Where To Stay in Reykjavik // A Guide to the Reykjavik Neighborhoods

Reykjavik, Iceland

I don’t know about you guys but when it comes to booking accommodation for my travels I take forever. Before I will book a place I will research, research, and research some more. My Viking says I am a tad picky, I tell him I just like to be well informed before making my decision, I mean you don’t want to end up staying in some dodgy place far away from city center!

Maybe it is just me, but when it comes to finding information about the different neighborhoods in a city, I think this can be really difficult! All I want to know is how far away from the main attractions is it, how accessible is public transportation, is there food nearby, and what about the neighborhood, is it safe? I mean just a few simple tidbits of information, is that too much to ask?!

If you guys are like me and like to research the area you will be staying in before booking a place this post is one you will appreciate. And if you are planning a trip to Reykjavik anytime soon, (or just dreaming of one) save this post because I am about to break down those different neighborhoods of Reykjavik so you can choose which spot is the best one for you to look for accommodation in.

Reykjavik, Iceland

One thing to keep in mind when looking at the different neighborhoods in Reykjavik is that they are often labeled by just their postcode. I have included both the post code and the name of the neighborhood on this list so you will be ready for anything in your search.

Now lets talk about the three neighborhoods that are considered central Reykjavik. These three neighborhoods are the most common area for travelers to stay, as well as where the majority of hotels in Reykjavik are located. Keep in mind that these three areas will be a bit pricey as you are staying in central Reykjavik.

Miðborg – Downtown/City Center – 101

This neighborhood is what many consider to be the heart of Reykjavik. In this neighborhood you will find many of the main attractions and the majority of bars and restaurants. You will most likely be spending the majority of your time in Reykjavik in this area, 101 is full of things to do! From strolling the colorful streets to trying out all the great restaurant and bars, and if you are up for it getting a taste of the Reykjavik nightlife, this area is perfect for those who want to stay where the action is at.

An added bonus, the downtown area is small so you can easily get everywhere by walking so there is no need to worry about renting a car or taking public transportation.

Vesturbær – 107

Just west of downtown is the charming neighborhood called Vesturbær. This area is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Reykjavik. It is quiet, close to the sea, there is a cozy cafe and my favorite pool in Reykjavik is located there! The furthest part of this neighborhood is around a 30 minute walk to downtown and public transportation is easily accessible making it nice and quick to get from your accommodation to the city center. If you are looking for a quieter area to stay but still want to be close to downtown this is the area for you!

Hlíðar – 105

Similar to Vesturbær the 105 neighborhood is another option for those looking to stay close to downtown but not right in the middle of the action. This neighborhood is a short walk to downtown from the east side. While you won’t find any bars or restaurants in this area there are several bus routes nearby making it quick and easy to get downtown or anywhere else in the city.

Reykjavik, IcelandWhat much of downtown Reykjavik currently looks like, making room for all those new hotels.

If you don’t mind being a bit further away from downtown and are looking to find cheaper accommodation the following three neighborhoods outside of city center are a great option. Each neighborhood below has something different to offer so you can be sure to find one that fits your travel needs!

104 – Laugardalur

This neighborhood is perfect to stay if you are traveling with young children and looking for things to keep everyone in the family entertained. Laugardalur is a residential neighborhood not far from downtown and easily accessible by public transportation. While this area is outside of city center there are several attractions to keep you busy. Take a visit to the Reykjavik zoo and entertainment park, enjoy an afternoon at the large outdoor swimming pool, stroll through the botanical gardens and have lunch at the cozy cafe in the middle of the gardens. This location has a lot of outdoor activities to offer and is a great location to stay during your time in Reykjavik.

108 – Háaleiti og Bústaðir

If you are more interested in the Icelandic nature than the city life this neighborhood is the perfect area for you. In this neighborhood you will find Fossvogur valley, a popular outdoor area with lots of trails to explore. If not everyone in your group is a nature lover they can head over to Kringlan, the mall in Reykjavik, or easily take a short bus ride to downtown.

