Europe

Prague in Black & White

Prague is colorful. Red-orange rooftops contrast strongly against green forested hills that roll around the city. Spring and summer boast bold and bright flowers in the city's parks, gardens, and window-boxes. Over the last several years, building facades have been revitalized and painted pastel hues of blue, pink, and yellow. I like color photography just as much as anyone, but, if given a choice, I'll always choose black and white. Striping away the distraction of color brings an image down to its basic elements. The bare bones of subject and composition are revealed. Black and white allows the emotion to come through more clearly. For me, black and white is the best way to show the haunting gothic beauty of Prague's ancient architecture. 

Below is a collection of recent monochrome photographs from my trip to Prague earlier this spring. Thanks for reading and best of light.

 Charles Bridge and Mala strana, Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge and Mala strana, Prague, Czech Republic

 View from the Old Town Bridge Tower, Prague, Czech Republic

View from the Old Town Bridge Tower, Prague, Czech Republic

 Charles Bridge and Stare Mesto (Old Town), Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge and Stare Mesto (Old Town), Prague, Czech Republic

 The Spires of Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic

The Spires of Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic

 Night on the Charles Bridge, Mala Strana, Prague, Czech Republic

Night on the Charles Bridge, Mala Strana, Prague, Czech Republic

All images in this post were made using a Nikon D750 with 24-120mm f4 VR lens on or off a tripod. They were processed using Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2.
To find out what's in my camera bag, click here.
Images © 2018 Jon Reaves Photography. All rights reserved.

Behind the Image: Hungarian Parliament at Night

BEHIND THE IMAGE: HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT AT NIGHT

I don't remember how many trips my wife, Alison, and I made to the famous Fisherman's Bastion. It was a long walk from Pest across the Chain Bridge and up winding streets. The temperature was around 90 degrees each day. Living in Canada, I'm not accustomed to that type of heat and humidity anymore (thank goodness our apartment had AC). I was determined to get a particular shot. I had photographed the Hungarian Parliament several times from several different locations over the course of the week, but I had been unable to capture the Parliament from Fisherman's Bastion in an effective way.

On the final evening of our trip I was determined to get something good out of the Fisherman's Bastion experience. It's a popular spot for tourists- one of the major sights in Budapest. I wasn't that impressed. It looks like an awkward sandcastle. There's a architecturally underwhelming Marriott and Starbucks next to it. No matter what time of day we visited the area, morning or night, it was packed with tourists. Serious landscape photography was very difficult. If I return to Budapest, I'm going during a shoulder season for sure. 

a trick up my sleeve

The best thing about Fisherman's Bastion is the panoramic views of Pest, the Danube, and the Parliament building. I wanted a particular image. I wanted the columns and arched windows of Fisherman's Bastion in the foreground, framing the dramatic Parliament all lit up at twilight. In the early evening I set up my tripod and waited. I used a Nikon 24-120mm f4 VR lens. The Parliament is pretty far across the Danube from Fisherman's Bastion.  In order to fill the frame with the Hungarian Parliament (and make it look much closer and larger), I had to employ a simple trick that most photographers visiting Fisherman's Bastion don't use. Instead of using a wide angle and getting close to the columns like most do, I set up about 20-25 feet back and zoomed in with my lens. A wide-angle makes distant objects smaller and farther away, but a telephoto focal length compresses the elements within the frame. In this case, the Hungarian Parliament looks much closer to Fisherman's Bastion than it actually is. That's the only trick to this composition. There is no stacking. This is one frame. 

 Hungarian Parliament at night from Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary (Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120 f4 VR, tripod, 120mm, f14, 3 sec, ISO 250).

Hungarian Parliament at night from Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary (Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120 f4 VR, tripod, 120mm, f14, 3 sec, ISO 250).

A little help

The big challenge wasn't getting the right composition, or even the light. Once the sun set and the city lights came on, all I had to do was click the shutter. Simple right? Wrong. There were dozens of selfie-hungry tourists blocking my shot. People were crowding the very window I was trying to shoot through. I waited for the crowd to open up, but it thickened. I realize that I have no more reason to be there than they do. It's an awesome view. I already knew getting the shot in the late evening would be a stretch (should have showed up at 4AM...shame on me). Nonetheless I was getting discouraged and was about to call it a day when a friendly face in a Red Socks hat popped up out of the crowd. 

