The 12 Trips of Christmas: No. 9 Reykjavik



Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland’s kind of a no-brainer at Christmas. The beautiful landscape looks even fitter with a dusting of snow (or a couple of feet of the stuff…)

You can get to Iceland’s wild bits from Reykjavik in a 4x4, but the capital is worth exploring too. There’s coloured houses, thermal springs and even a dick museum (classic Christmas). But Reykjavik’s big festive pull is its weirdo food and drink...

Go for the… Black Death and rotten shark

If you aren’t sold on the names, you probably won’t be sold on the taste. Hákarl is the traditional Icelandic delicacy of poisonous shark that becomes (technically) edible after a long process of burying, rotting, fermenting and drying. It smells and tastes like fishy piss.

Luckily, you can wash away the taste with a cup of Brennivín (‘burning wine’ or ‘Black Death’). It’s a kind of schnapps, but banish all thoughts of peachy-sweetness. This stuff tastes like 100% proof liquorice and burns at your tonsils. Where’s your sense of adventure?

Other good stuff

Christmas carols in a church… isn’t that a bit Songs of Praise? Hallgrímskirkja Church is the main landmark in Reykjavik, and looks like Saruman’s new pad. Its giant organ 👀 means the carols here will knock your new chrimbo socks off.

Was that Santa’s sleigh flashing across the sky? Nope, but it might have been a touch of Aurora Borealis, aka nature’s prettiest light show. Head out of town on a clear night to try and spot this little Christmas miracle.