Saturday, October 1, 2011

Top Four Places to Stay in Iceland

A couple years ago Laura and I flew to Iceland, rented a car, and drove around the circumference of the island on the Ring Road.  We stayed in some funky places and some great places.  If I were to go again I would do the same type of self-guided round-trip, but stay in just four different locations for multiple nights.  Here are those four places in counterclockwise order.
Vik - South Eastern Iceland
-3 hour drive from Keflavik airport.
-Scenic village on Ring Road on south coast of Iceland.
-Sits on famed black sand beach - named one of the ten most beautiful beaches on earth.
-Basalt rock sea stacks lie just offshore.
-Adjacent cliffs are home to many seabirds, including puffins.
-Lies directly beneath the Myrdalsjokull Glacier/Katla volcano.
-Near the posctard perfect Skogafoss waterfall.
-Near Skaftafell National Park.
-Bird watching in Dyrholaey.
-Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
-Horse riding, glacier tours, boat trips, hiking trails and more.
Where to stay in Vik Hotel Lundi ("Puffin Hotel") - Modern hotel in center of village near walking trails and black sand beaches.  Very good on-site restaurant.

Seydisfjordur - Eastfjords of Iceland
-6 hour drive from Vik
-Situated on a fjord 27km off the Ring Road across a mountain pass.
-One of Iceland's oldest and most picturesque towns.
-Known for its architecture - a community of well preserved old wooden buildings.
-Surrounded by mountains 1000 meters high with watefalls.
-Thriving arts and cultural scene.
-Hiking path starts from the center of town and runs along river, passing waterfalls.
-Car ferry from Denmark and the Faroe Islands stops here every week.
-Coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries and a wine shop.
-Skiing and snowboarding in the winter.
-Vestdalur grassy valley at the north of the fjord with beauty and birdlife
-Not too far away is the Legarfljots Worm or Iceland Worm Monster, a Loch Ness Monster type creature thought to inhabit Lagarfljot lake.  
Where to stay in Seydisfjordur - Hafaldan Youth Hostel - clean, friendly, bohemian, inexpensive accomodations with marvellous view.

Husavik - North Coast of Iceland
-Tourist friendly village on Skjalfandi Bay with many amenities.
-Whale watching and puffin tours.
-Home to a Penis museum - yes, you read that right.
-Gamli Baukur - great pub and restaurant.
-Near Lake Myvatn, Jokulsargljufur Naitonal Park and Asbyrgi Canyon. 
-Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, and Selfoss, another massive waterfall, are not far away.
-Close to Myvatn Nature Baths, an open air, naturally heated lagoon.
-The "Dark Castles", geysers, and mushrooms and berry picking.
-College town of Akureyri nearby.
Where to stay in HusavikKaldbaks Kot Kottages - cozy, private cottages with outdoor hot tubs and impressive vistas of snow-capped mountains across an expanse of water. Kaldbaks Kot Kottages was the best place we stayed in Iceland!

Reykjavik - Capital of Iceland
-5 and a half hour drive from Husavik. 30-40 minutes from Keflavik airport.
-By far the largest community in Iceland, population of about 200,000.
-60% of Iceland's population lives here.
-Compact, walkable city center situated on harbour.
-Trendy, literate, hip and cosmopolitan culture.
-World class dining, shopping, night life and music scene.
-More pubs than you could possibly ever drink at.
-Modern art museums, sculpture, theater and opera.
-Old churches (Hallgrimskirkja) plus safe, beautiful downtown neighborhoods with lovely houses.
-Day trips to the Golden Circle: Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park and Geysir geothermal area.
Where to stay in Reykjavik - You name  it.  There are many options within walking distance of the city center: bed and breakfasts, hotels, hostels and self-catering.  We stayed at Askot Bed and Breakfast, which is in a nice neighborhood about a ten minute walk to downtown.


  1. Hi! My husband and I are planning to do the same thing this summer and I was trying to figure out the best places to set up "base camp". This is very helpful. I was just wondering how long you were there for? Our trip is a 12 day trip, so we will have 10 full days of travel. Would you still recommend staying at 4 different places in that amount of time? Thanks!