Home away from home – Iceland’s top places to stay

Aug 15, 2019


Although Iceland is often defined by its dramatic landscapes and geographical wonders, the Nordic island also possesses a wealth of accommodation to match its well-renowned beauty. From hotels and hostels to cottages and cabins, you’ll find a safe place to stay no matter where you choose.

Unsurprisingly, Reykjavik is one of the few places you will find hotels. A few big chains make their mark on the capital, whilst the smaller establishments continue to attract groups with their charm and character. Hostels are also dotted along the streets, offering simple but efficient solutions to a host of demographical needs – ranging from backpackers and couples to Icelandic locals and school groups.

 

Viking Village

 

You’ll find another unique getaway in the Viking village. Immerse yourself in Nordic culture and the tales from the island’s history, including trolls and the well-respected hidden people. When it’s time to eat, make your way to the Viking restaurant and enjoy the highly-recommended three course dinner. Feast on delicious mountain lamb, Brennivín and Skyr yoghurt.

 

The real Iceland

 

Away from the city, you’ll find a host of wonderful places to stay. For example, you can sleep in a converted school house which now serves as a hostel. It was bought and renovated by a local architect who has now left his mark on the property. A unique and innovative accommodation option, it also offers lots of outdoor space with a nearby lake to explore.

As you begin to head away from the more urbanised areas, the true character of the country begins to reveal itself. You’ll enjoy a simple yet traditional setting, surrounded by open space and breath-taking views. As you return from a cold and wet day in Iceland’s harsh climates, make yourself at home in the properties and let the geothermal heating warm you right back up. This is known as the Hygge lifestyle, known in English as cosy.

 

Eldhestar

 

Just 45km east of Reykjavik, you can opt to stay at Eldhestar. With an in-house riding school which offers horseback riding, this is far from your standard hotel. Icelandic horses are a unique breed which first derived from settlers in Norway over 1,100 years ago. Over time, they’ve evolved to become sure-footed and experienced travellers in crossing the island’s rough terrain. This gives groups a chance to experience the country from a different perspective, allowing them to learn and appreciate Icelandic culture on a deeper level.

The hotel’s in-house restaurant and hot tub are a welcome addition after returning from a day’s riding. With its rural location along Iceland’s South Coast, there’s also the chance to tick the Northern Lights off your bucket list!

 

Family-ran accommodation

 

There’s also a host of small towns dotted along the south road that provide the perfect base for you to go and explore the island. By choosing to stay in one of these rural locations, you can minimise your daily travel. This gives you and your group more time to enjoy the spectacular waterfalls, glaciers and lakes that Iceland is renowned for.

Many of the smaller accommodation centres are family-run, and the locations we offer have been running for a considerable amount of time. This is reflected in the great level of customer experience and the repeat custom we enjoy year after year. These centres treat our groups as family, offering the warmest of welcomes. Comment books are a common find in these places, so try to leave your feedback. Families take great pride in their businesses and will welcome your thoughts.

Hearty Icelandic meals also await you. Don’t fret, we aren’t talking about sheep heads or fermented shark (which are delicacies in the country), but more of an assortment of freshly baked bread and butters. Skyr yoghurt should also make your hit list as it’s the perfect dessert or doubles up as a sweet treat for breakfast.

 

Handy fact – there are no McDonald’s on the entire island! But with the quality of home-cooked food on offer, you won’t need it!

 

Irrespective of the accommodation you choose to stay in, it can only add to the fantastic experience that Iceland has in store for you. The island’s larger-than-life scenery will grip you, but the warm welcome from Icelandic locals will no doubt offer a gratifying experience; one that is likely to stay with you forever.

 

Click here to read more about our school geography trips to Iceland