Iceland is no stranger to tourists, with its waterfalls, thermal baths, geysers and mountains gracing the IG stories of every influencer worth their selfie stick. But it’s also no stranger to music festivals, with the island’s biggest and longest-tenured festival, Iceland Airwaves, returning to the capital city Nov. 6-9.
Prominent Icelandic rapper Emmsjé Gauti is no stranger to the annual party that is Airwaves. He's been gracing the festival for 12 straight years, whipping crowds of all sizes into frenzies with his energetic performances that often find him jumping into the audience. We tapped into his expertise so you’re prepared for your next adventure in the land of fire and ice with a new City Guide. Go beyond the tourist brochures with this.
Iceland Airwaves, now in its 21st year, transforms Reykjavik into a citywide party with more than 130 bands from 20 countries playing in over a dozen venues from churches to bars to concert halls.
We all like a good drink, so where are the top spots to head to before a night out?
My personal favorite is to hit the hotel bars before the party. I like the Canopy Hotel bar. It’s pretty chill, with good seats and good cocktails. If you just want to crack open a cold one with the boys I recommend you go to Prikið and just stay there for the good vibes.
Where can you find the best clubs / late night venues in town?
I grew up on Prikið and it will always be my go-to bar. It has hip hop and honest, simple drinks. I also like Veðurbarinn, Kex hostel bar, and when I’m really drunk my friend Magnús Leifsson drags me to Kaffibarinn.
Brunches are a weekend staple, which spots stand out to you?
Go to Sæta svínið and order the pancakes. You will not be disappointed. If you are vegan, I recommend you go to Prikið, they have a great vegan brunch.
Best dirty late-night street food option?
Mandi by Ingólfstorg, no doubt. Cheap, good and friendly.
Where can we shop for records and music memorabilia in Reykjavik?
Your Sunday escape plan when you need to get away from it all?
The swimming pools are my favorite thing about Reykjavík. You have outdoor spas all around town. If you want to escape the tourism and blend in with the locals, you should travel to Vesturbæjarlaugin, it’s only about a 10-15 minute walk from downtown Reykjavík. Right next to Vesturbæjarlaug we also have the best burgers in the world at Hagavagninn. You can’t leave the city without trying them.
Something everyone should do when visiting Reykjavik but probably hasn’t?
Walk around the old cemetery in the west side of Reykjavík. Take your time and enjoy the stillness.
A track that reminds you of your childhood in the city?
Stopp nr.7 by 200.000 Naglbítar brings me right back.
What are other great exports that come from Reykjavik?
Aluminum and fish oils? I have no clue haha.
A gift you can’t leave Reykjavík without taking home for friends?
Try to buy some art. If not, you can bring them Brennivín (booze) and harðfiskur (fish jerky).