Luxe Breaks to Denmark & Iceland


Why not try something different as your next break or holiday with Denmark or Iceland; you can take in the abundance of natural wonders that Iceland has to offer. Be in awe of the waterfalls and geysers on a Golden Circle tour or enjoy a luxurious soak in the Blue Lagoon’s famous geothermal pools. Or why not explore Reykjavik, the world’s most northerly capital, and absorb the cosmopolitan charm of this colourful city.

Denmark has lots to explore from its 400 islands and its mainland, or head off to Jutland, to discover its unique mix of sea-faring history, fresh Nordic air and fast-paced cities. Plus everyone loves the cosmopolitan capital Copenhagen to experience Denmark's royal heritage at Amalienborg Palace and its Viking past at the National Museum.

British Airways has direct flights to Iceland or Denmark
Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland

Far from being some remote and frozen outpost, visitors quickly discover that Reykjavík has nightlife every bit as hot as the city’s geothermally heated pools. The locals are also some of the warmest people you’ll ever meet. Many of them believe in the existence of elves and trolls, which we find weirdly charming. With a unique combination of glaciers, volcanoes, hip clubs and stylish bars, there's ample opportunity to explore the wild and untamed. If you're looking for something a little different, then Reykjavík is most definitely it.

Sandhotel Reykjavik, Iceland with Smith Hotels (Check Availability)



                    
 Don’t let Sandhotel’s gritty name fool you: this boutique hotel in central Reykjavik is a sweet confection whipped up by the pâtissiers behind beloved Icelandic bakery Sandholt. The eatery is just next door, but Sandhotel’s friendly team can often deliver a basket of warm cinnamon-spiced buns to your super-soft bed on-demand, and wares from their neighbour, Iceland’s oldest tailor, if you’d like a polo-neck with your pastry. Don’t spend all day preening and pigging-out: there’s a list of day-trips longer than an Icelandic summer to try and Reykjavik’s main street to ramble down.

The list of trips the hotel’s friendly staff can arrange for you is as long as the number of vowels in an Icelandic volcano’s name. Ride horses through lupin fields and volcanic landscapes; trek through ice tunnels to the heart of a glacier; go caving, snorkelling and surfing; uncover Viking settlements; or hop in a helicopter for a private tour around the tip of a volcano. First-timers should hit the unpronounceable beauty spots of the Golden Circle (Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir), or book a soak in the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal springs. Reykjavik itself is quirky and cosmopolitan, with sights as diverse as the Hallgrímskirkja church and Olafur Eliasson-designed Harpa opera house, and the blush-inducing Phallological Museum. Shop for lopapeysur (Iceland’s signature yolk sweaters) from the Handknitting Association of Iceland; niche vinyl from the Bónus Plötur label at vegan eatery Kaffi Vínyl (only 30 pressings are made of each release); and on the weekend hit downtown thrift market Kolaportið where you can buy a vintage sweater, handcrafted dreamcatcher, retro dinnerware and fermented shark meat in one fell swoop. Along Laugavegur, take pit stops at clothing store Kiosk (for Murder She Wrote-themed leather jackets and sculptural jewellery), Spúútnik (for Seventies leisurewear and sequinned things), and Myconceptstore (for tin toy robots, scented candles and turntables). Fatigued but in need of formal wear? Gentleman’s gear from Guðsteinn Eyjólfsson can be delivered to your room.

Troll Peninsula, Iceland

Keep a look out for hidden folk and magical beings in Northern Iceland’s Troll Peninsula (Tröllaskagi), which lies between the fjords of Skagafjörður and Eyjafjorður; its dramatic landscape is sprinkled liberally with mossy meadows, remote farmhouses and natural hot springs. It’s home to the country’s most northerly town Siglufjörður, which sits at the foot of steep mountains; visit in the summer to hike the trails that surround this remote fishing port. For a hit of history, stop by the petite Emigration Centre museum in 16th-century trading port town Hofsós. The true behemoths in this mystical spot are its vertiginous peaks; head here for hiking, skiing, frigid surfing, whale-watching, under the soft glow of the midnight sun in the summer.