170 – Seltjarnarnes

Just outside of Reykjavik is the small town Seltjarnarnes. With the sea surrounding this area it is a beautiful place to stay. If you are visiting during the winter months with the hope of seeing the northern lights this is the place you want to stay with Grotta lighthouse nearby, offering one of the best places to see the northern lights in the city. The nature area in Grotta has a walking trail that is perfect for summer strolls by the sea. There are also several bus routes in the area making it easy to quickly get around town.

The colors of the Reykjavik houses ???????????? #unlockingiceland #reykjavikloves

A photo posted by Kaelene (@unlockingkiki) on

One thing is for sure whatever neighborhood you choose to stay in you will find charming colorful houses and beautiful nature to enjoy! So really there is no bad choice wherever you stay in Reykjavik, all the neighborhoods are a good option!

Question of the Day?
Do you like to research or just wing it when choosing accommodation? Which Reykjavik neighborhood would you choose?

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  • http://www.thesunnysideofthis.com/ Isabel @ TheSunnySideofThis

    Great guide! I am always looking at places who are close to attractions, but I always compromise if it means getting cheaper rates. Sometimes the walking distance is not that bad!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      I am exactly the same. I always start off saying I want to be close to everything and then after I see the price difference we always chose some place a bit further out:)

  • Sarah O

    Love this! I always have a hard time when researching travel destinations because there are no sites that break cities down by neighborhoods. This is also super helpful for anyone looking to move to Reykjavik! Thanks!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      So agree! It would be so helpful to have a site that breaks down by neighborhoods with good information on what is in each area! Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.seeyouinaporridge.com/ Kristen @ SYIAP

    this is fabulous! i research and research as well, your viking would say the same about me haha. i am super picky with where i stay though. kc picks the cheapest and i’m like that’s 30 miles away from the city centre! no! lol. pinning this for ‘one day!’.

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Haha are men sound the same, I research so much and he is like oh I found a place, super far away, his only goal is to find a place that has breakfast ha.

  • http://www.prettymayhem.com/ Pearl – Pretty Mayhem

    I love researching my travel destinations too! This is such a handy little guide, definitely bookmarking for when I visit your beautiful city.

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Hope you get to put this guide to use one day! It helps build the excitement for the trip when you research the area as well:)

  • http://topaznpearls.blogspot.com/ Rachel

    This is great! It’s like you read my mind! Where to stay is always so hard, like you said I don’t want to have to spend half of my day traveling to the sights that I want to see.

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Exactly! I get so frustrated when I spend a ton of time just traveling to the sights I want to see, especially when I am on a short trip!

      • http://topaznpearls.blogspot.com/ Rachel

        Yes! I am still struggling with where to stay though. I’m having a hard time grasping the size of Iceland. If we were to stay in downtown Reykjavik is that pretty central to drive to hiking whale watching and other touristy things or what would you recommend?

        • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

          It is definitely central to whale watching and all the other tourist attractions in Reykjavik. There are several hiking trails as well just a short drive out of the city. I have a few posts on hiking trails around Reykjavik if you search hiking on the blog:) Let me know if you have any questions more than happy to help!

  • http://www.embusyliving.com Emily of Em Busy Living

    We’re getting ready to book a flight with WOW to Europe and are considering doing a 24-hour or so stopover on the way back. Do you think it would be worth it to try to get transport into downtown for a night from the airport? I pretty much know nothing at this point haha.

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      If you have a full day I definitely recommend heading into Reykjavik, you can see a bunch in a day! Let me know if you have any questions! :)

  • http://www.toandfroblog.com/ Mar

    What a colourful city!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      It really is, I just love all the colors!