"You guys American?" He said. Small talk ensued. His name is Cam Woodsum, a nomad travel-blogger. He'd been in Budapest for a few weeks. He said he had a score to settle between himself and Budapest and wanted to help me out. He asked if I'd like him to do some crowd control and clear the way long enough for me to take my shot. I thought he was at least half joking, so I said yes. With the help of Alison, Cam parted the sea of selfie-zombies just long enough for me to get my image. I'm very grateful to Cam for his help. This is easily my favorite shot from our Budapest experience. 

 

The Real Iceland Experience

 Kirkjufell at Sunrise, Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufell at Sunrise, Snaefellsnes Peninsula

I was fortunate to visit Iceland for the third time last week. It’s hard to stay away with Wow Airlines making fares to the small and uniquely beautiful North Atlantic Island so cheap. What made the trip even more affordable was that my wife’s expenses were paid. She designed an alternative spring break course for 12 university students to visit Iceland and study sustainable business practices. Iceland, being one of the more sustainable and energy independent nations on earth, was the perfect place for it. I, of course, had to tag along.

My itinerary broke away from the group for a couple days as I traveled by car from Reykjavik to Stokksnes way out in east Iceland – a 6 hour drive total. I stopped along the way to photograph some places I’d been to before, as well as some new locations. I slept in the back of the rental car at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, as a cold wind roared over Iceland’s largest glacier and snow pounded the car windows. It was a frigid and restless night, but the following morning revealed some spectacular sights and excellent photo opportunities. 

Challenges: Bad Weather and Tourists

Winter in Iceland is harsh (though, ironically, it was colder and snowier back home that week). I experienced about every type of rough weather that Iceland could throw at me during my two-day south coast road trip. Day one, alone, included rain, sleet, heavy snow, light hail, high winds in excess of 40 MPH, and temperatures well below freezing. Low hanging clouds covered most of the landscape and whole mountain ranges were not visible for almost the entire day. Photography was challenging in these conditions.

While shooting the view over the Reynisfjara sea stacks from Dyrhólaey, I was perched high on a cliff where winds were strongest. I had to hold my tripod with both hands while shooting. I was using a polarizer and 6-stop neutral density filter for long exposures. I needed to blur the waves as they fanned out across the shoreline in just the right curve. It was raining very hard, and sideways. Using a cloth to wipe my lens between shots, I was finally able to capture the wave I was hoping for. Most of the shots show water spots on the lens, but I was lucky to get two or three out of a dozen that were spot free. The method was to wipe, press the shutter, pray, and review the image on the LCD with my gloved fingers crossed. That was the second shoot of day one (after a short hike around the Solheim Glacier, which produced few pictures), and I was already damp and tired with several hundred kilometers to go. If there is anywhere you will have to work extremely hard for your images in challenging conditions, it’s Iceland.

 Dyrhólaey

Dyrhólaey

The long drive from Vik to Jökulsárlón provided zero photo opportunities. Rain, sleet, then snow, obscured my views of the moss-covered lava fields that I was hoping to capture. I arrived at Jökulsárlón and the glacial lagoon to find no change in the conditions. I took a walk around the lagoon, and later the famous “Diamond Beach,” in the rain without any camera gear simply to get a sense of the place I had come so far to photograph. My original plan was to shoot the icebergs at Jökulsárlón and scoot on down Route 1 to Höfn an hour east to photograph sunset at the mountains of Stokksnes. I wanted to sleep in Höfn and return to Jökulsárlón for sunrise. That didn’t happen. Nature has little empathy for a photographer’s plans. The weather was obviously not going to let up as heavy snow began to fall and the winds became dangerous. Realizing that it had taken me much longer to get to Jökulsárlón than anticipated and that the clouds were going to snuff out any possible sunset, I decided to hunker down at Jokulsarlon and get some much needed sleep (I had not slept for 3 full days…long story).

After a long, cold, and uncomfortable night in the back of a RAV4 with nothing but a 30 degree sleeping bag (thinking, “why do I do this to myself?”), and having eaten nothing the day before other than an energy bar and gas station muffin, I arose at 5AM to find the beach and lagoon already swarmed with buses, tourists, and photo workshops. It was amazing. I had seen more-than-average crowds at popular spots the day before, but why were so many people way out in east Iceland at 5AM? (See my article: Is Iceland Overcrowded?) Noticing the precipitation had stopped and the sun was peaking under the dark clouds on the far horizon, I made a split decision. I would relieve myself of the crowds and book it over to Stokksnes for sunrise. It was risky. I had an hour and a half until sunrise and it was an hour and ten minutes from where I was, but I decided it was worth a try. Stokksness was at the top of my shot list, and I was going to shoot it come hell or high water…and high water there was.

