Heida Reed's Iceland

Credit: Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage; Map Illustration by Sara Mulvanny

By Maria Neuman

Growing up in Iceland taught Heida Reed how to pack properly. “The weather is so intense there,” says the actress, who plays Special Agent Jamie Kellett on the multicontinental drama FBI: International. “I’ve had friends visit who are from California, and they are never prepared for how cold it can get. Iceland is a different kind of cold; you need to pack layers, layers, and more layers.”

Although Reed now lives in London and spends her workdays in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, she likes nothing more than pulling on a puffy jacket and hiking the hills of her breathtaking country. Grab a parka and let’s go!

Watch new CBS Drama FBI: International takes the action abroad on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+!

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Enjoy The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights in green, purple, and blue hues over a silhouetted forest.

The Northern Lights

Photo credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Northern Lights are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Usually they happen in the winter, from December to February, but I once saw them in August. I was at my grandmother’s house, who lives an hour outside of Reykjavik, sitting in her hot tub drinking prosecco.

All of a sudden we saw the lights across the sky, which is super unusual for that time of year. I had some friends with me who were visiting from the U.K., and they say it’s one of the most beautiful experiences they’ve ever had.

Dine Out

Reykjavik is small but has some fabulous restaurants, especially the seafood places down by the harbor. My favorite is a spot called Seabaron. It’s not fancy, but they do the best lobster soup.

Score a Snuggly Sweater

Actress Heida Reed stands on a stark shoreline wearing a classic knitted Icelandic sweater

Heida Reed wearing a classic knitted Icelandic sweater

Photo credit: Instagram/Heida Reed

If you want something traditional, go to one of the many vintage shops in Reykjavik and buy a classic Icelandic knit sweater. They are super warm and come in various neutral colors like brown and cream.

There are also some great stores around the city, like Farmer’s Market, which does an updated version of the sweater.

Say Cheers With Schnapps

A woman reaches for a bottle amongst many on a giant backlit series of shelves behind a bar

Try an Icelandic beer the next time you're in the Land of Ice and Fire.

Photo credit: In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

Go bar hopping in Reykjavik on Laugavegur, which is the street with all the clubs and bars. They are all close together, so it’s easy to go from one to the other and try Icelandic beers or a shot of Black Death, which is a local schnapps flavored with caraway seeds. Just be prepared to wait in line; a lot of the bars are quite small.

Grab and Go

There are tons of great food trucks in the city center, and after a night out you must get one of our hot dogs. They’re best ordered eina með öllu, or with everything: ketchup, mustard, fried and raw onion, and remoulade.

Take a Hike

A lush yet rocky Icelandic terrain with a small creek flowing past glaciater carved hills

Heida loves the hot springs of Iceland.

Photo credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Growing up in Iceland helped give me a connection to nature, and it’s one of the things I miss the most when I’m away. There are hikes all over the country, but my favorite is the one at Reykjadalur Valley, near Hveragerdi.

It’s a hiking trail with hot springs, so pack a bottle of wine or a few beers with a picnic lunch. I wear my bathing suit underneath my hiking gear and take a dip and relax. I took my husband a few years ago, and he wants to go back.

Travel Back in Time

An ancient wooden structure nestles deeply into a sod shroud that encompasses the roof

Classic Icelandic architecture

Photo credit: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

To see what life was like in Iceland at the turn of the 20th century, stroll through the Árbaer Open Air Museum on the outskirts of Reykjavik. It’s a traditional village complete with original houses and classic architecture. You can see how people used to live and learn the history.

Buy This at the Airport

If you want to take something Icelandic home with you, I always pick up some black lava salt at the airport. It’s a salt that is blended with activated charcoal and is great for cooking.

Get Soaked

Bathers swim in an enormous steamy bright blue geothermal pool

The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa

Photo credit: Getty Images/EyeEm

It’s touristy, but I still love going to The Blue Lagoon. It’s a geothermal spa, and it’s close to the airport. I suggest you prebook and try to go on a weekday when it’s not as busy. It’s a natural hot spring with healing silica, and you can just sit in the water and look out over the lava rock and green hills.

Bundle Up

Actress Heida Reed walking along an icy body of water in a long arctic jacket

The wind makes Iceland feel especially cold

Photo credit: Instagram/Heida Reed

If you’re not used to the cold, it can be shocking. It’s not so much the temperature but the wind that gets you. When getting dressed, you need to layer, starting first with a thin layer of wool.

There are lots of great outdoor-gear brands out of Iceland, but my favorite is 66° North for a great winter coat.

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Watch new CBS Drama FBI: International takes the action abroad on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+!

Photography by Cliff Lipson

By Mona Buehler

Chris O'Donnell brings a quiet intensity to his work on NCIS: Los Angeles, but when not playing "G" Callen on CBS' longtime hit drama, the actor is all smiles and laughs on the Emerald Isle.

Watch photographed the beloved actor at the legendary Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland for our March-April 2013 issue. Here's a look back at his lucky adventures.

NCIS: Los Angeles airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS. Stream anytime on Paramount+.

