Photo: Martin Argles/The Guardian
The small city that thinks big
A village that’s also a capital city, a low-rise, hi-tech, beautiful place backed by astonishing mountain scenery in the corner of a deserted, desolate country, Reykjavik is unique. Its profile as a weekend party destination has grown recently, and for good reason: it’s the most fun you can have at those latitudes.
It's an expensive ride, to be sure, and if you're staying for more than three days, do bring a book to read. But it's worth the three-hour plane ride just to climb in to the Blue Lagoon, a naturally heated outdoor pool using run-off water from Reykjavik’s hydro-electric plant. It's just the most relaxing place on earth, and the silt does wonders for your skin.
Take a tour of the Golden Circle – essentially, the whole south west of Iceland – where the world's first parliament sat, the Gulfoss waterfall thunders and the Great Geysir shoots out boiling water of its own accord. My recommendations: fly with Iceland Express rather than Icelandair. Stay in central Reykjavik - public transport isn't good. Take loads of cash. Go up the cathedral's 1970s spire for a great view. Eat the lamb everywhere. Go clubbing on the main street and see if you can last until 6am like the locals do.