Iceland’s culture is unique, hip and young, with a mix of timeless history. When you visit Reykjavik, you’ll notice that there are many cafes and bars that can be enjoyed. This is because both coffee and beer are ingrained in Icelandic culture.
Coffee in Iceland
Coffee is an important part of life all over the world. That deep, heavy bodied flavour packed with brain-starting caffeine has become an essential part of millions of peoples’ morning routine. And for some, any time of day is perfect for coffee.
Coffee is a big part of the culture in Iceland, and you will see evidence of this at any of the many, many cafes in Reykjavik. What you won’t see are large coffee chains that you might see in other countries, such as Starbucks, Tim Horton’s or Costa. This means that coffee in Iceland is extremely artisan and independent, which makes it a fantastic destination for coffee lovers.
All over Reykjavik you will find cafes with speciality roasted coffee, delicious food and welcoming, funky décor. There is always a warm café around just about every corner where you can stop and enjoy a delicious coffee and some food to get out of the cold. Here, we share some of our favourite coffee shops in Reykjavik.
This stop is actually a bakery and coffee shop, serving up some of the most wonderful coffee and baked goods in the city. Cakes, pastries, breads and so much more are available here, as well as sandwiches and salads. But since nothing pairs quite as well as coffee and a baked treat, why not stop by Sandholt to experience some of Reykjavik’s best coffee?
For people who are serious about coffee, there is no better destination in Reykjavik than Reykjavik Rost. Located along the beautiful Old Harbour in Reykjavik, this café has scenery, coffee, hot chocolate and food that will leave you impressed and waiting to visit again.
No coffee lover’s trip to Reykjavik would be complete without paying at least one visit to the charming and colourful Café Bablau. With amazing coffee, cakes and light lunches, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this unique little café. The café can’t be missed, with its bright orange exterior and delicious smells drifting from the entrance!
Beer in Iceland
Beer is also very popular in Reykjavik. Believe it or not, beer was actually banned in Iceland for nearly 75 years in the 1900s. Beer was legalised again in 1989, and since then, it has become a bigger part of Icelandic culture, with plenty of breweries and local beers to sample on your trip to Iceland. For beer lovers who happen to be passing through Iceland, you’ll no doubt want to sample some of the best local beer in the area. Here are our favourite places to try beer in Reykjavik:
This is the perfect spot for anyone keen to try local beers on tap in Iceland. With 14 beers rotating regularly on tap, in addition to a near-endless selection of bottled beers, visitors to Skúli are spoilt for choice. The atmosphere at Skúli is relaxed and welcoming, perfect for casual drinks or a lively evening with friends.
Frederiksen Ale House
This restaurant also has an extensive list of Icelandic beer, both on tap and by the bottle. Their Icelandic beers hail from Viking Brewery and Einstök Brewery, both located in Akureryi to the north, as well as Bruggsmiðjan Kaldi. The food menu is also extensive, with plenty of burgers and wings to complement the perfect Icelandic beer.
This is Iceland’s only microbrewery bar. They have an excellent range of local Icelandic beers on top, but also an array of beers from around the world. For anyone who is serious about trying Icelandic beer, this is a stop you mustn’t miss on your visit to Reykjavik. This is where the locals congregate and has none of the touristy vibes you will find in some of the other bars and pubs in town.
Our blog is full of other Iceland tips, so don't hesitate to check it out before your Iceland trip. And for the utmost freedrom to hit up as many coffee shops and beer bars as possible, our small cars for hire are ideal for navigating Reykjavik roads.