When planning a visit to Iceland, you may suddenly realize that you’ve struck on the destination jackpot. No matter where you are in the nation, there is something spectacular nearby, whether that’s great food, dramatic and rugged mountainous landscapes, strong waterfalls or charming fishing villages. What can be far more difficult to work out is the place to stay in Iceland, based on your priorities. Northern lights? City life? Dramatic landscapes? Fear not — if the planning gets somewhat overwhelming, that is where we come. We have compiled a list of the top places to stay in Iceland, based on which tantalizing aspect of Icelandic life you are in the mood for.
Best for Reykjavík’s cultural cool
It’s daubed with road art and offers mouth-wateringly fantastic restaurants and cute cafes and colorful buildings. Considering all the Icelandic culture we’ve come to appreciate globally, you will be missing out in the event that you don’t spend some time. What is more, it truly does make a great foundation for getting out into nature.
While Iceland is an expensive destination, that does not mean you need to break the bank if you’re looking for accommodation here. Kex Hostel a part of the growth of a stylish hostel movement, where style and character are just as important as comfort. This all comes in on budget (but a little more pricey than you will find in your average back-to-basics hostel). Kex Hostel includes dorms or private rooms and plenty of conveniences, such as a cafe-bar, lounge that hosts local gigs and a fitness center. It’s also in a fantastic location for city exploration.
Located 10 minutes from the historical city center in the west-town area of Reykjavik, Radisson Blu Saga flawlessly gives you close proximity to the city as well as some serenity if crowds become overly much. Add to this their easy but modern rooms and renowned restaurant, Grillið, which sits atop the hotel, providing panoramic views of the city, and you have one of the finest places to remain in Iceland.
Best for Iceland’s second city, Akureyri
Sure, Reykjavik has the main global airport nearby and is effortlessly cool, however, it isn’t the only city to stay in that will give you an insight to Icelandic life. Require Akureyri, the 2nd most populous town in Iceland (yet still just using a population of less than 20,000). Located at the bottom of a fjord in northern Iceland, this pulsing city of the north offers excellent winter ski, eclectic restaurants and cafes, an amazing church, Akureyrarkirkja, and magnificent surroundings like Lake Mývatn and Dettifoss.
Hotel Kea is appropriate at the center of Akureyri, positioned in the base of Akureyrarkirkja (Akureyri Church), with a few rooms with spectacular views of this Eyjafjördur Fjord. It is worth checking out the Múlaberg Bistro & Bar, where you can get your fix of Icelandic dishes with a French influence. Hotel Kea is also just a short stroll from Akureyri Botanical Garden.
The comfort continues with all the over-bed breakfast tables which come with every room, meaning that if it is cold in Iceland’s capital of the North, you don’t even have to escape bed to enjoy the views over a cup of java.
Best for the northern lights
The northern exactly what? Between November and March, you are in with a pretty good prospect of seeing the vibrant, wispy curtain hanging from the sky which makes up the sought-after Aurora. And so long as you stay away from a lot of light pollution (and are blessed with some luck from the weather gods), you may pick from resorts all around the nation where a focus on viewing the northern lights makes them some of the greatest places to stay in Iceland.
Only a two-hour drive from the Keflavík international airport at Hella, Hotel Rangá is renowned as an excellent place from which to see the northern lights. Anyone who’s attempted to observe the Aurora screen, only to be left suspended and shivering in the cold, will be happy to hear that Hotel Rangá makes the viewing experience as comfortable as you can. This includes a balcony that wraps around the bar, thick blankets, and a wake-up phone when the lights appear.
Found in the Western area of Iceland at the end of Borgarfjordur Valley, you’ll be discovering a different pair of landscapes to enjoy with your northern lights experience at lodge-style Hotel Húsafell. The screen can appear several times each week (at the winter, if conditions are appropriate ), making this one of your safest bets in an Aurora display is the aim. Having an elegant Nordic design, sustainable energy-saving ethos, outdoor hot tubs, and northern lights wake-up calls, it’s a great deal to recommend it.
Greatest for dramatic landscapes
From craggy mountains to thundering waterfalls, Iceland’s landscapes are among the key reasons people visit the country, therefore it only makes sense to stay within close vicinity of those. We advise that you select your chosen attractions and go from there. By sticking close to them, you can make sure you’re the first on the scene and also have the spectacular scenery all to yourself at least before the tour buses arrive.
ION Hotel does not just have an incredible background in Thingvellir National Park, set against mountainous lava areas. The architecture of the hotel itself is something to write home about. The building juts out of the stones, balanced pillars to get a stunning look, and its glossy interior is nature-focused with driftwood sculptures and furnishings made from recycled materials. The Geysir, diving at the Silfra drift, the Kerið volcanic crater, and the Golden Circle are all within reach.
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon
Located right between two very popular attractions in Iceland, Skaftafell National Park, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is surely up there when it comes to looking for your foundation to breathtaking landscapes in the country. The modern resort with a slick layout means and an adequate restaurant means you’ll have a comfy and trendy end to a day in the wilderness, while that’s one of the massive ice blocks at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon or watching Svartifoss Waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park.
In winter, they provide a cozy respite from the cold, and in the summer, they are just pure luxury. Iceland’s hot springs, powered by the geothermal activity that is so abundant on the island, are well worth visiting any time of year. The types of springs can range from enormous, famous attractions like the Blue Lagoon, to key hideaway pools dotted in the countryside.
Part of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon resort, this really is the ultimate comfort escape for anyone looking to take advantage of the geothermal activity for which the country is so well-known. A stone’s throw from mineral-rich waters and mud-mask paradise, the rooms themselves in Silica Hotel are minimalist, modern and comfortable. If you’re concerned about whether the Blue Lagoon is really worth the excursion or that it’s too busy, this resort has its own, much less crowded lagoon, just for guests.
Situated on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, on a beach near a lava field, the intimate and tasteful Hotel Budir has a wonderful restaurant, high service and feels entirely remote. For all of us, it’s a winning combination. The proximity to a hot spring here’s a stark contrast to Silica Hotel: Hotel Budir functions as a fantastic base for Landbrotalaug pool, a small and romantic all-natural spring just big enough to fit two or three individuals. It requires a little effort to find, but it’s worth it when you do.