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Reykjavík – or 101, as it sometimes known by its postal code – is world’s most northerly capital and Iceland’s culture centre. Only a few skyscrapers give way to colourful buildings housing lively cafés, art galleries, a local music scene and a slew of top-notch restaurants; it’s the perfect blend of old and new city vibrance.
Aurora Borealis aka the Northern Lights are just about guaranteed this time of year as the darkness is the best condition in which to see them. Expect long nights and winter-time activities including skiing, snowshoeing and visiting ice caves.
When to go
November to April when there is almost certain darkness will ensure you get a good show of the lights, while the magical aura of Iceland makes it a good choice for those wanting to get into the festive spirit in December.
Who to take with you
A coffee, art or book lover is the perfect companion for the city. Its heaving with bustling cafés – a large part of Icelandic culture – where you’ll find well-dressed locals making the most of design-led interiors, free wifi and all-important coffee refills. UNESCO named Reykjavík the city of literature, so be sure to take a good book.
Most likely to bump into
With a population of just 120,000, you’re likely to the same faces in the city’s cool spots, be they a literature student or budding artist.
The Blue Lagoon spa. Take a day trip from the city centre to soak in water naturally heated to 38 degrees. 70% sea water, 30% fresh water, the Blue Lagoon is rich in blue-green algae, mineral salts and fine silica mud, which condition and exfoliate the skin leaving you relaxed and super smooth.
It’s also worth stopping by the Höfði House. Built in 1909, it’s the place where presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatsjov held their historic summit meeting in 1986 which effectively marked the end of the Cold War.
An essential to bring with you
Reykjavík is small and best explored on foot or bike – a pair of versatile shoes are a must.
How to get there
Keflavík International airport (48KM from Reykjavík) is the gateway for flights to and from Iceland.
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