What are the top picks for hostels in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík? What are the available options, and how much will one night at an average Reykjavík hostel cost? Read on to find out the top 9 Hostels in Reykjavík.
Let's face it. It's been said before. It will be said again.
Iceland is an expensive country...
This can be something of a deterring notion for prospective travellers, individuals, friends and families who are dying to experience the Land of Ice and Fire but feel it enormously exceeds their budget. This is especially true of the younger generation, travellers who sit within the 18-35 range, who tend to boast less in savings but are a touch more flamboyant with their disposable income.
After all, we're talking hotel rooms, we're talking rental cars, we're talking tour activities... and that's before we've even thought about food, drink, souvenirs and flights... there's no getting around it, a trip to Iceland requires denting the wallet.
Still, there are a great number of ways to minimise the cost, keeping both your financial advisor and holiday party satisfied. One of the major ways of slicing down your budget is to utilise one of Reykjavík's numerous hostels.
Of course, hostels do have something of a reputation, especially in places considered to be "party cities". Potential guests worry about a lack of privacy, too much noise, the possibility of theft.... well, let's pack those fears up right now.
The hostels found in Reykjavík are, without exception, safe, professional and catered to providing as much comfort, quality and privacy as possible. They also offer young travellers exactly the amenities required of them during their stay in the country (largely, convenience and low cost) and the opportunity to meet other travellers on the road. Positives such as these cannot be overlooked by the bank-weary road warrior.
And let's be real for a moment, shall we? Travelling all the way to Reykjavík, Iceland, one should really be considering how much time you will be spending in the room anyway.
With an untapped wealth of natural attractions, be they waterfalls, glaciers or national parks, and activities to fit, there's frankly no other way of looking at accommodation in Iceland as anything but a place to store your gear and rest your head.
No doubt, upon finishing the article you will have a far wiser idea on which hostel to stay at whilst in Iceland (for that, you can send tips directly to my bank account). However, the protocol for each hostel listed regarding check-in and departure differs somewhat; exact details can be found on their own websites. But, for an overview...
There are a number of important items on the checklist to tick off before arriving at your hostel. For one, you will need to make sure that you have a government-issued photo-ID, as well as proof of your booking, be it a printed voucher or e-ticket.
One should also be aware of the fact that a number of hostels in Iceland, in fact, belong to larger regulatory bodies, namely Hostelling International and National Youth Hostel Association.
These are membership organisations, meaning that upon arrival, you can expect there to be a discrepancy between the rates for paying members and yourself (unless, of course, you are a member), so be wary of being caught out.
Often, membership will be offered when you check in for the first time, and if you decide against this, supplementary charges of approximately 700 ISK will be added to your rate. Those who are under 18 years old will also, more often than not, need to be in possession of a signed letter from their legal guardian permitting them to stay unsupervised.
Situated right next to the trendy Hlemmur Food Hall inside a beautiful art deco building in the centre of Reykjavík, Hlemmur Square is not only a hostel but also features a hotel, bar and restaurant. So if you're looking for a cheaper dorm room you can find that here, as well as a private hotel room. Convenient if travelling in a group with different budgets/priorities.
This is an upscale hostel where the spacious dorm rooms also offer seating areas with comfortable sofas. The beds are made up with linen, duvets, pillows and bed sheets and no sleeping bags are allowed. There are two kitchens for guests to cook in, as well as access to the ground floor bar where you should make the most of their daily happy hour.
However what makes this one of the best hostels in town is that it's so ready to support the local art scene. You'll often find live music here, or bump into the weekly lindy hop dance nights on weeknights. If you're lucky, you might even find yourself in an opening party for one of Reykjavík's best festivals, including Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavík International Film Festival or Reykjavík Fringe Festival.
KEX is situated in an old biscuit factory, a fact it has readily adopted with its vintage art-decor, live and swinging musical performances and tasteful drinks selection. The word 'Kex', in fact, translates to this lovable snack in Icelandic.
The gastropub, Sæmundur í Sparifötunum, sits directly within the hostel, offering fantastic meal options, genuine service and, most importantly, an elegance and class often overlooked in international hostels.
All of this and more has made KEX a beloved local spot, an attraction in its own right, making it, perhaps, one of the more iconic hostels to stay at whilst in Reykjavík city.
Regarding accommodation options, KEX offers a variety, ranging from 16-bed dorm rooms (kr 5,150.00) to 6-bed family rooms (kr 46,200.00). Those looking to stay in a double standard room are looking to pay around kr 26,900.00. A full list of their room prices can be found on the KEX Hostel website.
Loft Hostel is another establishment the locals hold dear to their hearts, in large part thanks to its 4th story balcony, from which one can idle away a summer’s day overlooking the cityscape whilst sipping at a cool lager.
Inside, the hostel boasts a bar and a large seating area adorned with rows upon rows of books, a physical reminder of the establishment's ever-running book drive. This point, in fact, makes Loft one of the nicest places to visit in Iceland, if only for an extended reading/drinking session... two activities I've always felt go hand in hand.
Loft places emphasis on community, hosting a number of events throughout the month. These can range from swap shops, where guests bring garments they no longer wear in the hopes of trading items with another, to musical performances, yoga and special events.
Loft’s accommodation takes the form of both dormitories (6-bed and 8-bed options), and rooms, (4-bed, double/twin rooms and double deluxe).
Capsule hotels were first conceived of in Japan, coming into existence in the year 1979. Since their inception, hotel owners have felt gratified in the number of guests they can now cater to in a relatively small space, whilst the guest themselves continue to enjoy both the novelty and privacy such pods provide.
