All campsites were more or less the same price, approximately $15-20US/person/night.
Thakgil (Þakgil) campground: We touched on the extreme road to get there earlier. Extremely scenic and intimate setting in a very remote area. Small negative: showers were cold when we visited.
Scenic rating: 10/10 Campsite rating: 7/10
Skaftafell campground: Very large (largest we encountered in Iceland) and busy campground at the base of the National Park. Lots are arranged in rows are separated by rows of trees. Lot of amenities as you are near the NP tourist center.
Scenic rating: 9/10 Campsite rating: 8/10
Egilsstadir Camping site: Small city campground located on a multipurpose sport field. Not picturesque, but great amenities.
Scenic rating: 2/10 Campsite rating: 9/10
Borgarfjörður eystri Campsite: Picturesque small campground set in the middle of farmlands and mountains, and less than 100 meters from the sea. We’ve seen pictures of it being very busy, but it was at less than 50% occupancy during our stay.
Scenic rating: 9/10 Campsite rating: 7/10
Lífsmótun campsite: Unique campground located on a private farm with horses. Lots are divided by trees. Amenities are basic and include an outdoor kitchen and warm showers. Owners are a very friendly couple.
Scenic rating: 7/10 Campsite rating: 7/10
Stykkisholmur Camping Ground: Ordinary campground located next to a golf course within the city center. Brand new shower and washrooms, and we did make friends with a local cat here.
Scenic rating: 3/10 Campsite rating: 7/10
Húsafell tjaldstæði campground: Large campground with good amenities. Situated next to a hotel/resort. Lots are divided by trees.
Scenic rating: 6/10 Campsite rating: 8/10
Tjaldsvaedi Campsite in Grindavik: Another small-sized campground located near the center of Grindavik. Best “clubhouse” of all the campgrounds with large public and kitchen area.
Scenic rating: 5/10 Campsite rating: 9/10
Thoughts on Reykjavik
Iceland’s capital city has a very quaint and scenic, albeit small, city center. All the sites described below can easily be visited within a half-day. Staying here longer would rob you of precious time to visit the rest that this wonderful country has to offer.
Visiting the Hallgrímskirkja church, Reykjavík’s main landmark, is a must. Climbing up its tower provides unparalleled views of the city. A good activity is to walk along the northern coast of the city where you can see the Sunvoyager sculpture and Reykjavik’s Harpa concert hall along the waterfront. The paths around the small Tjörnin lake (in the city centre) offer a pleasant walk. A stroll along Laugavegur street, the city’s main commercial drag, offers some great shopping spots over a 1-km stretch. Finally, the Perlan is also an interesting visit for any tourist, for both its unique architecture, museums, and amazing panoramic views of Reykjavík.
Because eating out is particularly expensive, we rarely did so other than to sample the local fast food delicacy: the Icelandic hotdog. The top three hotdog counters/restaurants were: Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjavik, Pulsuvagninn in Keflavik, and Hafnarbudin in Hofn. We also enjoyed a nice fish and chip snack from Monsvagninn – Munch Wagon in Arnastapi.
Otherwise, we really enjoyed the Nesbrauð ehf bakery in Stykkisholmur and had two dinners in Grindavik at Café Bryggjan. The Café offers lobster/seafood bisques with a free refill and unlimited bread for $20US/person. This might seem expensive for soup, but it was definitely one of the best deals in Iceland.
The rest of the time we lived off food bought at grocery stores. The are several grocery store chains in Iceland, but Bonus by far offers the least expensive and best budget options. Kronan and Netto grocery stores are also decent alternative budget options. Other grocery stores tend to cater to the higher end market.
Finale note: Pat did try three restaurants in Reykjavik during an extend three-day layover back in 2009. The first was Hornid, the first italian restaurant in Iceland, which served great pizza. Café Paris was a great stop while walking through the city center for coffee and viennoiseries. Finally, Hressingarskalinn, which has a wide-ranging menu including some typical icelandic dishes where he was able to give the famous Icelandic lamb a try.
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