Foreign city planners usually scratch their heads over this second largest town in Iceland after Reykjavik. What they find most amazing is the fact that the town of Kopavogur with its 32 thousand inhabitants has no central place or downtown. What is has is one of three shopping malls in the country and the largest number of speed-bumps in Iceland and quite possibly the world.
Apart from the shopping mall Smaralind, a couple of museums, two swimming pools and one small picturesque church on a hilltop this place has nothing to offer visitors.
Very roughly one can describe Kopavogur as a sleeping town where little happens except shopping. Both Hamraborg (see map) and Smaralind have varied shops and services but these are mainly for the locals.
The museum of note here is the Gerdarsafn in Hamraborg area. A small progressive art gallery with shop and coffee store and varied modern and contemporary exhibitions. Next door to Gerdarsafn is the town library, within which is a very small natural history museum, Natturufraedistofa Kopavogs, with interesting geological and zoological sections.
In the next building to the library is a place called Salurinn, The Place, a small concert hall. Once in awhile great musicians play here but it is by no stretch of the imagination a must-see.
Directly across from Smaralind shopping center is the tallest tower in Iceland, Turninn, with its twenty floors. Two restaurants occupy the two floors on top and give an okay view over part of the town and to the south over Gardabaer and Hafnarfjordur.
Kopavogur used to have one really beautiful natural spot within its boundaries. The lake of Ellidavatn is the boundary between Reykjavik area and Kopavogur. The area is still pretty on the Kopavogur side but construction has turned this from being a nature paradise into a builder´s paradise. In Ellidavatn it is possible to fish during spring and summer.
The name Kopavogur means Seals Bay. Today this is a misnomer since seals have long gone and spotting seals around this place these days is considered very newsworthy.
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