Touring through Iceland is like a treasure hunt. Many of the attractions are natural and not well mapped out, while the winding mountainous roads make turnoffs easy to miss. If you’re planning on driving yourself around this incredible country, you need to go in with a plan of attack.
Finding places to stay near the attractions you wish to see reduces stress and makes it easier to find the hidden gems of the country. Here are the best places to stay when planning your Iceland Tours and booking accommodations.
Reykjavík is where you will most likely fly into when you visit Iceland and is not only the capital of the country but the only city. While you may be eager to get in your car and drive out into the wilds of the Land of Ice and Fire, it is worth spending a night in the city. Reykjavík is home to attractions like Hallgrímskirkja, a cathedral with a tower reaching over 200 feet. You will also see Harpa, an architecturally incredible music hall on the waterfront.
There are numerous museums worth visiting, covering everything from punk rock music to photography and natural history to odds and obscurities. Make sure you stop by the Sun Voyager statue before leaving the city for good luck on your travels.
Vík is slightly off the beaten path when traveling around the tourist-heavy Golden Circle. It is the one area where you will have to drive back the way you came to be able to continue your tour. What makes Vík so special? The black sand beaches and intriguing basalt columns, natural rock formations in hexagonal shapes making up the cliff face down the road in Reynisfjara.
The town of Vík is small and secluded, with only small churches, hotels, and a few restaurants. The black sand contrasts beautifully against the golden beach grass and old-fashioned red and white churches. Should you be lucky enough to see the sun during your trip, the sunset and sunrise over the black sand is a sight to behold.
Here’s an area you likely won’t find when searching online for accommodations. Laugarvatn is in proximity to Thingvellir national park, where you can walk between two continental plates, view waterfalls, and even go diving. This rugged, mountainous park is worth spending a day in exploring and taking photos. If your time is limited, you can quickly drive there from Reykjavík.
Laugarvatn is a gem because it is home to fields of cottages under mountains and overlooking stunning lakes. Many of these cottages are available for rent on Airbnb and offer seclusion and coziness. Visit the Laugarvatn Fontana, a collection of thermal baths and saunas overlooking the lake. While this area has less allure than the Blue Lagoon, it’s a perfect escape for whiling away an evening.
Öræfi has hotels conveniently located between Skaftafell National Park– home to incredible waterfalls and natural attractions– and the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. If you wish to spend time exploring both the park– which is a common attraction– and the glacier, then this is the spot for you. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, in particular, is a physically demanding and time-consuming experience which is worth both the hours and the energy spent.
As this secluded area is popular for tourists and bus tours, you will want to book your hotel room far in advance. Many hotels also offer a northern lights wake up call. If you request it, the concierge will call you at any time of night to let you know that the lights are visible. Find a room with large windows, and you won’t even need to travel outside.
No matter where you stay in Iceland, you are sure to see something breathtakingly beautiful and have a memorable experience.
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