The public bus number 14 stops outside the hostel every 20-30 minutes, and the trip from the city centre takes 10 minutes. Flybus to the Keflavík airport stops at the hostel, as well, and there’s a rent-a-car in the hostel reception and rent-a-bike in the campsite reception. The walk to the centre of the town will take half an hour or so, and offers an excellent opportunity to enjoy the beautiful view over Esja, so choose the route by the sea shore.
The Reykjavík City Hostel is favoured by travellers on budget, and you’ll find all kinds of people, from independent travellers and youngsters to families and groups in the hostel.
“It’s a good place to start the trip to Iceland as it’s perfect for meeting people,” mentions Ásta Kristín, who works in the hostel reception.
A few wise words on booking: Do it in advance. “Between April and October well in advance, as we’re often fully booked,” reminds Ásta Kristín. Bookings can be done through the Internet, either using email or website request forms, or by phone or fax. Even if there seems to be no accommodation available, contact the hostel by telephone to find out the up-to-date situation. Sometimes you might be lucky enough to have the hostel gods on your side.
In the hostel you’ll only pay for the bed instead of the entire room. The summer fares, valid until end of September, are reasonable, with prices per person starting from 2000 ISK, and they get even more reasonable (reduction of 400 ISK approximately) if you get a membership card for hostelling international, as The Reykjavík City Hostel is a member of the worldwide network of over 4000 hostels in 70 countries.
There are rooms for two to six persons, and you can either bring your sleeping bag, or rent linens for 550ISK. There are showers and bathrooms in most of the rooms, as well as in the corridors. Keep the neighbouring large spa and outdoor pool in mind, too. The water is geothermally heated, so don’t worry if it isn’t exactly bikini weather. When it comes to food, there are three well-equipped kitchens in the hostel for the guests to use, meals served (breakfast buffet for 750 kr with organic options incl.) and supermarkets around to purchase the food. Krónan close-by is open till 9 pm, as well as 10-11 with even more convenient opening hours and a bakery too.
In addition to the basics, there’s also a long list of additional services in the City Hostel. The reception, open 24 hours a day, operates a travel agency, selling bus passes and trips. There’s also a luggage room and a safe for valuables in the reception. There’s washing machines and dryers, pay phones and both the wireless network and computers for Internet use. In the library they’ve got a shelf of books on Iceland, in the living room they have a long list of Icelandic films to screen - even games to be borrowed.
The City Hostel is also a green choice. It has received several environmental awards, among others the “Swan”- the official eco label of the Nordic countries. The environmental values can be seen all around, integrated in the every day operation of the hostel. There’s recycling in the kitchens, bookshelves around in the corridors with the possibility to swap books with other travellers, and instructions on, for example, use of water (yes you can drink it even though the hot tap smells like rotten eggs!) and saving electricity on the walls of the rooms.
When I step out to the backyard facing the camping area, there are people on the terrace enjoying the sunny morning. It’s peaceful and quiet, the atmosphere is relaxed, even though there’s a group of Japanese tourists, a family finishing their breakfast and few backpackers tying up their packs around me. “It’s a fun place to work at,” says Ásta Kristin. And if you hear that while discussing the recycling of wastes, you have to believe it, right?
Hostelling International Iceland, Reykjavík City Hostel, Sundlaugarvegur 34, 105 Reykjavík. Phone 553 8110. www.hostel.is, email@example.com
The Reykjavík City Hostel hostel is neatly located in the Laugardalur valley (“Hot Spring Valley”), the sports and recreation area of the town of Reykjavík. Next door you’ll find the largest outdoor swimming pool in town, botanical gardens and the sports stadium, to name a few.