living the hostel life in iceland

barnið sem lifir eingöngu heima, verður stutt af sjón. “The child that lives solely at home, becomes short of sight.”

are you like a tired child always staying at home as the saying above goes?

well, it’s time to travel and where to but iceland – somewhere far, far away from the hustle and bustle of annoying city life and annoying city folk.

but before you rush to pack your bags and jet off to the land of fire and ice, better make sure you have lodgings to come home to.

now, are you seeking accommodation in iceland during the summer? then, it’s best to book 6 months ahead coz summertime is when the world usually flocks to this tiny island.

getting a place to stay between the winter months of october and march, however, is relatively easy.

during my recent trip there with a friend, we opted to do hostelling instead, not only because it was cheaper but because the hostels always seem to be better places to foster friendships and interactions with other guests.

hostelling in iceland was, to my surprise, really easy. hostelling international seemed to have one in every nook and cranny of the island.

whether you’re travelling north, south, east or west of iceland, there’s a hostel to suit your every need.

in winter however, choices can be limited since most of the east and north of iceland is pretty inaccessible due to snowy conditions.

staying at a hostelling international (or HI) hostel can be a positive experience. hostel rooms and bathrooms are clean and so are the kitchen and laundering facilities.

the staff that were at the hostels we stayed at were generally very helpful in answering our queries about reykjavik and iceland. they also helped us organise and book tours on our behalf.

in reykjavik, we stayed at the reykjavik downtown hostel. an almost hidden 3-storey building right at the heart of old town in the city. it’s situated close to the trendy 101 reykjavik shopping and dining district as well as other city attractions. the hostel serves up a simple, all-you-can-eat breakfast for 1,250 kronos (SGD$12.50/RM25) each morning from 7am to 10am with a choice of bagels, toast, fruit, coffee/tea, milk/juices, cereal and more.

however, if spending that kind of money isn’t your thing, then the hostel has a fully-equipped kitchen within its back courtyard. feel free to cook up a storm whenever the mood hits but you’ll have to get your own groceries first, of course.

the only downside to reykjavik downtown hostel was that in the 7 days we were there, our room wasn’t cleaned. ONCE. yeah, ‘ugh!’ indeed. that was a major downer for us.

but don’t worry. there are other hostels you can try out if you’re in reykjavik that are clean and won’t break your bank. here are a couple of suggestions:

KEX Hostel
– a very highly recommended hostel that’s booked up pretty much all-year round but don’t let that affect you. keep enquiring and you may hit gold! Also a  popular off-venue site for artistes taking part in the yearly Iceland Airwaves Music Festival. this year alone, famous icelandic songstress, Bjork was sighted there.

Reykjavik Backpackers Hostel
– some good positive reviews here and a good place to hang if you’re attending the Iceland Airwaves Festival as this is a popular off-venue site.

Reykjavik City Hostel
– also run by Hostelling International and should be a decent place, but i’m not so sure about the housekeeping service though.

since this time, we were mostly exploring the south coast of iceland, we also decided to stopover at the village of Vik: population 300. besides being near the Myrsdajokull glacier, the village of Vik is a popular tourist site because of Vik i Myrdal, the famous black beach.

we loved our stay at the Vik hostel. the hostel was perched at the top of a hill that lent us fabulous views of the surrounding mountains and the fiesty Atlantic Sea. [see featured image]

the reception was warm and the staff was happy to help us organise a tour to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

all in all, a very easy peesy process when it comes to deciding where to stay in iceland if you’d taking the hostel route.

For more info on HI hostels in iceland, visit: www.hostel.is

to enjoy further discounts at these hostels or HI hostels worldwide, you can pay SGD25$ for an annual HI membership which can be obtained online or purchased directly at travel agents in singapore/malaysia.

happy hostelling!

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