One-time haunt of Viking warriors, Reykjavik is perhaps the most surprising stopover between Britain and the USA. Take a city break to Reykjavik from Glasgow Airport and discover Nordic chic, all-night nightlife and volcanic activity literally underfoot.
Despite a reputation for high drinks prices, nightlife in Reykjavik is famous across Scandinavia. On summer evenings, locals take advantage of 24-hour daylight for the epic bar crawl known as the rúntur. Essential stops include reclaimed biscuit factory Kex Hostel (Skúlagata 28), dance-clubs Bakkus (Tryggvagata 22) and Faktorý (Smiðjustígur 6), and Reykjavik institution Kaffibarinn (Bergstaðastræti 1), a favourite hangout of singer Björk. A hearty meal is an essential starting point if you hope to last a whole night under the midnight sun. Snaps (Þórsgata 1) and Grillmarkaður (Lækjargata 2A) are the current favourites with Reykjavik foodies.
Design is everywhere in the Icelandic capital, from the elegant ceramics and jewellery on sale in the Laugavegur and Skólavördustígur districts, to the towering facade of Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland's largest church, inspired by the natural forms of volcanic basalt. Architecture in Reykjavik varies from the futuristic (check out the shimmering glass walls of the Harpa Concert Hall) to the historic – Aðalstræti is lined with timber houses dating back to the 1760s.
Iceland’s volcanic origins lie close to the surface in Reykjavik, where swimming pools and public beaches are heated by natural thermal springs. The most famous volcanic hotspot is just outside of the city on the way to the airport at Keflavik – even while snow falls and the Northern Lights fill the sky, the pools of the Blue Lagoon bask at a balmy 37-39°C. Another easy detour is the geothermal spring at Geysir, where the geyser Strokkur blows its top every four to eight minutes.