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Hotel & Resorts

Iceland Journey Information: The place to Keep, What to Eat, and Extra


Iceland feels up to now faraway from the remainder of Europe, and from our ideas of what the “ultimate European trip” seems to be like. However if you happen to’re not looking for the stereotypical “ultimate European trip,” Iceland often is the vacation spot you’ve been on the lookout for.

The place is Iceland, and what are you able to do there? We’re about to reply your questions, and we’re about to indicate you the perfect of what Iceland has to supply.

The Goðafoss waterfall in Iceland's Diamond Circle.
David Mark

Why Go to Iceland?

The waterfall at Seljalandsfoss, Suðurland, Iceland.
Diego Delso

Positioned close to the Arctic Circle, about 2,612 miles northeast of New York Metropolis, about 1,173 miles northwest of London, and about 1,084 miles west of Oslo, Norway, Iceland feels fairly remoted within the North Atlantic and much faraway from the European mainland. In consequence, Iceland’s pure panorama seems to be very unique in a uniquely Scandinavian approach. Its tradition can also be fairly Scandinavian, and the Icelandic language most carefully resembles Norwegian and the Faroese language that developed in Denmark’s Faroe Islands. Although Iceland is chilly all year long, the local weather is milder than you’d sometimes anticipate for a rustic close to the Arctic Circle, so whereas it would be best to pack some cold-weather garments in your journey, however don’t fear an excessive amount of about it.

Reykjavík is Iceland’s capital, and it’s the place greater than 65% of Iceland’s inhabitants name residence. That is the place you’ll discover the majority of Iceland’s city facilities together with the nation’s most interesting inns. The North of Iceland has the nation’s longest fjord and the remarkably lovely Diamond Circle, filled with prime alternatives to discover Scandinavia’s most spectacular pure wonders. To the south, you may see for your self why Iceland is a worldwide chief in renewable power, you may expertise the otherworldly sizzling waters of the famed Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, and you may lay your eyes on Europe’s most interesting (and coldest) black sand seashores.

The place to Keep

For such a small island nation, Iceland has a remarkably vast number of lodging to select from. You’ll be able to “tough it” in a comfy inn or hostel the place you may actually absorb the native tradition. You’ll be able to keep at an ecotourist lodge that’s mere steps away from a number of the world’s most interesting pure wonders. Or if you would like the last word better of the perfect, you may attempt a really uniquely scenic lap of luxurious at one in every of Iceland’s iconic five-star resorts. Listed here are our picks for Iceland’s finest inns.

Finest Location: Fosshotel

A room at the Fosshotel Reykjavík.
Fosshotel Reykjavík

As Iceland’s largest lodge in Iceland’s largest metropolis, the Fosshotel Reykjavík locations you within the coronary heart of the motion with loads of facilities to maintain you cheerful. Because it’s positioned downtown, you’re steps away from Reykjavík’s finest eating places and outlets in addition to a number of museums and the harbor. All rooms have free Wi-Fi web and satellite tv for pc TV, and rooms and suites on the upper flooring function nice metropolis and ocean views. You’ll be able to really feel even higher about staying right here since Fosshotel is a member of Festa — Icelandic middle for company social accountability and Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

  • Nearest Airport: Keflavík Airport
  • Time: 40-50 minutes by automotive
  • Distance: 48 kilometers (or 30 miles)

Finest Type: Lodge Reykjavik Centrum

The exterior of the Hotel Reykjavík Centrum.
Lodge Reykjavík Centrum

Lodge Reykjavik Centrum is positioned on Aðalstræti, one in every of Reykjavík’s oldest streets. The oldest a part of this lodge was inbuilt 1764, and newer buildings have been constructed within the likeness of their historic predecessors, Fjalakötturinn and Uppsalir. In consequence, this lodge seems to be and appears like an homage to Iceland’s wealthy historical past, but it additionally contains all of the facilities you need, together with free Wi-Fi and totally geared up loos. Like Fosshotel, Lodge Reykjavik Centrum is an Íslandshótel property, so it’s dedicated to environmental and social accountability.

