During my trip back to visit my brother in UK, we decided it would be fun to go on a short break together but where? Now, he’s not a fan of the heat and seeing as it was during the British summertime, we thought Iceland would be the perfect getaway – somewhere we thought wouldn’t be too touristy and not too hot. After researching on what to do and where to stay, we decided it would be best to base ourselves in the capital city of Reykjavik and hire a car for a few day trips.
So I knew the basics about Iceland; the geo-thermal pools, The Northern Lights and the infamous volcano which caused the ash cloud a few years back. I needed to research fast about Reykjavik and where we were going to stay. After discovering the main street located below on Laugavegur, I wanted to make sure we were in walking distance to the city centre so that it wasn’t going to be a mission to visit any of the main tourist attractions.
Reykjavik’s main street – Laugavegur
After researching many hotels which were expensive, I decided to take a look into an Airbnb. I’ve used it a few times before and enjoyed the previous stays because I find I get more information from the host on the best things to do and see than I would from a hotel concierge. I also love the fact that you feel like you’re almost living like a local when staying in an Airbnb so after finding the most beautiful penthouse, we were accepted by the Jonasson family to stay at their own apartment whilst they were living elsewhere during the summer months. I knew this was the right stay for us but my brother who has never used Airbnb before was a bit apprehensive. I know the first time I used Airbnb, I found it a bit weird. You feel like you’re invading a stranger’s space, but you soon realise that if they are happy renting it out then it’s all good.
Our airbnb – minimalism at its best
The family kept in contact with me right until we arrived 4 hours late due to a delayed plane journey and I was so intrigued about their creative background I grilled them about their life in Iceland during our stay. The family, all born in Iceland each hold a fascinating background; the father Petur, is one of Iceland’s most renowned classical guitarists who spends his summer months putting on music festivals around Iceland and will be starting his PHD in Music Research next month in London. The mother who used to be a playwright is now a prestigious Theatre Director and their two kids are either a rock musician and a karate expert.
The Jonasson family
They’ve lived in many countries and opted back to their home in Iceland even though they find their creative inspiration from other countries which is surprising as we found Reykjavik a very creative city with incredible street art on almost every building.
Street Art in Reykjavik
It’s their third summer now hosting their home on airbnb whilst the family live elsewhere in Iceland due to Petur’s music festival commitments. They’ve found it really easy and only ever had very few minor problems before with their guests. But it’s all down to their selection process. They only accept like minded people into their home who they feel they can trust. It’s fascinating to hear of their previous guests from Hollywood film stars to directors and other creative types. And it’s no wonder why it’s a sought after apartment because of the sheer size of it right in the heart of Reykjavik. It’s located on Hverfisgata, literally parallel to the main street Laugavegur which is extremely rare to find, quiet and it makes you feel like you’re just staying at your ‘other house’.
Staying in a home with the most beautiful library with Airbnb
Airbnb has become very popular in Iceland and because the rate of tourism is running so fast, the country is struggling to keep up. We were incredibly shocked on how many tourists there were flocking to all the main tourist attractions yet you do feel there is a sense of space in the country. With a population of 323,000, most of the country is completely untouched as the majority of people live in the capital city. We noticed the air was so clean as well as the water which comes from the glaciers making it some of the purest water in the world! With the country living off renewable energy, there’s no need to pay any electricity bills and with sulfuric water flowing out of their taps, they have enough energy in the country to power all the cars in Iceland by electric power. It’s no wonder the life expectancy is one of the highest in the world and the crime rate being one of the lowest. I must admit, I instantly didn’t feel the slightest concerned being out late at night in the city.
Iceland truly is a magical country and I strongly recommend visiting. We flew with WOW AIR from London Gatwick for £400 each although I’m sure you can get it cheaper when booking in advance.
The Jonasson family were so accommodating, telling us all the best places to visit and things to do. There was even chat about one of their favourite spots in the country – a thermal pool in a volcanic crevasse in the north of the country which makes you feel like you are at the end of the world. Where that is will remain with them. To book the Jonasson family’s airbnb, click here.
And lastly, here’s a quick tour of the airbnb we stayed in!
Here’s a video of my entire 3 days in Iceland below!
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