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Best area to stay

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
25 posts
25 reviews
17 helpful votes
Best area to stay

Hi all

I will be staying alone a few days in Rekyjavik in October. If I want to shop and walk around nice areas during the day and go out a little very close to a hotel at night, where should I stay? I am having trouble getting a handle on the city. I would like a busy area with shopping and some night life, but it doesnt have to be crazy nightlife.

thanks so much

Icelander in...
Destination Expert
for Iceland
Level Contributor
11,918 posts
26 reviews
22 helpful votes
1. Re: Best area to stay

My favorite: Centerhotel Arnarhvoll

In the center, on a quiet street, close to all the nightlife, and shopping, but quiet nights.

Ask for ,,ocean view" and high floor.

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
25 posts
25 reviews
17 helpful votes
2. Re: Best area to stay

Thanks much, but even the center is not very small and hard to determine for me. Could you indicate an intersection that would mark the center? I don't care about the noise. I doesn't have to be crazy, but it can be if that is where the people are. I don't want to be in an isolated neighborhood because I would like to walk, even late at night.

thank you

London, United...
Level Contributor
620 posts
31 reviews
34 helpful votes
3. Re: Best area to stay

The center really is pretty small, and I would think that Reykjavik is the safest capital city in the world. Even as a woman on my own and in the middle of the night, I never felt uncomfortable anywhere.

The centre of town for tourists (as an approximation) is here https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=map+reykjavik&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x48d674b9eedcedc3:0xec912ca230d26071,Reykjavik,+Iceland&gl=uk&ei=OtLlUaW4J43y0gWEloCQCg&ved=0CDsQ8gEwAA- the intersection of Lækjargata, Bankastræti and Austurstræti. If you are staying anywhere here, or even further down Laugavegur and up to Skólavörðustígur, then you are about as central as you can get and there will be enough people around for you to be comfortable at all times of day and night.

No clue what your hotel budget is but have a look at Reykjavik Centrum, any of the Centerhotels, Hotel Borg, Hotel Fron, Room with a View, or Reykjavik Backpackers hostel for places that are particularly central. There are also many more, but that's a bunch of the top of my head. I've personally stayed at Reykjavik Centrum and Room with a View and can recommend both whole heartedly. (Centrum is a traditional 3*ish hotel and is quieter by 3am, Room with a View has personality and can be noisy due to a bar underneath it.)

As an indication to walk from Hallgrimskirja (the church at the top of the hill) right down to the old port should only take you 15mins. It really is a compact city! Shopping is also not that extensive, I think I'd been into every shop on the main stretch of Laugavegur, all the boutiques up Skólavörðustígur and the majority of little galleries and tourist shops around the harbour by early-afternoon, so don't count on shopping alone being enough to fill more than one day.

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
25 posts
25 reviews
17 helpful votes
4. Re: Best area to stay

fairy g, that was incredibly nice of you and very very helpful! I will shop, but also like to be in the city center to just get a feel for the city. I will be doing one of the tours, but I hate to get to a city and then immediately run off, if you know what I mean. I'm going to follow your suggestions. I know the city is small, but I haven't seen many photos so it can be difficult to figure out where things are. I'm used to New York. Going to Edinburgh after, but that seems so much clearer.

Thanks so much!

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
60 reviews
136 helpful votes
5. Re: Best area to stay

Nancy do not worry. I am not sure that I would class Reykjavik as 'small' though. It is all relevant. . In terms of the US or UK or Australia, it is smaller, but it is the safest city I have ever been too. . I wandered around at night, by myself, and never once did I feel threatened, or uncomfortable. However I would not do this at home. Also I am a senior. Laugavegur is the main street (shopping) Lots and lots of Jewellry shops, and you cant take any ISK home, so in my opinion(sp) you have no choice but to spend them:-)))) The church is visable from almost everywhere, so if you can see that just head towards that, and then get your bearing from there. 99.99% of Icelanders speak English, so just ask:-)))) The Icelanders do seem to know how to party, and they seem to be able to do that all night - so my opinion if you cant beat them - join them! The most important thing is not too worry, and just enjoy it all.

Edited: 10:03 pm, July 16, 2013
Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
25 posts
25 reviews
17 helpful votes
6. Re: Best area to stay

Thanks Aussiegrannie! I'm in my 50s, so this is so good to know. I need to decide about the Blue Lagoon, or one of the other hot pools. I suppose it is worth the experience. I have friends who stay at the resort there all the time and keep returning because they love it so much, but they never go into Reykjavik.

Thanks so much for the post!

Edited: 11:13 pm, July 16, 2013
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
60 reviews
136 helpful votes
7. Re: Best area to stay

Nancy no problems, and age means nothing as far as I am concerned. In my opinion, the Blue Lagoon, is nice enough, although to me it is very Touristy JMHO. I went to it, on the way into Reykjavik (transfer) on my first visit. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I would be more impressed if it had not been enhanced by 'man' I did all bus tours that first time and did not learn enough. Too many people on the buses and too little time due to the schedules needing to be kept, and distances travelled on some days. I don't travel that way anymore, now I only do private tours. About to take my fourth visit, in a few weeks

However on that first time I did not bother to go into the water, but I did wander around looking for a spot where I could be by myself just to sit and listen. The water is very blue, calming, and just lovely to be in that environment. I think one has to pay now to just wander around, and it may have been included in the charges for the transfer I had anyway. I don't know this, it was booked for me, and no money changed hands except for some food. However I would pay to just wander around the area. It is possible to walk around the lagoon, and then to look up and to see the 'geothermal plants' Hmm. There are other hot pools around Iceland, and I have seen these on subsequent visits. There are also some public swimming pools. It may be a lovely warm 25+ in the water, but at some time one has to get out of the pool and then it is still only around 10. Not for me, too cold, and I'm not there just to tour, all the touristy things, that everyone else wants to do. I want to see and feel the country, and being alone/with a guide is wonderful for me. I do however think one needs to go to the lagoon or experience something of the like

Princeton, New...
Level Contributor
25 posts
25 reviews
17 helpful votes
8. Re: Best area to stay

Too bad you're not going in October. I'm starting to think there should be a web site where you can arrange a lunch or similar with another solo traveler going somewhere at the same time. There seem to be sites to arrange travel pals for a whole trip, but i think a lunch and the thought that there is someone else in the city who you've met is kind of cool, and not such a commitment.

9. Re: Best area to stay

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