Where To Stay In Iceland: Best Hotels By Area
You’ve booked your plane flights to the land of fire and ice and now you’re wondering where to stay in Iceland? First of all, get excited because you’re in for the trip of a lifetime.
Second, we’re here to help. In Iceland, there are an abundance of activities to do and sights to see that will leave you hungry for more. The island is essentially one stunning natural wonder after the next.
Even the drive between locations will have your jaw-dropping. Every region of Iceland is worth a visit for different reasons.
We’ve dissected the country by area and picked out select hotels to help you decide where to stay in Iceland during your trip. In addition to a handful of hotel options, we’ve explained the tourist draws of each area and why that area of Iceland deserves a portion of your time.
Iceland in the summer can be a spectacular place to tent camp or rent a campervan, but sometimes staying in a hotel or hostel is the best option, and we hope our guide will be helpful to you as you plan your trip.
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Table of Contents
Where To Stay In Iceland: Best Iceland Hotels By Area
Reykjavik Is Where To Stay In Iceland For A Taste Of City Life
When planning where to stay in Iceland, Reykjavik will likely act as the start and endpoint to your trip. It is Iceland’s capital and the largest city and has plenty to offer in terms of culture, views, and delicious food.
Downtown Reykjavik, including the main street, Laugavegur, is the perfect place to go for shopping, bars and nightlife, restaurants, and museums. There are so many things to do in Reykjavik so you can keep busy for a while!
You can pick up a sturdy rain jacket at 66 degrees North, learn about the Cod Wars and the life of Icelandic fishermen at the Maritime Museum, and warm your belly with noodle soup at Krua Thai. In the winter, downtown Reykjavik also has its own outdoor skating rink complete with twinkle lights and skates for rent.
Two of the biggest points of interest in downtown Reykjavik include Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland’s largest church, and Harpa Concert Hall. Hallgrimskirkja is not only the largest church in the country but is also one of the tallest buildings in Iceland.
The architecture of the church was designed to resemble the basalt columns so often seen in nature all around the country, and an iconic statue of native son Leif Erikson stands guard out front.
For roughly $8 you can take an elevator to the top of the church and have a magnificent view over all of Reykjavik and beyond. Harpa Concert Hall is famous for its architecture, featuring glass panels in crystalline formations that light up in brilliant colors at night.
It’s a wonderful spectacle and a great place to enjoy music and the arts. You’ll no doubt enjoy your time in Reykjavik, and there’s no shortage of hotels in the area to spend the night.
The capital is also a great place to set up base as there are many wonderful day trips from Reykjavik that you can take!
Best Iceland Hotels In Reykjavik
Affordable: Hotel Klettur
Though there are a number of decent, affordable hostel options in Downtown Reykjavik (Reykjavik Downtown Hostel, Reykjavik Loft Hostel, and Kex Hostel Reykjavik to name a few), Hotel Klettur is a nicer hotel with an affordable option.
Though many of Hotel Klettur’s rooms are pricier, they offer a budget twin room option for those looking to save a little money. Hotel staff is available to help you book tours and plan activities, and a continental breakfast is included each day in your room price.
The hotel is located right next to the main Laugavegur shopping street and gives you easy access to great restaurants and cafes as well.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range: Fosshotel Reykjavik
Fosshotel Reykjavik is a modern-style hotel located just outside the center of the city, but still close enough to all the action. The hotel is roughly one mile from both the Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrimskirkja church.
It’s also right next to the number 12 bus stop which is extremely convenient for getting picked up for tours. The hotel offers standard double rooms at a mid-range price, but if you’re looking for a tower view room or suite, family room, or deluxe double room, the prices are much higher.
With a stylish design, great views of the city, accommodating staff, and comfortable rooms, the Fosshotel Reykjavik is where to stay in Iceland when planning a trip to the capital.
Check rates: Booking.com
Luxury: Hotel Borg
If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find it in this beautiful art deco-style hotel in the heart of Reykjavik. Hotel Borg is right next to Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, and the Reykjavik Cathedral.
It is within walking distance from the Reykjavik Art Museum, The Settlement Exhibition and of course the famous, prominent Hallgrimskirkja church. The hotel is also surrounded by an endless selection of excellent restaurants and cafes.
The staff members of the hotel are incredibly friendly and are more than happy to suggest activities for you to do or answer any questions. From Hotel Borg you can experience the culture, shopping and food that Reykjavik has to offer while relaxing in luxury in between.
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo credit: Booking.com via Hotel Borg
The Golden Circle Is Where To Stay In Iceland for Access To The Island’s Biggest Tourist Attractions
The Golden Circle is famous in Iceland and is home to many incredible tourist attractions including three of the most popular attractions in the country. It is one of the best places to see on your Iceland Itinerary!
These stops include Gullfoss, the two-tiered golden waterfall, Geysir, the geothermal hot spot, home to the erupting geyser Strokkur, and Thingvellir National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is the ancient birthplace of Iceland’s parliament. For many first-timers in Iceland, this route is their first adventure outside of the city, and for good reason.
This route provides a great introduction to Iceland’s unique and stunning natural wonders and all of them are easily accessible.
The Golden Circle can range anywhere from a half to full-day trip depending on how many steps you take along the way. If you’re looking to explore on your own timetable, the Golden Circle is easily driven by rental car, but if you’re looking for a guided tour, there’s no shortage of options.
If you decide to make a full-day trip out of the Golden Circle you might try expanding your adventures beyond the three major tourist attractions.
Some other worthwhile stops include Kerid Crater, a volcanic crater with a lake at the bottom, Reykjadalur Hot Springs where you can bathe in a hot river, and Laugarvatn Fontana which includes spas and geothermal baths along the lake.
This is one of the best stops along the Ring Road in Iceland and you really shouldn’t miss it!
Best Iceland Hotels On The Golden Circle
Affordable: Selfoss Hostel
If you’re deciding where to stay in Iceland along the Golden Circle, you should check out the Selfoss Hostel. This budget-friendly accommodation is conveniently located right off the side of the Ring Road.
The hostel is also located near one of the city’s swimming pools with easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and more. Though it’s still a 45-minute drive to Thingvellir National Park and just under an hour to Geysir and Gullfoss, Selfoss is part of the Golden Circle loop and helps tie all three locations together for an easy day trip.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-Range: Icelandair Hotel Fludir
For a mid-range hotel near the Golden Circle, you’ll want to consider the Icelandair Hotel Fludir. With hot tubs for guest use and patios connected to each room, you’re sure to have a wonderful stay here.
Though Fludir is slightly off of the main Golden Circle Loop, it is only 20-30 minutes from Gullfoss and Geysir so you’ll have easy access to these major tourist attractions.
Check rates: Booking.com
Luxury: Ion Adventure Hotel
The Ion Adventure Hotel might be for you if you’re looking to relax in style when exploring the Golden Circle. This hotel is located on Mount Hengill with an outdoor hot tub and stunning views.
Some of the rooms even look out onto Lake Thingvallavatn. Just 13.5 miles from Thingvellir National Park this luxury hotel is a perfect home base for your Golden Circle adventures.
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo Credit: Booking.com via Ion Adventure Hotel
Stay Along Iceland’s South Coast For Easy Access To Stunning Waterfalls and Black Sand Beaches
South Iceland is a treasure trove of natural wonders. The South Coast makes for the perfect road trip because you are spoiled for choice as to what to see along the way.
Your day can start with a soak in a hot river, and end with standing at the base of an abandoned DC-3 airplane wreck. The scenery along Iceland’s Route 1 (Ring Road) is ever-changing and is equally impressive at all stops along the way.
From thundering waterfalls to beautiful, dramatic black sand beaches, you’re in for a special taste of all the beauty that Iceland’s nature has to offer.
Road tripping through South Iceland is doable at any time of year. Be sure to check the road conditions, but unlike more remote parts of Iceland, the roads along the South Coast tend to stay open almost all year long.
