What to See in Iceland, Day 6 – Unlimited Lobster soup in Grindavik, Expensive Beers in Reykjavik

Downtown Reykjavik Bars & Lobster Soup in Grindavik
Downtown Reykjavik Bars & Lobster Soup in Grindavik

On day 6 of our Icelandic adventure, we would be leaving the south side of Iceland and heading back towards downtown Reykjavik. We had to return our sad car rental to the office in Keflavik, and while there we figured we would try to stop at the well known Blue Lagoon for a dip, as well as a place with unlimited lobster soup recommended by a couple we met in the hot tub the night before.

Things didn’t quite go as planned, but in the end, they worked out exactly how they were supposed to!

In this article:
Attempt #1 at the Blue Lagoon
Grindavik and Lobster Soup
Returning Our Car to SAD Car Rental
Checking Into Luna Apartments in Reykjavik
Beer and Bars in Downtown Reykjavik
Review of Luna Apartments Downtown Reykjavik

 

Driving to Grindavik and Reykjavik

The drive from the Welcome Hotel Lambafell to downtown Reykjavik was spectacular, as had now been expected. We saw, no joke, the most incredible and vibrant double rainbow I have ever seen in my life, and then passed through the rain to enjoy a beautiful day!

Magnificent rainbow on our way to Reykjavik
Magnificent rainbow on our way to Reykjavik

Attempt #1 at the Blue Lagoon

When doing research on what to see in Iceland, one of the first things that comes up in every search is the Blue Lagoon. Assuming it would be completely filled with tourists, we almost avoided it but decided that since we would likely not make it back to Iceland, we may as well give it a shot.

I went online the night before we were planning to head that way to look up reservations and there were none available, so we figured we’d just go by and see if there were any openings. We were scheduled to return our car in Keflavik before heading to downtown Reykjavik, which is close to the Blue Lagoon. It didn’t seem terribly out of the way if we couldn’t get a reservation.

Nope!

En route to Iceland, a friend of mine had said – go to the Blue Lagoon but make sure to make reservations. I did not heed her warning. Here we were on a Monday morning around 9:30 am standing at the front desk with bathing suits in hand…and there were no openings. None. The whole day! Again, we were here in October – the off season – and there were no openings. THAT is how crowded that place is.

We left the Blue Lagoon in shock that they really had absolutely no openings for the entire day, but decided we’d head to Grindavik for lobster soup and figure out our plan from there.

Grindavik and Lobster Soup

I love lobster. Love it. In my opinion, if you like lobster the way I do, Bryggjan should be higher on your list of priorities than the Blue Lagoon.

Grindavik is this small fishing village on the south side of the peninsula near Keflavik (west of Reykjavik) and Bryggjan is in a very unassuming industrial-looking area. Once you get inside, it’s warm, and cozy, and inviting, and lovely. Charming. And their soup…is…delicious. It’s about $20 USD per person and includes all you can eat lobster soup, mushroom soup, bread, and coffee.

Since it was 10 am, it wasn’t very crowded but as we finished around 11:30 it started to fill up. I didn’t see any of the big tour buses, but a smaller one did pull up as we were leaving and Bryggjan is not very large. There’s seating for maybe 15-20 people, max. But seriously – so well worth it!

While we were there, we did some research and saw there was an opening at the Blue Lagoon the morning that we would be leaving Iceland around 10 am. Considering we needed to figure out transportation to the airport anyway, this plan worked out perfectly! We booked our ticket for the Blue Lagoon along with bus transfers to the Blue Lagoon from downtown Reykjavik, and then on to Keflavik airport. And, we should still have plenty of time to make our afternoon flight. Not such a bad plan after all!

Returning Our Car to SAD Car Rental

After our Icelandic lobster soup in Grindavik, we drove to the SAD car rental shop near Keflavik airport to return our car. We tried reaching them the night before to see if they had a shuttle to downtown Reykjavik but never heard back. Unfortunately the next day we found out they did not, and a cab was rather expensive.

However, they did offer us the option of driving the rental to Reykjavik ourselves and returning it there instead for an additional $20 – a cab would have been much more expensive, so that was a great deal! We jumped back in the car and drove off to downtown Reykjavik.

Checking Into Luna Apartments in Reykjavik

Before we returned the car, we stopped first to check in at our hotel and drop off our bags. We were staying at the Luna Apartments in Reykjavik, very close to the center of it all, and a great area to stay in downtown Reykjavik. It’s not quite in the center of the hustle and bustle, but it’s only a block or two away.

We would have our own studio which looked awesome in the photos and turned out to be one of our favorite accommodations. Our room wasn’t ready when we got there, but they were able to hold our luggage while we went to drop off the car at SAD car rental, about 10 minutes away. The car rental place wasn’t terribly far, but unfortunately, we ended up spending another $15 on the short cab ride back to the Luna Apartments – cabs are NOT cheap there! But, the funniest part of returning our car happened as we were driving down the street from the Luna Apartments and realized just how small this world is.

Remember our guide, Pete, from our ice climbing adventure (mind you, that was 4 hours south from Reykjavik…)? Well, here were are driving down this small, random road in downtown Reykjavik and we pass this guy and girl walking towards us. I comment that the girl has a great head of curls, and we look in the rear view as we drive by…and stop when we see the guy waving excitedly back towards us.