  • Nearest Airport: Keflavík Airport
  • Time: 40-50 minutes by automotive
  • Distance: 50 kilometers (or 31 miles)

Finest Worth: Lighthouse Inn

A bed and a close-up of a potted flower in a room at the Lighthouse Inn hotel in Southwest Iceland.
Lighthouse Inn

If you happen to’re on the lookout for appeal and character, it’s exhausting to beat the Lighthouse Inn within the city of Garður. It’s conveniently near Iceland’s worldwide airport, but it appears like a charmingly woodsy log cabin retreat. It’s strolling distance from the Garður Previous Lighthouse — one in every of Iceland’s oldest lighthouses and an incredible spot to admire the ocean and the Northern Lights — and it’s a properly located launchpad for exploring each the southern coast and Reykjavík. The rooms right here aren’t tremendous massive or elaborate, however they’re nicely designed with the whole lot you want (together with Wi-Fi web) and beautiful views of the ocean and/or gardens outdoors.

  • Nearest Airport: Keflavík Airport
  • Time: 10-Quarter-hour by automotive
  • Distance: 11 kilometers (or seven miles)

Finest Luxurious: The Retreat at Blue Lagoon

A hotel room at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon in Southwest Iceland.
Blue Lagoon

If you wish to be pampered and spoiled amidst a remarkably scenic backdrop of lava fields and sizzling springs, then that is the lodge you need. The Retreat at Blue Lagoon is positioned within the coronary heart of one in every of Iceland’s prime points of interest, and you should have full entry to the world-famous Blue Lagoon, the Retreat Spa, day by day à la carte breakfast, nightly turndown service, Blue Lagoon skincare and toiletries, and full concierge service. All suites function implausible views of the moss-covered lava fields and/or the recent springs, and so they’re stylishly appointed with all of the creature comforts you want. Whereas the Blue Lagoon resort complicated presents loads of facilities — together with an informal cafe and three full-service eating places – it additionally presents pretty easy accessibility to Reykjavík and Iceland’s south coast.

  • Nearest Airport: Keflavík Airport
  • Time: 20-25 minutes by automotive
  • Distance: 22 kilometers (or 14 miles)

What to Eat

Iceland’s native delicacies could be very Scandinavian, so anticipate loads of meat and seafood. However if you happen to’re vegetarian or vegan, concern not, as a rising variety of eating places are including plant-based choices to their respective menus. Whereas some eating places have a tendency to stay to very conventional dishes, others are very progressive, and also you’re certain to seek out loads of farm-fresh choices all through the island.

Worth Key

“$” = budget-friendly or low-cost
“$$”= common
“$$$”= costly

Restaurant Röstin

Plokkfiskur on uneven bowl on a table.
Restaurant Röstin

If you happen to’re staying on the Lighthouse Inn, or if you happen to’re merely exploring the southwest nook of the island, Restaurant Röstin is value a cease. Positioned on the second flooring of the Heritage and Maritime Museum of Garðskagi, Restaurant Röstin has a enjoyable mixture of conventional Icelandic dishes and an American-friendly choice of burgers and steaks. Carnivores and vegans alike ought to discover tasty choices on the menu, and everybody can benefit from the beautiful views of the seaside and the ocean beneath.

  • Finest for Lunch and Dinner 
  • $$

Browse the Menu

Gamli Baukur

Skewered shrimps, toasted bread, and pasta with greens on a plate at Gamli Baukur restaurant in Húsavík, Iceland.
Gamli Baukur

If you happen to’re spending the day exploring the Diamond Circle on the north aspect of the island, chances are you’ll wish to cease within the city of Húsavík and provides Gamli Baukur a attempt. All elements are sourced contemporary from native suppliers, and the vibe comes throughout as very maritime. If you happen to like seafood and pasta, attempt the seafood tagliatelle, and also you’ll thank us later. There’s lots extra seafood all through the menu, in addition to a couple of vegan choices and lamb and beef.

