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Reykjavikch

Iceland's climate and terrain is so otherworldly—glaciers, geysers, and lava deserts dot this island in the Arctic Circle—that NASA astronauts come here to train. In contrast, the capital, Reykjavik, is a small, thriving city that plays host to great music, fashion, and art scenes. The city's compact layout encourages a sense of community and so do its many stores and cafés where young creatives converge for coffee and conversation (and to road-test their daring haircuts).

Here's a round-up of our favorites.

Sputnik Ch-1

Sputnik
28B Laugavegur
+354 561 7060

Vintage fashion is a way of life in Reykjavik so to fit in, or rather stand out, look no further than Sputnik. You can trust the opinions of the incredibly well-dressed shop girls—when they tell you something looks good, buy it. Clothing is well-edited and grouped by category—pants, jackets, lingerie, even a section devoted to awesomely tacky bedazzled T-shirts.

Smekkleysa Ch-1

 

 

Smekkleysa Plötubù (Bad Taste Records)
59 Laugavegur
+354 534 3730

A bastion of independent music, this record shop is quite literally underground: It's located beneath Reykjavik's largest supermarket. It's also home to Bad Taste Ltd., a record label founded by members of The Sugarcubes who have signed Iceland's biggest exports—Björk, Gusgus, and Sigur Rós, and its up-and-coming ones Hairdoctor, Mammút, and Múm.

Nakedape Ch-1

Naked Ape
14 Bankastraeti
+354 534 3535

Naked Ape is run by a collective of young hipsters, who blast crazy doodle graphics onto hoodies, tees, and leggings in the backroom. Their retro '80s graphics in Lite-Brite colors look like something out of Sri Lankan superstar M.I.A.'s Galang video.

Kronkron Ch-2

 

 

 

KronKron
63B Laugavegur
+354 562 8388

Kron
48 Laugavegur
+354 551 8388

With its Gobstopper-colored walls and waterfall of lights, Kron is as festive as the Spanish labels it carries: Camper, Salvador Sapena, and Again & Again. The carnival spirit continues at Kron's sister store KronKron, a veritable fashion circus starring all the best misfits and clowns: Peter Jensen, Henrick Vibskov, Marjan Pejoski, Vivienne Westwood, and Camilla Staerk.

Solon
7A Bankastraeti
+354 562 3232

Coffee, dinner, and dancing are all served at different hours in this café/bar/nightclub that also considers itself a gallery, thanks to the frequently changing artwork. Log onto the website to see photos documenting last night's excess, à la www.lastnightsparty.com.

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