As I have mentioned over and over, I LOVED my short time in Iceland. Well, part of the reason it was so enjoyable is which Reykjavik Hostel we chose to lodge at. I love a good deal which means I don’t mind staying in a hostel or an Airbnb rental. In Iceland, we chose the Kex Hostel which just happened to be an Old biscuit factory (How cool is that?)
To find the Kex Hostel I started at hostelworld.com to check out reviews. It was a decent price and we had a group going which meant we would only have one person in our room who we didn’t know. Not too bad for a hostel.
When you arrive it is along the waterfront with a breathtaking mountain view. Now to get to Reykjavik the best thing, if you are not renting a car (which I highly recommend), is to take the Flybus. For around $20 you can get to your hotel/hostel in Reykjavik on a very comfortable bus. It takes you directly to the hostel which is barely noticeable only by a small door right next to a Dominoes frequented by drunk hostel goers.
Upon entering the hostel you immediately notice all the funky decor. The Kex Hostel is an Old Biscuit Factory full of life and history which shows through in the cement walls and industrial beams. The walls are filled with maps of places you want to go then surrounded by books of places people have been. Check out the gym or get a haircut in an old style barber shop.
The Living Area
The rooms are nice with bunk beds that each have an electrical plugin, which I believe to be completely necessary. The beds are not the most comfy I have ever slept in however for a hostel not bad at all. There are lockers which can be nice if you do not know who is going to be in your room. The great thing is the room operates off of a key card lock which keeps anyone out of your room who doesn’t belong.
The bathrooms are available on each floor with several single room showers or toilets. If you shower in the early morning or evening time then the water pressure and temperature are perfect. However in rush times you will definitely feel like you are at summer camp once again. Tip: If the shower you are using doesn’t have good water pressure, try again. We found that there were certain rooms that had better shower heads.
The Kex Hostel had a kitchen on each floor with plenty of room for several people to cook. It was also a great spot to hang out at later in the evening if the common area was overtaken by the drinking crowd.
In the common room on the main floor, you will find many picnic style tables to hang out at with fun board games and cards available to play. If you are alone it’s a great place to sit by the window and gaze at the snowy ocean and mountain view or to curl up and read a book. The common room was everything I wanted in a hostel area.
The Kex Hostel restaurant was my favorite part of the hostel. They had amazing local draft beer with perfect appetizers to pair with your Ale. My favorite appetizer was the Bacon covered dates and the sweet potato french fries. They held us over perfectly while we waited for the rest of our group to be ready for dinner most nights. They also have amazing burgers. My favorite was the freedom burger. However, make sure to ask them to cook it well done unless you like the inside of your burger still mooing.
The Kex Hostel is a destination spot for the city of Reykjavik. There were certain nights when they had live music and people were pouring in. It was a very fun atmosphere but extremely busy. I would highly recommend the Hostel to anyone visiting Reykjavik.
Big shout out to all of my friends in our big travel group who let me use their pictures! Thanks to Jen Yeung my travel soulmate, Brian Merrion a fun guy who roots for the wrong Oklahoma team, and Ben Rodgers a super talented Industrial designer whose work can be viewed here.
Also feel free to check out my often travel buddy Jen’s Blog. She’s great at telling our stories, as is, with all the funny and quirky details.
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As I have mentioned over and over, I LOVED my short time in Iceland. Well, part of the reason it was so enjoyable is which Reykjavik Hostel we chose to lodge at. I love a good deal which means I don't mind staying in a hostel or an Airbnb rental. In Iceland, we chose the [...]
Iceland still holds my fondest travel memories to date. It was a beautiful winter wonderland full of adventure, delicious food, and beer. I loved every second of it and I highly recommend that you visit there yourself no matter what time of year. I have picked my favorite things to do and put them below. With so many epic things to do how can you go wrong?
Iceland had so many new delicious foods to try I didn’t have time for all of it. We did try a few new things including whale ( I know it’s controversial) and even puffin. They had quite a selection of food from Korean to American so you can’t go wrong. If you’re looking for a good place to eat, the Kex Hostel was absolutely amazing. They had delicious hamburgers and amazing appetizers, if you go you must try the bacon wrapped dates and for me try the reindeer bites. They were completely out of reindeer bites when we were there and I’m still upset about it!!
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
In 2004 former President Bill Clinton visited one little hot dog stand and it has been a popular staple in Reykjavik ever since. Make sure you try a lamb dog the way they come which is perfect after a long night of drinking.
Go on a road trip
Our time was short on the road and I wish we had made more time for exploring. What time we did have we were able to see so much beautiful landscape it left me longing for more:
The Gullfoss waterfall is definitely a must see. I insist you make time for this. It was oh so cold, with a strong wind blowing icy water and snow in our faces. Despite the cold, we stayed just to be in awe of the beauty surrounding us. If you find yourself there in the summer make sure and send me a pic 🙂
Geyser Hot Springs
Ok so my opinion on this might be less favorable however as cool as I thought the geysers were…don’t go out of your way to see them. It is definitely a fun sight to see but it’s not as crazy beautiful as the other sights we could have made our way towards instead.
Since our road trip was only a day long, we did not get to go on a hike. A few friends in our group opted to go the next day while we went snorkeling and I was insanely jealous. They not only saw a beautiful waterfall but also got to climb around the edges of the fall, their pictures were breathtaking!
One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city is to get a sky view. Luckily there is a perfect viewpoint from the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church. The Church is beautiful and for a few dollars, you can take an elevator to the top of the Church which allows you to see all of Reykjavik. It’s a must do in my opinion.