Deplar Farm Troll Peninsula, Iceland with Smith Hotels (CheckAvailability)





Former home to a drove of hardy Icelandic sheep, luxury stay Deplar Farm and its turf-camouflaged rooftop conceal cosy suites, a stylish spa, restaurant and play space, all with views of the surrounding ice-sloped mountains and sprawling wilderness of the magical Troll Peninsula. There’s no need to learn the Icelandic for 'may I have the bill, please': all meals are included, and feature dishes such as locally-caught trout and Icelandic char. Some adventures are gratis, too: pull on your best boots – be they of the trekking, skiing or horse-riding variety – by day, then shake off the snow and cosy up by the fire, or float in the open-air pool (don’t worry, it’s heated by geothermal energy) under the midnight sun’s golden glow, or – if you’re lucky – the eerie green and purple of the Northern Lights.
Your stay at Deplar Farm includes two guide-led activities a day, (hiking, skeet shooting, whale watching and horseback riding are included if you've booked a full experience stay, but there's an additional charge for heli-skiing) so come prepared to explore northern Iceland’s wilderness and all it has to offer. Adventures are planned in the guide room, and all the equipment you’ll need can be found in the hotel’s play room: snowmobiles, surfboards (and thick wetsuits), fishing gear, snowshoes and even a custom Sno-Cat for off-off-road exploration. Activities change seasonally, in winter dog-sledding is thrown into the mix, and in the summer you can try your hand at archery, fly-fishing or frisbee golf, or go for day hikes through valleys, along dramatic cliffs, and by thundering waterfalls. Year-round pursuits include relaxing in Iceland’s famous natural hot springs and venturing out to sea in search of wandering whale pods.

Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark
The inhabitants of this ancient kingdom swapped Viking battle axes for cutting-edge design long ago, transforming Copenhagen into one of Europe’s foremost hotbeds of contemporary art, modern architecture and stylish living. This is combined with hospitable warmth that could offset even the icy chill of a Nordic winter.

Nimb Hotel Copenhagen, Denmark with Smith Hotels (Check Availability)





Nimb Hotel in central Copenhagen is a curious coupling of the Arabian nights-style opulence and a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale (with a soupçon of Scandi minimalism). But its onion-dome-topped form fits well with the follies found in its Tivoli Gardens amusement park setting. Indoors, its idiosyncrasy is embraced joyously: flights of fancy (bird motifs, spinning wheels hung on walls, chandeliers) freewheel in sleek black, white and grey spaces.

Tivoli Gardens (+45 33 15 10 01) – on the hotel’s doorstep – may be the world’s second-oldest amusement park, but its rollercoasters, Star Flyer carousel and cannonball-dodging galley ships – and concert performances from the likes of Lady Gaga – cater to modern thrill-seekers. Its Halloween parade and Christmas market are spectacular too. Go biking with the Cycling Embassy of Denmark (+45 40 70 83 77), hopping off to see sights such as the Rundetaarn (Round Tower, +45 33 73 03 73) on Kobmagergade, a 17th-century observatory with Old Town views and art exhibitions in its library. The Danish Design Centre (+45 33 69 33 69) showcases Scandi style with substance and sells ideas in a curious holistic ‘supermarket’. Alternatively, Charlottenborg on Nyhaven has contemporary art in a 17th-century baroque palace (+45 33 74 46 39). Copenhagen’s main shopping area is Strøget, where Illum department store (+45 33 14 40 02) sells Danish design classics. At the far end of Strøget, Gronnegade and Ny Adelgade are great areas for shoes and accessories, For outfits, raid Day Birger et Mikkleson (+45 33 45 88 80) and Bruuns Bazaar (+45 33 77 00 77) in Kongens Nytorv. Cykelmageren (+45 33 11 12 11) has several city outposts for gorgeous hand-made bikes, while Hay House (+45 99 42 44 00) on Østergade has cool, covetable furnishings. Edvard Eriksen’s diminutive Little Mermaid statue can be viewed from Langelinie promenade, a 45-minute walk from the hotel, and in season, Islands Brygge has five sociable swimming pools. If you fancy something a little different, Freetown Christiania – a hippie haven and paean to Danish liberality – is a 45-minute walk away. Founded in the 1970s, Freetown has become a Danish Haight-Ashbury (but a little more authentic) packed with cafés and arts venues.

Nobis Hotel Copenhagen Denmark with Smith Hotels (Check Availability)





Seeking flawless Scandinavian style in an elegant historic city stay? Stick the Nobis Hotel Copenhagen straight at the top of your wish list. With its first-class service, delightful Danish cuisine and unbeatable location opposite Tivoli Gardens, Nobis is the hotel of your Scandi-design dreams.
You’re in Scandinavia, so a trip to the in-house sauna is a must. But once you’re done getting steamy, Copenhagen’s coolest spots are nearby. If you can drag yourself back across Nobis’ elegant threshold you’ll find plenty to explore outside; avail yourselves of the hotel’s rental bikes to get around. (There’s a bike trail that starts by the Fisketorvet mall.) Prefer to see the city from the water? Rent a Go Boat and hit the canal (stop off at Copenhagen Street Food, Hal 7 and 8 Papirøen, Trangravsvej 14, for lunch).

If you’ve packed your wallet full of plenty of krone, The Apartment – overlooking the canal – is an incredible show room bursting with Danish design delights. Make an appointment in advance.
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