With a few exceptions, the big tourist draws in South Iceland are just off the side of the road, making them easily accessible. You’ll also stay on one road (Route 1) the whole way, so directions are fairly simple. Get ready to hop from one landscape to the next, eyes wide open and awestruck all the while.
We have an entire article about Where To Stay In Vik Iceland so if you are searching, this is the place to check out even more detailed suggestions!
Best Iceland Hotels Along The South Coast
Affordable: Hotel Ork
Hotel Ork is a great affordable hotel option because of its location right next to the Reykjadalur Hot Springs. It’s a short 2.5 miles from the hotel to the start of the trailhead.
The hotel is also 28 miles from Reykjavik and 8 miles from Selfoss and is the perfect place to start a South Coast road trip. With an outdoor pool and slide, a bar, restaurant, and game room, you’re sure to enjoy your stay at Hotel Ork.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range: The Garage Apartments
You can’t go wrong staying at The Garage Apartments. The scenery doesn’t get much better than the beautiful mountains and waterfalls behind the apartments. It is perfectly located directly in between the stunning waterfalls Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss and is just down the road from the famous Eyjafjallajokull volcano that erupted in 2010 affecting air traffic throughout Europe.
We absolutely loved our stay here at the cozy Garage Apartments, and very much appreciated the kindness and attentiveness of the host Anna. If you’re looking for a picturesque location in the middle of nature that is still conveniently close to the major tourist attractions, we cannot recommend The Garage Apartments enough.
Check rates: Booking.com
Luxury: Hotel Kría
Staying at Hotel Kría is a real treat. The hotel opened in Vík in the summer of 2018, and has been a real hit ever since with its outstanding breakfast (included in the room rate), stunning mountain views and modern design. The hotel is perfectly situated for seeing some of the most spectacular gems of the South Coast.
It’s located 7.5 miles from the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, 14 miles from the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, and 21.5 miles from the Skogafoss waterfall. Vík is very centrally located on the South Coast and it’s easy to reach tourist attractions on either side. It is one of the best hotels in Vik so you can’t go wrong with this choice!
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo Credit: Booking.com via Garage Apartments
The East Coast Is Where To Stay In Iceland For Quiet Exploration
Iceland’s East Coast (Austurland) is perhaps the most underrated region of Iceland. Though not as heavily trafficked by tourists as the popular South Coast, it has its own stunning collection of natural wonders.
Though it’s farther from Reykjavik and therefore not always as easy for tourists to reach, the East Coast is definitely worth the stop. The beauty of its distance from the capital city is that you escape the crazy tourist hustle and bustle that comes with the major tourist attractions in other parts of the country.
If you’re looking for quieter but uniquely stunning views, this part of Iceland might just be the place for you.
The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and its glittering Diamond Beach across the street, are located on the easternmost side of Iceland’s South Coast and can easily be included in either a South Coast or East Coast road trip.
Also towards the east of Iceland’s South Coast is the Skaftafell wilderness area and the fascinating Svartifoss waterfall with its organ pipe-like basalt columns.
As you continue east, you’ll hit the majestic mountains of Vestrahorn, the Borgarfjördur region great for avid hikers, and Mjoifjordur, the fjord that might just bring you to tears with its stunning views.
The beauty of the East Coast is not just limited to its natural wonders but extends to the charm of the fishing towns in the area. One such town is Seydisfjordur, an art-rich town known for its beautiful and often-photographed rainbow street backed by a small but picturesque blue church.
You’re sure to be inspired when visiting this welcoming little town. So if you’re looking for where to stay in Iceland while searching for tranquility among the fjords of the east, we’ve laid out a few hotel options below to make your planning process easier.
We have an entire post on the Best Hotels And Hostels In Hofn as it is the most popular area to stay in the east!
Best Iceland Hotels On The East Coast
Affordable: Blabjorg Guesthouse
Blabjorg Guesthouse is a great affordable option when exploring the East Coast, however, it also has mid-range and expensive options as well. The guesthouse offers both guestrooms with shared bathrooms, as well as apartments (the more expensive option).
The outdoor sauna, hot tub, and whirlpool are perfect for relaxing after a long day of adventure. Blabjorg Guesthouse is located in the fishing town called Borgafjordur Eystri which is known for its great hiking and for the ability to view puffins and many other bird species up close in the summer.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range Faskrudsfjordur: Fosshotel Eastfjords
If you’re looking for places to stay in Iceland with gorgeous fjord views, Fosshotel Eastfjords might just be the best choice. The hotel has an option for breakfast included in the room rate, and an option for a room with views of the fjord.
The landscape surrounding this waterfront hotel is stunning. Fosshotel Eastfjords is located in Faskrudsfjordur just 27 miles from Oddsskard, one of Iceland’s top ski areas. The ski area also has views of the fjords and offers ski and snowboard rentals.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range Hoffell: Glacier World
You guessed it! Glacier World-Hoffell Guesthouse has views of Vatnajökull Glacier. There are also hiking trails nearby with access to the glacier tongue. A delicious breakfast is offered in the room rate as well as access to five geothermal hot tubs.
Your hotel needs are sure to be met here at Glacier World. The guesthouse is conveniently located near the town of Höfn and is just 17 miles from the majestic Vestrahorn Mountain. If you drive west from the hotel for about 1-1.5 hours you’ll hit both the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and the Skaftafell Wilderness Area.
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo Credit: Booking.com via Blabjorg Guesthouse
The North Is Where To Stay in Iceland To Experience A Little Bit Of Everything
There’s very little you can’t see or do in North Iceland. This region of the country offers some of everything, from the best whale watching tours and impressive waterfalls to bathing in perfectly warm hot springs and Game of Throne locations.
Akureyri, nicknamed the capital of the North, is located in North Iceland and is the largest city in Iceland outside of Reykjavik. The city offers many of the same things as Reykjavik including shopping, museums and a large selection of restaurants. It even has its own distinctive church, Akureyrarkirkja.
Another draw of North Iceland is the Blue Lagoon’s northern equivalent, The Myvatn Nature Baths. Though these nature baths are smaller than the Blue Lagoon Complex, they are equally as relaxing if not more so because the crowds are smaller.
The north also boasts the most powerful waterfall in Europe in Dettifoss, as well as the Waterfall of The Gods, Godafoss. You can walk on top of the basalt columns in Hofsos, bathe in the Grettislaug hot pot across the water from Hofsos, and go whale watching in Husavik.
This only touches the surface of all there is to do in the north. We’ll help you figure out where to stay in Iceland to experience the wonders of the northern region.
Best Iceland Hotels In The North
Affordable: Icelandair Hotel Akureyri
Akureyri is a great place to stay while exploring North Iceland. There are many Hotels In Akureyri and we even have a whole post about finding the one that is best for you!
As the “Capital of the North”, it has everything you’ll need from grocery stores and cafes to whale watching and Christmas stores. Icelandair Hotel Akureyri is a great option for affordable and mid-range accommodations.
The Akureyri Swimming Pool is just a couple minutes walk from the hotel if you’re looking to relax in the hot tubs after a day of adventure. In addition to being conveniently located near the center of town, the hotel has beautiful mountain views, a great restaurant (breakfast is only included in some of the room rates), and is known for having a friendly staff.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range: Hotel Laxa
Hotel Laxa is located in Myvatn, an ideal spot for being able to see all that the north has to offer. Many of you will have heard of the Myvatn Nature Baths, which are sometimes referred to as the Blue Lagoon of the North.
The nature baths are beautiful and relaxing and only 13 miles from the hotel. Hotel Laxa is also 22 miles from Godafoss, 46.5 miles from Aldeyjarfoss, 53.5 miles from Dettifoss, and 38.5 miles from the town of Husavik.
This modern hotel offers both standard rooms and lake view rooms. With comfortable minimalistic rooms and delicious breakfast included, Hotel Laxa is sure to meet your needs for a satisfying stay in the Myvatn area.
