The first thing that struck me about Reykjavik was just how little it felt like a national capital. Within hours of being there, we easily knew the layout of the city: the main pedestrian thoroughfare marked by neon bicycles, the large pond dotted with seagulls, the sturdy houses accented with colorful shutters.
Granted, Reykjavik’s population of 120,000 is equal to the suburb I grew up in–and the capital is home to almost half of the country’s population. Despite its small-town charm–we chatted with a girl who worked at the Blue Lagoon on our first day there, and ran into her at a closing party for a bar on our last night–Reykjavik is surprisingly cosmopolitan. Strikingly modern buildings, hipster coffee shops, adorable B&Bs: Reykjavik has something for everyone, and it’s a wonderful introduction to Iceland–although I still think the country is made for road trips and outdoor swimming sessions.