Reykjavík (Iceland) on a budget
January 1, 1970
Iceland the most beautiful country in the world
I went to Iceland with a friend to do a workcamp on a sustainable farm, close to Reykjavík. To explore the city we got there a few days before the camp started. Because we are students and broke I have some tips for you to save money on your accomodation. But before I start with this I just want to tell you even if you just thought about going to Iceland for a second: DO IT! It is really the most beautiful country I have ever been to and even if it is a little expensive to get there it will be more than worth it.
The freezing cold start of our journey
We arrived at Keflavík airport, Icelands only international airport, earlier than scheduled at around 11pm. We thought we would just arrive at around 12pm. You might think “Oh lucky you!” but we were everything else than happy about it. If you travelled to Iceland before, or are planning to do so you know that all kind of accommodation is quite expensive, especially for us broken students. Maybe it was not the best country to go to if you are on a budget, but Iceland is just amazing. Okay so because we were not into the idea of spending around 60€ for a bed in a 12 or 16 dormitory room, and we thought we would only arrive at any hostel around 1 or 2pm our young, dumb and broken selves thought we could just spend the night at the airport. But let’s be honest we are not the only ones with this idea, are we?
After we got our luggage and arrived in the main hall of the airport we quickly recognized that the airport is not very big. The problem with that was that wherever you are, there is a good chance when a door opens you will feel the cold breeze from outside and all in all it was already quite cold inside the building itself. So what do you do inside a cold airport, you want to spend the night at? Right, go and find a heater. And we did successfully, we even had a socket-pluck! We sat down on the floor, our backs to the heaters and our phones charging. Now we were quite positive about the up coming night. This changed when our worst enemy appeared: security guards. In the exact same moment you were laying down on the floor, using a scarf (or a real blanket) as a blanket one of them was coming up to you exhorting that “This is an airport, no hotel! No sleeping here!”.
I advice you to never try this on your own!
Long story short we spent a freezing cold night with approximately 1 or 2 hours of sleep. Not a nice experience but still we had a lot of fun. And the coffee and sugarbombs from DunkinDonuts saved our night too.
Off to Reykjavík: how to get to the city from the airport
Around 7 pm after having a little breakfast, we got on our way to the city. There are two major bus services taking you from the airport to Reykjavík: FlyBus and GrayLine (search for airport express). Prices are almost the same, around 20€. The ride to downtown Reykjavík takes about 45min in total. All the buses are very comfortable and offer free wifi. You can get your ticket right at the airport or book in advance (I would always recommend this). If you book in advance you just give them your flight number and they will give you a ticket for the next bus around 45min after arrival. You can also be dropped of directly at your hotel, else you will be dropped of at the BSI bus terminal. All in all very easy and comfortable.
Reykjavík Campsite in Laugardalur
When we were looking for accommodation for our trip we quickly realised that everything was very expensive (at least for us). Beds in 12 or even more people dormitorys were at least 50€ and hotels easily double the price. I have to say that we did not book in lot of time advanced but still it was not last minute, but there were few accommodation left so better start planning early guys!
Jon’s Tent Hotel found on Airbnb
Me and my friend ended up in a “tent hotel” we found on Airbnb. Sure Iceland has a pretty cold climate all year round but we went in late August so we figured it would be fine. When we arrived it was colder than expected but the thermo blankets inside the tent were really nice and we were not cold at all. Jon the host was really friendly and helpful in advance (we did not meet him in person). The Check-In was easy and we were provided shower gel and shampoo. The matresses were comfortable and we were very happy with our tent.
For us the tent hotel was a very easy option because there was already everything set up for us and we didn’t have to bring any camping equipment. If you do not have a lot of space in your luggage I suggest this is a very good option for camping fans.
Reykjavík Campsite: Eco and five stars
The campsite is a five star campsite and they really deserve the five stars. Another plus for us was that they aim to be very sustainable and are officially an Eco Campsite. It can accommodate up to 850 people in tents, cabins, cars and caravans. It’s called Reykjavík campsite just google and you’ll find it.
It is located 3km outside of the city center which is a nice 30-45min walk along the coast. There is also a bus stop right in front of the hostel next to the campsite, we never used it to go to the city though it is very handy going on excursions because you’re picked up just a 1min walk from your tent away. The bus from the airport also dropped us off there so it was really easy to reach with all the luggage.
The bathrooms at the campsite are very clean as well as the kitchen. In the kitchen there is everything that you need provided, which was very nice. My personal highlight was the “free food basket” where travellers can leave food they don’t need anymore like noodle or rise packages, actually you can find a lot of things there. There was also a variety of tea and coffee and hot water in the kitchen. The only problem with the kitchen and dining area/lobby was that at times it was very crowded so you might wait for some time or eat outside.
All in all the campsite provided everything we needed and is a very good alternative to an expensive hotel if you are into this.