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Photo Credit: JSquared Photography/Contour by Getty Images (Portrait); Sara Mulvanny (Illustration).

By Maria Neuman

If a happy life means living in balance, then actor J. Alex Brinson seems to be in joyous equilibrium. As the hard-working bailiff on the courtroom drama All Rise, he gets to come to Los Angeles for filming and a Southern California sunshine fix, then go home to Vancouver, where he lives with wife Sarah Brinson. "This city is so beautiful, clean, and feels very open because it's on the water," says the Philadelphia native, who has been based in Canada for the past 10 years. "I enjoy the energy of coming to L.A. and working and then being able to go back to nature in Vancouver."

But it's not all about the great outdoors. Here are some of Brinson's favorite mini-escapes. (Beware: Calories and caffeine ahead!)

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Photo Credit: Cara Robbins/Contour by Getty Images (Sternberg). Sara Mulvanny (Illustration).

By Maria Neuman

It never occurred to Roxy Sternberg that she had grown up in one of the coolest cities in the world, until she moved across the pond. "When you live somewhere, you can end up taking it for granted," says the actress, who moved from London to Brooklyn in 2019 after landing the role of Agent Sheryll Barnes in FBI: Most Wanted. "I'm swept up in New York now and excited to discover places, but London is absolutely brilliant."

She's equally enamored with her on-screen character, who can go from steely undercover agent to nurturing mom without breaking a sweat. "She's so serious and a grounding force, but I love that she's also a family person." With that in mind, Sternberg reveals where she goes in London when she returns home to visit family and friends.

Watch FBI: Most Wanted Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

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Illustrated map of London

Illustration by Sara Mulvanny.

If you walk to the top of Portobello Road, there's a street called Golborne Road, which has this amazing lunch spot called Hassan Morocco Fish. It's super popular with locals. You queue up outside and either sit to eat (they can accommodate about six people), stand, or sit on a nearby doorstep. There's a list of different fish, and they cook it while you wait. I always get the sole that comes with chips and a salad.


Pub sign for The Dove in Hammersmith

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fuller's.

It's very British to go on a pub crawl, which I like to do by the River Thames. My favorite pub is The Dove in Hammersmith (where I had my first date with my partner) because you can sit outside, while inside it's got exposed bricks and wooden beams, as well as a lovely fireplace, so it feels like you're in a small cabin. There are tons of pubs in the same area, so you can also walk to The Black Lion and The Old Ship, which means you can get a bit of exercise in while eating and drinking.


people dining at a restaurant outdoors on a sunny day in Hammersmith

Photo Credit: etienne voss/Getty Images.

There's a famous restaurant in Hammersmith called The River Café. It's an Italian restaurant with an amazing view, and it feels like going to a museum. If you really want to treat yourself, it's a great experience, from the staff to the food presentation. It's so delicious, and the last time I was there the actor Jack Whitehall sat near my table.


The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park

Photo Credit: John Reid/

Hyde Park is beautiful and well groomed and also home to Kensington Palace as well as the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, which is really worth seeing. Any time of day there are people exercising and Rollerblading—it's what I imagined New York would be like before I arrived. You can rent bikes and cycle all around on certain paths, and it's amazing for people-watching, which is one of my favorite things to do.


Traditional English high tea service

Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Wolseley.

Brits don't eat scones every day (we'd be huge if we did!), but The Wolseley by Green Park is the place to go when you want to indulge. You feel like you're in a greenhouse with the eatery's dramatic ceilings. They also have lovely little finger sandwiches and breakfast, which for me is scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.


Portobello Road in London

Photo Credit: Maremagnum/Getty Images.

My favorite area is Portobello Road because it's a mix of tourists and locals. The outdoor market is open every day but Sunday, where you can pick up everything from groceries to souvenirs. Once upon a time, Portobello Road and Notting Hill had a very strong West Indian community, so every year [except this summer, due to the pandemic] they have the Notting Hill Carnival with floats, amazing food, and steel drum music. You can end the day at the Electric Cinema, with its big leather seats.


Hobnobs biscuits

Photo Credit: Courtesy of McVities.

When people come to my house in Brooklyn, I like to offer them English cookies. So I always keep Hobnobs, as well as wine gums and other confectionary stuff, on hand. I can get it all at the duty-free in the airport. There's also a chili sauce called Lingham's Chilli Sauce that's sweet, spicy, and delicious.


Shopping on Oxford Street in London

Photo Credit: Gonzalo Azumendi/Getty Images.

I lived in Westbourne Grove before I moved to New York, and it has brilliant shops like Sandro, Maje, and The Kooples. I'm not a big mall person. I love coming out of a shop, getting some fresh air, and then going into another shop. For an even wider variety, I head to Oxford Street, where there is the huge Selfridges department store, an enormous Topshop, an Urban Outfitters, and Nike.


London Eye observation ferris wheel

Photo Credit: John Reid/

Everyone should visit the London Eye (observation wheel) because you'll see amazing panoramic views of the city and get a real sense of where things are; you can spot everything—Greenwich, East London, and even Buckingham Palace.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, November-December 2020.

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Watch FBI: Most Wanted Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.