On Location – Exploring Reykjavik
Our travel editor talks opera houses, coffee shops, and beef brisket sandwiches…
Three days is all it’s taken for Reykjavik to charm the socks off me. This cute, colourful capital has taken all of my favourite things – independent coffee shops, stylish cocktail bars, incredible restaurants – and neatly arranged them against a backdrop of snowy mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.
I could wax lyrical about this place all day, but in the interest of saving column inches, I’ll stick to sharing my top tips with you. If you ever find yourself in the city, make sure you check these places out…
Kopar is right by the harbour, and the restaurant’s big windows showcase the views in all their glory. The food is exceptional. The menu is fish-heavy, but I opted for the beef brisket sandwich, which was accompanied by the best potato wedges I’ve ever had.
Kaffibarinn, which used to be owned by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, has legendary status. It operates as a laid-back coffee house during the day, and turns into an arty, alternative bar after dark, when as many people as possible are packed into the small space.
Reykjavik’s new space-age opera house, Harpa, looks a bit out of place next to the city’s traditional, candy-coloured buildings. It’s free to wander around the multi-million-pound space – the geometric glass design provides great views of the harbour.
A former paint factory, the Hotel Reykjavik Marina, is hands down one of the most unique properties I’ve ever seen. The designers really went to town on the maritime theme – rooms feature things like sailor-knot display cabinets and vintage prints of the docks. Downstairs, colourful seating areas are tucked among Icelandic sculptures and eclectic memorabilia.