  • http://letuswanderlust.com/ Carly @ Let Us Wanderlust

    I’m exactly like you! I research and research and research before choosing accommodation when we travel! Nothing worse than some dodgy place a million miles away from where you should have been! I’d love to visit Iceland someday soon so am bookmarking this super helpful post for later! X

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      It can take me so long sometimes to finally commit to a place ha. But it is part of the fun looking at all the different accommodation options! I hope you get to visit Iceland one day!

  • http://www.alkeksabroad.com/ Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}

    I always research neighborhoods before we book accommodations, especially if we are going the Airbnb route. I love all of the colorful houses!!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Same here! I also like when we go the airbnb route and when they have extra tips at their house for their visitors!

  • https://flashandfrugal.com Ellie – Flash & Frugal

    Ok, I keep reading about how great Iceland is and I should really go by now! great pics – so vibrant with the colours!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Yes! The colors in the city are so beautiful I love them:)

  • http://www.rhymeandribbons.com/ Amanda @ Rhyme & Ribbons

    I just love all the colours! xx

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      I adore them!

  • http://realtalkwithkb.typepad.com/blog/ Kathy@More Coffee Less Talky

    ooo yay, no i have something to refer to when i research my trip to iceland which is going to happen in the next 5 years!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Yes! Hope you get to put it to use soon!

  • http://www.lilliansmall.com Lillian @ The Smalls Abroad

    I get really wrapped up and overwhelmed trying to find accommodations (especially in big cities). this neighbourhood guide is perfect – wish every city we went to had this kind of information easily available. Great post.

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Same here! It can take me so long before I will finally make my decision for a place, I just have to research all options first:)

  • http://escapingessex.com/ Danielle @ EscapingEssex

    Iceland is edging closer and closer to the top of my wanderlust list at the moment! Thanks for this guide, accommodation can be a real pain to try and research! The colours of the buildings are to die for!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Hope it makes it to the top of your list one day and you get to visit! The colorful buildings are my favorite, and really help brighten up the dark winter days!

  • http://www.teawashere.com Teawashere_

    I am always aiming for a neighbourhood where a lot is going round in the evening so I don’t have to worry about getting home.

    I had an apartment in 101 when I was in Reykjavik, I didn’t really know where to look for, but this was parallel to the main street so I booked it. Every once in a while I think of the amazing couch in that flat and the swimming pool across the road.

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      It sounds like you made a great choice for the area when in Reykjavik! I agree, I like booking close to where there is stuff happening in the evening so we don’t have to deal with a long trip back to our accommodation!

  • http://ofgoldenroses.blogspot.com/ Sara Rose

    This is super useful! My boyfriend and I are thinking about meeting in Iceland a little later this year, I’ll definitely keep this pinned for future reference!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Yay! I hope you guys get to meet here and use this post! And maybe grab a cup of coffee with me! ;)

  • http://inkandadventure.blogspot.tw/ Jamie | ink + adventure

    I always hate “randomly” choosing a place – having a local recommendation is so helpful! filing this one away to hopefully use in the near future :)

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      Same here, I like to know as much as possible about the area before I will book.

  • Katie Currie-Smith

    I always research and I use Google street view to get a feel for things as well. Even if it’s not up to date its fun to see what is the area you’re looking.

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      That is a good idea I should use google street view, that will definitely give you an idea of the area!

  • Leslie Rives

    I don’t usually research hotels because I book travel deals. So far, we’ve always gotten lucky. When we come to Reykjavik in a week, we are staying at the Centrehotel Arnhavoll and we’re super excited about its amenities and location…again, lucky!
    What I do spend a TON of time researching, is everything about where we are going: history, sightseeing, restaurants, etc…I love travel books (I buy ones on clearance sometimes for possible future trips.) And, I scour the internet for info…that’s how I found “Unlocking Kiki!”
    To learn about a place, its history, people, food, customs, etc. is part of the fun of travel for me!

    • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki

      You guys will be in a great location! So glad you stumbled onto my blog I hope it has helped with your travel planning! Let me know if you have any questions, I hope you have the best time in Iceland!

      • Leslie Rives

        Thanks! We are so excited!