Iceland - Must visit locations that locals like

Wonderguide by

Gisli Rafn Olafsson

Iceland - Must visit locations that locals like

All the places we like to visit...and take our friends

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Favorite Hotels

When we want a getaway, that is not to far away, we usually pick one of these classics

Image - Hótel Búðir
Hótel Búðir
Gisli Rafn:A gem in the Western part of Iceland. A great place for a romantic stay. They have an amazing restaurant and fantastic hiking nearby.
Image - The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland
Gisli Rafn:Since most people that come to Iceland want to visit the Blue Lagoon, I highly recommend staying at the hotel.
Image - Frost & Fire Boutique Hotel
Frost & Fire Boutique Hotel
Gisli Rafn:We have not yet visited this hotel, but this will be the next getaway for sure.
Image - Hildibrand Hotel
Hildibrand Hotel
Gisli Rafn:Such a cute hotel on the east coast of Iceland. This building used to be the old village store in the small fishing village of Neskaupstaður. I would also recommend going to the restaurant and cafe in the lobby.
Image - Hótel Flatey
Hótel Flatey
Gisli Rafn:We were in a group of the very first guests in this adorable hotel. It's situated on an Island called Flatey, on the west coast. The hotel is only open during the summer months and you can sail there with Baldur ferry that sails from Stykkisholmur town. You can also do a daytrip to Flatey and walk the village, almost all houses have been restored to their original style.
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Favorite restaurants in Reykjavik are

These are some of our favorite restaurants in the capital area

Image - Kol Restaurant
Kol Restaurant
Gisli Rafn:Amazing Icelandic food with a twist
Image - Kopar
Gisli Rafn:Out favorite restaurant in Reykjavik - amazing seafood
Image - Grillmarkaðurinn
Gisli Rafn:Great meat focused restaurant that always delivers.
Image - Fiskmarkaðurinn
Gisli Rafn:Sister of Grillmarkadurinn - amazing seafood at high quality.
Image - Geiri Smart
Geiri Smart
Gisli Rafn:Great food with a twist
Image - Tilveran
Gisli Rafn:Small and cozy restaurant in Hafnarfjodur
Image - Austur-Indíafélagið
Gisli Rafn:The only Indian food in Iceland - amazing quality!!!
Image - Hraðlestin
Gisli Rafn:Take-away version of Austur-Indiafelagid - great food.
Gisli Rafn:Healthy food with an Asian inspiration.
Image - Happ
Gisli Rafn:Great healthy food
Image - Gamla Siam
Gamla Siam
Gisli Rafn:Best Thai restaurant in Reykjavik!
Image - Ban Kunn
Ban Kunn
Gisli Rafn:Great Thai Restaurant in Hafnarfjodur.
Image - ÓX
Gisli Rafn:A soon to be Michelin star food experience. Only open Wed-Sun and only one seating for up to 13 people. A true food experience using Icelandic ingredients.

Things to do

Image - Into the Glacier: Classic Tour_38910
$ 149
Into the Glacier Classic Tour | Meet on Location
Gisli Rafn:It is a bit on the expensive side, but an amazing tour up on the glacier. This man-made cave shows you how the glacier is made out of thick and old ice and the marvels of a true glacier. They drive you up onto the glacier on huge trucks that can drive in almost any weather.
Image - Lava Centre
$ 78
Lava Centre: Family Ticket
Gisli Rafn:If you want to understand how volcanoes work and how lava is formed then this is the best place to visit. The founders of the Lava Centre had this dream for years and recently were able to make it happen and people are praising it highly.

Get Wet and Enjoy Geothermal Bathing

In Iceland we have awesome geothermal bathing all over the island. Some are luxurious and others are public pools. However we do have a lot of free, private, hidden bathing around the island that you might need to hike to.

Image - Krauma nature bath_80547
$ 42
Krauma nature bath
Gisli Rafn:In Iceland we have endless geothermal water and now we are getting beautiful natural spas that are harnessing these.
Image - Seljavallalaug: A Secret Geothermal Pool in South Iceland
Seljavallalaug: The Ultra "Secret" Icelandic Geothermal Swimming Pool
Gisli Rafn:One of the oldest pools in Iceland, built in 1923. This pool is a 25m outdoor pool in southern Iceland. protected 25-metre outdoor pool in southern Iceland. All we ask is to keep it clean!
Image - Vesturbæjarlaug
Gisli Rafn:A typical small neighborhood pool in Reykjavik, where locals get together and discuss the weather and politics in the Jacuzzi.
Image - Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon
Gisli Rafn:The Blue Lagoon is one of the better known geothermal bathing site in Iceland. It has become so popular that booking is required now. If you are visiting during winter times it's less crowded.
Image - Beer Spa 1
$ 128
The Beer Spa
Gisli Rafn:It's not geothermal, but hey... it's beer you are soaking in while drinking of the tap next to you :)

The Best of Nature

Image - Seltún Geothermal Area
Seltún Geothermal Area
Gisli Rafn:A nice natural geothermal area close to Reykjavik. We often take people there on the way to/from the airport, because it is about 20 minutes drive from our town. Just watch out that those are active hot springs, so sometimes they squirt out some hot water or mud.
Image - Magical Glacier Hike_22303
Magical Glacier Hike
Gisli Rafn:Snæfellsjokull is where Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth starts out. A magnificent glacier on top of a strata volcano. Hiking up to the top is not to difficult and the views are amazing.
Image - Glacier Experience / A Glacier Hike on Sólheimajökull Glacier_26815
$ 96
Glacier Experience / A Glacier Hike on Sólheimajökull Glacier
Gisli Rafn:Once you start hiking onto a glacier, you are transported to a different world. Solheimajokull is the glacier that is closest to a road, so this is the easiest way to experience this amazing world.
Image - Photos and Overview of the Fimmvörðuháls Trek
The Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail | Photos and Tips
Gisli Rafn:You can select to do this hike in 10 hours or two days. We have done it twice, during Midsummer's Eve, when it is light out all night. Just remember that the weather can change very quickly and you can experience a blizzard there during summer. Back in 2010 a small volcanic eruption happened by the trail and you can see the still warm lava as you hike. The hike starts at Skogar and ends in Thorsmork.
Image - The Westfjords: Iceland’s Final Frontier
The Westfjords: Iceland’s Final Frontier
Gisli Rafn:The Westfjords are the true final frontier in Iceland. Magnificent fjords, magnificent mountains, quaint little fishing villages and beautiful waterfalls are among the things you can experience.
Image - The Extraordinary Ásbyrgi
The extraordinary Ásbyrgi in North-Iceland - the Capital City of the Hidden People
Gisli Rafn:A natural gem - horseshoe shaped lava formation that has created a natural park that has trees and beautiful formations worth visiting. We love camping here.

Wonderguide map

  1. Hótel Búðir
  2. The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland
  3. Frost & Fire Boutique Hotel
  4. Hildibrand Hotel
  5. Hótel Flatey
  6. Kol Restaurant
  7. Kopar
  8. Grillmarkaðurinn
  9. Fiskmarkaðurinn
  10. Geiri Smart
  11. Tilveran
  12. Austur-Indíafélagið
  13. Hraðlestin
  15. Happ
  16. Gamla Siam
  17. Ban Kunn
  18. ÓX
  19. Into the Glacier Classic Tour | Meet on Location
  20. Krauma nature bath
  21. Vesturbæjarlaug
  22. Blue Lagoon
  23. The Beer Spa
  24. Seltún Geothermal Area
  25. Magical Glacier Hike

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