Check rates: Booking.com
Luxury: Siglo Hotel
Have you ever wanted to relax in a hotel hot tub while enjoying stunning views of the harbor, ships, and snow-capped mountains? We might have just found the luxury hotel for you.
Taking in the scenery surrounding this beautifully constructed hotel will have you feeling like you’re in a fairytale. An outstanding breakfast is also included in the room rate, and the staff is friendly and helpful. Siglo Hotel, located in Siglufjördur, is centrally located between Akureyri and Hofsos and is a great base location for exploring the north of Iceland.
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo credit: Booking.com via Siglo Hotel
Stay In The Westfjords For Beautiful Drives That Prove Just As Enjoyable As The Tourist Stops
The Westfjords is another region of Iceland that is less visited by tourists but is without a doubt deserving of your time and attention. When visiting the Westfjords, be prepared to drive a lot, be wowed by your surroundings, and see so many stunning waterfalls that you’ll start to ignore the smaller ones and become a waterfall snob.
The Westfjords are home to one of the most jaw-dropping multi-tiered waterfalls in all of Iceland, Dynjandi, as well as Raudasandur, a beautiful red sand beach. If you’re interested in seeing puffins up close, you should visit Latrabjarg, the westernmost point in Iceland.
You’ll see more seabirds than you can possibly count including puffins with their orange beaks announcing their presence.
Unfortunately, the Westfjords are only really accessible from May-October. Poor weather conditions tend to block the road the rest of the year. Since the Westfjords are sparsely populated compared to much of Iceland, the roads are not as well maintained as they would be in the areas closer to the capital.
The Westfjords are well worth the drive in the summer though, and as you sit in a local pool staring out at the ocean beyond, you’ll wish you had escaped to this peaceful wonderland sooner. When planning where to stay in Iceland while visiting the Westfjords, you’ll want to look to two of the area’s major fjord towns as your home base.
Best Iceland Hotels In The Westfjords
Affordable: Radagerdi Guesthouse
This modern Scandinavian-style guesthouse has everything you need to have a comfortable stay in the Westfjords. The breakfast included in the room rate is excellent, and the host and staff are friendly and helpful (though you might have to call to get ahold of them if they are next door).
The scenery around Radagerdi Guesthouse is idyllic with beautiful views of the fjord. The guesthouse is centrally located for all of the best Westfjord attractions. It’s 37 miles to the Latrabjorg puffin cliffs, 20.5 miles to the Raudisandur beach, and 60 miles to the Dynjandi waterfall.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range Patreskfjordur: Fosshotel Westfjords
Fosshotel Westfjords is also located in the small fishing town of Patreksfjordur. The hotel is just down the street from the public pool Iþrottamidstodin Brattahlid where you can relax while looking out onto the ocean and mountains beyond.
You’ll have similar views of the ocean and mountains from the hotel as well. Like the Radagerdi Guesthouse (which is half a mile down the road from Fosshotel Westfjords), the hotel is centrally located to give you a good base point for reaching the best tourist attractions in either direction. This clean and comfortable hotel is sure to meet your needs for a wonderful stay in the Patreskfjordur area.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range Isafjordur: Hotel Horn
If you’re looking for where to stay in Iceland while visiting Isafjordur, the largest town in the Westfjords, you’ll want to check out Hotel Horn. The comfortable rooms are brightly decorated with vibrant colors, and include breakfast in the room rate.
The hotel is conveniently located down the street from the Isafjordur swimming pool, and has easy access to grocery stores, restaurants and wonderful bakeries such as Gamla Bakariid. It is also 50 miles from the stunning Dynjandi waterfall. Isafjordur is a great little town to stop in and explore on your Westfjords road trip, and Hotel Horn is sure to make your stay all the more enjoyable.
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo Credit: Booking.com via Hotel Horn
Stay Along The Snaefellsness Peninsula To Experience A Vast Array Of Dramatic Landscapes
As you drive the Snaefellsness Peninsula, the landscape is constantly changing. One minute you’ll be looking at a volcanic crater, the next you’ll be gaping at a deep gorge with a hidden waterfall. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is dotted with fishing villages.
By the Snaefellsjokill glacier lies Olafsvik, Iceland’s oldest trading town and home to a population of over a thousand. When searching for where to stay in Iceland while driving the peninsula, Olafsvik is sure to come through with a quality hotel or at least a good warm meal as a stop on your road trip.
There’s no shortage of unique landscapes to view along the Snaefellsness Peninsula, but perhaps most prominent among them all is Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss.
The mountain and its accompanying waterfalls are one of the most photographed locations in the country. You’re sure to see it on a postcard at one of your many tourist stops.
Kirkjufell (Church mountain) is an amazingly symmetrical mountain and a beauty to look at. Game of Thrones fans might recognize it as appearing in Season 7 as Arrowhead Mountain. Also along the Snaefellsness Peninsula is the small, black Budir Church, the Gerduberg Cliffs, the Londrangar Basalt Cliffs, and the rock bridge at Arnarstapi. Every stop is entirely unique and completely worthwhile.
Best Iceland Hotels On The Snaefellsness Peninsula
Affordable: Harbour Hostel
When determining where to stay in Iceland, check out Harbour Hostel for a great cozy and affordable option when traveling along the Snaefellsness Peninsula. This hostel is in Stykkisholmur right by the harbor, and as far as hostels go, this one is top-notch.
Many of the rooms have views of the ocean and mountain, and the staff is particularly welcoming and helpful. The hostel is within walking distance from the Stykkishólmur Swimming Pool and the Bonús grocery store which will likely be the least expensive option for buying groceries while in town.
It is also located between 45 minutes to an hour from many of the major tourist attractions making it relatively easy to see everything while using Stykkisholmur as a home base.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-Range: Hotel Fransiskus Stykkisholmi
If staying in a historic building is a factor you’d like to consider when choosing where to stay in Iceland, be sure to check out Hotel Fransiskus. Located by the harbor in Stykkisholmur, this hotel was built in the 1930s as a Catholic monastery.
Though the building has now been converted into a hotel, it still has a functioning chapel open to the public. The interior of Hotel Fransiskus is beautifully constructed with excellent views over the harbor, the town, and the fjord Breidafjordur.
Just a one-minute drive from Harbour Hostel, Hotel Fransiskus offers all the same conveniences of a nearby grocery store, public swimming pool, and painless drive to all the major attractions.
Check rates: Booking.com
Luxury: Hotel Budir
Have you ever wanted to stay in a hotel right by Iceland’s famous Budir black church? Here’s your chance. This remote luxury hotel has stunning views of the glacier, ocean, lava fields, mountains, and of course the church.
It has an excellent restaurant that uses local ingredients and is a great location for viewing the northern lights in the winter because it is away from the bright city lights (the hotel will give you a wake-up call when the lights are visible).
Hotel Budir is just 21 miles from Kirkjufell mountain and Snaefellsjokull National Park, 15.5 miles from the Londrangar Basalt Cliffs, and 12 miles from Arnarstapi.
If you’re willing to dish out the extra money, it doesn’t get much better than this hotel and location.
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo Credit: Booking.com via Hotel Budir
Stay In Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) For Puffin Viewing And A Look At Recent Volcanic Activity
Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) is technically an archipelago off the coast of South Iceland, but of the 15 islands only Heimaey is inhabited. There’s a ferry that runs from the Landeyjahöfn harbor to Vestmannaeyjar.
It’s spectacular to stand on the outside deck of the ferry to watch the birds flying overhead and the mossy green cliffs of the island come into view. The beauty of the island is undeniable. The island also plays host to Iceland’s biggest music festival (Þjóðhátið) each year in August.
Vestmannaeyjar is known for its volcanic activity. Most recently, in 1973, the volcano Eldfell erupted, burying large parts of the island in lava and forcing many Icelanders to relocate to the mainland. Seawater was pumped onto the lava to cool it down and slow its spread.
