I have often been asked about hotels and guesthouses in South-Iceland, and have usually referred people to Laugarvatn or further on, forgetting about Brekkukot at Sólheimar. I used to work here at Brekkukot for 6 months back in 1987 when residents at Sólheimar lived here.
Sólheimar eco village is a lovely little sustainable community upcountry in South-Iceland. There are ca 100 residents at Sólheimar, 42 of them are living with disabilities of some kind. It is the oldest registered eco village in the world.
Sólheimar eco village is such a diverse community with green-houses, a sculpture garden, swimming pool, an organic café Græna kannan "The Green mug" at Sólheimar square, and Sólheimakirkja church with their own minister, Birgir Thomsen who is my Uncle.
The photos are compliment of Birgir Thomsen.
Brekkukot has now been turned into a guesthouse, which is open all year round. I have stayed there for one night since then and would recommend it to anybody.
Here are 3 double rooms and 7 single rooms with shared bathrooms. There is also a large kitchen and living rooms plus a sun-room, which is very nice both in winter and in summer time.
At Brekkukot is also available on the same floor an apartment, with 5 beds, one of which is a double sofa-bed, and a kitchen.
Guests have access to the swimming pool and hot tub at Sólheimar.
There is another guesthouse at Sólheimar, called Veghús. There are two apartments for rent and 6 en-suite double rooms. And a big shared kitchen and a living room - plus a big deck. The view from both Veghús and Brekkukot of the valley is fantastic.
When we reached Álftavatn hut at the end of the second day of the Laugavegur trek we had a very pleasant surprise: We imagined the hut would be similar to the Hrafntinnusker hut, where we had slept on the previous night. However, once we entered the Álftavatn hut we found a newly furnished, modern, spacious hostel. We stayed in a comfortable room for four, with proper beds and thick mattresses.
he kitchen is spacious, full of sunlight and well equipped. For the hot water in the shower you have to insert 500 ISK in coins; you can change banknotes for coins at the warden's hut.
In the Álftavatn hut there is cellular phone reception, and another important service is garbage collection, so that we could dispose of the garbage we had carried in our backpacks during the last two days (in the Hrafntinnusker hut you have to take your garbage with you).
The hut is located near the shore of the Álftavatn lake, with a beautiful view of the lake and the surrounding peaks.
The hut belongs to the Iceland Touring Association, and the contact information below relates to the Association, through which reservations should be made.
The Hrafntinnusker hut is beautifully located on a mountain slope, with beautiful views of the snowy plain underneath and the impressive geothermal springs right below the hut.
When we got to Hrafntinnusker it was cold and windy outside, and we were glad to see it after a day of trekking. It was warm and cozy inside, we picked two mattresses in the loft and went down to the kitchen to make a hot drink and meet some people.
The hut can provide accommodation to 52 persons, and it gets quite crowded in the small area of the hut. There is a dormitory on the ground floor, and two large lofts with mattresses upstairs (see photo). The kitchen is on the ground floor, with seating there and in the loft, and also outside for good weather conditions. The toilets and showers are located on the ground floor, with a separate entrance, so that you have to go out of the hostel and then in again to the toilets.
There is a campsite nearby belonging to the hut, with its own toilet and bathroom, but campers are not allowed into the hut.
In July and August there is a warden on site, and we found her very knowledgeable and ready to help and answer any question.
The hut belongs to the Iceland Touring Association, and the contact information below relates to the Association, through which reservations should be made.
Gaulverjaskóli Hostel is an old school which was thoroughly renovated and turned into a lovely hostel. The dining room / family room upstairs still retains a blackboard and some of the classroom decorations and playthings. The hostel is located on the vast lava plain of the south, between Selfoss and Stokkseyri. The building stands alone in the middle of the large open space. There is a children's playground and lots o green grass (in the summer!). The rooms and the shared bathrooms are spotlessly clean.
Our stay in Gaulverjaskóli Hostel was a memorable experience for me mainly because of the friendliness and radiant personality of its owner, Oddný Guðmundsdóttir. She welcomed us in with a big smile, told us everything we wanted to know about the hostel, the area, and about Iceland in general. She also shared her interesting life story with us: gathering the sheep in the autumn, driving a bus, guiding tourists, getting through the economic crisis... She helped us and other hostel guests plan our itineraries in South Iceland, and she made us a nice breakfast with "Verði ykkur að góðu", the Icelandic equivalent of "bonappetit" written on the blackboard!
