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Reykjavik

Stag & Hen Destination

There are some venues for stag and hen parties where, fun though the things you get up to may be, you could be doing them almost anywhere. That is most definitely not the case with Reykjavik: there’s a long list of activities here that will make you remember your stag or hen do with the location firmly in mind.

Getting to Iceland – and having a good time there too – is somewhat less expensive than it would have been not so very long ago, the exchange rate since the financial collapses in the middle of this decade being far more favourable (and FYI beer becoming legal in the late Eighties). Flights for example are cheaper than they were.

There’s no disguising the fact – the name is a bit of a giveaway – that Iceland is not the place to come for sun-worshippers – though because of its northerly latitude (Reykjavik the northernmost capital in the world) in the summer it has almost constant daylight. The point of coming here is to make the most of its natural resources – space, snow, ice, geysers, volcanoes even.
Organising companies have taken pains to build activities that use those resources: so you can try snow-scooters; ice-climbing; 4x4 expeditions where off-road means more than a farm-track in Wiltshire – there are tracts of land without a soul living in them, empty beaches, volcanic craters... White-water rafting in the wilderness means you’ll get a real feeling of adventure too. Eschew transport and try an ice-hike if you want to get closer to nature. All a bit more macho then than paintballing, though that most traditional method of trying to damage the groom’s family jewels is available too. And all of this goes on with stunning scenery in view, which once you are down there we can’t say is the case for caving, another Reykjavik option.

There’s a softer side to the scenic glories of the country too – the geo-thermal springs that dot the landscape have been harnessed in some spots to make natural spas – hot water bubbling up from deep within Mother Earth to soothe body and soul, naturally heated outdoor pools.

Iceland’s North Atlantic surrounds kick in with some more good vibes too – whale and dolphin watching expeditions appeal to stag and hen alike. So too may the idea of catching some of the riches of the island’s waters – salmon fishing that would cost a whole lot more in the UK can be arranged.

Reykjavik has a reputation as a pretty hedonistic sort of city, a heritage of life being hard (though now the country is one of the world’s most developed economies) perhaps pushing people to make hay while the sun shines – and as it does 24 hours a day in summer that’s quite a lot of hay. There are some top bars in this vibrant and historic capital, with a touch more class to them than is perhaps the case with rivals in warmer climes. Visitors should try a glass of brennivin, schnapps flavoured with caraway, though most will then decide that back to the beer is best.

And another gustatory highlight (if brennivin qualifies as such) is not the rotten shark or sheep’s testicles that it’s unlikely you’ll be offered (and highly unlikely you’ll accept – though lamb’s fries are good) but what many authorities claim to be the best hot dogs in the world - Bæjarins beztu – sold at several stands around the city. A culinary icon for about £1.75? Can’t be bad – and hot dogs soak up beer too. An alternative stomach-filler is a meaty Viking dinner, pillaging sadly not on the menu.

Reykjavik residents have a real sense of fun, are famed for their welcome, and the hinterland to their city has wide open spaces and then some. This is the place to come for some great times with rather less sleaze than some alternative venues, which for the sake of the bride and groom is probably no bad thing.

Find Discounted Hotels perfect for your break in Reykjavik