Info on tipping, news sources, snacks, dining attire, laundry facilities and more.
LOCAL INFORMATION & NEWS
When in Iceland, we recommend picking up a copy of The Reykjavík Grapevine, a publication in English available for free at coffee houses, book stores and other locations. This is a good source for art and cultural events, music and restaurant reviews and amusing articles on local topics.
Iceland Review is another good option for Icelandic news in English and German.
The cost of service and VAT is included in all prices at restaurants, hotels, taxis, hairdressers, etc. Tipping is therefore not customary in Iceland, but is nonetheless appreciated when offered.
Please help us keep Iceland clean! We urge everyone to please leave all areas in the same or better condition than they found them.
If you would like to stock up on cheap snacks for the road, we recommend visiting one of Iceland’s budget grocery chains: Bónus or Krónan. These stores are typically open from 10:00 to 18:00 although weekend and holiday hours vary. Bónus has two locations in downtown Reykjavík at Laugarvegur 59 and at the corner of Hallveigarstígur and Ingólfsstræti. Krónan is located just past the old harbour in the shopping centre at Fiskislóð 15-21.
In small towns and villages, the most common grocery chain is Samkaup. Most major gas stations around the country such as N1 also include convenience stores with basic food items and small cafeterias serving hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, etc.
Self-service laundromats are not common in Iceland, but most hotels (typically 3-star or higher) throughout the country offer some laundry or dry-cleaning services for a moderate fee. In downtown Reykjavík, self-service laundry facilities can be found at the Laundromat Cafe on Austurstræti 9 (for dining guests) or at KEX Hostel on Skúlugata 28 (open to the public).
WINE & SPIRITS
Aside from bars, restaurants and some hotels, alcohol is only sold at state liquor stores called Vínbúð throughout towns and villages in Iceland. Most locations are open between the hours of 11:00 and 18:00 Monday - Saturday with no service on Sundays or holidays. Please note that rural locations often have more limited service hours.
ICELANDIC LITERATURE & MUSIC
We recommend visiting bookstores like Mál og Menning (Laugavegur 18) or Eymundsson (Austurstræti 18 or Skólavörðustígur 11) for Icelandic literature in English.
For Icelandic music, many bookstores carry a small selection of CDs and LPs and larger selections can be found at record stores at the Kringlan or Smáralind shopping malls in the suburbs or in downtown Reykavík at independent music stores like 12 Tónar (Skólavörðustígur 15) or Smekkleysa (Laugavegur 35).
When travelling in Iceland you may notice a “rotten egg” smell when running hot water in a sink or shower—that is simply a naturally occurring smell from the geothermal water source, and it poses no health risks. As for drinking water, it is perfectly safe to drink cold water from the tap in Iceland.
DRESSING FOR A NIGHT OUT IN REYKJAVIK
Establishments in Reykjavik generally don’t enforce a dress code. However, it may be a good idea to bring a nicer outfit and a smart pair of shoes for restaurants or bars in the city as they tend to have a cosmopolitan atmosphere much like bigger European cities.