  • Finest for Lunch and Dinner 
  • $$

Browse the Menu

Previous Iceland

An Icelandic dish on a plate with cutlery, bottle of liquor, and leaf stalk at Old Iceland Restaurant in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Previous Iceland Restaurant

Previous Iceland sounds prefer it’s been round for a very long time, nevertheless it was truly established in Reykjavík in 2014 by three brothers who proceed to personal and function the restaurant right this moment. As they clarify, “The main focus has at all times been on highlighting Icelandic produce. We use herbs and spices from the mountains of Iceland and incorporate them into our dishes.” In consequence, you’ll find a big selection of the freshest Icelandic seafood, beef, and lamb sourced from native farms, and a stunning quantity of domestically grown fruit and greens. Come for the fascinating drinks menu, and keep for a number of the finest fish you’ve ever had.

  • Finest for Lunch and Dinner 
  • $$

Browse the Menu

Café Babalú

A bowl of Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich displayed on Café Babalú's menu.
Café Babalú

If you happen to’re up (comparatively) early and also you’re prepared for espresso and breakfast, head on right down to Café Babalú in central Reykjavík for some nice grub and brews. If you happen to’re lacking your favourite French or Italian model espresso drinks, or if you happen to choose vegan-friendly plant-based milks, Café Babalú has you lined. When you’re right here, take within the very distinctive environment: It seems to be like a really boho-chic American indie espresso home, however with a enjoyable Scandinavian twist. The menu is fairly easy with a choice of crepes, soups, and grilled cheese sandwiches, however you’ll seemingly get pleasure from your early meal right here nonetheless.

  • Finest for Breakfast and Lunch
  • $

Browse the Menu

Sümac

An overhead shot of condiments and dishes on a table.
Sümac

If you happen to’re able to attempt one thing totally different for dinner in Reykjavík, attempt Sümac. They use the freshest Icelandic elements — corresponding to domestically grown beets and endives, domestically raised beef, and domestically sourced wolf-fish — and so they use these contemporary elements craft probably the most delectable North African and Center Jap delicacies you’ll style this near the Arctic Circle. Sümac’s grub is so good that it’s been featured within the Michelin Information, and the menu is essentially tapas model that makes for straightforward tasting and sharing. They’re open for dinner Tuesday by means of Saturday.

Browse the Menu

Moss Restaurant at Blue Lagoon

An Icelandic dish on a plate at Moss Restaurant at Blue Lagoon.
Moss Restaurant at Blue Lagoon

If you need a elaborate dinner out with all of the bells and whistles, it’s exhausting to think about a greater place in Iceland than Moss Restaurant at Blue Lagoon. Whether or not you’re staying at one in every of Blue Lagoon’s inns (see above) or doing a day journey to discover the southern coast, you’re suggested to cease right here if you happen to’re looking for meals so good that it landed within the Michelin Information. It’s open for dinner Wednesday by means of Sunday, and the menu modifications each season. Relying on while you make it right here, you may encounter a filet of lamb resting on lava stone, or maybe clams resting on their shells that relaxation atop a mattress of contemporary herbs. Everytime you make it right here, attempt the tasting menu, and also you’re assured to obtain probably the most visually gorgeous meals that additionally occurs to style nice. This is without doubt one of the costliest eating places in Iceland, however if you happen to’re up for a really fancy meal, Moss Restaurant is most undoubtedly value it.

Browse the Menu

What to Do

If you happen to like the good outside, you’ll love Iceland. As quickly as you start to drive Iceland’s famed Ring Highway, you’ll attain a few of Europe’s most exceptional pure landmarks. But even if you happen to search extra city facilities, Reykjavík packs numerous big-city tradition right into a small area, Keflavík is mainly the default city hub for Southwest Iceland, and Akureyri is the most important metropolis of the North.

Reykjavík

An aerial view of Reykjavik, Iceland, during the summer season.
Subsequent Voyage

As Iceland’s capital metropolis, Reykjavík has lots so that you can see and do. If you wish to be taught extra about Iceland’s function in advancing democracy, head to the Alþingi, which is Iceland’s nationwide parliament and a key a part of Iceland’s governance since c. 930. If you wish to see the place all of it started, head to Þingvellir Nationwide Park (about 30 miles east of Reykjavík). If you wish to see some democracy in motion, the Alþingi has operated at its present location in Reykjavík since 1881, and lots of of its features are open to the general public. For extra uniquely Reykjavík experiences, take a look at: Hallgrímskirkja, which is Iceland’s tallest cathedral and a really hanging native landmark; The Tradition Home, the place you’ll find an in depth assortment of medieval manuscripts, together with most of the oldest copies of the Icelandic Sagas; and Ægisgarður, the place you’ll find a number of corporations providing whale-watching boat excursions.