As we were arriving at 4.00 pm, and as in February it gets dark in Iceland soon after 5.00 pm, we decided that we wouldn’t drive to the Hotel Ranga, our main base, on the first day but would instead stay somewhere near to the airport in Keflavik. This also gave us an opportunity to spend the next day in Reykjavik before heading east. We chose the Icelandair Flughotel as it was recommended by both our travel company and VT member Regina1965, and was (supposedly) an easy drive from the airport. I say supposedly, because somehow in all the rain and growing darkness, we managed to get lost and had to ask a passer-by (of whom there were very few in that inclement weather) for directions. Still, we found it, and it proved to be more than adequate for our needs – a good sized room with a comfortable bed (two singles pushed together to make a queen), TV, mini-bar etc. The bathroom however was a bit functional for a four star hotel, being of the capsule style you usually find in the cheaper chains and with just wall-mounted shower gel dispenser. And unless you get very excited by photos of airplanes you will probably find the art-work on the walls a little dull (a shame, as the pieces in the public areas were much more varied and interesting).
There is a large restaurant downstairs, and a small bar. We had dinner in the former (see separate review) and also the breakfast that was included in our room rate. This was good, with juices, various cereals (with lots of seeds, nuts and fruit to add to them), yoghurt, assorted breads, different cold meats and cheeses, sausages and bacon, and a waffle-maker.
We booked this hotel as part of a special “Northern Lights” deal, choosing it for its reputation as a great place from which to see the Aurora (you can register at reception to be woken up in the middle of the night if it appears). I’m not sure if we would have come here otherwise, as it’s pretty pricey, but despite not delivering on the Aurora (and of course there are no guarantees) we loved the hotel and were very pleased to have had the chance to stay here.
The hotel has apparently been selected as one of the so-called "Great Hotels of the World" and it’s easy to see why. It has a really special atmosphere and you can cosy down here when it’s cold and dreary outside (inevitable at times in an Icelandic winter) or use it as a super-comfortable base from which to go exploring – we did a bit of both. It is definitely a really super place to stay regardless of whether or not the Aurora does its thing. In fact it is almost, but not quite, perfect.
The pluses include its great setting, only a few hundred metres from the Ring Road but seemingly in the middle of nowhere. But do be sure to ask for a river- view room, as those on the other side, while advertised as having mountain views, look out on those mountains across the rather large car park. We were lucky, as our room (#38) was on the river side with direct access to both it (for fantastic sunrise photography opportunities) and one of the hot tubs. We were also very impressed by the very friendly staff and excellent service, and as I have already mentioned, by the wonderful cosy atmosphere throughout.
The (very minor) negative was the relatively small size of the bedroom for the quality and price of the hotel, although it had everything we needed and was fine for just a few nights' stay which I imagine is the norm here. The bathroom was a good size, with a large corner tub and shower, and a good range of toiletries provided, along with plenty of towels on the heated towel rail. We had a flat-screen TV with some English language channels (e.g. Sky News and CNN) as well as movies which had to be paid for (we didn’t bother!) There was a mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, hair-dryer, and towelling robes and flip flops for the hot tub.
Breakfast is included in the rate and is very good, with a wide selection available at the buffet, including various juices, yoghurt drinks, coffee and a range of teas, bread and rolls with assorted jams and spreads, cold meats, cheeses, fish, scrambled eggs and bacon, cereals, dried fruits and fresh, muffins, pastries and biscuits. It is served right through to 11.00 am which makes sense when the sun doesn’t come up until an hour before that. We also had dinner in the restaurant here (there is nowhere else very close, so in the winter you have little choice unless you are prepared to drive after dark) but I will save my rather mixed impressions of that for a separate restaurant review. And on one evening I was feeling a bit rough and didn’t want to eat, so Chris ordered a burger on room service and was very impressed with it – good quality meat, nice accompaniments, generous portion.
The manager (owner?) takes a personal interest in all the guests and makes a point of checking at dinner if you are happy with everything. He was very helpful in advising us on our days out, for instance suggesting that we should wait till the following day for our drive to south coast as the weather would be much better – it was, and we were very happy that we’d waited.
We especially liked the small cosy bar, with its wacky bar stools and good value Happy Hour (buy two beers and or wines and pay only for the dearer between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm). We also developed a taste for the Icelandic Brennivin, the best value digestif on the list, which was served icy cold and tasted a little of caraway. We enjoyed this in the upstairs lounge after our dinner on two of the evenings – a very relaxing space.