This technique succeeded in saving the harbor and preserving the island’s economy. The effects of the eruption though are still very prominent today as you gaze upon fields of black volcanic rock. In addition to the volcanic rock (you can also hike the Eldfell volcano), the island is home to a huge puffin population.
The birds can be seen streaking through the sky on your way into the island on the ferry, and along the cliffs where they nest. Vestmannaeyjar is where to stay in Iceland for a little slice of nature heaven away from the main tourist crowds.
Best Iceland Hotels In Vestmannaeyjar
Affordable: Glamping & Camping
Glamping and Camping is an excellent affordable option when staying in Vestmannaeyjar. It offers a number of accommodations including a bungalow, cottage with a mountain view, and deluxe cottage with a mountain view, all with 2 single beds.
This is the perfect option for those not wanting to tent camp, but who wish to experience the same feeling of being surrounded by nature. Everything is kept very clean, the campsite staff is friendly, and the cabins are surprisingly spacious and comfortable. The campsite is just a mile from the ferry and is right next to the Vestmannaeyjar golf course.
Check rates: Booking.com
Mid-range: Guesthouse Arny
When choosing where to stay in Iceland, check out Guesthouse Arny for both affordable and mid-range accommodations in Vestmannaeyjar. The most affordable rooms are double or twin rooms, triple rooms, or quadruple rooms all with shared bathrooms.
The guesthouse also offers two-bedroom apartments at a higher cost. With a friendly host, great facilities, and nicely decorated rooms, Guesthouse Arny is sure to meet your needs for a pleasant stay on the island.
The guesthouse is also within walking distance from the Saeheimar Aquarium, the Museum of Natural History, and the Sundhöll Vestmannaeyjar public pool, and is a short few minute drive to the Vestmannaeyjar golf course.
Check rates: Booking.com
Luxury: Hotel Vestmannaeyjar
This renovated 43-room hotel ranges from mid-range to luxury accommodations and offers single rooms, double rooms, and deluxe double rooms. This hotel is in a great location if you are looking to explore the island by foot.
It is within walking distance from the harbor, has great hiking and bird watching locations, and the Heimaey Black Stave church. Hotel Vestmannaeyjar has beautifully designed modern rooms, solid breakfast options, and helpful staff members. Guests also have access to a spa and Jacuzzi. You’re sure to have a relaxing stay at Hotel Vestmannaeyjar.
Check rates: Booking.com
Photo Credit: Booking.com via Glamping & Camping
Every region of Iceland is unique and stunning in its own right. Though Iceland hotels have the tendency to be more expensive than what you might expect in the US, there are still options available in every price range. As you begin to contemplate where to stay in Iceland while exploring the beautiful country, we hope this guide will be of help.
We’d love to hear about your own experiences or answer any questions you might have. We have no doubt you’ll have a wonderful time soaking in all the natural beauty that Iceland has to offer!
Where to stay in Iceland
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Table of Contents
Urban Adventurers Looking for Nightlife
Reykjavik – Best places to stay Iceland
Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital and largest city, and is most likely where you will begin and end your Iceland vacation and is best location to stay in Iceland. For a capital city, Reykjavik is relatively small and most attractions are well within walking distance of the downtown area. For this reason your budget will be the leading factor, rather than location, in choosing where to stay in Reykjavik Iceland. Where to stay in Iceland for a week? Reykjavik is a great spot to base yourself, you aren’t too far from 2 of Iceland’s airports and most day tours are based out of Reykjavik.
Laugavegur is main street through Reykjavik, where you’ll find shopping, eating and lodging. To be in the heart of everything, you’ll want to stay close to Laugavegur. Be warned if you stay right on Laugavegur, you may hear partiers well into the wee hours. Slightly outside this area are East Town and West Town, each no more than 20 minutes walking from the city center, below is a list of Reykjavik hotels. Wondering where is the best place to stay in Reykjavik, check out our below suggestions:
Where to stay in Iceland Reykjavik
Business Travelers or Short Stopovers
Keflavik – Best place to stay Iceland for the famous Blue Lagoon
Keflavik, 50 km from Reykjavik on the Reykjanes peninsula is where Iceland’s Keflavik international airport is located. While most visitors to Iceland will choose to stay in Reykjavik, Keflavik offers many hotel options as well for those wishing to be close to the airport. The popular Blue Lagoon as also just 20 km from Keflavik, offers on-site lodging and is on most visitor’s Iceland bucket list. If you have a late arrival or early departure, staying in Keflavik might be the right choice for your itinerary.
Where to Stay in Keflavik
Cheapest Hostels in Keflavik:
Budget Hotels in Keflavik:
Family Friendly Hotels in Keflavik:
Luxury Hotels in Keflavik:
Self contained apartment/rentals in Keflavik:
Golden Circle Travelers
Selfoss and Hveragerði – Where to stay in Iceland around the Golden Cirlce
For those travelers touring the Golden Circle drive, and prefer not to return back to Reykjavik at the end of the day or take a day trip, Selfoss and Hveragerði are good locations for an overnight stop, or an extended stay to explore the southern area of Iceland. These small towns, just 40-50km from Reykjavik, offer plenty of overnight options, usually a bit less expensive than Reykjavik and have a good assortment of dining options as well. If you’re wondering where to stay in Iceland for Northern lights, this is also two great areas to see them!
Where to Stay in Selfoss and Hveragerði
Cheapest Hostels in Selfoss and Hveragerði:
Hot Springs Hostel
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Selfoss and Hveragerði:
Hotel Ranga (best places to stay in Iceland for northern lights)
Self contained apartment/rentals in Selfoss and Hveragerði:
Hikers wanting to explore Skaftatell National Park and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Höfn – Where to stay in Iceland near the Glacier Lagoon
Höfn is a fishing town along the Southeast coast of Iceland, and is the nearest sizable town to find overnight accommodation close to Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, as well as the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Skaftatell National Park. You may be able to find lodging closer to these destinations, but Höfn is a good central location for exploring this region for a couple of days or more. This is also a great spot for glacier hiking, which is fairly popular in Iceland due to all the glaciers.
Where to Stay in Höfn
Budget Hotels in Höfn:
Nature Lovers wanting to explore the East Fjords
Egilsstaðir – Where to stay in Iceland for nature lovers
If you are touring the East Fjords, one of the more remote spots in Iceland, Egilsstaðir is the main town where you will find accommodation in this region. Egilsstaðir actually sits inland, on a river, and is close to Iceland’s largest forest, with access to several major fjords. While Egilsstaðir is a small village, with under 3,000 residents, visitors to the East Fjords will find a small range of hotel and hostel options for an overnight stay. The small population and abundance of nature here make Egilsstaðir a great place for wildlife spotting as well.
Where to Stay in Egilsstaðir
Cheapest Hostels in Egilsstaðir:
Ring Road Travelers Looking for Urban Amenities
Akureyri – Where to stay in North Iceland
Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest city, and is located in north Iceland. This town of 20,000 residents makes for a great stop along Iceland’s Ring Road. In addition to the natural beauty found all over Iceland, visitors to Akureyri will find museums, churches, botanical gardens and of course, many hotels and restaurants.
Where to Stay in Akureyri
Scenery seekers who don’t have time for the Ring Road
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is just 90km long, and contains some of Iceland’s most spectacular scenery. This is a detour from the Ring Road, and often overlooked by visitors to Iceland, but those wishing to venture into the peninsula will be rewarded with scenery and many small villages from which to choose an overnight stay. There are no large towns in the pensinsula, but towns like Helnar, Olavsvik and Rif have a few options.
