermal Laugardalslaug pool and family-friendly botanical gardens.
Over in Vesturbær, you'll find bright, modern dwellings inside repurposed industrial buildings or new architectural stunners. One brand new building houses private one-bedroom apartments decked out with sleek Icelandic design elements. Minimalist furnishings, walls of windows and polished concrete floors keep the vibe contemporary. Standout touches include a running waterfall installation and floor heating.
The West Side is attracting young creatives and entrepreneurs drawn to the neighborhood's art studios and co-working spaces. Staying in one of these modern lofts puts you close to the action, cafes and galleries. It’s also near the charming Old Harbor and a quick bus to the downtown scene.
For travelers who want something beyond Reykjavik 101’s old neighborhood charm, these up-and-coming districts deliver modern style and proximity to what’s new and hip. As one guest who stayed in a West Side loft raved, “It was close to everything and in a really trendy location with great architecture, coffee shops and restaurants. The loft itself was brand new and so cool and minimalistic. I felt like a real trendy Icelander staying there!”
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Arty Lofts in Quirky Old Reykjavik
Reykjavik's Old Harbor neighborhood, known as Gamla Bær, brims with the kind of quirky charm and creative spirit that Iceland is known for. Wandering the sloping cobblestone streets lined with colorful corrugated tin homes feels like stepping back in time. Interspersed among the historic houses, you'll find charming cafes, intimate art galleries, and unique boutiques. Staying in one of the arty loft apartments sprinkled throughout Gamla Bær provides the perfect home base for soaking up Old Reykjavik's abundant character.
One outstanding Airbnb option is a light-filled top floor loft situated right on the main shopping street Aðalstræti. The stylish open-concept apartment with exposed wood beams retains historic architectural details that give it loads of character. Yet modern art, sleek furnishings like Egg chairs, and a contemporary black and white color scheme also give it an artistic vibe. From the loft's many windows, views open up over the jumble of colorful rooftops and the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church towering in the distance.
During the day, you can take in the laid-back energy of Old Reykjavik right from your doorstep. Pop into artisan workshops where designers craft unique ceramic pieces and hand print textiles using traditional Icelandic methods. Stop for an afternoon pick-me-up of Icelandic schnapps at one of the oldest bars in town, complete with rock walls and troll folklore. Work up an appetite weaving through the stalls of the Kolaportið flea market then dine on fresh fish at a tiny bistro on the square.
In the evenings, put on your stylish duds for a night taking in Gamla Bær's arts and music scene. Attend an exhibition opening at the Marshall House art center with works from up-and-coming Icelandic artists. Catch some jazz at Fjallkonan then go bar hopping, stopping into character-filled pubs like the historic Prikið. Late night on weekends, join the lively crowds spilling into the streets from the area's many music venues and clubs.
The surrounding neighborhood also holds plenty of opportunities for unwinding, like soaking in the geothermal waters at Sundhöllin swimming pool or exploring the coastline path. The loft itself is an urban oasis, with original artwork, magazine-worthy indoor plants, and a peaceful courtyard. Several recent guests have raved about the beautiful natural light streaming in through the giant skylight over the bed in this chic, one-of-a-kind artistic abode.
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Designer Penthouses with Panoramic City Views
For travelers seeking a truly indulgent Icelandic escape, booking one of Reykjavik’s ultra-luxe designer penthouses takes the experience to new heights - literally! These jaw-dropping Airbnbs located in some of the city’s tallest buildings provide breathtaking bird's-eye panoramas from private terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows. Expect stunning vistas of Reykjavik’s colorful cityscape, the sea glistening in the distance, and even glimpses of the northern lights from the most coveted north-facing units.
Interior design is impeccable, merging sleek modern aesthetics with the natural materials and appreciation of space intrinsic to Nordic style. We’re talking gorgeous wood accents, plush wool textiles in soothing neutrals, and an abundance of natural light streaming in. Most penthouses boast chef’s kitchens so you can craft culinary masterpieces from Iceland’s outstanding local ingredients. Spa-like bathrooms provide the ultimate relaxation with deep-soak tubs, rain showers, and high-end amenities.
For the ultimate indulgence, nothing beats The Penthouse at the top of one of Reykjavik’s most luxurious new developments. This sprawling duplex encompasses the entire 14th floor, offering jaw-dropping views from ALL angles. We’re talking floor-to-ceiling glass walls flanking the spacious living and dining areas. Out on the 75 sq. meter private rooftop terrace, there’s an outdoor hot tub for soaking while stargazing. Inside, bespoke Scandinavian furnishings and abstract artworks create an ultra-chic ambiance. With prices starting around $1,200 per night, it’s a splurge - but what a memorable one!
Over in the upscale neighborhood of Öskjuhlíð, another exquisite option is a sprawling penthouse with three bedrooms. Design details give it tonnes of character, like exposed wood beams, leather accents and vintage rugs. The pièce de résistance is the rooftop deck with a hot tub and outdoor fireplace. Guests describe watching the sunset over town while taking an al fresco soak - heavenly.