And our soak in the hot tub after a day's sightseeing was a wonderful experience...
I absolutely loved my stay at Hotel Hekla. We spent one night there the first weekend of February 2012. That weekend the hotel offered Icelanders a very good discount, the normal price for a room for 2 is 160 euros, but we paid only 40 euros for the room. We stayed there from Sunday until Monday and we were the only guests there. And there are 37 rooms there. So it was awesome.
The room was so lovely, first class for a countryhotel like Hotel Hekla - very nicely refurbished and everything was spotless.
There is a good Internet connection in all the rooms, and we brought our mini lap-top and watched some films in bed. There is a small TV in the rooms, but there was nothing on.
The hotel is next to a farm and a lot of horses were in a fench next to the hotel.
The hotel is only 70 km away from Reykjavík, where I live, and the roads are excellent all the way to the hotel.
When it got dark one can go outside on a terrace and the hotel is all lit up with small lights, very romantic and cosy.
I do highly recommend going there, everything was perfect.
There is a hot-tub in the garden, and it must be awesome sitting in the tub (40 degrees C) on a starry night with the Northern lights flickeringa above you. We didn´t try it, but went to have a look at it and were greeted by 2 big dogs, which turned out to be very friendly - one of them looked like a polar-bear. That dog then slept beneath our room on the second floor and guarded us all night long. It did not mind at all that we threw pieces of chicken down to it from the window of the room ;)
We got a room with a view of the volcano Hekla which was covered in snow. I add photos in a travelogue here of outside the hotel. We also had a view of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull (remember?) and Fimmvörðuháls.
I have stayed there couple of times and also some people I have told about it and it is a great place to stay. Clean and well located.
They have also nice apartments and the location is great. Frendly hosts.
Árnes campground is in Þjórsárdalur walley upcountry in S-Iceland. It is a nice campground, with both open campsites and more secluded ones, like where I camped. The facilities are fine, there are 2 toilets, a sink, 2 showers and a hot-tub on the campground. And you can use the toilets at the Árnes community center as well. You pay at the community center and there is a restaurant, bar and guest house/youth-hostel there as well plus another guest house by the swimming pool. By the road there is a gas-station and the Árborg convenience store.
There is also nice swimming-pool next to the campground.
The campground is open from 15.05 - 15.09.
In Þjórsdárdalur walley there are a lot of interesting sights, Hjálparfoss waterfall f.ex. The Saga farm, Búrfellsvirkjun power station and a lot more interesting sights see my tips here Hjálparfoss waterfall
Situated in a small village near to Hofn, this guest house is surrounded by natural beauty. The house is only 3 kilometers from Hoffellsjökull (Hoffells glacier).
In the winter time you maybe lucky enough to have this 5 bedroomed, self catering, guesthouse to yourself. Each room is tastefully decorated, with very cozy patchwork quilts. The whole house is homely with a fully equipped kitchen.
This guesthouse is worth a stay mainly due to its location and the owners. The owners are from Hoffell and are extremely hospitable and knowledgeable about the area. The family gave us an organic leg of lamb for our christmas dinner, plus numerous gifts of homemade biscuits, ham, cheese and home made cakes.
From each window you have spectactualr views of the mountain or endless countryside. If you are looking for something a bit unusual this is the place to head to.
The hot pools are the highlight of Hoffell. They are situated a short walk from the hotel in the side of a small mountain. In minus conditions these naturally heated hot tubs are perfect for a long soak. Perfect location for watching the northern lights surrounded by stunning scenery and away from civilisation.
This is a great place to spend a week or more. The hotel is bang in the middle of downtown Reykjavik.
It looks a bit funny on the outside 'cos it's covered in corrugated iron and painted different colours.
Inside it was superb and dead warm.
This is the view from my window
I tried digging a burrow but I found all these old stones which turned out to be the oldest ruins in town. So they made it into a museum under the hotel.
We bunnies have our uses
Hhmm, accomodation-wise, there's no place to sleep in this area ! No hotel, nothing !
There's a restaurant where you can buy something to eat but it's not opened 24 hours a day either.
I saw some people just set up tents anywhere they fancied around the lagoon...
If this is your choice so be it that way, adventurous right ?
Though prohibited to even set up a tent here but it should be safe as nobody would bother you anyway.
Just make sure you keep the area clean & tidy...
I put a photo of the bridge near the lagoon, maybe you can set up your tent below the bridge but when there's a flood, you will be washed away right to the sea !
So, look for a high area...
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