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Vatnajökull Nationwide Park

A glacier at Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland.
Decokon

Established in 2008, Vatnajökull Nationwide Park encompasses all of Europe’s largest glacier: Vatnajökull. Vatnajökull Nationwide Park presents a surprising mixture of cold and hot because of the glacier-covered Öræfajökull volcano, in addition to the volcanic ash and jökulhlaups (or glacial floods) that make Iceland’s world-famous black sand seashores. Come for the glaciers, and keep for the volcanoes, the meadows and glacial lagoons, and Dettifoss — Europe’s strongest waterfall.

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Húsavík and the Diamond Circle

The Goðafoss waterfall in Iceland's Diamond Circle.
Johanna Marthens

Húsavík is a small city that primarily anchors North Iceland’s Diamond Circle. Along with Dettifoss in Vatnajökull Nationwide Park, the Diamond Circle has the picturesque Goðafoss waterfall, the ethereal blue and inexperienced landscapes of Lake Mývatn, the wondrously verdant canyon of Ásbyrgi, the chilly desert and scenic sizzling springs of Námafjall, and the breathtaking black sand seashores and fjord views at Fjallahöfn Seaside. On the town, Húsavík in all probability presents the perfect whale-watching alternatives in your complete nation, in addition to puffins who love to hang around within the space.

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Blue Lagoon

A boardwalk leading to the water at Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
Roderick Eime

Whether or not you’re staying in one of many inns or on the lookout for locations to discover in Southwest Iceland, Blue Lagoon is a spot you merely must see and really feel for your self. The nice and cozy waters are wealthy in minerals like silica and sulfur, so Blue Lagoon has developed a popularity as a primary well being spa vacation spot. You’ll need to ebook your go to upfront, and day go packages begin at 65 {dollars}. You’ll pay much more if you would like full spa entry, however even one of many fundamental day passes will permit you to wade into the distinctive geothermal waters that make for maybe probably the most surreal swimming and bathing expertise on earth. If you wish to keep longer, you may ebook a room or suite on the Silica Lodge or The Retreat (see above) for the last word geothermal-powered trip.

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The way to Save Cash on Your Journey

Buying and Experiences

If you happen to forgot to pack toiletries earlier than you left, or if you wish to seize some alcoholic libations to inventory in your lodge room, Keflavík Worldwide Airport has a duty-free retailer the place you will discover loads of necessities (and loads of further gadgets you may want). Not solely have they got a wider choice than related comfort shops and supermarkets in Reykjavík, however additionally they are likely to have a lot decrease costs. If you happen to’re additionally seeking to save on excursions, occasion tickets, and far more, verify Kayak first.

Motels

Since Iceland has fewer mega-popular vacationer traps than mainland Europe and the U.Okay., inns in and round Reykjavík are usually a minimum of slightly cheaper than comparable properties in London, Paris, and Rome. Past Reykjavík, you’ll find areas like Blue Lagoon the place top-of-the-line resort suites will value you numerous fairly pennies (or on this case — Icelandic Króna), however it’s also possible to discover a lot of smaller inns off the overwhelmed path that value lots lower than what you will have been anticipating based mostly on U.S. and Western European norms. Wherever you determine to remain, Kayak is a superb website for locating the suitable lodging in your funds and itinerary.

Automobile Leases

Since a lot of Iceland is rural, and since a number of the prime sights to see are fairly distant, chances are you’ll want a automotive if you wish to spend time outdoors of Reykjavík. Thankfully, Kayak presents loads of nice automobiles at amazingly low costs, so be certain that to verify them out while you’re on the lookout for that good automotive to take you from the lava fields to the mountains, the fjords, the black sand seashores, and past.

We hope this information helps you intend the right Icelandic getaway. It’s finally as much as you to determine what to do and the place to go, and hopefully, you now have higher concepts on the place you could go to do the whole lot you need on this enchanted almost-Arctic island.

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