Walk around the City
Reykjavik is a smaller city with a funky vibe. Make time to stroll through the city and see all the graffiti artwork on the buildings. They had a few fun bookshops and tons of breakfast cafes. My favorite place was a fun little cafe tucked away called Grai Kotturin. Make sure and Order the cafe au lait, you won’t regret it.
Play in the snow
If you don’t have at least one snowball fight and make one snow angel I am going to be sorely disappointed in you! Release your inner child and relish in the winter wonderland surrounding you. My favorite memory is our group running out to the shore and playing in the snow. It was innocent and magical. Don’t deny yourself this simple pleasure.
My friend Jen has a knack for finding the goofiest things for us to do. This time she managed to find a national museum for penises. It is fairly small but you will find tons of different penises preserved for you to see. Watch out for the Olympic team who had their you know whats preserved in gold.
Dog sledding in Iceland was such a pure and beautiful moment I will be sure to hold it in my heart for years. The dogs live to pull and love to sled so watching them is pure bliss. If you are lucky you might just get a show from mother nature. Read here for more of my Dog Sledding Adventure.
The Kex hostel where we lodged was right by the waterfront so were able to check out the mountains and beautiful waterfront daily. Something about the icy air and still snowy mountains was so peaceful.
Have you been to Iceland? What was your favorite activity?
When we began to plan our trip to Iceland there was an endless list of things that we all wanted to do. Iceland whether winter or summer, has tons of thrilling activities for the wild adventurer. One thing on that list that we all agreed on was to see the Northern lights. The most fun way we could think of to do that was to go dog sledding while out looking for that mysterious light show. We figured even if we didn’t see the Northern Lights it wouldn’t be too disappointing since we were still being carried around on the snow like Santa Himself.
Being the animal lover and bleeding heart that I am we made sure to chose a company that really loved their animals and cared about their well being. Lucky for us that isn’t hard to find in Iceland. We ended up going with Dog Sledding IS simply due to their description of the activity, “Half way during the tour we will take a break for you to take pictures with the dogs and offer them a good belly-rub.”. Who can resist a company that invites you to love on their animals?
It ended up being around $150 a person for the midnight tour without a transfer. I highly recommend renting a car when traveling in Iceland, as it will save you money and give you a chance to see all the amazing scenery that Iceland holds.
The night we were set to go Dog sledding it decided to snow and snow and snow some more. The company was so responsive and let us know in advance that we would have to reschedule. They assured us they would get us in another day if at all possible. We were lucky and the next day we were able to go. Always make sure and try to check on your email when you are expecting to go to any kind of activity especially in the winter when anything can happen!
We checked our phones and Dog sledding was on for the rescheduled night! We checked the Northern Lights forecast and although it was not looking so good for us we were still so excited to get to sled! Now I will warn you that the road leading to the Dog Sledding house is very tiny. If you are going in winter (they do dry sledding as well) then be prepared. Stay on the wore down road ONLY! We got a little confused on which side of the road we should be on and got stuck. It’s a one lane road, trust me. Lucky for us some Icelander’s just happened to behind us and pulled out of the several foot snow! They definitely had the equipment and the knowledge to get us out in no time.
We finally arrived to the Dog sledding house and found about 20 dogs spread out across the snow howling and barking so ready and excited to take us on an adventure. What we learned about Sledding dogs is that they LIVE to race. They absolutely LOVE pulling you around on that sled. In fact I think they enjoyed the ride even more than we did.
Before we could hop on the sled the mushers had to make sure we were all bundled up properly. If you didn’t have proper clothes, mittens, or hats they actually provided a suit you could wear to keep you nice and toasty. Not the most stylish thing but it will keep you from losing a toe! Lucky for me I have skiing clothing so I was prepared for the snow and freezing cold winds!
On our sled 4 people who sat on the sled and one person got to help drive the sled with the official musher. The Musher allowed us to switch places so that everyone got a chance to drive!
Let’s begin the ride!
Being on the sled was incredible! The dogs are so much fun and they LOVED to go FAST! Each dog has it’s own story and our musher knew all of them so well. You could tell by her stories how much she loved each and every one of them. Several of the dogs are rescue dogs that they saved from being put down. Huskies are very popular dogs in Iceland however most people do not realize how much work they really can be. They have so much energy and need to let out that energy or you may end up with a terror of a pup!
Can you tell Jen is eating this up?
Driving the Sled was definitely a highlight. The Instructor teaches you how to stand with one foot in front of the other and how to keep your balance without making the sleigh fall right over. With the cool wind blowing in your face and the dogs racing in front of you, life seems so simple and beautiful with miles of a dark night and shiny snow in your face. There is something so pure about these beautiful dogs and the Iceland land that I simply cannot explain. it was an amazing memory I will always hold dear.
Shawn, Jen and I loving on these beautiful animals
Eventually your time must end so about an hour on the snow we headed back where we got to play with the pups some more. Boy do they LOVE attention! They love being patted on their bellies and each one has such a different personality. Some were jealous, others more elusive, and some just excited to be out in the snow getting so much attention!
Jen loving on the snow dogs. She LOVES animals.
I highly recommend going DOG Sledding while in Iceland. I love DOG Sledding IS and highly recommend their company. If you loved your musher I also recommend giving them an extra tip. It’s not required but I think it’s a great way to show how much you appreciate all their hard work!
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Dog Sledding IS
When we began to plan our trip to Iceland there was an endless list of things that we all wanted to do. Iceland whether winter or summer, has tons of thrilling activities for the wild adventurer. One thing on that list that we all agreed on was to see the Northern lights. The most fun [...]