Along the gorgeous drive to Höfn in decent weather I saw reindeer, fields of grazing horses, and glacier carved mountains. The light was coming through the dark clouds, which no longer covered the snow-capped mountain peaks. It was nothing short of magical. I quickly realized in my sleepy underfed daze that the light wouldn’t last. I had to make another decision, either continue to Stokksnes and hope I don’t miss the light, or stop at one of the designated pull-offs along the way to shoot the pink alpenglow that was forming on the mountaintops. I decided to shoot what was in front of me.

 Mountains in East Iceland

Mountains in East Iceland

I pulled over at the next available pull-off (one that tourists are allowed to stop at), jerked my camera out of the bag, selected a lens, popped it on my tripod and shot three or four images of the pink sunrise kissing the snowy mountains. I expected this glorious light to bathe the majority of the mountains from top to bottom, but instead, it only grazed the peaks and vanished within maybe 60 seconds. The resulting images are among my favorites from the trip, so I’m glad I stopped.

By the time I arrived at Stokksnes, parked, paid my entrance fee (unexpected), and drove out along the beach access road for the best view, clouds had formed and completely snuffed out the morning light. It became so dark and overcast that the color images I shot actually look like black and whites at first glance. The mountains at Stokksnes are made of black rock and sand. The peaks and folds were sprinkled with snow. Only the tall grass along the shores gave any color. It’s a barren and ominous place when the clouds take over. 

It All Comes Crashing Down

Despite it being just after sunrise, tourists and other photographers had already trampled the beach. Getting the classic composition of the rolling black sand dunes in the foreground was not possible due the scattered footprints. There were several vanloads of photographers on workshops and two camper vans (one camper van was stuck in the sand and some of the photographers were helping to dig it out). I counted 40 people on the beach that morning. I am still amazed at how many people were out on that beach in the middle of nowhere in Iceland in March. Luckily, about the time I found some good spots to shoot from the crowds had all but moved on entirely. I almost had the place to myself. I set up on a rocky bit of coastline, examining the height of the waves. I wanted a long exposure of the waves crashing and flowing through the rocks in my foreground, the beach in the middle, and the craggy mountains of Stokksnes in the back. I set up in what I thought was a safe and dry spot. Just before I pressed the shutter for my first shot, a large and unexpected wave crashed into me, soaking me from the chest down and drenching my camera gear! The next wave didn’t even come close. It was a strange fluke. No other wave came crashing up the rocks that high. I was wet, cold, hungry, and pissed. I clambered back up to the sandy dunes, dried my gear with a towel, and sat in the car for a few minutes, trying to gather my composure and warm up in the air conditioning.

 Stokksnes

Stokksnes

After I had cooled down in temperament and warmed up in body temperature, I headed back out to the beach and pulled off a few decent exposures of Stokksnes. Then it was back to Jökulsárlón, stopping once to photograph a herd of Reindeer running along a beach (another magical moment). I arrived around 9AM to find hardly any parking. I expected more crowds around this time, but was still shocked at just how many people were there. It seemed that every automobile sized iceberg at Jökulsárlón had 10 photographers pointing lenses at it. Regular tourists flocked from iceberg to iceberg taking selfie after selfie. It was a nightmare for a working travel photographer with a shot list. Getting an image without anyone else in it was a big challenge. I joined the swarm after finding a parking spot on the beach. I knew the shot I wanted, so I set up my equipment in advance. This time I didn’t want to get wet, so I slipped on the rubber rain boots I packed. I walked up and down the beach looking for the least populated spot and settled on a big blue iceberg sitting in the black sand about the size of a small car. I wanted the waves to encircle it so I could capture the action of the sea foam swirling around the iceberg. Gaging the waves, I determined that I would probably only get my knee-high boots wet up to my ankles. I composed my image and just as I was about to press the shutter release, noticed a wave coming closer, it seemed to quadruple in height by the millisecond – crashing over the iceberg and enveloping me from the waist down. Foiled again! The following swell brought the water, which had been barely touching my toes minutes earlier, over the tops of my boots – filling them with frigid salt water. I stood in amazement. I could not believe this happened to me twice in one morning!

 Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

I hobbled back to the car with squishy boots to find that someone had parked so close to the driver side that I could not open the door. I was so mad the water in my boots started to boil (seemed that way anyway). I emptied my boots on the passenger side and climbed over to the driver’s seat to park elsewhere. After repeating the same drying off ritual as I had at Stokksnes, I returned to the beach and to the same iceberg – this time getting my shot. I then went over the to glacier lagoon to shoot the icebergs floating in the calm water. I forgot how cold and damp I still was once I started examining the various shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and patterns of each iceberg. I got into my “zone” and forgot the crowd buzzing around me. By noon, I had a much better outlook (tons of images and much dryer clothes). The sky was clear and the light became harsh, so instead of making any stops on the way back to Reykjavik, I simply enjoyed the ride through natural scenes that were too cloudy to see the day before. I joined back up with my wife and her tour group, had some excellent Indian food (my first real meal in two days), and enjoyed the comfort of a warm bed.

 Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

Things Are Looking Up

The remainder of the trip went rather smoothly compared to the first few days. The weather was generally more cooperative and I enjoyed tagging along with my wife’s group of students as we toured the Golden Circle and ate amazing burgers and ice cream at Efsti Dalur – an organic dairy farm near Geysir. The next day, I got to have an experience I had never had before. I rode an Icelandic horse (rather nervously, but I got use to it) across the snowy fields of Hveragerði surrounded by mountains. This was my first horseback riding experience, and though it was a bumpy ride, it was as majestic as you might expect. The day ended with a great dinner at Icelandic Fish & Chips.

 Riding Icelandic horses in Hveragerði

Riding Icelandic horses in Hveragerði

My wife built a free day into her itinerary so we could go to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula alone. Waking at 4AM, we drove to Kirkjufellsfoss on icy roads. This day, there were very few others out and about. A few photographers were already at Kirkjufell when we arrived just before sunrise, but not nearly as many as I was expecting based on my experiences earlier in the week. Sunrise was spectacular, and I made images of both Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell Mountain in the bright and colorful morning light. It was by far the most photographically productive morning of the whole week. We even saw a few seals in the bay!

 Kirkjufell at Sunrise, Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufell at Sunrise, Snaefellsnes Peninsula

We continued around the peninsula and through the national park, stopping occasionally until we had visited every spot on our list. We finished early and decided to head over to a waterfall that we had never been to, Hraunfossar. Despite it being sunny, it was the coldest day of the trip and very windy. Because we arrived at the falls in the afternoon, the light was harsh and made for less than ideal conditions for photographing waterfalls. I employed my polarizer and 6-stop neutral density filter yet again and came away with several images that I was initially happy with. Back at the apartment later, I noticed I had made a critical mistake while reviewing my images. I didn’t cover my viewfinder while taking long exposures at Hraunfossar; so light leakage from the bright sun at my back caused awful purple streaks across my images. Rookie mistake…I should know better! For some reason I didn’t notice this on the LCD while I was shooting the images. At first I was devastated, then realized if nothing else, I could edit them as black and whites and the purple streaks would probably not be an issue. The winter moss was brown and drab in the afternoon sun, so black and white ended up being best anyway. I can’t believe I made such a novice mistake…lesson learned!

 Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar

Still No Northern Lights

I know better than to plan a trip around a celestial event as unpredictable as the Northern Lights, but I was still really hoping to at least see, if not photograph, the aurora this time. Alas, the storm clouds never parted at night while I was out in the boonies where I could most likely see them in the right conditions….maybe next time. I am happy with the images that I was able to get overall, despite the harsh winter conditions and crowded locations. As popular as Iceland has become it is still a challenging place to photograph well.

For my packing list including camera gear I used on this trip, click here. To see more images from this trip visit jonreaves.com.

( Click the pins on the map above to see every location I visited on my recent trip to Iceland. )

Where to Eat in Reykjavik

 Bread on display at Sandholt, Reykjavik, Iceland

Bread on display at Sandholt, Reykjavik, Iceland

Where to Eat in Reykjavik

Reykjavik has a budding food scene and several world-renowned chefs offering classy modern twists on traditional Nordic fare. This post is not about that, however, nor is it about fermented shark meat, roasted puffin, or anything kitschy like that. This post is about moderately priced meals at a few good restaurants that I personally have eaten at and enjoyed (most of them more than once). I’ll try to keep this on the budget end as much as possible (hotdogs are cheap). Reykjavik is known for having steep food prices (but delicious hotdogs). Though that is mostly misconception based on a few poorly written accounts, dining out in Reykjavik can come with a bit of sticker shock (except hotdogs). If you are on a budget in Iceland and would like some ideas for good eats at reasonable prices, this is your post!

