Whether you visit Iceland’s capital in the frosty depths of winter for a soak in the steaming Blue Lagoon, or in summer to tour the Golden Circle’s geysers and waterfalls, compact Reykjavik entices with its stunning natural backdrop, coffee culture and nightlife. Get the inside track on the Icelandic way of life in an Airbnb-style stay; book one of the best today with Culture Trip.
You can now book your place on our five-day, exclusive Iceland tour – and experience this magical country with a small group and Culture Trip’s Local Insider.
The exterior couldn’t be more Icelandic, with its corrugated white-clad frontage and bright red roof. It wouldn’t look out of place in the wild Icelandic countryside, but this one-bedroom apartment, sleeping four, is in fact located in the centre of the capital – just minutes from City Hall and Hallgrimskirkja. Cosy-meets-stylish interiors, with Anglepoise-style lamps and waffle-print blankets, mean you’ll enjoy a stay here in frosty winter just as much as in summer.
Over in the city’s eastern reaches, next to the sculpture-dotted grounds of the Ásmundarsafn Art Museum, this two-bedroom apartment sleeps five, and feels a bit like a gallery itself – light pours in from big windows overlooking the city, and eye-catching images hang on lounge walls. A kitchen island lets everyone gather together as you whip up breakfast, whether that’s fried eggs or traditional Icelandic hafragrautur (oatmeal), served with skyr (similar to yoghurt).
Given it’s a city surrounded by water, a trip to Reykjavik’s old harbour – bobbing with fishing boats – is an essential rite of passage when you visit. Five minutes’ walk away from the pier – jumping-off point for whale- and puffin-watching tours and Northern Lights cruises – you’ll find this two-bedroom balconied apartment, sleeping four. With trendy metallic light fixtures and animal-print chairs, it’ll suit a travelling group of friends or a small family in equal measure.
Sleek modern kitchens and big windows characterise these one- and two-bedroom apartments, sleeping six. With cribs for little ones, high chairs and mess-solving washer/dryers, they’re a natural pick for families. There’s free parking, too, so you can hire a car to whisk you and your crew to the nearby kid-friendly pool complex of Laugardalslaug, or to the must-see waterfalls and geysers of the 300km (186mi) Golden Circle sightseeing loop.
The stately white facade is impressive enough. But the real joy of these downtown apartments – ranging from studios to three bedrooms, sleeping two to six people – becomes apparent when you step inside. Each is different, but with designer kitchens, cosy throws and an on-trend navy, grey and pastel colour palette, they show why Nordic style is so famous. Hotel touches increase the indulgence-factor even further: think concierge, laundry services, daily housekeeping and a 24-hour front desk.
There’s no question that you’ll fall for the photogenic exterior – the corrugated grey walls and gable detailing combine to make a uniquely Icelandic look. The careful styling within will further entice interiors geeks: panelled walls, monochrome palette and industrial-style lighting combine to make one covetable holiday base. The location is just as good as the looks: you’re only a two-minute walk away from Parliament House and the City Hall.
The balcony of this sleek penthouse gives guests views of the mountains, the ocean and the famous Hallgrímskirkja. With sloping loft ceilings, concrete walls and floor-to-ceiling windows, this luxurious home is conveniently located in central Reykjavik, surrounded by bars, restaurants and shops. Start the day with a coffee from the espresso machine and enjoy the view of Reykjavik’s colourful houses from the patio.
Giving you the best of both nature and city life, this cosy wood cabin just outside Reykjavik is the ideal peaceful retreat after a day of sightseeing. Unwind in the rocking chair next to the fireplace or sit by the window and watch the snow fall outside in the surrounding woods. While you will need a car to access the cabin, staying here means you will be close to popular tourist attractions like the Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon. Thanks to its secluded location and the area’s lower levels of pollution, the cabin is an ideal place for nature lovers looking to see the Northern Lights.
Melanie Moore contributed additional reporting to this article.
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meet our Local Insider
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.