Living Like a Local in Reykjavik

Travelling for a longer period of time leaves me longing for a base. I long for a home where I can have a comfortable bed, a kitchen to cook in and perhaps even a little TV in the corner that can natter away in the background in whatever language it chooses.

After four-months in exploring Canada and a whirlwind trip through Boston, New York, London and four cities in Italy I was ready to stop and settle down, even if just for a week – so I was keen to find a good vacation rental in Reykjavik.

Arriving in Reykjavik, Iceland, I was worried that I would be left with an empty wallet from a week of hotel jumping as my planned accommodation had fallen through.  I was beginning to panic as I searched for affordable options – not easy to come by in a country that is renowned for being expensive AND during peak-season.

My emailed pinged as a FlipKey property owner told me that their property was no longer available – but they had a friend, another FlipKey user, who may have availability. I emailed them my thanks and an anxious wait began. It felt like hours but less than 20-minutes later I had received confirmation that I had a property for the week and could check-in in just four-hours.

Best of all the property was only a 5 minute walk away.

FlipKey-Reykjavik-Iceland-LoungeLocated on Ánanaust, a main road near the Marina district, the two-bedroom apartment was exactly what I was searching for. With a large open living room and couches you just sink into, a big kitchen kitted out with all the basics and some drinks left for us by the owner; a PlayStation to entertain incase the weather turned sour and best of all a laundry – because no one enjoys living out of a suitcase full of grubby clothes, I was happy with the choice and so grateful it had been recommended to me.


Handing over the keys after a quick tour of the property the owners, who’d kindly driven an hour to meet, welcomed us to Iceland and presented us with a folder of goodies – internet codes, local take out menus, instructions to use appliances, and their best tips for food, neighbourhood attractions and even further afield. I took this gesture as a big friendly welcome to Reykjavik!

There was free parking downstairs, a supermarket 200-metres down the road, and the city centre was only a 7-minute walk or buses ran from the front-door.


Between exploring Reykjavik’s city centre or taking tours of go inside volcanoes, snorkel between tectonic plates or ride on an Icelandic horse, the apartment on Ánanaust was a relaxing getaway from the tourist filled city centre and allowed myself to immerse myself just a little bit into the local lifestyle as I chatted with neighbours and had local friends over for an afternoon.

There were two-bedrooms, one with a large soft Queen bed and a second with two slightly hard twin single beds, both with plenty of wardrobe space and a large bright window. The first thing I saw each morning, as I peered under the blinds, was the still forget-me-not blue ocean, the sun high in the summer sky as it had long ago risen at 4am.


The small balcony off of the lounge room was where I enjoyed my meals or just sat and enjoyed wine, good conversation and the salt tanged air; or I could sit on the balcony in the morning watching people drive, cycle or walk to work as I utilised the good Internet connection the property offered and eating a breakfast of skyr (Icelandic yoghurt) and with the TV talking to me in a language foreign but beautiful – I was a happy traveller.


Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean & the ice-cube night-light in the bathroom

There was one thing I particularly didn’t enjoy – the shower. The water pressure is was quite low and the shower head refused to stay in place which doubled my usual shower time. I also couldn’t get used to the warm water smelt like eau du rotten egg.

Most of Iceland’s water is pumped using geothermal energy and the smell you’re left with is from sulfur, something I wasn’t pre-warned about nor did I find it easy to get used to. Despite the sulfur smell the water is drinkable, and some of the best tap water I’ve tasted though I’d suggest to run the water through the faucets for a few seconds though to get rid of the remnants of the eggy fumes because they’re pretty unpleasant.


Renting apartments are not the cheapest accommodation option but it’s a great option to share with friends, relax and immerse yourself into the local lifestyle. Iceland is notoriously expensive during the summer months and my apartment rental was great value for money; In the end, staying in an apartment makes you less dependent on others and it will leave you feeling like you’ve been living like a local in Reykjavik.

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Ocean View ApartmentFlipKey-by-TripAdvisor-Logo


Reykjavik, Iceland

Website: http://www.flipkey.com/reykjavik-vacation-rentals/p423068/

To find out more information about the Ocean View apartment, including more photos, check the FlipKey website.

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My accommodation in Reykjavik was supported by FlipKey. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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  • Reply
    October 10, 2013 at 9:54 am

    So all the water has a sulfuric smell? I never knew!!! Was that view of the sunset from the apartment?

    • Reply
      October 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Yes, any warm water coming out of the taps has a slight sulphuric smell, though I’ve noticed it wasn’t like this at one of the hotels I also stayed at.

      The sunset photo is from the road outside the apartment overlooking the water – it was stunning! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 7:28 am

    nice place

    • Reply
      November 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      It was gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Anna | The Blonde Banana
    October 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Nice apartment. Was not familiar with FlipKey before but I am checking it out now! Iceland is definitely on my “to do soon” list.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Hey Anna,

      I didn’t know much about FlipKey until last year when I found out they were part of the TripAdvisor family.
      They seem to have quite a lot of really good properties so I’m hoping to use them when I’m in Malaysia next year.

      Hope you get to Iceland soon – it’s an amazing country. 🙂

  • Reply
    Marie-Eve | EuroTripTips
    January 15, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Sounds like you had a fabulous stay! I am thinking of renting a similar property in Reykjavik when I visit in June.

  • Reply
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