From Iceland — The Penny-pincher's Guide To Spending A Day In Reykjavík

The Penny-pincher’s Guide To Spending A Day In Reykjavík

Published May 20, 2016

The Penny-pincher’s Guide To Spending A Day In Reykjavík

So you want to see a bit of Iceland but also be able to afford your ticket back home? No, that’s not the most dramatic request we’ve ever heard. We’ll make it happen.

Einar Jónsson’s Sculpture Garden


What better way to start your day than with the early 20th-century Icelandic sculptor Einar Jónsson. Stroll through his sculpture garden and admire the 26 bronze casts of Einar’s monumental work at no cost.


Upon exiting the garden, you’ll be right next to Hallgrímskirkja, arguably Reykjavík’s most recognizable landmark. Take a moment to walk inside Iceland’s largest church—you can even take the elevator up to the observation tower for a gorgeous 360-degree view over the city. (Tower admission is 900 ISK.)

Ekkisens or Harbinger Art Gallery

If you’re feeling particularly artistic today, make your way to the Ekkisens or Harbinger art galleries. These artist-run spaces mainly showcase up-and-comers in the art world and the exhibitions are free!

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur


You need sustenance for your Icelandic odyssey, and just because you can’t drop stacks on stacks doesn’t mean you have to starve. Grab lunch at this Icelandic staple. Listen, if their hot dogs are good enough for Bill Clinton and Kim Kardashian, they’re good enough for you.


With hot dog in hand, walk past Parliament (and potentially some Icelandic protesters) on your way to Tjörnin, the pond in the city’s center. Enjoy the classic Icelandic homes and buildings that surround the pond(but try not to wonder at their price tags, just thinking such thoughts will make money disappear from your wallet).

Nauthólsvík Beach

Nauthólsvík Beach

If you fancy a swim, hop on the bus to Nauthólsvík. It’s a quick fifteen-minute ride to the geothermal sand beach, which boasts hot tubs looking out onto the water and a lagoon in which hot geothermal water combines with the cool sea waves, creating pleasant ocean temperatures. (And, brace yourselves lads, this too has no entrance fee!)

Appy Hour

Photo by Art Bicnick

Photo by Art Bicnick

Doesn’t a nice glass of something sound divine right about now? Use The Grapevine’s very own Appy Hour app to track down the best deals for Happy Hour and get your drink on.

Dinner Options: Mandi, Lemon, Sæta svínið, and Café Loki

Depending how much you want to spend and how good a job you’ve done at saving throughout the day, we’ve got a few options for you.
Mandi is great to snag a quick and relatively (this is the operative word in Iceland) cheap kebab on the go.
Lemon is best for inexpensive, healthy food and smoothies. Just because we’re trying to pinch our pennies doesn’t mean we have to be heathens here, people!
If you’re looking for a nice atmosphere, the newly opened Sæta Svínið gastropub is a moderately priced option with a great atmosphere.
Café Loki gives you good portions of classic Icelandic dishes, allowing you to sample the local cuisine.

Grótta Lighthouse and Geothermal Foot Bath

It’s nearly “summer” (if we’re using the term as loosely as possible), so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy the day while it remains light. Use the last bit of sunlight to walk along the coast to the Grótta lighthouse. Then take a selfie with the fantastic sunset while soaking your feet in the geothermal nature pond. Is there a better way to end a day, I ask you?

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Skjaldborg Calling

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