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This post is sponsored in part by the owners of the Airbnb rentals I stayed at during the duration of my Iceland road trip. This article also contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are my own.
When it comes to finding lodging in Iceland, there are certainly not a lack of options. Tourists can stay in glass igloos to cabins in the remote wilderness. On my recent trip to Iceland, I searched for the quirky getaways that are unlike anything.
Here’s what topped the list:
When I first pulled up to the Hrísmóar Cabin, I knew that I was in for an evening of relaxing and rejuvenation. After a long day’s journey, I was ever so grateful to soak in a hot tub and stare at the night sky, often graced by the Northern Lights. What makes this cabin unique is that it forces you to unplug from the outside world. With no wi-fi, visitors tend to make friends with the stars and nature during their stay at Hrismoar. (Don’t worry, if you really need wi-fi, there’s a little town nearby called Rekyholt that offers wi-fi).
To read more about my stay read in my in-depth review.
Dreamy, historic harbor home
If I were to live in Scandinavia, I’d call a quaint harbour house home. This yellow home, called Gardur, is one of the original houses in Stykkisholmur. The house transports you back to times where communities rallied together to strive. The best part? It sits on top of a hill and overlooks the harbor below. The colorful ships and boats and the orange lighthouse are just a few quirks that this fishing village in Eastern Iceland possesses.
To read more about my stay, read my in-depth review.
Glamping near the Arctic Ocean
The Hvammstangi Cottages are definitely for travelers who are not afraid to get a little rustic and creative during their stay. The cottages, located just north of the fishing village of Hvammstangi, where tours for seals and whales are frequent, overlook the village below. There are seven little cottages clustered together in a flat field. With only a church located nearby, this is the optimum place to view the Northern Lights. I witnessed a “milky” Northern Lights showing during my stay, which was still fabulous. Make sure to bundle up for your stay!
To read more about my stay, read my in-depth review.
Celebrate and live like a Viking
Reigning over the Scandinavian seas and plundering your wealth doesn’t seem like a ridiculous reality or dream when staying at the Guesthouse Hof í Vatnsdal. Modeled after a historic Viking longhouse, the home is tucked into the remote farmlands of Iceland. If guests would like, owners will take them on a horse rides or even on a short tour of their sheep farm.
Inside the guesthouse, each guest has their own private room with two beds. Guests will share the dining hall where breakfast can be requested and the outdoor areas. Outside guests can relax by an enclosed fire pit or in a roaring hot tub. Even with the guesthouse located by a farmhouse and other farm buildings, it’s still possible to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Guests can also rent a glass igloo at the same property. This is ideal for viewing the Northern Lights and stargazing.
Editor’s note: The Viking Long House is no longer available through Airbnb, but the glass igloo is. If you are looking for more of a hostel type accommodation on Airbnb, this is what is in the area.
Vacationing with a local
After venturing into a blizzard and soaking in the Myvatn Nature Baths, I was excited to take a hot shower and chat with other travelers and locals over a cup of tea. Óli´s homestay was just the place for that. Oli is an Icelandic local, who was an African dance in Reykjavik before moving north and retiring.
Oli’s house is decorated with organic-inspired, handmade crafts that Oli crafted himself. Oli now spends his days remodeling his house and creating inspirational artwork. Oli has two guest rooms in his house, so you’ll be able to interact with other travelers while you are there.
An artist’s inspirational vision
After another day of battling the winds and snowflakes, I was welcomed into the lovely Gíslastaðir Cottage. The cottage was nestled in the mountains and was an artist’s paradise. Inside the cabin, the walls were decorated with the artwork of earlier travelers.
The rest of the cabin had a bohemian vibe that was a great retreat from the bitter cold. Since the cabin is nestled at the foot of the mountains, visitors are often graced with not only the Northern Lights but can also spot wildlife out the windows. I prayed all evening to spot a reindeer. I wasn’t that lucky, but the owners mentioned that it was very likely to happen, especially on milder winter evenings or early in the morning.
Southern Island’s luxurious tiny, barrel cabins
The Ásahraun Cottages take some creative liberties when it comes to tiny homes. These cabins, modeled after tiny homes, are cozy and secluded from the hectic buzz of the Golden Circle nearby. Though these cabins don’t boast large amounts of square footage, they definitely do not lack tranquility.
These cabins also have a private bathhouse and a hot tub that guests can use during their stay. While soaking in the industrial-modeled hot tub, I saw the most spectacular show of the Northern Lights in my life. The skies danced with pink and greens for several minutes. The showcase was life-changing.
These cottages make it possible to feel luxurious while staying in the rustic wilderness.
While the Golden Circle and South Coast are definitely the most-visited parts of Iceland, you can avoid the crowds and still have a spectacular time. These cabins definitely were a welcomed oasis for at the end of the day.
Nestled by the seaside
It’s also been a dream of mine to live in a little fishing village and enjoy the simplicity of life. The Bakki Apt located in Eyrarbakki fulfilled that dream for at least one evening. The studio is part of the Bakki Hostel in town. Visitors can opt for a private apartment-style room or stay in the hostel’s dormitory.
I opted to stay in the apartment side of the facility and enjoyed an evening relaxing on the shores of the sea. I woke up in the morning to a magnificent sunset that was unreal.
As an added bonus, Eyrarbakki located only an hour away from Reykjavik and even closer to the Golden Circle. It makes for a great home base for visitors as they venture the South Coast of Iceland.
In the heart of the Reykjavik, in a local’s backyard
I found a little nugget in Reykjavik located close to the harbor, yet nestled in a quaint neighborhood. In the Downtown Backyard Cottage, you can enjoy an entire cottage to yourself. This was a great landing base for me as I ventured Reykjavik for the next couple of days. The cottage was located within walking distance to all the major attractions.
The cottage was also outfitted with a small kitchen, so visitors could cook their own meals if they opted to. I used the small stove to heat up water for my morning oatmeal and tea.
I thoroughly enjoyed staying in the heart of Reykjavik, and the owners, who were located nearby, did not disturb me during my stay. The backyard cottage will be an oasis for any weary traveler for one night or for an entire week while exploring the country.
Save some money on your next stay
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