If you are looking to move to Iceland, Reykjavik, the capital, is one of the best places to live. It is home to great Icelandic culture, creative locals and gastronomy. The city is home to numerous neighborhoods, each offering something different to the residents. The capital is known for its colorful buildings, the innovative Nordic design, and the raucous nightlife. This city offers you a cosmopolitan, yet relaxed lifestyle.
One of the factors you need to consider when moving to Reykjavik is accommodation options. Reykjavik accommodation comprises houses, apartments, and rooms. If you are planning on staying in the city for long or completely relocating here, the best choice would be finding an apartment.
The real estate market in Reykjavik
In Iceland, most people prefer to purchase their homes as opposed to renting. For this reason, at least 80% of homes in Iceland are privately owned. This complicates the rental market since there are only a few rental properties available. This also means that the cost of renting is on the higher side of the capital and other cities in Iceland.
Most apartments and rooms in Reykjavik are rented through special programs. Boarding houses are commonly used as short-stay homes, targeting tourists. This means that it can be a bit difficult to get a place to stay in Reykjavik after you move. To ensure you stand a good chance of finding accommodation in Reykjavik, it is important to be familiar with the neighborhoods in the capital.
Neighborhoods in Reykjavik
Miðborg, Downtown Reykjavik
Without a doubt, downtown Reykjavik is the cultural and historical hub of the city. Commonly referred by its postcode 101, downtown Reykjavik is in close proximity to some of the greatest attractions in Iceland. Downtown Reykjavik is within walking distance to Hallgrimskirkja and Concert Hall, some of the biggest attractions in the capital city.
Downtown Reykjavik is a vibrant part of the capital thanks to the numerous restaurants and bars in the area. This is the perfect location to live if you are looking to mingle with locals over meals or drinks. It is a common location for tourists, it is also a great hotel and government district. Living here gives you access to Iceland’s vibrant lifestyle, history, and the colorful houses and streets give life to the location.
The leafy suburb of the old west side
If you prefer to live in a quiet and family-friendly part of Reykjavik, you will love the old west side. This is a quiet leafy suburban neighborhood known for big houses and family-oriented amenities. It was once home to sailors, which explains its proximity to the sea. It is also located very close to the Grandi area and the old Harbor. The old west side is approximately half an hour’s walk from the city Centre, and there is a bus service on the route. If you want peace and quiet when looking for Reykjavik accommodation and still be close to the city center, you should look for options on the old west side.
This is a charming neighborhood located on the west side of Reykjavik. It is home to institutions such as the University of Iceland, the National Library and the National Museum. If you are moving to Iceland as a student, this may be one of the best places to reside in. Here, you can expect to live amongst students, tourists, and locals.
Vesturbær is considered as the first organized neighborhood on Reykjavik located in proximity to the city. It is abundant in cafes and dining locations. It is also known for its ice-cream stores. This is the perfect neighborhood if you are in the market for a quiet place to stay that still offers an abundance of world-class cultural attractions.
This is one of the cleanest neighborhoods in Reykjavik and is also very quiet. An amazing feature of this location is that flowers bloom here before they do in any other part of Iceland. You could say spring comes early in Fossvogur. This area is located in proximity to Perlan, a popular tourist landmark, and attraction located at the top of Öskjuhlíð. If you love being in nature, you should consider renting an apartment in Fossvogur. It is surrounded by a forest and is also close to the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach.
This is a small town located just outside of the capital. This means that the cost of renting here is slightly lower than in other neighborhoods located close to the city Centre. The town is encircled by the sea which offers a lot of beauty for a small town.
One of the common attractions of this small town is the northern lights that are a common phenomenon in Iceland in winter. The town is close to the Grotta Lighthouse which is one of the best places to view the natural wonder. Here, you will also find a walking trail perfect during the summer. The town is accessible by bus.
Cost of renting in Reykjavik
How much you pay for rent depends on the neighborhood’s proximity to the city Centre. Private rooms in shared apartments can cost between 600 € and 800 €. The price of renting also depends on whether you get a furnished or unfurnished apartment. However, most apartments are available as furnished rentals.
If you are looking to rent a flat, you can expect to pay 1,500 € for a one-bedroom flat and 2,300 € for a two-bedroom flat in the city Centre.
Outside the city Centre, a one-bedroom flat goes for 1,200 € while a two-bedroom flat rents at 1,900 €.
How to find Reykjavik accommodation with ease
Housing is always in high demand in Reykjavik and surrounding neighborhoods. For this reason, it is best to book ahead of your move. This gives you enough time to find the right accommodation for your needs and budget.
Using online rental platforms
The best way to find the best house for your needs is to use rental accommodation websites. A simple search on the site will give you numerous listings of apartments and houses available in Reykjavik and the neighboring towns, throughout the year. It is a safe and simple way of getting accommodation in Iceland. Even if you are looking for your accommodation in advance, you can already see available options and secure them for yourself.
The private market
If you prefer to search through the private market, you need to ensure you are specific about the type of accommodation you are looking for. Most guesthouses and accommodation options usually close through the winter season. This is a factor to consider if you plan to permanently move to Iceland. Most of the available apartments or rooms are listed in the local newspapers in Icelandic. This may make it hard for you to find a rental if you do not speak the language.