The Galaxy Pod Hostel is Iceland's very own slice of Japan, providing a unique and futuristic experience when compared to other hostels in the city. For those on a budget, or those who feel aroused at the idea of total containment, the Galaxy Pod Hostel is a choice worthy of consideration.
Accommodation options are split into 8-person dorm, 4-bed dorm, 6-person female dorm and a 24-person dormitory. Each of these dorms are, of course, comprised of a number of conjoined, but intimate pods.
Among the advantages of staying in your own capsule are: further privacy, air fans, a secure locker, electrical plugs and a reading light, complete with numerous settings. All linen is also provided and the room comes with extra secure lockers for storing your luggage.
Laying back, you'll feel as though you've taken a starring role in Prometheus, and for that, one should be grateful. This sense of fantasy and science fiction is only built upon further by the Stargate Virtual Reality Arcade, a part of the Galaxy Pod Hostel focused on providing quality VR games and services to the people of Reykjavík.
One particularly noteworthy service, save their collection of VR titles, is the ability to plan your trip in Iceland using a fully-immersive Google Earth.
Reykjavík City HI Hostel, a sub-branch of Hostelling International, is located close to Reykjavík Campground, which is itself adjacent to the highly popular sports centre and stadium, Laugardalsvöllur. Among others places in the area to visit are Reykjavík's ice rink, gymnasium and botanical gardens.
Roughly twenty-minute walk from the downtown area, this hostel is not as close to some of the other establishments mentioned but is within easy access to the city's bus routes.
Still, one of the hostel's biggest charms is the very fact that it sits a little way out of town, allowing travellers to experience quieter, more residential areas of the city that would otherwise be unexplored.
The hostel has all of the amenities any traveller could ask for, making staying here as easy as an experience can be. There's laundry, a game's room, a self-catering kitchen, a cafe/bar, bicycle rental, lockers and a BBQ, not to mention the variety of room options available.
The creatively minded will find Bus Hostel to be one of the most suited establishments in Iceland. The walls are decked out with an eclectic range of artwork, adding a real homely feel to the hostel's lounge-like interior, complimented further with the inclusion of a well-stocked bar and cafe. This is all despite the famed "Ugly Wall", as photographed above.
One can also see the very last McDonald's hamburger sold in Iceland, an event that occurred in 2009 after the corporate food giant pulled out of the country following the banking crisis. You can check up on said burger, wherever you are in the world, by checking here; a constant, captivating recording of the burger's condition...
...and just think, this is the closest most Icelanders come to ever tucking into a Maccy Dees on their home soil. As much a blessing as it is shame... (I, for one, quite like snacking on MD's beef...)
One major point to be aware of at Bus Hostel; this is 'sleeping bag' accommodation, meaning that duvets are not included in the price. Guests are invited to bring their own or can rent one for 1000 ISK. The same applies to towels, which can be rented from the reception for a one time fee of 500 ISK.
Hostel B47 offers a PIN check-in, meaning instant access to your dorm room without the hassles associated with card keys. After an online booking, you will receive confirmation, then hang around until a few days before your holiday, at which point Hostel B47 will send you over your personal PIN number.
This means you won't have to waste your valuable holiday time waiting at the reception but can instead unpack and start moving right away. This is just one of the ways that Hostel B47 has distinguished itself from the competition.
Another positive of the Hostel B47 is its artistically designed hallways, with certain rooms taking on a specific theme, be it as broad as ‘music’ or as tight as ‘The Lord of the Rings’. These creative wall murals certainly do make staying at the hostel B47 an aesthetic pleasure.
Feel free to check out the establishment on Google Maps, as created by the staff at the Hostel B47. Through the above street view, you can actually walk around the hostel, providing the absolute best insight into what's in store before your arrival.
Within an easy walking distance of both downtown and BSI, the city's main bus terminal, Reykjavík Hostel Village is a handy economical option for those travellers looking to avoid spending recklessly on transportation.
Reykjavík Hostel Village is a family-run business, sporting 45 rooms over 3 residential homes. This homely business model already sets the hostel apart from others across the city that tend to be owned by large corporations.
Though it should be pointed out, travellers looking to avoid larger chains could also look into the city's AirBnB market, which offers rooms and apartments (and, in one particular case, the back of a van) as temporary accommodation from private sellers. However, AirBnB housing is also driving up the rental price for locals and driving some locals out of the centre of the city.
Types of room vary; dorm rooms kitted out with bunk beds can house up to 5 people, while more expensive options, such as a full apartment, are better suited to couples who are worried less about their expenditure.
The rooms designed for 2 people come equipped with a decent dose of amenities, including a bar-sized fridge, electric kettle, tea and coffee, wardrobe and night table.
Situated within walking distance of Reykavík's picturesque Old Harbour, Reykjavík Downtown HI Hostel is right to consider it a "boutique" hostel. This fashionable area of town boasts some of the city's finest restaurants and bars and is in close walking distance to such museums as Whales of Iceland and the Saga Museum.
Like it's counterpart at Laugardalur, Reykjavík Downtown HI Hostel is eco-certified, providing free wi-fi and bed linen, as well as accommodation options offering shared or private bathrooms. They do not, however, include towels.
There is a recreational room where travellers can meet up to enjoy socialising over books, films and games, and a computer is free to use in the main lobby. Each day, the hostel serves an organic breakfast, and fairtrade coffee can be grabbed at the bar anytime.
In 2015, the hostel was voted the best Hostelling International branch in the world, thus guests should consider this to be the exemplary standard of the organisation's standards.
Did you enjoy our article, The Top 8 Hostels in Reykjavík? Which hostels grabbed your attention, or perhaps you have a hostel that you'd like to recommend? Make sure to leave your thoughts and queries in the Facebook comments' box below.