the old village

Grjotathorp is a lovely little conservation area in the heart of Reykjavik, with some of the oldest houses in the capital of Iceland. The name – it could be translated as “Stone Village” or maybe more flippantly as “Rock Town” – derives from a croft, Grjoti, where some small turf houses were built for transient workers in the 18th century. When Reykjaviks Cathedral, Dómkirkjan, was built, rock was gathered in Grjoti’s land and ruined the infield.

Nowadays Grjotathorp is a quiet residential area, surrounded by some of Reykjavik’s best restaurants, historical and cultural landmarks and exciting nightlife. The exhibition hall Fogetastofur is just down the road and The Settlement Exhibition is just around the corner in Adalstraeti 16. Reykjavik City Hall, the icelandic parliament Althing, Reykjavik City Library, Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery of Iceland are at an easy walking distance and so are a number of wool-markets, arts and crafts stores and the highly original design gallery Kirsuberjatred. Our next door neighbour sells handmade and original jewellery and the Tourist Information Centre in Adalstraeti is the starting point of many interesting activities, among them Haunted Iceland walking tours. The Seafood Cellar restaurant and the new bistro Geysir are in the same building. If you fancy whale watching, the harbour is only 5 minutes away.

You can get extensive information about restaurants in Reykjavik and the rest of Iceland, along with special offers, recipes and more on, but here are some of our inexpensive and more exclusive favorites, whether for a quick cup of coffee and a snack, a cold beer, or a 5-course meal. All are in the close vicinity of Vipp Guesthouse:

Tapasbarinn - great, spanish tapas and friendly service
Einar Ben- an excellent restaurant.
Grillhúsið Tryggvagötu – a good steakhouse.
Jómfrúin – Danish Open Sandwiches.
Kaffi Reykjavík – Fish Buffet and Ice Bar.
Thorvaldsen – bistro, bar & grill and a nightclub on weekends.
Hornið – Reykjavik’s oldest pizzeria.
Fjalakötturinn and Uppsalir – a cosy café/bar and traditional Icelandic dishes.
Við Tjörnina – a great fishfood restaurant.
Sjávarkjallarinn – one of the 66 best new restaurants in the world, according to Condé Nast Traveller!
Shalimar – Indian Pakistani cuisine.

We could go on and on! – Some of these restaurants are expensive, others are not, but one thing everybody can afford and a much loved lunch (and snack and dinner) for Icelanders is a hot-dog in “Bæjarins besta”, a popular hot dog stand near the post office and Kolaportið, Reykjavik’s indoors flea market where you can also buy fresh fish at reasonable prices. If the budget is tight, the 10-11 convience store in Austurstraeti has plenty of ready-to-eat items, sandwiches etc. and you should absolutely try the skyr!