Where to Stay on Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Budget Hotels in Snæfellsnes Peninsula:
Luxury Hotels in Snæfellsnes Peninsula:
Apotek Hotel by Keahotels
Self contained apartment/rentals in Snæfellsnes Peninsula:
Northern Lights Seekers
Vik – Where to stay in Iceland to see northern lights
When the timing is right, the Northern Lights can be seen from all over Iceland, even in Reykjavik! You could also be unlucky and not see them in all of Iceland. That said, those wishing to see the Northern Lights will probably visit several spots in Iceland, but Vik, 180km from Reykjavik, is a good option for those wishing to get out of the “big city,” but are still looking for an assortment of amenities.
The black sand beaches of Vik make for a cool foreground in your Northern Lights photography, just make sure to not get too close to the ocean as it can be extremely rough. Vik is one of the best towns to stay in Iceland. Wondering where to stay in Iceland to see the northern lights, Vik, in my opinion is ideal.
Where to Stay in Vik
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The Best Places to Stay in Iceland
Iceland has a ton of accommodation options from sweet suites in the capital to guest houses with either private or shared accommodations to even Icelandic farm stays. You might even opt for a camper van for the freedom to explore Iceland without needing to find accommodation for each day of your trip. Accommodation options outside of the Reykjavik area are more limited in winter since not as many tourists visit and family run establishments tend to close for the season. We’ve tried out a multitude of different accommodation types on our multiple trips and short stint living in Iceland, and have compiled this guide of where to stay in Iceland:
Best Places to Stay in Reykjavik
Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital and 60% of the entire population of Iceland calls the city home. If incorporating a bit of nightlife and city life in to your Iceland itinerary is important, than Reykjavik is where it’s at. Reykjavik is a top spot to ring in the New Year, attend various events like Iceland Airwaves and serves as a departure point for the majority of tours.
Reykjavik is also an excellent base for exploring the city, Reykjanes Peninsula, Golden Circle and even as far as the South Coast. Particularly if you’re not traveling independently around Iceland, you’ll want to base yourself out of Reykjavik since most Iceland tours pick up from Reykjavik hotels and depart from the capital. Reykjavik is also a great choice for a base when considering where to stay in Iceland in winter since many more remote accommodations aren’t open during the slower winter months. Because of the access to so many tour options, restaurants, nightlife, services and shopping, Reykjavik is arguably the best place to stay in Iceland, particularly if you’re only visiting on a short trip like an Icelandair stopover.
Túngata 32, Reykjavik
When it comes to where to stay in Reykjavik, hotels tend to be more expensive than anywhere else in Iceland. We’ve stayed twice now in a lovely apartment, Túngata 32 (read the TripAdvisor reviews), which is an excellent Reykaviak hotel alternative. The apartment is in a great location just a few minutes walk to the harbor and city center and has free parking available on the street. You can save money by using the fully equipped kitchen to make breakfast before heading out day (it’s especially important to have a good breakfast before a day of adventure activities in Iceland) or even a few lunches or dinners. It also has speedy and free wifi. With prices around $100 per night (there is a two night minimum), Túngata 32 is an affordable option for accommodation in Reykjavik city center.
Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, Reykjavik
For travelers who like the hotel experience or if Túngata 32 is booked, Hilton Reykjavik Nordica (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is an excellent choice and it’s one of the best hotels in Reykjavik. The hotel isn’t located right downtown, but it does offer bicycle rental and there is a bus stop directly in front of the hotel. Bed and breakfast rates are available and wifi and parking are always complimentary. Hilton also offers services such as babysitting for families that want to do activities like glacier trekking that aren’t kid friendly. Rates from $160 per night.
Hotel Borg, Reykjavik
Hotel Borg (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is a landmark in Reykjavik. One of the best hotels in Reykjavik city center and the first ever luxury hotel in Iceland, Hotel Borg overlooks the Austurvöllur square and is directly across from the Althingi. Restaurants, bars, shopping and Reykjavik’s attractions radiate out in all directions from the historic hotel. Some of its esteemed neighbors are the Hallgrímskirkja church and Harpa concert hall.
The hotel was renovated in 2015 with 43 rooms added to give it a total of 99 rooms and suites. The decor matches the Art Deco architecture and all the rooms have been fitted with custom made furnishings. Black and white photos of a 1920s Reykjavik decorate the walls and its easy to image the days gone by in Iceland’s capital. The bathrooms have heated floors, which is always a favorite feature of ours – especially if you’re traveling in Iceland in winter.
A spa annex was added during the latest renovation and is equipped with a steam bath, sauna, treatment rooms and a gym.
Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre, Reykjavik
Another hotel in Reykjavik center that we recommend is Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre (read the TripAdvisor reviews). As the name implies, the hotel is located just 50 meters off of Laugavegur, the shopping street that runs right through the heart of Reykjavik. The Harpa Concert Hall is just a 5-minute walk away and restaurants, cafes and nightlife are practically on your doorstep.
The hotel is housed in six connected historic houses and though Hilton is a globally known chain, loads of local Icelandic touches are incorporated into the hotel’s design and artworks by local artists adorn the walls. You’re welcomed with a local treat at check-in and the hotel provides complimentary bicycles for guests to get easily get around town.
Aside from the extra comfy Canopy bed with gel memory foam and Serta Cool Balance® Technology, the rooms are all equipped with a mini fridge so you can stock some snacks and drinks and a Nespresso machine. Wifi and breakfast are complimentary. Plus, there’s lots of little extras like included evening tastings in their Canopy Central coffee shop and other surprises.
Alda Hotel, Reykjavik
Alda Hotel (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is located in a funky modern building right in the center of Laugavegur, the shopping street. Shopping, attractions, cafes and restaurants surround the centrally located hotel. It’s one of the top hotels in Reykjavik and perfect for couples looking for a romantic stay.
The rooms range from singles to suites, all with a luxurious atmosphere and gorgeous pops of red. All rooms have private bathrooms and some rooms have either a balcony or sea views.
Guests have free access to Alda Hotel’s fitness center and sauna, plus amenities like in-room massages can be booked by the hotel. The hotel also has bicycle rental available for guests. And there’s an onsite bar to relax at in the cool atmosphere.
Best Places to Stay on the Golden Circle
Iceland’s Golden Circle is the circular route near Reykjavik that encompasses some of Iceland’s most famous sights. It’s 190 miles (300 kilometers) long and technically you can hit all of the attractions on a Golden Circle day trip from Reykjavik. But it’s worth staying along the Golden Circle to beat the crowds and tour buses. Plus, if you’re traveling during the Northern Lights season from September through April, the Golden Circle is away from the light pollution of Reykjavik and makes for better Northern Lights hunting. One of the most unique places to stay in Iceland is also found along the Golden Circle.
The Golden Circle is one of the best areas to stay in Iceland – particularly if you’re visiting Iceland for 5 days or less, yet still want to get out in the Icelandic nature.
Buubble: The 5 Million Star Hotel, Reykholt
Buubble: The 5 Million Star Hotel (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is a unique glamping experience in the forest of a farm near Reyholt. There are five bubbles total and they can only be booked as part of a Golden Circle tour and overnight bubble experience offered directly by the creators behind Buubble.
The bubbles are heated, so they are comfortable to stay in any time of the year. There is a shared house nearby with two full bathrooms and a kitchenette for guest use. You need to bring your own food, towels and toiletries but spending the night under a sky full of stars or possibly even the Northern Lights, is memorable experience and one of the most unusual places to stay in Iceland.
Sleep in the Bubble Hotel on Iceland’s Golden Circle
Iceblue Lodge B&B, Selfoss
Located on the edge of the 5000 year old Grímsneshraun lava field, Iceblue Lodge B&B is a family run bed and breakfast on the property where the family lives. It has seven rooms: three which share a bathroom and four rooms with their own private bathroom and deck. There’s also a hot tub and a sauna for guests to use, as well as natural hot springs located nearby.
Iceblue Lodge B&B is close to the sites of the Golden Circle like Gullfoss and Geysir, making it a great choice for exploring some of Iceland’s most popular attractions. There is absolutely no light pollution, so your deck or right from the jacuzzi are excellent spots to watch for the Northern Lights.
