It actually used to be common for freshly prepared coffee to be served for free at gas stations, swimming pools and shops across the country – unfortunately COVID has now put paid to that nice little tradition, but this hasn’t quenched the Icelanders’ thirst for coffee and it is still readily available just about everywhere.
Does Iceland have good Coffee?In a word, yes. Lots of it. There are simply loads of coffee shops in Reykjavík, all with an extensive coffee (and tea!) menu. Many of these cafés are very cozy, vegan friendly and offer delicious cakes and snacks to go with your beverage. Free Wi-Fi is practically a given.
What about coffee to go? Well, most of the cafés in Reykjavík sell a wide variety of coffee (beans and ground) for you to take with you on your travels. After all, a fresh cup of coffee when you wake up in your camper van is a must! isn't it? The Reykjavík coffee scene is very vibrant, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee seems to follow you as you wander through the city. Here are some of our favorite places to grab a coffee whilst in Reykjavík.
The best coffee shops in Reykjavík
Reykjavik RoastersKárastígur 1, Reykjavik 101
These guys take their coffee seriously – true coffee connoisseurs, if you will. They import lots of varieties of coffee beans from around the world, roast them on site and if they make the grade, a larger order is placed. This means that their coffee menu is always changing – hey, variety is the spice of life, right? Reykjavík Roasters has various locations in the city (including at two art galleries – they clearly appreciate art almost as much as coffee!) but our favorite one is at Kárastígur, right in the heart of downtown Reykjavík.
Café AleppoTryggvagata 13, Reykjavik 101
Founded by two bakers from Syria, Café Aleppo brings a little taste of the Middle East to downtown Reykjavík. As well as serving seriously delicious sweet pastries (they’re the only place in Iceland that we know of that sells freshly baked baklava), they also make authentic Turkish coffee made with cardamom – and believe us when we say it’s delicious!
There is also a bakery on site, (is there a better smell in the world than freshly baked bread combined with freshly brewed coffee?) - their sourdough bread is particularly good – almost as good as their coffee!
Mokka KaffiSkólavörðustígur 3A, Reykjavik 101
Mokka café house is truly a Reykjavík institution – they’ve been serving coffee from their cozy and intimate downtown location since 1958. Mokka is a favorite haunt of the Reykjavík art community and its walls are adorned with the latest art display of its patrons. Its location on Skolavörðustígur is perfect as well, if you’re lucky you can get a table outside!
Like most coffee houses in Reykjavík, there is a selection of cakes and light savory dishes to go with your brew, but we just cannot resist their huge waffles smothered with jam and cream that Mokka are synonymous with – and we don’t think you will be able to either!
Skólavörðustígur 22 Reykjavík 101
Stepping inside Babalú is a little like walking into someone’s home, such is the cozy and welcoming atmosphere that greets you. Set over two floors and comprising a number of small tastefully furnished rooms, Café Babalú is a great place to relax before, after or even during a long sightseeing day in Reykjavík.
The food menu isn’t bad either, with both vegans and vegetarians well catered for. There is even a roof terrace and garden for those (admittedly all too few) hot and sunny Reykjavík days.
Arna CafeEiðistorg 15, Seltjarnarnes 170
OK strictly speaking Arna is in Seltjarnarnes - but this little township located a mere 15-minute walk along the coast from the center of Reykjavík is a beautiful place to visit, and when you do you’re going to want to check out Arna. Yes they do great coffee but what will really make the journey worthwhile is their delicious (and lactose free) ice cream.
Coffee and ice cream? It might seem like a strange combination to you, but trust us it’s perfectly normal here in Iceland! Whatever you decide to have, (they do tasty light snacks too) you will be blown away by the magnificent views of the sea and Mount Esja – we told you Seltjarnarnes was a great place to visit!
Kattakaffihúsið – The Cat Café House
Bergstaðastræti 10a, Reykjavik 101
As its name suggests, this is a coffee house with a distinctly feline theme. If you love cats and coffee, then this is the place for you. As well as offering great coffee alongside an impressive vegan-friendly snack menu, visitors are also encouraged to enjoy the pleasant company of its five resident cats. (it might be six - we had trouble counting all of them!)
Cat cafés are a relatively new thing, and given Iceland’s tendency to quickly adopt new trends, it seemed inevitable that one would end up here. The cats, all of whom are rescue cats, are very friendly and will quite happily curl up beside you whilst you sip your coffee – just remember to keep the gate closed when you enter and leave.
Íða ZimsenVesturgata 2a, Reykjavik 101
You’ve probably heard that Iceland is a nation of book lovers – so it only seems natural to combine this with their love of coffee. To be fair there are loads of bookshops with accompanying coffee houses in Reykjavík but Íða is definitely our favorite.
Situated just across the road from the Reykjavík Art Museum close to the old harbor, Íða Zimsen is a great place to enjoy a coffee whilst browsing through their fine selection of books and magazines – in an age of smartphones and tablets it’s quite comforting to go to a place where people still enjoy a good book!
Café RosenbergVesturgata 3, Reykjavík 101
This is another cool coffee house located smack-bang in the middle of the old center of Reykjavík. The decor certainly seems to match its surroundings – it’s all wooden floorboards with rustic couches and armchairs. There’s also plenty of space, the premises stretches out over two floors.
The coffee is seriously good, and if you end up staying so long that your afternoon coffee turns into an evening drinking session, well there is a well-stocked bar serving various Icelandic beers on tap. Rosenberg often holds the occasional low-key gig as well. Beer, coffee and live music – now you simply have to visit!
Coffee culture in IcelandCoffee and coffee shop culture plays a pretty major part in the life of Icelanders. Whilst we hope that your trip to Iceland involves a little bit more than visiting coffee shops in Reykjavík. We think it’s always a good idea to immerse yourself in Icelandic traditions (well, some of them anyway!) when you are visiting this amazing country.
Besides these coffee shops in Reykjavík, you have plenty of cafés across Iceland. Book your camper today and make sure you add them to your itinerary as a pit stop. Any driver should rest after every 2-3 hours to prevent driver fatigue, so a cup of coffee sounds like a perfect break!