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Plan the Ultimate Itinerary for Iceland and Copenhagen on Icelandair's Stopover Program

According to the 2023 American Express trend report, the popularity of experiential travel, especially immersive food-focused itineraries, has been vastly increasing.


May 28 2024, Published 2:53 p.m. ET

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81% of respondents now consider trying local cuisines as the highlight of their travels. Additionally, nearly half of Gen Z and millennial travelers, projected to make up 80% of luxury purchases by 2030 (including travel), plan entire itineraries around particular dining establishments, as indicated in the report.

If your holiday itinerary revolves around savoring culinary experiences, why not maximize your holiday and turn one trip into two? With the surge in multi-country travel (reportedly 60% of travelers prefer them), airlines like Icelandair provide stopover programs enabling travelers to combine two or more cities into a single trip (without any additional fees). This provides the opportunity for added adventure in Iceland, such as geothermal bathing at The Blue Lagoon or whale watching in Húsavík, all while maximizing the value of your money spent.

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Icelandair's Stopover Program

Icelandair's stopover program offers complimentary stopovers in Iceland's capital city, Reykjavík, at no additional airfare cost when booking round-trip European flights to Nordic cities like Copenhagen.

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Travelers can spend anywhere from one to seven days in Iceland during transatlantic travels, such as from Boston to Brussels, Chicago to Faroe Islands, and beyond. Travelers can easily book this extra stopover by selecting the "Stopover in Iceland" option while booking a roundtrip to Europe through Icelandair's website. It's recommended to include a stopover in Iceland either on the way to Europe or on the return journey (a stopover on the return leg is often more cost-effective).

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You can book the stopover with any ticket, from economy to premium (business class). With an Economy Classic ticket or Saga Premium (Business) Class ticket, you can enjoy a maximum stopover of seven days in Iceland, while with an Economy Light fare, the maximum stopover duration is three days.

Icelandair's business class seats (Saga Premium Class) offer larger and wider reclining seats (the legroom is 40" versus economy's 32") while on an elevated flying experience thanks to friendly attendants, a travel kit, and gourmet meals with vegan options. Passengers are served either a three-course meal on North American flights or a two-course meal for European ones. Other perks include priority check-in and access to the Saga Premium Lounge, where travelers can enjoy complimentary food, comfortable seating, charging ports, and more.

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This foodie itinerary will have you eating around the top restaurants in Copenhagen and Iceland on an efficiently planned itinerary on Icelandair's Stopover Program. From innovative Michelin-star restaurants to simplistic local fare that draws from history and culture, expect to return with a deeper understanding of each foodie-centric city.

Restaurants in Copenhagen

  • Alouette Restaurant

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Located in a former pencil factory in Islands Brygge, a waterfront area, New York Chef Nick Curtin and his Danish wife Camilla Hansen operate this one Michelin-star restaurant. Alouette Restaurant serves Scandinavian-inspired dishes with a modern touch that resembles culinary masterpieces that look like they belong in an art gallery. Its ever-changing five-course menu is prepared from locally sourced sustainable ingredients while honoring classic French culinary techniques. Expect dishes such as zucchini and black label caviar to duck with blackcurrant.

Address: Alouette is reopening in Q2 2024 at a new location TBD.

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  • Hotel Kong Arthur - Nordic breakfast buffet

Situated in the Copenhagen city center, in the Nansensgade neighborhood, close to city lakes such as Sortedam Lake and top attractions like Nyhavn Canal, Hotel Kong Arthur is housed in a charming 19th-century building that radiates a contemporary yet inviting cozy ambiance. With a stay at this sustainable and locally rooted boutique hotel, guests can indulge in a Scandinavian breakfast buffet featuring local ingredients such as rose hip, cherry plum, rhubarb, and cocktails with a Danish spin. The breakfast menu combines seasonal produce, traditional grains, and charcuterie boards filled with offerings from sustainable organic farms. The organic yogurt is all made in-house, and the orange juice is a must-try.

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Address: Nørre Søgade 11, 1370 København

  • SURT

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SURT (meaning "sour"), an award-winning pizzeria located in Lauras Hus (Laura's House), a historic building in Carlsbergbyen, specializes in artisanal sourdough-based pizzas bursting with complex flavors that "tickle the tongue's sour receptor." The restaurant offers a variety of Italian dishes, all made without the use of industrial yeast and prepared in a stone oven. Using seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms, SURT's mouth-watering pizzas, like the Rianata with tomato sauce, red onion, oregano, pecorino, and anchovies, and Hindsholm pizza topped with Hindsholm pork sausage, buffalo mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes, are sure to satisfy your comfort food cravings.