The B&B does not have a restaurant, but it’s located just a 20 minute drive from Selfoss, which is the biggest city in South Iceland and has a number of restaurant options. Reykholt is also just a 20 minute drive and we recommend Restaurant Mika. Family-run, the restaurant offers a selection of Icelandic dishes and sources from local farms. Try the deep fried coconut panko crusted Icelandic langoustines, lobster soup or the lamb.
Iceblue Lodge does offer super jeep tours, including a Golden Circle and a Northern Lights tour. They also offer packages that include airport pick-up, two nights with breakfast and two super jeep tours. Note the Iceblue Lodge does close for the winter season from October.
Ion Adventure Hotel, Selfoss
Set among the mountains and lava fields on the Golden Circle route and close to Thingvellir National Park, Ion Adventure Hotel is a luxury option and a popular choice for Northern Lights viewing less than an hour outside of Reyjavik.
The rooms all boast floor to ceiling windows giving guests a view of either the lava field or the geothermal power plant and have a contemporary Scandinavian design. The hotel does have a spa and a gourmet restaurant onsite, and offers free wifi to guests. For rates from $300 per night, not including breakfast, we do except a friendlier staff and better service though. Note that TripAdvisor reviewers regularly also note the poor service and pretentious attitude of the staff at the hotel.
Best Places to Stay on Iceland’s South Coast
The South Coast is one of the most spectacularly beautiful parts of Iceland. There’s countless waterfalls pouring over towering cliffs as you travel along Route 1, or Iceland’s Ring Road. The basalt lava stacks and black sand beaches make for the perfect backdrop for photos. The DC3 plane crash on a remote black sand beach is an almost eerie sight that seems like something straight out of a movie. And no trip to Iceland is complete without visiting Jökulsárlón, the glacier lagoon full of blue icebergs.
While ambitious travelers to Iceland often make day trips from Reykjavik all the way to Jökulsárlón and back in a day (we also did it once when Tim was living in Iceland), it does take about 5 hours to drive each way without factoring in the countless stops you’ll want to make. You can more easily day trip the South Coast from Reykjavik during the summer when Iceland experiences long days and the Midnight Sun. If you’re traveling in winter, it’s not even possible to make the drive one way as days are short with as little as 5 hours of daylight in December and January.
Iceland South Coast Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss
There’s just so many sights on Iceland’s South Coast that it’s really best to stay somewhere along Route 1. Breaking up your trip with at least a 1-night stay affords you the luxury to take your time exploring this beautiful stretch of Icelandic coast.
Hotel Ranga, Hella
Hotel Ranga (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is the only 4-star hotel outside of Reykjavik, the best hotel in Iceland and an excellent base for exploring all the treasures of Iceland’s South Coast. The log-built hotel feels more like you’re staying in a friend’s amazing home than in a hotel.
Set just off of Route 1 not far from the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the hotel is away from any light pollution and has a Northern Lights watch nightly. Simply let the front desk know if you’d like a call – they’ll even track you down in the restaurant or outdoor hot tubs to make sure you experience the Aurora Borealis. Because of their constant watch, it’s one of the best places to stay in Iceland for Northern Lights. Rates from $250 per night.
Volcano Hotel, Vik
The Volcano Hotel is a modern bed and breakfast with just 7 rooms located between Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the black sand beaches of Vik. The Volcano Hotel and is a great option to spend the night after glacier hiking on Sólheimajökull.
The hotel rooms are simple, yet modern and comfortable. Wifi and breakfast is included. There isn’t an onsite restaurant in the hotel, but there are at least three restaurant options with 10 kilometers of the boutique hotel. In winter a private double room with bathroom and breakfast is around $130 per night.
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon, Öræfi
Fosshotel is a new chain of four star hotels that have popped up around Iceland. One of their locations is just a 20-minute drive west of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, so we decided to check them out.
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is conveniently located on Route 1 between Skaftafell National Park and Jökulsárlón. The hotel has 104 rooms, free parking, free wifi, breakfast included in the room rate and an onsite restaurant. As you might imagine with such a large number of rooms, the hotel is incredibly popular with accommodating the multi-day bus tours. We were one of just a few independent travelers staying at the hotel, but even so that architecture makes it one of the cool places to stay in Iceland.
There are three rooms categories and we stayed in a deluxe room, which have bay windows and a window perfectly placed in the slanted wall for keeping watch for the Northern Lights right from the bed. All the rooms are decorated in a contemporary Icelandic style.
Icelandic breakfast is one of our favorite parts of staying in guest houses in Iceland, and Fosshotel’s was disappointing. The breakfast definitely caters to tourists with a typical buffet of scrambled eggs, bacon, pastries and the other assorted items you’ll find almost anywhere in the world. It was lacking Icelandic staples like skyr and Arctic char. It was also disappointing that the breakfast had to have large signs in several places reminding guests that the breakfast items are not meant for them to pack a bagged lunch with.
We also had dinner at the restaurant. While the menu has a variety of Icelandic dishes, we found the prices to be quite high and the food just not as good as that served at farm stays and guest houses.
That said, Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is situated in a little pocket with its own microclimate. The Northern Lights came out almost immediately after dark and continued to dance for the next six straight hours before we finally just had to go to bed. After watching them for about 20 minutes from the hotel, we hopped in the car and headed for Jökulsárlón. Unfortunately, it was 100% cloudy there and after waiting for two hours to see if the sky would clear, we gave up and headed back to Fosshotel. Back at the hotel, the Northern Lights were still going strong.
The hotel does offer a Northern Lights wake-up call to guests that request it – just sign up at the front desk.
Hali Country Hotel, Hornafjörður
We picked the Hali Country Hotel (read the TripAdvisor reviews) because of its location just 12 kilometers from Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. We were hoping for a clear night and to see the Northern Lights dance over the icebergs dotting the lagoon. While a winter storm came in just after our arrival, we had a lovely stay on the family run farm. Þorbjörg and Fjölnir, the proprietors of the hotel, were fantastic hosts kindly showing us around the lovely on-site museum and regularly checking road conditions for our drive up north.
Hali Country Hotel offers a variety of room types from private rooms with bathrooms, to private rooms with shared bathrooms, and dorm-style sleeping bag accommodations. The building also has a lovely common room with a fully equipped kitchen for the option of making meals in. In winter, a double room with private bathroom and breakfast is around $135 per night.
We enjoyed dinner at the restaurant, which serves arctic char (a cold-water fish) freshly caught from the farm’s pond and lamb also from their farm. We tried the smoked arctic char as an appetizer, Tim had lamb, and I had a combo that included steamed arctic char, Icelandic lobster tails (also fished from the farm), and salted cod. Everything was delicious!
Best Places to Stay in East Iceland
East Iceland is the most secluded area when traveling Iceland’s Ring Road. Shaped by the glaciers during the Ice Age, the East Fjords are among the oldest regions of Iceland. Though this part of Iceland is mostly uninhabited, there are some beautiful hiking trails and you can even find golf courses in this part of Iceland.
Like trying to travel from Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón in a day, the drive from Jökulsárlón to North Iceland seems even longer as you make your way around one fjord after another. It’s definitely worth spending a night in the East Fjords and exploring some of the attractions here, not to mention you might be lucky enough to spot Iceland’s reindeer population that is only found in this part of the country.
Silfurberg Farm, Breiddalur
Silfurberg is a luxury farm stay in the East Fjords. The lovely Guðrún and Jón purchased the farm in 2003 and completely remodeled the barn into a luxurious hotel. There’s even an incredible outdoor hot tub where you can look at the stars. The town of Breiddalur isn’t far from the farm, but you can also book a delicious home cooked dinner that Guðrún and Jón will prepare. In September, you can also take part in their annual sheep round up. If you’re headed around the Ring Road, Silfurberg is definitely one of the top places to stay in Iceland. Breakfast is included.
