Everyone who comes to Iceland is pretty keen make the most of their time here, and whether that means a week of carefree holiday meandering or a laser-guided approach to finding the best stuff, a couple of insider tips are always useful. In this fast-changing city, new places spring up from week to week, begging the questions: which pool has the best hot pot for your first morning here? Where’s the best Icelandic art at? And what’s the best road trip to see some of this amazing nature we’ve heard so much about?
Reykjadalur (“smoky valley”, in English) is a valley near the town of Hveragerði, a roughly forty-minute drive south of Reykjavík. It’s a hike with a reward at the end: after going up past some bubbling geothermal clay pots and crossing a mountain path with a stunning view, you’ll end up at a naturally warm river where it’s possible to bathe. In winter, the steep path can be slippery: it’s best to go prepared with some ice cleats, or to book a tour and go with a guide who’ll lend you some.
This small mountain is in Mosfellsbær, at the very edge of the Greater Reykjavík area. It has a couple of paths of varying difficulty, and a view over the city at the summit. “It’s a little piney,” said the panel, “and you can even take the bus there”.
The largest mountain that overlooks Reykjavík from across the bay is called Esja. The base camp is at the very end of the city’s bus system. “It’s a classic,” said the panel. “The paths are well laid out, and you don’t have to go all the way up for the view.” It’s slippery in winter, so be prepared.
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