Breakfast in Reykjavik

So, you just got off the plane at KEF at 5 AM and you’re about to the board a bus for Reykjavik, nearly an hour away. It’s raining, hard, and near freezing even though it’s Summer. You realize you can’t check into your hotel until 3 PM. You’re hungry, wet, and drowsy from airline travel. What on earth are you going to do for 9 hours until you can check into your hotel?! One thing you can do is join a tour, though I know I am always so sick of being on a moving vehicle at that point that I just want to sit for a quite minute with a cup of coffee and can’t imagine riding around on another bus for hours looking through rainy windows. You could go to the Blue Lagoon, which opens at 8 AM, and chill for $60-$100 USD (plus extra for food), though I couldn’t see myself personally enjoying sitting in a stew of industrial runoff for several hours….I prefer option three: EAT. ALL. DAY.

It’s a good idea to drop your bags at the hotel/apartment/hostel and ask the desk attendant if there’s any way your room will be ready earlier. Sometimes you can check-in a couple hours sooner. Until then, it’s breakfast time. Here are a couple of my favorite places to eat breakfast in Reykjavik:

1st Choice - Sandholt Bakery

No trip to Iceland is complete without visiting Sandholt at least once. My wife flips out over their chocolate croissants, which are buttery, fluffy, and flaky and rival any that we’ve had anywhere (including France). Aside from an amazing assortment of artfully crafted pastries, buns, and breads, they also have a breakfast menu (in English) and full-service restaurant/dining area. This is also a great first opportunity for you to try Skyr – Iceland’s famous protein-packed yogurt-like cheese food. Sandholt is always my first thought when arriving in Reykjavik. It has a relaxing and cozy environment: modern-minimalist in the interior (typical Icelandic design) with comfortable booths and lots of soft pillows. It’s the perfect place to start and plan the rest of your Icelandic adventure. It’s easy to spend a couple hours in Sandholt, and this being Europe, they don’t mind as long as you’re buying something. Sandholt opens at 7 AM daily and is conveniently located downtown on Laugevegur, one of downtown's main streets.

 Freshly-made breads and sandwiches at Sandholt. Since I took this picture, Sandlot has renovated and installed a more modern display case and marble countertop. 

Freshly-made breads and sandwiches at Sandholt. Since I took this picture, Sandlot has renovated and installed a more modern display case and marble countertop. 

 Desserts at Sandholt

Desserts at Sandholt

2nd Choice - Bergsson Mathus

Bergsson Mathus is another great restaurant located downtown. It’s near Reykjavik City Hall on Templarasund across from the lake. I’ve only been there once, on my way out of Reykjavik, because it’s farther from the area I usually stay in. It has the same cozy atmosphere as Sandholt and several great breakfast options. Bergsson Mathus is serious about sustainably and locally sourced ingredients. Their menu also caters to the vegan and vegetarian crowd. I ordered a simple, yet satisfying, breakfast of soft-boiled egg, cold cuts, house-baked bread, and plenty of jam and butter (Iceland has the best butter). Bergsson Mathus also opens at 7 AM, and though their prices are a little higher than Sandholt, you wont be disappointed in the quality. They are also open for lunch and dinner.

Lunch in Reykjavik

So, breakfast is taken care of, you’re adequately caffeinated, and feel more like a human being again. Hopefully the clouds have parted and you’ve been able to walk around Reykjavik, visit a museum or two, admire the Harpa and Hallgrimskirkja, and pop into some shops to buy some authentic Icelandic woolens. What’s next? Lunch, and here’s where to go.

1st Choice - Noodle Station

You need Noodle Station in your life. This simple hole-in-the-wall only serves one dish three ways. You can have it with chicken, beef, or just vegetables. It’s a simple Thai-style bowl of noodles, but it is just what you need, especially if you’re still damp and cold. Simply tell the cashier which protein (or lack of) you want, and they’ll fill your bowl with noodles, meat, pour on a rich and robust broth, then pass it over to another kind soul who will customize your bowl with spicy toppings and condiments. I simply say yes when they ask if I want it spicy. If I’m eating Thai food, my nose better be running. Noodle Station has few locations in Reykjavik. Two of them are downtown.