Hildibrand Apartment Hotel, Neskaupstadur
Located in Iceland’s easternmost fjord, Neskaupstadur, Hildibrand Apartment Hotel has both guest rooms in the main building and fully equipped apartments that are great for families or those that like to eat a few meals in when traveling. The apartments have private balconies with panoramic views looking out on the fjord and all guests have free access to the geothermal swimming pool complex in the town.
The hotels also has the Co-Op Bar, which is known for its fresh seafood and sushi. We tried the sushi and were quite impressed with the variety offered.
There’s some great hiking in the area and we always had some wonderful Northern Lights viewing in Neskaupstadur. And while you might not think about golfing on your Icelandic holiday, Nordfjardarvöllur Golf Course, one of Iceland’s few golf courses is just a few miles away from the hotel.
Best Places to Stay in North Iceland
Just about on the edge of the Arctic Circle, North Iceland is home to natural jewels like Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Iceland’s best whale watching. Myvatn is famous for its natural beauty and you’ll find the lesser visited and natural hot water pools of the Myvatn Nature Baths.
A few days is not enough to see all the North Iceland has to offer, but we recommend spending at least 3-4 days exploring. Akureyri is the capital of North Iceland and like a smaller scale Reykjavik with shops, museums, restaurants and cafes. When staying in North Iceland, we personally prefer Myvatn for its natural beauty and Northern Lights watching opportunities in the fall and winter months. Tours often depart out of either Akureyri or Myvatn, so either is a good choice for a base for where to stay in North Iceland.
The weather is also more stable in North Iceland, making it one of the best places to stay in Iceland in winter. You’ll encounter less of the erratically changing weather and wind that the south has, often the best chances for seeing the Northern Lights, and far fewer tourists.
Vogafjós Guesthouse, Mývatn
It’s said that there is a 50% better chance to see the Northern Lights in the north of Iceland. The weather is more stable than in the south and it’s just a little bit closer to the middle of the Aurora belt. So we chose to spend 3 nights at Vogafjós Guesthouse (read the TripAdvisor reviews), in the small Mývatn community of just 400 people. And what a fantastic choice it was. In fact, we loved our first stay there so much, we’ve returned to Vogafjós Guesthouse more than once and think it’s one of the top hotels in Iceland.
Vogafjós Guesthouse is another family owned and run farm and we loved the simple, yet comfy and cozy log cabin that was our home for 3 nights. Who wouldn’t enjoy heated floors in Iceland in winter? And that we could literally look for Northern Lights by opening up our front door made our regular lookouts a bit easier. Our hourly alarms paid off on our second night with a spectacular, albeit short, show. In winter, a double room with private bathroom and breakfast is around $120 per night.
Vogafjós also has a restaurant called the Vogafjós Cowshed Cafe. The lovely log cabin style restaurant has glass windows that look into the cowshed where the farm’s cows reside in winter. It became our twice-daily ritual to greet the cows before breakfast and dinner and we’ve been commenting that we miss the cows ever since!
Dinner was a delicious affair each day and we nearly tried everything on the menu over our three days at Vogafjós. Homemade geyser bread, which is baked in a communal “stove” in the ground, accompanied every meal. And oh, is it delicious! The best is geyser bread slathered with a butter and topped with smoked arctic char, which we had for breakfast and dinner daily. If you’re lucky, you might also get to try the moss bread which is made from moss gathered around the farm. We also thoroughly enjoyed the goulash soup, steamed arctic char, and meatballs with homemade rhubarb jam. Try the trio of homemade ice creams for dessert.
Deplar Farm, Troll Peninsula
One of the most isolated, yet luxurious hotels of Europe is found in Iceland’s far north. It’s the former 18th century sheep farm that has been converted into the luxurious grass-roofed Deplar Farm in the Fljót Valley.
Practically hugged by the soaring mountains, Deplar Farm is at one with its natural surroundings. Located in the valley surrounded by the mountains where Iceland receives its highest annual snowfall, it’s possible to heli ski year round. In fact, some of the heli skiing routes are so remote that they’ve never been skied before. And daring guests that take on the pistes are even invited to name them.
If heli skiing sounds just a tad bit too adventurous for you, there’s plenty other outdoor adventures to partake in like snowmobiling, fat biking and cross country skiing. Summer adventures include sea kayaking, surfing and fishing.
Back at Deplar Farm, a massage therapist awaits to soothe any tired muscles from the day outdoors. The spa also has an outdoor Viking sauna, Isopod flotation tanks and an outdoor geothermal pool that’s toasty year round.
In winter, the Northern Lights regularly dance thanks to the northerly location and stable weather created by Iceland’s maritime snow pack. You can sit in the outdoor geothermal pool while the Aurora swirls overhead.
There’s just 13 rooms and suites, giving the boutique lodge an intimate feel even when it’s completely booked. The rooms are simple, modern Nordic design with lots of windows to appreciate the mountain and lake views. In summer, the black out blinds help you get a good night’s sleep during the Midnight Sun period. Read what other travelers have to say on TripAdvisor.
The lodge does have an onsite restaurant serving modern Icelandic cuisine created from seasonally sourced local products.
Best Places to Stay in the Reykjanes Peninsula
When you arrive in Iceland, you’re almost sure to arrive at Keflavik International Airport. The airport is actually located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about a 1-hour drive from Reykjavik, and is the best area to stay in Iceland just after arriving or just before departing. Typically international flights from the US arrive in the evening hours. Aside from the fact that you really want to examine your rental car in the daylight to give it a good once (or twice) over to assess any prior damage, there’s actually quite a bit to see around the Reykjanes Peninsula. We recommend just heading to one of the nearby hotels and getting a good night’s sleep instead of making a long drive in the dark after a long day of travel. Or if you’re leaving on an early flight, it’s really best just to stay near the airport.
There’s some really fantastic hotels on the Reykjanes Peninsula and this is an excellent area for spotting the Northern Lights during the Aurora season.
Hotel Berg, Keflavik
We actually stayed at Hotel Berg (read the TripAdvisor reviews), which is conveniently located just 10 minutes from the airport, just after it first opened in 2011. The modern rooms are comfortable and I love the huge window that looks out over a lovely harbor in the breakfast room. We were pleased to find on our return that Hotel Berg had expanded and had a whole new reception and larger breakfast area. And its’ proprietors couldn’t be more kind. It’s our go-to hotel and one of the best boutique hotels in Iceland. We’ve stayed at Hotel Berg a total of four different times now.
Hotel Berg is a fantastic base for exploring the lighthouses, black sand beaches, and steaming fumaroles of the Reykjanes Peninsula and is just a 20 minute drive to one of Iceland’s biggest attractions, the Blue Lagoon. And they send you out for the day with an ample breakfast including batter for homemade do-it-yourself waffles and all the toppings. Breakfast even starts at 4am for those of us unlucky to have a very early flight out.
If staying at Hotel Berg from September to March, request a Northern Lights wake-up call at reception. They have a friend that is an Aurora hunter around the Reykjanes Peninsula and will call the hotel when he spots them. A double room with private bathroom and breakfast is around $110 per night.
Northern Light Inn, Grindavik
Just a 1-minute drive to the famous Blue Lagoon and 20-minutes from Keflavik Airport, the Northern Light Inn (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is another great choice when arriving late or leaving early on flights. It’s also close enough to Reykjavik to enjoy the capital city, yet far enough away from the city light pollution if you’re interested in Northern Lights viewing.
We love the comfortable rooms with views of the moss covered lava field that the hotel is situated in. There’s also a gorgeous common room with fireplace, perfect for relaxing with a cup of tea after a busy day exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula.
Breakfast is included, with a buffet offering of breads, skyr, smoked salmon and other typical Icelandic breakfast items. Max’s Restaurant is also an excellent choice for dinner and serves Icelandic specialties like fresh fish, lamb and home baked breads and cakes.
