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Although the greater Reykjavik area houses 180,000 Icelanders – or more than half of the country’s population – the neighborhoods worth perusing can be explored by foot.

Reykjavik Neighborhoods

City Center/Old Town

You’ll hear these two names used interchangeably (though nothing in Reykjavik is very old – the most “ancient” buildings date to the 1800s). The center comprises one of the city’s most talked-about stretches, Hverfisgata – a mix of businesses, residences and late-night hangouts – as well as Bankastræti, Austurstrætiand, and the main shopping boulevard Laugavegur.


The epicenter for shopping in the country, Laugavegur houses chic Scandinavian labels like Iittala and Marimekko, as well as scores of coffee shops and after-hours haunts. The stretch of wallet-emptying shops slices through Reykjavik’s center.


North of the center along the coastal area, this valley is sprinkled with hot springs and residential areas.

The ‘Burbs

The city’s rapid expansion has practically swallowed up the outlying towns of Gardabaer, Hafnarfjörður and Kópavogur. It’s unlikely that you’ll visit any of these parts, except possibly Hafnarfjörður (famous for its Viking ties and mythical settlements of elves) – most are primarily residential and don’t hold much draw for tourists.

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