Updated: Mar 24
Kópavogur is the largest town in Iceland and comes second in size only to the capital Reykjavik. The inhabitants/population are 34.140 in 2016, according to 2016 official numbers. In recent decades, Kópavogur has developed from a small village in the fifties to a large municipality today. If you are planning to drive the Reykjanes Peninsula, it might be a good idea to find accommodation in Kópavogur. Like all the towns and villages around Reykjavik in the capital region, it has gained an advantage over its neighbor. In the last two to three decades, Kópavogur launched some serious land development projects that were mostly commercial and residential. Some would say that Kópavogur took an important initiative at that time in developing the land while Reykjavík was sleeping.
Home of the largest mall in Iceland
The result was rapid growth, and impressively Kópavougur managed to build a new and significant commercial center in Smári for the whole Capital Region. The highest building in Iceland is at Smárinn, built during that development period. One of the two large shopping malls in Iceland is also at Smárinn. Kópavogur Municipality offers the usual service to its residents. The municipality has good schools, welfare services, daycare centers, sports teams, and overall good service for young and old residents. Famous in Iceland is a quote from a recent mayor of Kópavogur, Gunnar Birgisson, who often referred to his town by saying: It is good to live in Kópavogur.
Kópavogur is a town of culture serving the whole capital area
Kópavogur has two culturally significant centers, one for music and one for the fine arts, Salurinn, and Gerðarsafn, named after one of Iceland’s most prominent glass artists and sculptor Gerður Helgadóttir. Both centers play an important role in the cultural life in the capital region. The Natural history museum opened in Kópavogur in 2002 and consists of two departments, geological and zoological. The geological department is dedicated to the formation of Iceland, and the zoological department is devoted to mammals, birds, and fish in Iceland.
A place that has a major role in Iceland's history
Although Kópavogur doesn’t have much of a role in Iceland's early history, one important event occurred in Kópavogur in 1662 when Iceland was forced to accept an absolute monarchy from Denmark. This event took place after Denmark had almost lost a war with Sweden. One of the consequences was serious social unrest in the kingdom of Denmark that ended by strengthening the monarch’s absolute power. At a meeting set in Kópavogur, a representative of the Danish king forced Icelanders to sign the agreement.
Like Garðabær, Kópavogur shares a large outdoor area, Heiðmörk with Reykjavík. Heiðmörk is only a few kilometers from the town center and easily accessible for residents and visitors.