Where to live in Iceland

by on July 29, 2013

So you’ve decided to settle in Iceland and try to make a go of things in the Land of Fire and Ice?

If you’ve already done your research on Iceland then you’ll have probably read that over two-thirds of Iceland’s 320,000 population live in the capital Reykjavík or in the greater surrounding area. For most foreigners settling here then it is true that the capital offers the best chance of immediate employment, particularly in the hospitality and service industry. Although nearly all Icelanders speak superb English, many foreigners like to settle in Reykjavík as to assimilate not only to life in Iceland, but also to have easy access to services and organisations aimed at foreign settlers.

Outside of Reykjavík, however, there are many towns that offer not only a high standard of living but also at a considerable lower cost to that of the capital. Just over an hour outside of Reykjavík along the country’s ring road Highway 1 lies the commuter town of Hveragerði. Cheap rent, good local services, excellent pools and great access to the stunning countryside and mountains have made Hveragerði extremely popular for families and professionals who work in Reykjavík but don’t want to

live in the city.

Further along from Hveragerði is the town of Selfoss. A central base for South Iceland’s farming and agricultural community. House prices here are up to a third the price of Reykjavík, again making it a popular choice for young families.

Iceland’s second city of Akureyri in north Iceland also offers high-quality ammenities and local services, with the population swelling in the summer months to accommodate for the area’s tourist influx, as does that of West Fjord’s Ísafjörður.

What must be taken in to account when living outside the capital area is the lack of public transport. Buses are infrequent and many large areas of the country, non-existent. For those who can’t drive this will manifest itself as a major setback, particularly when the need to visit Reykjavík presents itself.

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