Eat Burgers, Bathe and be Merry

Words by Haukur S. Magnússon
Welcome to yet another instalment of Cheap Reykjavík, where the Grapevine’s resident misers share some of their patented money saving tricks and tips. If you’ve got some miserly penny-pinching advice you’d like to share with Grapevine readers, drop a line to and he will pass it along.

Cheap Bathing + Reader Tip

Everyone loves Iceland’s swimming pools. They offer excellent facilities for all of your bathing and/or swimming needs for a fair price. They are also great for socialising; bringing a group of friends together in a Laugardalslaug hot tub is certainly a lot cheaper than doing so at a bar (you tourists should also note that the pool is an excellent place to get to know the locals).

    While swimming and hot-tubbing in Iceland is relatively cheap at 360 ISK per go (less if you’re a kid or a senior), there is a way to make it cheaper still. By buying admission in bulk, you get 30% off each go – a ten-trip pool card can be bought at any pool’s front desk for only 2500 ISK. During the school season, university students can get their passes for even less through the Student Union, so keep that in mind.

    Here is an extra pool trick, courtesy of reader Stephan: “If you want to work out for cheap in Reykjavík, you can go to Sundhöll Reykjavíkur on Barónsstígur. They have weights and other workout stuff that you can use for free, before relaxing in the hot tub or on the sun terrace.”

Cheap Burgers

Some days, your system starts screaming for hamburger, and it won’t let up until you satisfy your savage craving for the bloody ground meat of innocent mammals topped with delicious melted cheese, sandwiched in a moist bun. Unfortunately, your health and conscience aren’t the only things you need to sacrifice to quell that craving here in Iceland – hamburgers are a luxury item on this island and are priced accordingly.

    Lucky for us, the good people at Njálsgata corner store Drekinn have been supplying Reykjavík’s downtown dwellers with fairly priced burgers for a long time now, and although the bastards just raised their prices, they’re still pretty cheap. A cheeseburger, fries, soda and cocktail sauce go for ISK 790 at Drekinn these days, and if you feel like splurging you can add bacon to the mix for an additional 100. Groups and family types can make good of their value pack that gives you four cheesy ones, fries, etc. for ISK 2.380. Now, if you’re having a particularly bad fiscal month, you can always opt for Drekinn’s surprisingly decent microwave burger combo, which is a steal at ISK 550

Cheap Beer

Belly’s of Hafnarstræti may not be Reykjavík’s nicest bar, but they do serve Reykjavík’s cheapest beer. Besides, who needs nice when you’re drunk and poor? Where most clubs and bars dispense pints of the yellow stuff at an offensive 750 ISK, Belly’s proves itself the poor drunkard’s friend with 450 ISK beers that get you just as wasted as you like. This is why Belly’s is the underpaid Grapevine staff’s favourite place for passing out on weekdays. Go Belly’s!  

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