Every time I’m asked “how was your trip to Iceland?” I always reply “Perfect!” – and one of the main reasons I say so is the kind of accommodation I opted for.
As a budget, solo traveler I had just a couple of options for cheap accommodation in Iceland, and since I am not a dorm person (even if I am sure Icelandic hostels are great) I started looking around for other cheap solutions. Then I found something absolutely perfect: Wimdu. On this website, you can book a room/bed/apartment/villa/you name it, nearly anywhere in the world.
What’s so special about it?
You may ask.
Well, what I really liked about this booking system is that not only you can filter the search by price range, area etc, but also every host has a profile where you can read some info about them and even start a chat. This allowed me to find the right match in terms of people, that gave me that little extra comfort, made me feel welcomed, and made my stay just perfect. I seriously couldn’t have asked for more.
I had the chance of sleeping at two different apartments in Reykjavik and if I had to go back I would have a hard time choosing between them. I just loved both stays. Here’s why!
1. Michael’s place: Nýlendugata, Reykjavík
I chose to stay at Michael’s place when I read his profile. I noticed he is a photographer, so I thought it could be interesting to meet him. And I was right.
We didn’t have much time to spend together – he had to work and I was always out exploring Reykjavik and then hunting the Northern Lights – but we did have really interesting conversations about photography. He even showed me many of his photos, mostly of Iceland and local events, which was great!
Also, my room was decorated with vintage cameras, beautiful photos, and super interesting photography books. Did I say “perfect” before?
The house itself had a great location: just in front of the little harbor, full of great seafood restaurants, and also a really short (and colorful) walk away from the center of Reykjavik. I barely used my car… that remained parked in the free parking just behind the house. Perfec… uhm, ok, you got it!
Cons: the room was a bit too little. But oh well. Rooms are for sleeping! It was cozy and warm, with a view on the ships…
2. Ásgrímur’s place: Mávahlíð, Reykjavík
I spent my last 4 nights at Ásgrímur’s place (aka Ási). I chose to stay there because of the central location, and also because Ási was so helpful in our chats, that I had the clear feeling I couldn’t go wrong.
Just to give you an idea:
- he emailed me the upcoming events in Reykjavik (before my arrival).
- when I asked him if he had a hairdryer I could use, he said no, but bought one to accommodate me (before my arrival).
- during my stay, one day he came home with some special sweets because it was “Bun Day” in Iceland, so he offered me one!
- on my last night in Iceland, he took me out with some friends, so that I could enjoy my last Northern Lights.
You will agree with me, there are some things that you can’t find even in the best luxury hotel of the world.
Ási’s house is decorated with modern, stylish pieces of design, and my room was cozy and lovely. I found a Saga book on my “night table” and chocolate as a welcome gift.
I found myself living in a multicultural environment – during my stay, we were 4 people in total in the apartment: me, Ási, his Spanish boyfriend, and a Danish girl. It was great to go home and find someone to talk with, while sitting on a comfy sofa, watching the news together, or just sit there using our laptops in silence, but not feeling lonely!
Last, but not least: my room’s window was facing north, so I could see the Northern Lights from my bedroom every night. Pri-ce-less.
Cons: if I really have to find one, I liked the harbor area more, because it was a shorter walk to the city center. But this was close anyway, and a very quiet area. So there are no cons, really.
3. Runólfur’s place: Höfn
If you are looking for an affordable place to stay in Höfn, you can stay at Ronni’s (aka the Aurora Photo Guide) place. Read all about it here!
I have to add that since my stay in Iceland was very short, spending time with locals definitely helped me soaking up the Icelandic mood and culture as much as possible, if you know what I mean. I will definitely do this again next time.
Did you ever have a similar experience? If not, would you try this? Believe me it’s a great way to enjoy a holiday.
Thanks to Wimdu for providing my accommodation in Reykjavik!