Reykjavik, is the northernmost capital in the world, known for its rich cultural scene, exciting nightlife and relaxed atmosphere. The town centre has a quirky mixture of colourful ironclad houses and modern concrete buildings and offers a selection of shops, restaurants and sites of historical interests. Some of the best-known landmarks are Hallgrímskirkja Church, Harpa Concert Hall and Perlan, ideal for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. For shopping, Kringlan offers a variety of indoor shops and fast food restaurants and is conveniently located close to recreational areas such as Laugardalur valley and Nauthólsvík beach.
Kópavogur, lies south of Reykjavík and is centrally-located in the greater Reykjavík area, with easy access to the nearby towns. Despite its rapid growth in previous years, the town offers unspoilt, family-friendly greens and close proximity to Elliðavatn lake, ideal for a nearby escape to the countryside. Kópavogur has two thermal swimming pools and is home to Smáralind, the largest shopping centre in Iceland. Sites of interests include Salurinn, Iceland’s first specially designed Concert Hall and Gerðarsafn art museum.
Garðabær is situated between Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður and is characterized by its long, leafy streets and surroundings of unspoilt nature. Historical sites of interest are in Hofsstaðir Archaeological park, Krókur historical farm (open during summer) and the Design Museum of Iceland. To the West of Garðabær is Álftanes, a small neighbourhood ideal for nature and coastal walks and home to Bessastaðir, the president’s residency.
Hafnarfjörður is a charming harbour town south of Garðabær, surrounded by fields of lava formations. The town centre has a quaint feel with a variety of small shops, cafes and galleries. Hafnarfjörður as three swimming pools, including a family-friendly indoor pool located in the new part of town. For sites of cultural interest, the Hafnarfjörður Museum offers an insight into Icelandic history. The annual Viking Festival is held around mid June each year, with swordfighting, craftsmen at work, magic, music and real Icelandic Vikings. Íshestar offers horse riding tours in the surrounding area.
Mosfellsbær is a family-friendly town on the perimeters of the Greater Reykjavík Area. It is situated at the foot Úlfarsfell mountain and is surrounded by beautiful nature. Mosfellsbær has popular walking trails and two swimming pools. The famous Álafoss factory outlet sells top quality woollen products and the original factory has been turned into workshops and galleries by various artists. About 10 minutes’ drive from town, on the way to Þingvellir, is the Gljúfrasteinn museum, the former home of Iceland’s Nobel laureate, Halldór Laxness.
Seltjarnarnes is a residential town to the west of Reykjavík. The beach at Grótta is a popular outdoor area with a natural pond called Bakkatjörn, and a coastal walking trail that leads to Grótta Lighthouse which is accessible at low tide only. This area is a protected nature reserve. Access to the lighthouse is forbidden during nesting season from 1 May to 15 July. Seltjarnarnes has three ponds which attract a large number of birds. There are beautiful views over Faxaflói Bay and Esja from this area. Nesstofa is the oldest stone house built in Iceland. It is a part of the National Museum and was the residence of Iceland’s first Director of Public Health, Dr. Bjarni Pálsson. Other places of interest are the Pharmacy Museum of Iceland and the Herbal Garden situated close to Nesstofa.