For proximity to Reykjavik’s top attractions, check out this sleek designer penthouse right downtown. An enormous private balcony offers photogenic views over the concert hall Harpa and Old Harbor. Inside, the vibe is all minimalist chic with a monochrome palette and modern furnishings. Recent visitors loved being able to walk to all the restaurants, boutiques and museums right outside the door.
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Secluded Getaways Just Outside the City
After days spent exploring Reykjavik’s vibrant city scenes, sometimes you just need an escape to regroup in peaceful solitude. Luckily, it’s possible to find secluded getaways just a short drive from Iceland’s cool capital without sacrificing those phenomenal views.
Several remote cottages situated on rugged stretches of coastline offer the best of both worlds. Wake to the sound of waves crashing and glimpses of ocean as far as the eye can see. Then get your culture fix back in the city, which is less than an hour’s drive away.
One sublime option is a newly constructed cabin perched dramatically atop an oceanside lava cliff near the fishing village of Garður. Completed in 2021, the minimalist dwelling was designed to optimize natural light and seamlessly blend into the breathtaking landscape. Walls of glass provide unobstructed vistas from every room. The surrounding area offers loads of opportunities for serene walks along the dramatic coastline.
Previous guests loved the combination of peaceful isolation in the countryside coupled with proximity to Reykjavik. As one recent visitor shared, “It was the perfect setup to recharge away from everything, then easily pop into the city when we wanted a bit more action. We got the best of both worlds!”
For equine enthusiasts, this lakeside stable cottage on a family-run horse farm checks all the boxes. Situated near the town of Mosfellsbær just 15 minutes outside Reykjavik, the setting is bucolic. Guests stay in a cozy studio apartment above the stables. You’ll drift off to sleep to the soothing sounds of horses settling in for the night below.
Riding tours across lava fields and along mountain trails can be arranged on-site. When you’re not out exploring on horseback, pass time fishing for trout in the lake. Then drive into the capital for dinner at one of Reykjavik’s exceptional New Nordic restaurants.
According to recent visitors, the experience felt like a little slice of heaven. As one guest enthused, “Where else can you ride magnificent Icelandic horses all day, come home to absolute peace and quiet, then be savoring lamb and drinking cocktails in a trendy downtown restaurant a few minutes later?”
On the Snæfellsnes Peninsula west of Reykjavik, this remote cottage on a working sheep farm offers splendid isolation with awesome attractions nearby. The setting adjacent to a dramatic volcanic crater is breathtaking. Endless views of the Snæfellsjökull glacier in the distance inspire awe.
Outside, kick back in the hot tub and sauna to soak in the scenery. Then get ready to be dazzled if weather conditions align for northern lights sightings. Inside, rustic touches like antique furnishings and a wood-burning stove exude hygge charm.
When craving more stimulation, lively towns offering swimming pools, restaurants and shopping are only a 40-minute drive away. Recent Airbnb visitors appreciated the cottage’s remote location while still feeling connected. As one guest put it, “We loved returning to our little slice of paradise after a day exploring, knowing the bright lights of Reykjavik weren’t too far off.”
Get Lost in Reykjavik: Exploring Iceland's Cool Capital through its Coolest Airbnbs - Budget-Friendly Stays Near Top Attractions
With the high prices of hotels in Reykjavik, budget-minded travelers often assume they’ll have to stay far outside the city center to find affordable accommodations. However, some savvy Airbnb hosts offer wallet-friendly stays right in the heart of the action. These central locations put you just steps from major attractions, without breaking the bank.
According to recent visitor reviews, one of the top budget-friendly listings is a private double room in a downtown apartment. At around $70 USD per night, the price is a steal for the location. The simply furnished room has everything a budget traveler needs - a comfy bed, free WiFi, and access to a shared bathroom and kitchen.
Despite the low nightly rate, the apartment itself is fantastic. Recent guests describe the building as having tons of character, with exposed brick walls and funky modern art adorning the common spaces. Large windows flood the open-concept living areas with natural light. The decked-out kitchen has all the appliances and cookware needed to prepare meals.
What makes this listing a standout, though, is its central location in the heart of downtown. The apartment sits on Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s main thoroughfare brimming with shops, cafes and bars. Iconic landmarks like the striking Harpa concert hall and the Sun Voyager sculpture are mere minutes away on foot.
When hunger strikes, there are loads of affordable options right around the corner. Try a classic Icelandic hotdog from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, grab a slice at lively Pizza With No Name, or munch on freshly baked cinnamon rolls from Brauð & Co. Visitors say the prime location made experiencing Reykjavik easy and fun, even on a tight budget.
Over in the Old Harbor, another budget-friendly choice is a shared room right across from the iconic Harpa Concert Hall. Available for around $50 per night, the rate is astonishing given the sought-after waterfront address. The simple, minimalist guest room has everything needed for a comfy stay. Shared amenities include a sleek bathroom, fully loaded kitchen and cozy living room with harbor views.
In addition to Harpa, attractions like the Kraum Icelandic design store, Reykjavik Maritime Museum, and departure point for whale watching excursions are right outside the door. Recent visitors praised the hosts’ attention to detail, from handy maps of the city to complimentary coffee and tea. As one guest summed it up, “Clean, comfortable, crazy affordable and couldn't be more central. What a perfect home base for experiencing Reykjavik on a budget!”