Runtur in Iceland

April 20, 2012 by

Sightseeing, Things To Do, Tours & Activities

Laugavegur in Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo courtesy of Lars Landstrom via Flickr.

Laugavegur in Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo courtesy of Lars Landstrom via Flickr.

Runtur means round tour and, to Iceland natives, this means a trip around Reykjavik’s bars and nightspots. Either to fill those long dark nights of winter, or those long light sleepless nights during summer, people head out and hit the bars on Friday and Saturday nights.

If you’re planning to stay in a hotel in central Reykjavik be warned: things will not be quiet on the main street of Laugavegur in the middle of the weekend nights. Alcohol is not cheap in Iceland, so be warned about that. Stock up with a bottle or two duty free and do as the Icelanders do: have a couple of priming drinks at home before you even head out, around 11pm. Some people even go out equipped with a full hip flask in their pocket.

Be aware also that this pocket is likely to be stylish: the Icelanders are very fashion-conscious and you’ll see women wearing dresses and high heels even during the coldest nights of winter. Think more Bjork than Lindsay Lohan – the emphasis is on style not on following celebrity trash trends.

It’s not difficult to find the hot spots in town. Really good bars and music venues are dotted along Laugavegur and the streets leading off it. Perhaps try starting at Kaffibarrin or Boston and from there just follow the crowds and the noise. Partying will go through to about 5am and then it’s time for the most important Reykjavik ritual of any good night out: pylsur, arguably the best hot dog in the world. There’s a little hole in the wall on Laugavegur where everyone stops at the end of the night. As a vegetarian even I couldn’t resist – but without the dog; trust me those Icelandic crunchy onions make it still worthwhile. Skal.

-Phillippa Burne

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