We throw the car into reverse as we back up to see our guide, Pete! Seriously though. What are the odds of us running into him 4 hours away from where we met on a small, random street in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland??? Apparently pretty good.

After we returned the car, we stopped back at the office and our studio was ready – woohoo! We went up, dropped our bags and showered before heading out to explore.

 

Downtown Reykjavik Bars and Craft Beer

Our first downtown Reykjavik bar stop was a small bar around the corner from the Luna Apartments, Kaldi Bar. They had a nice selection of beers…which were expensive. I’m not sure if the bartenders just weren’t friendly, or didn’t understand my sarcastic humor because of the language barrier, but they did not engage with us beyond giving us our beers. The bar is nice and cozy, and it was great that it was really close to our hotel.

After that, we left to meet up with Pete for some more beer at Micro Bar. We grabbed some Icelandic hot dogs on the way since I had read so much about how great Icelandic hot dogs are. Well, coming from NYC, I wasn’t all that impressed considering the hype. But it was a cheap option for dinner, so it worked out well.

After living off our duty-free alcohol selection for most of the trip, this was really our first time experiencing a bar scene in Iceland, and the prices lived up to the hype. Beers were easily $15 USD each. They were good beers, but daaaamn. Micro Bar was a bit larger and in the middle of an area with lots of shops and restaurants right in downtown Reykjavik.

After a beer, Pete had to go meet up with his friend for a bit, but we made plans to meet up later that night at Lebowski Bar, right near our Luna Apartments hotel. It was great to have someone local to hang out with – Ransom is obviously amazing and totally entertaining, but it’s always fun to meet new people and have others to hang out with on vacation!

On our walk home, we stopped by a grocery store in downtown Reykjavik for some sandwiches after Micro Bar. Obviously, we needed something to absorb the beer, and the hot dogs weren’t quite cutting it. We relaxed a bit at the Luna Apartments before meeting up at Lebowski Bar. The downtown Reykjavik bars are definitely super cool – very trendy like the U.S., and very busy for a Monday night! One of the coolest things was a note in the ladies room telling women to speak up if they are harassed. Apparently, this was spawned when a woman was bothered and it was huge news in Iceland. Well done, Iceland. Well done.

Pete had us spin the wheel at Lebowski bar to complete the experience. Basically, you pay $20, they spin the wheel, and you either win beer or you don’t. Welp, guess who won 10 beers!?

At this point, we had had enough to drink and 1 beer each was plenty, so we shared with the other patrons sitting around us who had cheered us on. What a super fun night we had! We even closed down the bar, which I haven’t done in a very…very……very……..long time.

Ransom and I walked from the downtown Reykjavik bars back to our studio at the Luna Apartments and had no trouble falling asleep. A common thing in Iceland is for there to be 2 twin beds pushed up against each other instead of 1 queen bed and I have to say – I think they’re on to something. Close enough to snuggle, but separated enough to not disturb each other while we sleep. Also – the blankets are separate so there’s no hogging the covers! I don’t know that I’d do the two twin beds thing, but there’s definitely something to the two covers 😉

Our first day in Reykjavik seemed to start out all off track, but it’s funny when you see how plans gone wrong sometimes make for plans gone right. Had we been able to go to the Blue Lagoon, we wouldn’t have been driving down the street at the same time Pete was walking, and we would never have had the super fun night we did in downtown Reykjavik. When they say things happen for a reason, I think they’re right!

The next day we would be exploring more of Reykjavik, with no specific plans, and then heading back to the U.S. the day after. We had had such an active trip so far that we were looking forward to another low key day.

Review of Luna Apartments Downtown Reykjavik

I think there are multiple buildings that make up the Luna Apartments in downtown Reykjavik. Our building was right across the street from the main office, so we didn’t have far to go which was nice. We were on the second floor, and they helped us with our bags up the stairs.

The studio itself was great – small, but there was a divider between the sleeping area and the living room, a full kitchen, and patio (which we didn’t really use because it was windy and rainy, of course!). The bathroom was a nice size, and it really felt like our own little apartment – and it was cheaper than the Welcome Hotel Lambafell which didn’t come close to the Luna Apartments.

There was no breakfast included here, but we had the kitchen so we could make some ourselves which we were happy with!

(Apparently, we were so comfy in the Luna Apartments that we never thought to take any pictures! But, it was clean, comfy, and wonderful.)

As noted, the Luna Apartments are only a block or two outside of downtown Reykjavik so it was nice to be away from the craziness, but close enough to walk wherever we needed to go.


Want to read more? Follow along on the rest of our week-long adventure in Iceland! 

4 Responses

  1. Great post and brilliant photos. Always wanted to visit Iceland and you’ve made it sound even better than I thought. It has the reputation of being a bit pricey though, not sure what you thought?

    • Jonno, you must go – it blew my mind! Food and drinks are definitely pricey – there is a large import tax – but as you’ll read in my other Iceland posts, we figured out how to still eat and drink relatively inexpensively. Hotels can also be relatively inexpensive, and there are plenty of hostels or campervan options if you want to go that route.

      • Sounds like you can find reasonable accommodation and if you’re careful not spend too much. Definitely want to visit Iceland soon, your blog is making it worse! Looks better and better.

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