Colourful buildings, plenty to see and do and a wild nightlife make the world’s most northerly capital a perfect holiday destination.
Surrounded by snow-topped mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, although Iceland’s biggest city is home to only around 200,000 people it has all of the cosmopolitan zeal of any of Europe’s other capitals.
With the festive season now well under way, Reykjavík is also a great last-minute Christmas destination. Children may well be amazed to hear that rather than just one, local Icelandic folklore believes in an incredible 13 Santas bearing goodie bags at Christmas parties! They enter town one day at a time starting December 12.
There’s also the Christmas Village at Hafnarfjördur, just outside of Reykjavik that is believed to be the home of elves, and is open on every weekend from November 24 until Christmas day.
While you’re there…
Be impressed by the Gullfoss waterfall
Located in the canyon of the Hvítá river, Gullfoss means ‘Golden Falls’ in Icelandic and is one of Europe’s most powerful waterfalls – an absolute must while visiting Iceland.
Treat yourself at the Blue Lagoon
Spend the day relaxing and swimming in the mineral-rich waters of this geothermal complex. Just 39km from the capital, the water averages 37–39 °C and is said to help people suffering from skin diseases.
Go whale watching
A number of tours are on offer to spot the world’s largest mammals, and run from March to October. Lucky guests may also spot dolphins and seals.
Where to stay
Hotel Borg +354 551 1440 www.hotelborg.is
Overlooking the beautiful square of Austurvöllur in the heart of Reykjavík and close to the Icelandic parliament and the cathedral, all of Hotel Borg’s rooms have an art-deco style with modern amenities.
Hotel Glymur +354 430 3100, www.hotelglymur.is
Set in a peaceful and secluded location in the Whale-fjord, most of the rooms have stunning mountain views that can also be seen from the rooftop’s hot tub.
Centerhotel Arnarhvoll +354 595 8500, www.centerhotels.com
Boasting a modern Scandinavian design, enjoy Panorama Restaurant’s stunning views and then pamper yourself at the hotel’s spa and secluded jacuzzi.
Bjork grew up in Reykjavik and often returns to visit her family and friends.