Here's a guide to the West Side of Reykjavik, one of the capital's most charming neighbourhoods.
107, Vesturbær, the West Side; no matter how you slice it, this Reykjavik neighbourhood is all about laid back breezy living next to the seaside. The wide streets are suffused with the smell of salt and seaweed, wafting up past the big houses and apartment blocks that make up this residential suburb only a short walk from downtown.
Hidden within the area are several local businesses that have brought the area to life in recent years, much to the enjoyment and appreciation of the 107 residents, most of whom you’ll find out and about enjoying the fresh air and friendly atmosphere. While not as busy as 101, you’ll find that only adds to the charm of 107 – so kick back, escape the confines of downtown, and enjoy the best of the west with this neighbourhood guide to 107.
Address: Melhagi 20
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am–11pm, Sat-Sun 9am–11pm
The glittering jewel of 107, Kaffihús Vesturbæjar is warm, friendly, and effortlessly cool. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Kaffi Vest’ by the locals, it touts itself as a café/bar/bistro, serving up fantastic coffee, beer and wine as well as beautifully presented meals throughout the day. Large windows let an abundance of light into the interior, where wooden tables and chairs are scattered about the rustic décor with a big emphasis on bright timber; this café would fit right in to the downtown scene. It’s also one of the best spots for people watching in all of Reykjavik, as there will often be Icelandic artists/musicians hanging out, and it’s a great place to take your laptop and get some work done as well.
The coffee is sourced locally from Reykjavik Roasters, and the vegan-friendly menu serves up everything from soup to vegan burgers. It’s a bit on the pricier side of things, but whatever time of the day it is, Kaffi Vest makes for a good stop whilst exploring 107.
Address: Hofsvallagata 107
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am–10pm, Sat-Sun 9am–10pm
A trip to Kaffi Vest before or after a small jaunt into the local swimming pool is an inspiring combination. Right across from the café is where you’ll find this pool, with all the modern amenities that are expected now in these Icelandic institutions. Chase the chilly weather away with a dip in the heated pool, or jump from hot tub to hot tub, each bubbling away at a different temperature. There’s also a steam room, sauna, and waterslide to keep the kids busy.
As etiquette demands, don’t forget to jump in the shower and wash yourself thoroughly with the provided soap in the change rooms before hopping in any of the pools.
Address: Hofsvallagata 107
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am–8pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am–6pm
If you’re in need of a quick and easy snack, this small take away in front of the pool is the perfect place to grab a hot dog or burger. It’s cheap, always a pleasant surprise in Iceland, and has been around for ages making it a truly authentic local spot. If the weather isn’t all bad, make use of the tables out the front and enjoy the classic Icelandic take-away.
Address: Ægisíða 123
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 11am–8pm, Sat-Sun 11am–4pm
Hidden away on the road towards Seltjarnarnes, Borðið is a restaurant serving up fantastic meals that emphasise locally sourced and fresh ingredients. It also doubles as a shop, selling ingredients and condiments that you won’t find in your local Bonus, like handmade Italian pastas and high-end biscuits.
Aimed at people who love a delicious meal yet don’t have the time to cook, the owners are a bunch of 107 locals who have known each other since high school – and loved food for even longer. Pop in for a quiet coffee and slice of cake in the morning, or if you’re looking for a delicious meal in one of Reykjavik’s hidden gems, stop by for lunch or dinner.
Address: Hagamelur 67
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:00–20:00
The newest addition to 107 is this warmly lit and cosy fish shop and kitchen. The business is owned by the company Fisherman, originally hailing from Suðureyri in the Westfjords, but now bringing their passion and expertise for all things fish to Reykjavik. Assemble your own meal by choosing the type of fish you want, your side, and a sauce, or go for one of the house specials.
Prices all hover around the 1990kr mark, and the shop is beautifully decorated so it’s a wonderful place to enjoy a meal, but everything is also available as take out as well; you can even ask them to leave the fish uncooked, so you can cook it yourself at home. Also on sale are a wide variety of their dried fish (an Icelandic specialty), sauces, and more. Everything is sourced from the Westfjords, meaning that whatever you buy, you’ll be supporting a local business from a region that doesn’t see much tourism.
Address: Hagamelur 67
Opening hours: Every day 12pm–11:30pm
It’s well known now that Icelanders go mad for ice cream, even when the weather outside is snowing and temperatures have dropped below zero, so get into the spirit and hit up this local haunt. The company has since expanded and opened up in other locations around Reykjavik, but rest assured knowing that this is the original and most popular Ísbúð. Step inside the shop and you’ll immediately be hit with the smell of fresh ice cream, but you’ll probably have to queue out the door for a bit – this place is usually pretty busy. Once inside, there are a few options to choose from.
The most popular thing to do is to go for bragðarefur; choose your size, type of ice cream (either the old one, freshly made from milk, or the new creamier style of ice cream), and your candy choice, and they’ll mix it all together for you. If that’s not your style, just go for the standard ice cream in a cup with some candy scattered on top. Hint – you can’t see the candy in this shop until you’re right at the counter.
No exploration of 107 would be complete without a foray along the oceanfront. A footpath makes its way all along the long peninsula of the country; walk north to cross over into the town of Seltjarnarnes, or head south to meander back into 101, past the geothermal beach Nauthólsvík and beyond. In the 107 stretch of coastline are several small black sand beaches, with rocks blanketed in seaweed emerging as the tide goes out. Keep an eye out for small information boards along the way, as well as a few sculptures – one of which only emerges on the rocks as the tide goes out.
Mountains back the distant houses across the water, and the hammocks lining the coast make for comfortable spots to watch the sun sink over the ocean, or not at all during the summer months. The path is also a great spot for a quiet run if you’re feeling active.
Address: By Hagatorg
If you fancy catching a film while you’re in town, the university cinema Háskólabíó is centrally located in the 107 neighbourhood. See what’s on and when on the cinema's website .