New direct flights to Iceland from Scotland make it a hot destination
Natural beauty, a thriving arts scene and lively night life
Nestled down a sloping side street, trendy little tippling-hole Kaffibarinn (as featured in the film 101 Reykjavik) feels like downtown Reykjavik in miniature. Part owned by Blur’s Damon Albarn, this stylish bar area and candle-lit loft oozes the laidback, quirky charm and musical eclecticism that Iceland’s capital is so often celebrated for. Hip bars and laidback live music spaces co-exist with the most stunning of natural backdrops, from the beaches, parks and outdoor swimming pools Reykjavik has to offer to the extraordinary natural landscape beyond the capital – in Iceland anything can, and does, go. And with the fabulously crazy Arctic Circle daylight hours in play (meaning you can watch the sunset as midnight strikes), and great new flights routes direct from Scotland on the horizon, spring and summer couldn’t be a better time to experience it first-hand.
Once you’ve dumped your bag at one of the local guesthouses (reasonable if you’re on a budget), enjoy a stroll to the Tjornin Lake, or for great panoramic views of the city below, a climb up the stairs at the Hallgrimskirkja Church Tower is more than worth the exertion; if R&R is more your arctic objective, opt for one of the city’s outdoor thermal pools. Seafood caught from the local harbour is often the top menu choice, while the city’s reputation as a nightlife destination does little to disappoint. Head for Laugavegur in the centre of town and you shouldn’t have problems finding plenty of life happening down the side streets coming off it. Those looking for gigs and club nights should get their hands on local, free paper Grapevine for listings.
There’s also plenty on offer culturally, including the ever-popular Reykjavik Arts Festival in May and their Independence Day and Summer Solstice Festival celebrations in June, complete with parades, street theatre, music and local food. Music and film lovers can check out the capital’s Jazz Festival and International Film Festival, from September through to October, making the most of the city’s incredible live music venues as the dark nights slowly begin to creep back in.
Finally, complete a trip with an excursion to the once visited, never forgotten Blue Lagoon and Geysir – prepare to be amazed.
Iceland Express will run flights from Edinburgh to Reykjavik twice weekly between 14 Jun-30 Aug, starting at £101 one-way.