Best Places to Stay in the Westman Islands
Most visitors to Iceland that make it to the Westman Islands only go as a day trip. Once you’re there, we guarantee that you’ll wish you had stayed longer.
During the summer months puffins and other nesting sea birds love to make the Westman Islands their home. There’s things to do like hiking the infamous volcano that erupted and covered most of it like a modern day Pompeii, golfers will love the 18-hole golf course that is considered one of the most unique in the world and you won’t want to miss a rib boat ride around one of the newest islands on the planet.
Hotel Vestmannaeyjar, Westman Islands
While it is possible to take a day trip to Vestmannaeyjar, it’s definitely worth staying at least one or two nights to explore Iceland’s Westman Islands. Hotel Vestmannaeyjar (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is located right in the heart of Vestmannaeyjar, with easy access to all that this island has to offer. The rooms are cozy with views of Eldfell, the infamous volcano that nearly covered the main town in 1973 when an violent eruption started unexpectedly in the middle of the night.
One of the main activities on the island is to hike to the top of Eldfell. You’ll definitely appreciate Hotel Vestmannaeyjar’s onsite spa with jacuzzi and sauna to soothe your aching legs after trudging up the steep sand and ash volcano.
The Best Places to Stay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Known for its dramatic landscapes, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the peninsula that juts out of the west of Iceland just a bit north of the Reykjanes Peninsula. It’s not part of Iceland’s Ring Road, but it’s worth the detour and adding a few extra days to your trip to explore the glaciers and lava tubes in this region of Iceland. This region gained a bit more fame after much of the filming of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty took place there and visitors sought out inspiring Iceland movie locations from the movie.
While you can make a day trip to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and some tours even offer day trips there, it’s an extremely long day. It’s better to spend at least a night or two in this region of Iceland to properly explore it.
Hotel Hùsafell, West Iceland
An easy drive from Reykjavik, Hotel Hùsafell (read the TripAdvisor reviews) is also a great spot to start exploring the inland part of West Iceland and the beginning of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Many Icelanders say that Iceland’s best secrets actually lie inland. One of them that is still relatively off the radar of tourists that beeline for Iceland’s Ring Road is Surtshellir, the longest lava tube in Iceland. You can easily explore it from your base at nearby Hotel Hùsafell.
The hotel has 48 rooms in four sizes plus holiday houses perfect for families or a group traveling together. It’s designed so that the rooms give you breathtaking views of the surrounding nature and paintings by the local artist Páll Guðmundsson adorn the interior. You’ll also find toiletries made from local Icelandic herbs in the rooms. Wifi is complimentary throughout the hotel and the breakfast buffet is included. It’s one of the newer and best hotels in Iceland.
The geothermal baths are fed naturally and include two pools, a water slide and two hot tubs. There’s also an onsite fine dining restaurant serving local specialties like Icelandic lamb and shellfish soup.
It seems the luxury hotel is in the middle of nowhere and a micro-climate created by the nearby Langjökull glacier often ensures cloudless nights. If you spend three nights at Hotel Hùsafell during the season from September through the beginning of April, you’re almost guaranteed to see the Aurora. That makes Hotel Hùsafell one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.
Fosshotel Hellnar, Snæfellsjökull Glacier
Part of the relatively new Fosshotel chain of hotels that has popped up around Iceland, Fosshotel Hellnar is located right under the Snæfellsjökull Glacier and quite near to the famous Kirkjufell mountain. It’s on the coast where Orcas are often spotted swimming by in the ocean and seals lounge on the rocks, and the Snæfellsjökull Glacier National Park Visitor Center is next door to the hotel. It’s definitely a top choice on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and often fully booked, so book well in advance of your trip.
Unlike Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon, Fosshotel Hellnar has a boutique hotel feel to it and is much smaller and intimate. The rooms are bright and airy with light colors and linens. Some rooms even have balconies with ocean views. Private bathrooms, wifi and modern amenities like flat screen tvs with satellite channels are stand in all of the rooms.
The onsite restaurant is also very good and sources local produce for its menu creations.
The Best Places to Stay in the Westfjords
The Westfjords are the least visited and the most remote part of Iceland. Home to the Látrabjarg cliffs where millions of nesting sea birds like puffins make their temporary home and natural wonders like the multi-tiered Dynjandi waterfall, the Westfjords are really best visited in the summer and early fall.
One of our favorite areas to explore by camper van, there are still some family run hotels and guest houses sprinkled throughout the mostly uninhabited Westfjords.
Country Hotel Heydalur, Wesfjords
Located down a rugged dirt track that you question is even a road you should be driving on, Country Hotel Heydalur is a guesthouse, camp group and restaurant located in the middle of the Westfjords wilderness. The farm has beautiful Icelandic horses, a resident Arctic fox that likes to come say hello to guests and natural hot pots to soak in.
There’s 17 rooms total, plus a couple of summer houses with multiple bedrooms that can accommodate up to 10 people, and there’s a campground with showers for camper vans or tent camping. The rooms are simple, but all have private bathrooms and thermal heated floors. The houses are located about 2 kilometers away from the guesthouse, campground and restaurant and all have from 3 – 5 bedrooms plus a living room, full kitchen, bathrooms and terrace. There’s wifi, but it was slow in this remote part of Iceland.
Heydalur can also organize guided horseback riding trips on their horses or sea kayaking nearby. There’s also the onsite restaurant, which is very good with specialties like Icelandic fish soup and lamb.
Note that Heydalur can be inaccessible during winter if the road is closed for heavy snowfall and avalanche risk.
GentleSpace Guest Apartments, Ísafjördur
Ísafjördur is the biggest town in the Westfjords with grocery stores to stock up if you’re traveling by camper van, cute cafes and one of the best restaurants in Iceland. GentleSpace Guest Apartments are all centrally located in Ísafjördur and have made-up bedrooms with linens, bathrooms, modern kitchens, washing machine, wifi and either have a balcony or garden.
It’s a family-run business and there are also three guestrooms in the family’s home. The guestrooms have a shared bathroom.
Unlike some Westfjords accommodations, GentleSpace Guest Apartments are open year round and the Ísafjördur airport is just a short drive from town if you prefer to fly to the Westfjords instead of road tripping from Reykjavik.
Breidavík Guesthouse, Breidavík
Located on a beautiful stretch of beach just 12 kilometers from the Látrabjarg bird cliffs, Breidavík Guesthouse is a great choice for those that want to be surrounded by nature and always dreamed of seeing puffins.
The guesthouse has double rooms with a private bathroom, double rooms with a shared bathroom and a hostel-style dorm room. There’s also a campground if you’re traveling by camper van. All guests have breakfast included, wifi and access to washing machines.
There’s also an onsite restaurant which is very good serving homemade skyr in the mornings and Icelandic specialties like lamb shanks and locally caught salmon.
Where to Rent a Camper Van in Iceland
An alternative to staying in hotels and guesthouses is to combine your transportation and accommodation with a camper van. Iceland has campsites all throughout the country offering travelers in camper vans electricity, wifi, bathroom and shower facilities and sometimes even laundry facilities. Iceland is the safest country is the world, and a camper van is one of the coolest places to stay in Iceland because you can nearly anywhere.
While we wouldn’t recommend a camper van for a winter trip simply because of Iceland’s infamously unpredictable weather, it’s a great alternative during late spring, summer and early fall months. We found the camper van gave us a lot of freedom to explore without needing to reach a booked hotel or guesthouse. It’s also great for photographers looking to get the best light or to capture the often elusive Northern Lights.
The class A camper sleeps two adults and we both traveled with spinner suitcases. KúKú Campers also has some larger models that can sleep up to four adults.
Just remember that open campfires are illegal throughout Iceland. You’ll want to rent a camp stove or bring one with you and purchase canisters of fuel for it.
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