Address: Bag Elefanterne 2, 1799 København

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  • The Alchemist

Nestled in the Refshaleøen neighborhood of Copenhagen, renowned for its industrial structures and historic shipyard, The Alchemist is a world-renowned two-Michelin-star restaurant offering a captivating and immersive dining experience. Led by owner and chef Rasmus Munk, this upscale restaurant offers an artistic and unique twist on gastronomy through a 50-course, multi-dimensional, and thought-provoking dining adventure. Their 'holistic dining' concept combines gastronomy, theater, science, and art to provide a multi-layered 7-hour experience that ends in a ball pit. The Alchemist uses sustainable, ethically produced ingredients to prepare unique dishes like freeze-dried tortoiseshell butterflies, caged chicken claws, a pupil of an eye made of caviar, and pig's blood sorbet, all while delving into raising awareness about world issues cleverly through food and presentation.

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Location: Refshalevej 173C, 1432 København K

  • Restaurant Møntergade

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Restaurant Møntergade, a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant located in the city center, specializes in traditional Danish and French cuisine, most famous for its smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches). Those visiting for lunch can choose from an array of "world-class sandwiches" that explore the idea of elevated Danish gastronomy with a modern twist. For dinner, feast on dishes such as oyster soufflé with parsley and smoked sour cream and caviar and/or halibut in puff pastry with spinach puré, sauce nage with trout roe, and chives.

Location: Møntergade 19, 1116 København K

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Iceland Restaurants

  • Hotel Rangá – Rangá Restaurant

Not far from Iceland's must-see attractions, like the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, Hotel Rangá Restaurant's cozy interiors, combined with its luxury country-lodge restaurant, offer guests the opportunity to enjoy modern Nordic cuisine amidst breathtaking panoramic views with full-length windows of the rugged terrain and Northern Lights.

The menu is designed by head Chef Péter Jóni, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients of top-notch quality to prepare delectable dishes like lamb fillet with potatoes and demi-glace and vegan options such as creamy barley served with Icelandic mushrooms. Guests can opt for an à la carte menu or a specific set menu, such as a Cave Dinner, which delves into Iceland's history through cuisine in a local cave. Visitors can also choose options such as reindeer carpaccio and cured beef tenderloin.

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Address: Hótel Rangá, 851 Hella

  • Friðheimar GreenHouse

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Friðheimar is a family operation managed by Knútur Rafn Ármann and his wife, Helena Hermundardóttir. Friðheimar GreenHouse provides a lush dining experience inside a greenhouse about one hour from Reykjavik along the Golden Circle route. During the year, tomatoes are grown in the greenhouse using hydroelectric and geothermal energy and then incorporated into flavorful, sustainable menu items designed by master Chef Jón KB Sigfússon. Expect dishes with tomatoes as the star of the show, like tomato soup with freshly baked bread, heirloom tomatoes, and handmade Icelandic burrata cheese served with basil-olive oil.

Address: 5HH4+225 Friðheimar, 806 Reykholt

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  • Héðinn Kitchen & Bar

Once a steelworks factory in the heart of Reykjavík, this redesigned building is home to Héðinn Kitchen & Bar. Inside the once-industrial building, you can expect an exquisite dining experience that elevates seasonal ingredients into simple yet impressive menu offerings. Chef Sindra Guðbrand Sigurðsson has managed to keep the menu centered on a 'less is more' theme, with options such as cauliflower "steak" with baked cauliflower purée and yeast sauce and grilled lamb loin with pearl barley and malt extract.

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Address: Seljavegur 2, 101 Reykjavík

  • TIDES - Reykjavik Edition Hotel

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TIDES is the signature restaurant inside Reykjavik Edition Hotel that serves some of the finest seafood in town. Chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason, a native Icelander born in the northern Icelandic town of Akureyri, has curated a menu that showcases the rich culinary traditions of Iceland. Located close to the Reykjavik Harbour and the Harpa concert hall, travelers can experience a luxurious meal at TIDES, a Michelin-star restaurant full of authentic Nordic cuisine offering locally sourced ingredients that include fresh seafood fished off the coast of Iceland, such as grilled cod with ginger-lemon butter sauce and sea truffle confit salmon with pickled salad; alongside local proteins such as lamb fillet with red wine-bilberry sauce and 14-day dry-aged, grass-fed Icelandic Galloway tomahawk steak.

Address: Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík

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  • Moss Restaurant - The Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Nestled amidst Iceland's striking volcanic landscapes, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon offers a luxurious haven dedicated to wellness. Amidst spa sessions and dips in the blue geothermal waters, Moss Restaurant, a Michelin-star restaurant, redefines traditional Icelandic cuisine with a contemporary twist. Chef Aggi Sverrisson, a Reykjavík native, curates a nature-inspired menu using fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. Guests savor set menu dishes like Norwegian langoustine paired with cauliflower textures and plant-based steak with artichoke and mushroom broth, all while taking in breathtaking views of the volcanic landscape.

Address: Nordurljosavegur 11, 240 Grindavík

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