Q: What is the best way to meet the locals in Iceland? My partner and I have been to Iceland three times and loved it. However, we have stayed at hotels, which is great, but not ideal to get to know Icelanders. Can you suggest the best way to go about it? We really want to experience Icelandic life.
A: There are numerous ways to meet the locals. Take advantage of the fact that Icelanders love to practice their language skills, and are curious about other countries. Start the day early and go to the nearest pool. You’ll find the chattiest types at the Laugardalur swimming pool. It’s the largest of them all and the most popular. Go into any hot tub, and you’ll be surprised by how many of the locals open up, submerged in hot water.
Another option is to visit a bar in the evening. Here, another type of liquid is certain to help remove people’s inhibitions, even in small quantities.
If music is your thing, KEX Hostel, Skúlagata 28, hosts many concerts, popular with locals as well as tourists. Their bar (they serve food too) is also very popular. Offering concerts most nights, Café Rosenberg, located at Klapparstígur 25-27, is another hotspot among locals. Loft Hostel, at Bankastræti 7a, is also a great place to meet people, offering concerts, pub quizzes and other events.
If none of the above sounds appealing, try contacting couch surfers. Even if you stay at a hotel, a couch surfer may be interested in introducing you to cafés or bars you might otherwise miss. Of course you can also consider using Airbnb to book your accommodation, choosing a room in a local’s home instead of an apartment all to yourself.