Hey. Welcome to 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 email@example.com. and he will pass it along.
Cheap, Nay, Free Coffee
Last issue, we pointed your attention to Kaffibarinn’s standard 300 ISK for a cup of anything hot (coffee, double latté, triple cappuccino). While that is indeed cheaper than your average cup, those lacking a smidgeon of dignity can go further still and score their coffee for free! “Where do I get this ‘free coffee’?” you ask. Our answer: at the bank! Every bank in Reykjavík offers free coffee (and sometimes even mineral water) for their waiting customers. If you’re passing one, why not drop in and grab a cup? No one can tell (or care) if you’re a customer or not. And it’s free!
While most banks only offer a standard, transparent brown coffee flavoured liquid, some of them have invested in fancy bean-grinding, double-latté spewing coffeepots. One of those places is the Kaupþing branch on Rauðarárstígur (next to Hlemmur); they make one hell of a cup. Make sure to stop by and stick it to the man next time you’re there.
Lasciviously soaking in a public hot tub can even be free if you know where to go. If travelling in Iceland, make sure to be on the lookout for some of the awesome natural hot pots spread around the country. They can be found in most corners of Iceland. Check out www.sundlaugar.is for detailed and multi-lingual info.
Similar yet completely different is the Nauthólsvík public bathing area in Reykjavík (accessible on the cheap via a 20 minute walk from 101 Reykjavík or bus route 19). It offers a charming fake beach environment (they pump hot water into the ocean to make it a sweet 20°C) along with access to a nice hot tub and shower room facilities, all for the sweet price of nothing.
Eating out at quality restaurants is good fun, but budget tourists, students and journalists most often can’t afford to. This is where the excellent new Mexican restaurant Santa Maria comes to the rescue. Located right in the middle of Laugavegur, Santa Maria offers authentic Mexican food at a price that can’t be beat. No course on the menu sells for more than 1.000 ISK, and drinks are sold at a very fair price too (their service is also excellent). This means that you can go out, have a nice meal, some drinks and even dessert without selling your grandmother. Santa Maria, we celebrate you!