From its blooming design scene to awe-inspiring landscapes, Iceland and its capital, Reykjavik, offer so much for the cultured and adventurous traveler. Isabella Rose Celeste Davey shares an insider’s guide to Reykjavik and beyond.




There is something otherworldly about Iceland that immediately enchants visitors, from the intergalactic scapes that hold nothing but silence, to the awe-inspiring waterfalls and the wonders of black sand beaches, blue lagoons and natural springs. But Iceland is also a land of creative intrigue and innovation, home to creative giants, like Björk and Sigur Ros, and stunning natural beauty, like the Skógafoss waterfall.

While many come to experience the sheer poetry of Icelandic landscapes, they will also find a vibrant, exciting city in Reykjavik, full of creativity and culture. The magic of Iceland is just as present on its city streets as in its bubbling hot springs, so when visiting this inspiring Nordic island, do make time for both.

Where to Stay

The Edition: With bedrooms offering an uninterrupted view of the glinting harbour that wraps around Reykjavik, and the outline of the mountains, The Edition defines quiet luxury. Its interior architecture is both elegant and simple, focusing on natural materials, and it has a great restaurant and an unflappable concierge.

Torfhús Retreat: The ultimate in coziness, this secluded retreat, with a geothermal spa, blends authentic Icelandic style and relaxed eco-luxury. Inspired by the architecture of the Viking farm at nearby Stöng, the traditional Torfhús residences and Torfbaer suites are crafted from local stone, reclaimed wood and turf. Stay here for tranquility, mesmerizing scenery, excellent food and wilderness adventures on your doorstep.

What to See & Do

Blue Lagoon: A mainstay on the Iceland circuit, the Blue Lagoon was founded in 1976, the infamous milky blue color a result of the high concentration of silica and other minerals in the water. With the temperature between 37-39 degrees celsius heated from deep within the geothermal energy of Iceland, a natural phenomena is a fitting title for this beloved destination. Don't miss it.

Artu Museum Asundersafn Museum: Icelandic sculptor, Ásmundur Sveinsson, lived and worked in this exceptional building of his own design, which is now a cultural institution and part of the Reykjavik Design Museum. Sveinsson’s work is on permanent display alongside seasonal exhibits of both contemporary and modernist works. With the building itself inspired by vernacular Mediterranean architecture, the surrounding sculpture garden has positioned the museum as a landmark for the Icelandic community as much for its international visitors.

Hvammsvik: A new nature bath that sits right on the atlantic ocean, Hvammsik has kept the ritual of wild swimming to its most pure, ensuring the hot pools it sits atop are preserved as nature. You can often catch the northern lights while sitting in the invigorating heat, followed by a rejuvenating plunge into the near-freezing waters. Winter bathing is a glorified, regular ritual in Iceland so make like a local and get amidst the waves, followed by seafood chowder in their much respected restaurant.


Where to Eat

Braud & Co: A recent edition to the streets of Reykjavik, Braud & Co specializes in honest, simple, comfort food. Their dedication to value and quality produce, over presentation - and aversion to pretentiousness - means their loyal and dedicated following stretches far beyond the capital city. Locals and travellers alike queue for a coffee and bun on weekends, guided by glowing word of mouth reviews. Pick up your morning breakfast and eat outside on a fresh, sunny Icelandic morning.

Vinstukan Wine Bar: A welcome destination off the main street, this inviting wine and tapas bar holds over 200 wine options on their list each evening. Accompanied by a shifting menu of small dishes, Vinstukan Wine Bar is an unassuming and perfect bolthole within the land of snow and ice.

Sea Baron: Sometimes simplicity is strength. Sea Baron holds a menu of lobster soup and eight different types of grillled fish, with the focus firmly on fresh and local. With no website, the power is truly in the excellent cooking, which provides all the exposure this establishment needs. Sea Baron epitomizes Iceland’s culinary values -local, fresh, for everyone - and allows the ingredients to sing.



Where to Shop

Norr11 Reykjavik: Founded by husband and wife duo, Sól Sigurbjörnsdóttir and Magnús Berg Magnússon, Norr 11 Reykjavik is both a store and exhibition space that celebrates design, furniture and homewares from the Nordics and abroad. With a focus on creating an interactive space to welcome the community, workshops, events, previews and exhibitions have ensured a strong and connected creative community in Reykjavik, and are attracting visiting innovators and design leaders.

Fischersund: Founded in 2017, this family-run perfumery and art collective harnesses the creative expression of siblings Jónsi (of the acclaimed post-rock band Sigur Rós, a self-taught nose), Lilja, lngibjörg, Sigurrós, and their partners, Sindri and Kjartan. With their store in downtown Reykjavik, Fischersund explores creative expression through artisan fragrances, tailor-made music and ethereal visual arts. Holding hand-crafted perfume making at the core, Fischersund sells fragrance products inspired by the clean, unique nature of Iceland.

Kirsuberjatréð: Translating as 'The Cherry Tree' in English, this wonderful Reykjavic design store is run by 10 local female artists and showcases their art, ceramics and handicrafts. They also sell quirky and unusual homewares - such as colorful paper bowls, made by boiling thin slices of radishes, by artist Valdís Harrysdóttir - and beautiful earthenware, embroidered cushions, leather bags and silk scarves.

Kalda: An accessories and shoes brand with international ambition and homegrown values, Kalda's designs are thoughtful, elegant and modern.


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