 Noodle Station

Noodle Station

I enjoy Noodle Station’s bowls so much that I’ve actually tried to recreate their recipe at home. I’ve come close. My noodle soup is pretty good, too, but not the same. I start with a slow shimmering chicken broth made from bone-in thighs, add green onion, ginger, garlic (lots), fish sauce (essential), chili paste (generous), soy sauce, turmeric, shiitake mushrooms, and sesame oil. Then, I pour it over some udon or rice noodles and top with green onion. It’s darn good, but doesn’t quite satisfy my appetite for Noodle Station Reykjavik.

 Ugly food is the best food! Thai chicken noodle soup at Noodle Station, Reykjavik

Ugly food is the best food! Thai chicken noodle soup at Noodle Station, Reykjavik

2nd Choice - Baejarins Bestu Pylsur

Iceland has become as famous for hot dogs as for waterfalls and volcanoes. The top spot is Baejarins Bestu Pylsur. Pylsur means hotdog and Baejarins is synonymous with hotdogs in Iceland. This isn’t a sit down establishment. It’s a food cart and picnic table that occasionally changes locations. Visit their website or facebook page to find their location. When I last ate a Baejarins hotdog, they were located near the Harpa. I think they’ve moved on from there, but are never far from downtown. This is a cheap lunch for sure. A hotdog with everything on it will only set you back about $3 USD or $5 USD if you add a coke.

These hotdogs are not hype. I love them. The sausage (made from lamb and beef, not pig snouts and anuses like in the states) has a snappy casing and a very mild flavor. The bun is fluffy and has a more spongy spring to it than American buns (it's reminiscent of sourdough). Icelanders top their dogs with mustard, a sweet and tangy remoulade, and both fresh and crispy fried onions. You can have it any way you like, but I always get one all the way (ein með öllu – one with everything). There is an outdated article on Baejarins from a reputable travel publication out there that has some facts wrong. Baerjarins Bestu Pilsur does accept credit cards and has since before that article was written. Actually, they prefer cards as Iceland’s economy is becoming more and more cashless each year. Also, trying a bit of Icelandic may be appreciated, but I’ve never come a cross an Icelander anywhere during both of my trips that didn’t speak perfect English. And don’t order “The Clinton” (meaning a hotdog with just mustard – apparently what the former U.S. President ordered). The 20 year-old Icelander at the Baejerins window will probably have no idea what you’re talking about. Just tell them exactly what you want so the line can move a bit faster.

 My wife at Baejarins Bestu Pylsur

My wife at Baejarins Bestu Pylsur

Dinner in Reykjavik

By now you’ve already checked into your room and taken a nap. You’re feeling pretty good again, but the evening hunger pangs are kicking in. Dinner is where things can get out of control if you don’t have an expense account when traveling to Reykjavik. I find it easy to control my travel budget in Iceland when I’m only eating breakfast and lunch out once or twice and cooking almost all my dinners at the apartment (and getting alcohol at the duty-free shop at the airport). I always rent an apartment with a kitchen when in Iceland so I can cook with all the high-quality Icelandic ingredients and save money. For that one splurge out on the town with the wife, however, there isn’t much choice for the budget minded…unless you can talk her into getting hotdogs again. If not, here is my top recommendation for dinner in Reykjavik.

Top Choice - Icelandic Fish & Chips:

Icelandic Fish and Chips is not a pub; it’s a delicious restaurant with a great menu of fresh and sustainably sourced seafood. It’s moderately priced, too (as far as Reykjavik goes). Most menu items cost between $10-$25 USD. The produce and fish are of premium quality, sourced from the waters around Iceland. They take quality very seriously here. I enjoyed the standard fish and chips. The options for the type of fish change daily depending on what was caught that morning (on the day I ordered it was arctic char or cod). The fish was battered in organic spelt flour and fried perfectly crispy on the outside and was perfectly cooked inside. A delicious sauce made with skyr (aka "skyrnaise") was provided for dipping. I washed it down with a Kaldi, one of Iceland’s unfiltered beers (Fish and Chips only offers Icelandic beers). It’s an upscale quality menu, but a relaxed atmosphere, and I very much recommend it as an affordable dinner option.

 Icelandic Fish and Chips

Icelandic Fish and Chips

Go. Do. Eat.

The only limitation in your search for awesome eats in Reykjavik is your own budget. Fortunately, I’ve been there and done all that, so I can provide you with a few delicious budget-friendly choices. There are lots of awesome restaurants not listed here. I’m about to make my third trip to Iceland this winter. If I find another great spot to eat in Reykjavik, I’ll definitely update this post to include it. Use the map below for location info. Thanks for reading! For tips on saving money for travel, click here.

Booking.com