With once-empty buildings being transformed into new boutique hotels and seemingly every older Reykjavík hotel constantly in a state of renovation or expansion, not to mention entire apartment blocks being rented out on Airbnb, Reykjavík’s entire accommodation landscape has raised its game considerably in the last few years. The downside is that nightly rates have been on the rise, but the upside is that you can expect high standards, as well as big discounts in the off-season. High season is longer in Reykjavík than in the rest of Iceland, so you are likely to encounter peak prices and limited availability in May, June, and September as well as during the country’s peak months of July and August. 

Places are generally classed as either a hotel or a “guesthouse,” which is an Icelandic rendition of the B&B. Because offerings are similar at both, price and location are more likely to influence your choice. Be aware that many tour packages automatically place unsuspecting visitors outside the heart of the city. Conversely, light sleepers in downtown hotels may wonder why they paid more for the privilege of being in the middle of the late-night revelry.

Outside the City Center

Perhaps you think of hostels as the exclusive domain of scruffy young backpackers, but Iceland's prices have driven you to despair. While places like Loft Hostel and Kex have taken some of the crowd, Reykjavík City Hostel, Sundlaugavegur 34 (tel. 553-8110; fax 588-9201; 40 units without bathroom; May–Sept 18,000kr double; 5,810kr dorm with linens; discounts Oct–Apr), is still a good option for the budget-minded. You don’t need a membership card (though members get discounts). You’ll see plenty of families and seniors and people from all walks of life. The hostel actually has more amenities than most hotels: guest kitchens, sauna, free parking, cafe/bar, game room, playground, free Wi-Fi, and laundry rooms, plus fun events like film showings and pub crawls. Many tour operators offer their lowest prices through the helpful front desk. Admittedly, the ambience is sterile and the location is not central, but Flybus and airport connections are easy, and you’re right next door to the Laugardalslaug pool. Book way in advance, particularly for doubles; summer rooms sell out as early as January.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.