DESTINATION FOCUS • January 2018
Rainbow-coloured rooftops, powder-white plateaus and hip Nordic hangouts: Reykjavik is a micro-metropolis for daredevils and discerning city-breakers. Singer-songwriter, model and the ‘Icelandic Prince’ in TV’s Made in Chelsea, Fredrik Ferrier spills the secrets of this icy heartland
My favourite time to visit Reykjavik is in the winter – when it’s freezing, the skies are bright blue and the air is crisp. The Icelanders call it gluggaveður (window weather), as it looks deceptively warm and inviting. If I could only be in Iceland for one day of the year, it would have to be 31 December. I love fireworks and Reykjavik really knows how to put on a show. If you’re lucky enough to be there on that day, head up to the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church with some drinks and safety goggles and prepare yourself for an incredible 360-degree show.
Iceland is famous for its fish, so I’d recommend Icelandic Fish & Chips, for seafood caught fresh every morning, and Saegreifinn for their lobster soup – both very good value. A real gem is Mokka on Skólavörðustígur. My father’s favourite café, it started in 1958 so they’re the same age. They do the best hot chocolate, with waffles and whipped cream piled high with jam and more whipped cream.
I’m a great fan of sea swimming – so while the Blue Lagoon gets all the attention, I’d head to Reykjavík’s geothermal beach, Nauthólsvík. There is nothing more invigorating than a dip in the icy waters, followed by a run back up the beach to jump into an outdoor ‘hot pot’. We always do it on New Year’s Day - it’s the best way to shake off the effects of the night before, and begin the start of a new year.
Reykjavík nightlife is lots of fun. Prikið (pictured) and Kaffibarinn are hands down my two favourite places – you can’t beat them for atmosphere, the crowd and the music. The Icelandic music scene is amazing, and from a young age my musical style has always been very inspired by Icelandic artists, especially Björk.
One of the best things to do in Iceland is to rent a car and explore the countryside. We once had a great winter family holiday to Hótel Búðir, a charming hotel underneath the glacier, right by the sea. We had amazing food at their gourmet restaurant then watched a famous old Viking movie in our room.
Climbing to the top of my favourite building Hallgrímskirkja is a great way to start any trip to Reykjavik, as you can see the whole of the city and the surrounding area, including my grandmother’s (or, as it’s said in Icelandic, my amma’s) favourite mountain, Esja. Just outside the city, the view from the Grótta lighthouse (pictured) in Seltjarnarnes is amazing – on a clear day you can see all the way to Snæfellsjökull, the glacier that is the entrance to the centre of the earth in Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Centre of Earth.