Our last Iceland blog post from our grand 2.5 week journey around the country ends in the country’s capital and largest city – Reykjavik. We saved Reykjavik for last since it’s not too far from the airport and we had visited it on our last trip back in January. However, our last visit was only 2 hours, and now we were staying for 2 nights. We couldn’t wait to finally see more of what Reykjavik has to offer.
Turns out, 2 nights is surprisingly not enough to see all of Reykjavik. You could easily spend up to a week in this city, especially with a group of friends. There’s so much to see, do, and eat in Iceland’s capital despite the city being about 5 times smaller than where we live in Los Angeles. So after checking out of Hotel Rangá, we headed west for our final stop in Reykjavik.
We dropped our bags off at our first hotel during our visit, Reykjavik Residence Hotel. This hotel hosted the only king and queen of Iceland, King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, on their royal tour of Iceland in 1926. You can even stay in the same suites they did (sadly, the suites were already booked out during our stay)! After geeking out about the royal history of Iceland, we then hopped in a cab and headed to Kaffivagninn.
Kaffivagninn is located harborside and was the perfect spot for a yummy lunch of Danish smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches). I was so happy to find a place offering Danish food, although Icelandic is not really all that much different. After lunch by the water, we decided to walk around the city. It wasn’t really that cold and the city was already decorated for Christmas in early November, so I wanted to relish in all of it!
For our first night in Reykjavik, we dined at Messinn. I wasn’t ready to give up eating incredibly delicious Icelandic seafood, and Messinn did not disappoint. They were incredibly busy and full of Icelanders, which is always a good sign. We even saw the hostess have to turn people away if they did not have a reservation, so make sure you make one! We opted to share a bunch of different plates to be able to try as much as we could.
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For the main course, we split a salted cod which came served in its frying pan along with fresh vegetables and potatoes. It was sinfully good and a great way to end our first day in Reykjavik.
The next morning, we did some more sightseeing before we would be checking into our next hotel, Tower Suites Reykjavik. We headed to one of our favorite spots in the city for breakfast – Reykjavik Roasters. It’s such a unique little coffee shop not far from the famous Hallgrimskirkja church. You can sip your coffee (or in my case, hot chocolate) and munch on chocolate croissants while watching them grind and roast fresh coffee beans. It’s a bit mesmerizing actually!
After breakfast, we returned to Hallgrimskirkja once again. We visited this church on our last trip, but there was no way we were going to skip it this time. The view from the top makes it absolutely worth it. You really feel like belting, “I’m the King/Queen of the World!” like Jack Dawson in Titanic while up there. At the top, you can see out for miles. For a few minutes, I witnessed some Air Iceland Connect planes landing and taking off from Reykjavik’s city airport nearby. We could also see our next hotel from the top, as it’s in the tallest building in all of Reykjavik (and probably all of Iceland!).
After we came back down to the ground, we wandered the streets of Reykjavik some more before dipping into Snaps for lunch. I was craving a good French onion soup and French rosé (rosé wine from France tends to be drier than anywhere else which is what I prefer), so I knew this cute little French bistro would be the perfect spot.
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With our bellies full of soup, fish, and wine, we popped into the famous Brauð & Co. for some bread and a cookie before heading to our final Iceland hotel.
Hotel: Tower Suites Reykjavik
We couldn’t have asked for a better hotel to mark the end of our Iceland journey. Tower Suites Reykjavik is one of those rare touches of luxury you’ll find in Iceland. Located a bit outside the heart of downtown Reykjavik but still within a perfect distance to see all that Reykjavik has to offer, it’s the perfect spot for couples looking for some romantic, luxury, and a breathtaking view. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the hotel is set on the highest floor in the tallest building in the city. Each suite features unobstructed floor to ceiling windows with the most gorgeous panoramic views you could ever imagine. We were escorted to our room by our concierge, Seamus, and something tells me he is pretty used to the sound of jaws dropping the minute guests enter their suite. From our living room, we had an incredible view of downtown Reykjavik to the west as well as Akranes and Snaefellsnes peninsula to the north. Having a room facing north was a bonus since it would give us prime viewing for the Northern Lights.
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I felt at home in Tower Suites Reykjavik right away, and it felt like it was a bit of torture getting to only stay here one night and having to leave Iceland the next day. We could have and would have stayed forever! One of my favorite features was the bathtub, with it’s modern Scandinavian style facing the north, giving you the best spot in the city to watch the Northern Lights.
For our final night in Iceland, the hotel had recommended Fiskmarkaðurinn as the perfect date night spot a few months prior