Over recent years, Iceland’s status has shifted from ‘Europe’s best kept secret’ to the location of choice for conferences, incentive travel, product launches and tour groups.
The iconic design of Harpa, Reykjavik’s main conference, centre owes much to the Icelandic landscape and geology. The names of the four main halls correspond to the elements of fire, air, earth and water.
The largest hall, Eldborg (Fire Castle) is named after the volcanic crater in west Iceland. It seats up to 1,800 guests in a dramatic setting. The recital hall Norðurljós (Northern Lights) has a deep blue decor that can be configured for different themes, suiting conferences, jazz or classical recitals, receptions or functions. It has been designed so it can be interconnected with Silfurberg, the main conference hall, for larger functions. Silfurberg accommodates up to 840 guests but can be divided in half for smaller events with specialised acoustics configurable to fit each occasion. Water is represented by Kaldalón (Cold Lagoon), seating almost 200 guests.
Harpa has received numerous awards, recognising that it offers the best concert and conference facilities in northern Europe. Harpa offers a full in-house catering service, and there’s a wide range of restaurants featuring international cuisines available within a short walking distance. Traffic is not a problem in Reykjavik, and there is a very low level of pollution compared to other cities.
Iceland has been rated as the world’s safest country for the second successive year by the Institute of Economics and Peace, and Reykjavík is rated as one of the world’s safest cities – an important factor for event planners.
The country has seen a steep rise in the number of conferences and conventions since Harpa opened. With direct flights from about 80 destinations across Europe and the Americas, attendees are recognising the value of visiting with their families, combining business with pleasure and staying longer to enjoy the experience. Harpa is open daily from 8am to midnight, so families can go whale watching, shopping or take trips direct from the building.
Harpa epitomises the Icelandic way of thinking in terms of looking for solutions, rather than seeing problems. Its halls can be adapted and the whole building offers open spaces for additional rooms or displays.
Just as Iceland provides visitors with inspiration and energy, Harpa offers comprehensive conference facilities in a completely unique setting.