Your vegan travel guide for Reykjavik Iceland
Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and is home to 123,000 Icelandic people. Roughly two-thirds of the entire countries population. With that being said, Reykjavik is still a relatively small city. This city is quite unique, for that reason, there is a small-town feel to the nation's capital. The city is also set up where the bulk of the shops, restaurants, and bars are all in a small walkable area. Which adds to the small-town feel of Reykjavik.
Iceland is known for its majestic mountains, waterfalls, and wide-open spaces. The bulk of which are outside the city, whether in the golden circle or to the farther depths of Iceland. However, most travelers will stop at Reyjkavik as the first point of their itinerary. You can find all types of different tours that are based out of Reykjavik, including whale watching, golden circle tours, and northern light tours. You could also rent your own car in Reyjkavik and set out from Reyjkavik to your own adventure. So, if you're planning a trip to Iceland, you most likely will start and finish your voyage in this cool city. The best parts of Iceland are out in nature and the adventures you will have discovering them. However, do not waste your time in this city. There are museums, shops, great nightlife, and, most importantly, great vegan food.
Some critical information to know about Reyjkavik before embarking is the high cost of nearly everything, including food. The food prices are exorbitant. I would recommend hitting up the Bonus grocery stores and save up money by making your own meals at the hostels or Airbnb. This is a great idea too if you plan on renting a car and setting out for an adventure, first pick up the essentials at Bonus which offers food at a reasonable price. It is crucial first to buy the essentials so that you are not starving to death, plan, and choose the best vegan restaurants you can to eat at depending on your budget. The worst outcome is stopping by at a generic restaurant and spending an obscene amount of money on subpar vegan options. So plan out, and pick your vegan spots accordingly.
At first glance, you may be initially concerned at the vegan options of a country that is home to such delicacies as puffin, shark, and whale. However, this city is incredibly vegan-friendly. It may be due to the young artistic generation of Icelanders, but the city has a ton of vegan restaurants. This is the case in Reyjkavik but also in the country of Iceland. During my road trips around the country, I was shocked to find little restaurants in the middle of nowhere with whole vegan sections of their menus. With that said, the old-time traditional Icelandic restaurants may be a bit tricky, so I would stick to the restaurants with known vegan options.
Kaffi Vinyl is a record shop/Vegan cafe. Full disclosure, I can not be unbiased on Kaffi Vinyl. I am obsessed with vinyl records, vegan food, and all things Icelandic. This place was literally created for me. Iceland was also the first place I traveled to, and eating at Kaffi Vinyl on my first trip helped me fall in love travel. That being said... Kaffi Vinyl may be one of my favorite vegan restaurants that I have ever been to.
To begin with, the space is fantastic. It is trendy and cool. The funky feel to the cafe is generated from the cool furniture, art on the wall, and the music. The D.J puts on exciting music that I had never heard of, which added to the feeling that you were walking into a new world that was cool and unlike anything you have experienced before. Then, the bins of records are fun to pick through and see the diverse record collection.
The food was incredible. The menu is relatively small. The prices are reasonable when taken into account the extremely high cost of restaurants in Iceland. I had the lasagna and portobello burger, which were both excellent. The desserts included cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. These were all extremely addicting deserts! The coffee had a great rich taste and is an ideal way to start your day. The bar was stocked with craft beers and great happy hour deals on Icelandic beer and wine. Beer and other alcohols are costly in Iceland, and you should plan on hitting the duty-free shop at the airport if you wish to drink cheaply in Iceland. But, in Reyjkavik, the happy hour deals can be significant. Each place has its own happy hour deal that seemingly pops out of nowhere. Download the Appy Hour app to find happy hour drink specials in real-time across Reykjavik.
**After doing some research, I saw a lot of reviewers remarking that Kaffi Vinyl is no longer vegan. That they moved to only having a handful of vegan options. I really hope that is not the case. The last time I ate at Kaffi Vinyl was 2018 so please check with Kaffi Vinyl if you are planning a trip to Reykjavik***
Glo Vegan is a fantastic clean-eating restaurant in Reykjavik. With excellent ratings, convenient locations, and healthy options, you can't go wrong. Glo Vegan has a cozy and laid-back atmosphere with friendly and helpful staff. The menu is in English as well as Icelandic. The prices are fair again when taking into account the incredibly high cost of food in Iceland.
The food is healthy and tastes incredibly fresh. There is a wide range of salads, bowls, sandwiches, as well as my personal favorite, the Oumph Burger! The bowls are hearty and have a lot of high-quality ingredients in them for the price. I'm not a huge salad fan (I know I am a horrible vegan!); however, these salads were excellent. They are filling and offer a wide range of delicious veggies, fruits, nuts, and have a ton of dressing options. Glo also We have vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake, which was very good!
Finally, if you are looking for a sweet dessert to end your night in Reykjavik, stop by this ice cream parlor. Joylato is a charming ice cream place in Reykjavik that has some tasty vegan options. I stumbled upon this place accidentally when I read the word vegan painted on a wall. I, of course, followed around the building until I found a lovely little ice cream shop (by the way I would be very easy to kidnap or trap, all you would need to do is write the word vegan next to a painting of an ice cream cone, and I would follow zombie-like).
They have a variety of ice creams and have several great vegan options. The ice cream was delicious, and I bought a giant cone! The ice cream was very reasonably priced and offered so many flavors and toppings to make it the perfect dessert. So, Joylato is an excellent option if you're looking for a sweet vegan dessert!
When eating out in Iceland, you have to be aware of the high cost of food and drinks. For the traveler on a budget, this could mean you are spending a big chunk of your food budget on a single meal. You need to be sure that the meal is worth it! So, make sure that you are eating the very best that Iceland has to offer vegans.