My five favorite things about living in Reykjavík

In no particular order…


Hot water in abundance


A photo the boyfriend may or may not have taken at Sundhöll Reykjavíkur swimming pool (no photography allowed).

I could live in my shower. Seriously, if I didn’t have sensitive skin and there were more hours in the day, I would probably shower three times a day. I love being able to take long hot showers whenever I want to without having to worry about the water bill. The hot water in Reykjavík is not free but it’s not particularly expensive either and I sure do take advantage of that.

Also, even though I don’t visit them nearly as often as I should, the hot water also gives us all those lovely swimming pools that everyone who has ever visited Reykjavík raves about.  There’s nothing better on a cold still day than going to the pool for a few laps and a dip into the hot pots.


Never running out of conversation topics


We specially enjoy complaining about the snow

Have you ever heard about the expression If you don’t like the weather in Iceland just wait five minutes? It may be a cliche but it’s not far from the truth. I think because we were once all farmers and fishermen dependent on the weather, and because the weather here is so unpredictable, we are kind of obsessed with it. People all over the world love talking about the weather but I’ve never experienced it being such a big part of the daily conversation as here. So if you are lost for words, try commenting on the weather and see if you can’t get a conversation going.

If the weather fails you, which it rarely does, you can always try asking the person you’re talking to where they are from and where they went to school and it’s pretty certain that you have at least 20 people in common, 5 of which are your cousins or not so distant relatives.


The relentless optimism of the people of Reykjavík


People getting ready to go swim in the sea at Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach

Like the two items above, this could actually be applied to Iceland as a whole. If you see a red number on the thermometer and a hint of sun (see, the weather again) you will see people in t-shirts and shorts out and about enjoying the “nice” weather. We even built our own geothermal beach so we can prance around in a bikini and dip our toes into the preheated sea and pretend we live somewhere warmer.

You will also notice that every other person you meet in Reykjavík is just about to conquer the world with their music, their innovation, their fantastic business sense or creativity. People just kind of jump into things and hope for the best and quite often it just somehow magically works out. Just look at the recent success of Of Monsters And Men for example  – they outsold Madonna when their album came out in The States. However, many adventures fail too. Since I started this blog less then a year ago, three of the businesses I’ve written about have closed shop.


Having mountains and the sea all around


The sea and some mountains - taken from the top of Hallgrímskirkja curch


Reykjavík is surrounded by mountains and the sea and they somehow become a part of who you are. I lived inland in both Spain and England at one point and cannot tell you how much I missed the mountains and the sea. Having them there reminds me how small and insignificant I am against Mother Nature and is a constant source of inspiration.


The organized chaos in the city’s architecture


Example of the multicolored houses in Reykjavík

Reykjavík doesn’t have a lot of grand buildings or ancient masterpieces but it makes up for it with multicolored houses and little streets that make no sense. Having lived in places like the UK where whole neighborhoods all look the same, I really appreciate the individuality of homes in Reykjavík. If you fancy painting your house neon green no one is going to stop you and if you and your next door neighbor disagree on color choices for your house –  you just pay your half of the house in one color and your neighbor their part in another.  Problem solved.

Spread the word


8 thoughts on “My five favorite things about living in Reykjavík”

  1. Elaine from Canada says:

    Reading your top 5 fav’s makes me want to visit again very soon. We’re coming in August, but doesn’t seem soon enough.

  2. From my personal experience I would agree with all your choices, but as far as the weather goes I’ve been fortunate in having wonderful weather all four times I’ve been there. It is very changeable, but much more interesting than Hawaii, for example. I’d add the air- it is usually very invigorating, sometimes intoxicating.

  3. Agree with all – and would add the encouragement of creativity and individuality, and the ability to try doing all kinds of different jobs – just generally not being pigeonholed as tends to happen in larger populations.

  4. Fiona says:

    I visited in November – I really like the colourful corrugated buildings too, so different from any other city – they really add a nice atmosphere to the city.

  5. Jasmine says:

    I love your blog! Keep the posts coming!

    I’ll be visiting Iceland driving the ring road in 8 days but will be in Reykjavik for two-ish and have found many (too many, really…) places to go.

  6. Graeme says:

    Loved reading ur blog and reminds me how Ilove the optimism of ur people…I wanna move there soon..but on my own…kinda worried about meeting people and making friends…any thoughts…cheers..

    1. mm Auður says:

      I don’t think meeting people in Iceland is hard if you are open and honest and willing to make the effort. Just find yourself a football team to play with, get involved with the Couchsurfing community or make connections with the people you end up working with. If you’re prepared to take the first step, you will find friends.

  7. Emma says:

    Wooh! Serriously most of the time I’ll scroll through the text but this was amazing to read. About a few weeks I’ll go to Reykjavik for at least 10 weeks. I will start a project about healthcare. That is the reason I’m so obsessed about all the stories I read. Only a stay i’m looking for. Do you guys have some advise. Of course I do prefer a family where I can stay but first of all I have to make some contact with the people there.

    I look forward to hear from you!

    Kind Regards,

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