Glamping on a private island?
11 of Iceland's unique and strange accommodations in Iceland
Icelanders do not sleep in igloos – but you are welcome to. Here are 11 accommodations where architecture and design create a night destined to be remembered.
Dream big in a capsule
The Galaxy Pod Hostel in Reykjavik’s city center, is modeled after the popular Japanese pod hostels. This luxury pod hostel has a futuristic theme so that the capsule rooms feel reminiscent of where one might sleep on a spaceship. It is very popular with Star Wars fans. Don’t forget the virtual reality games in the hotel lobby.
The Panorama Glass Lodge is located on remote land near the town of Hella, South Iceland. Made up of several igloos fitted with large windows for viewing the landscape, this offers an immersive experience where sunlight and auroras serve as the room's light switch. Each house includes a private hot tub and hammock nets.
Rugged to bed by the waves
For the first thousand years in Iceland’s history, sailboats were the only way to get to and from Iceland. Standing at the helm of a ship powered entirely by wind will certainly give you sense of the old way of life. In Húsavík, North Sailing sails to Grímsey for summer solstice by the Arctic Circle, sleeping on board the Opal expedition schooner. In Ísafjörður, Aurora Arktika offers multi-day trips exploring the pristine fjords of the Hornstrandir nature reserve. Fair winds!
The Blue Lagoon Backyard
The Blue Lagoon is a milky blue-green bath visited by two million people a year. You may have seen pictures! But to the side, in a quiet pocket of that middle-of-moss property, is another lagoon available only to guests at the boutique Blue Lagoon Retreat. The most expensive option is the Lagoon Suit with a private, walk-in lagoon. Other rooms come with access to the Retreat Spa and meals from the Michelin-rated Moss Restaurant.
The turf house retreat
For most of history, living in Iceland meant living in a turf house, with a grass roof and walls made from rocks and mud. Like any architectural style, the houses evolved over the centuries. The 19th century wooden structure has now come to live as a ‘luxury retreat’ in South Iceland. The Torfhús Retreat is a place of ten exclusive cottages showcasing the distinct Medieval building style; most of the houses are a single bedroom unit but a double-bedroom is an option, too. Attached to the premise is a longhouse serving as a gorgeous reception and a restaurant.
The sci-fi hotel
For a unique boutique hotel experience, try the Ion Adventure Hotel located near the Þingvellir National Park. The hotel is built into the landscape in a minimalist sci-fi style. The location offers many hiking opportunities off-site as well as an indoor heated pool and hot tub on-site. In case you are afraid of missing the Northern Lights, you can ask the hotel receptionist to give you a wake-up call at all hours of the night whenever the sky shows signs of activity.
Domes in a Reykjavík backyard
Part glass, part tent; The Reykjavik Domes is the closest thing to living in an igloo in Reykjavík. The domes are on a quiet field in a seaside neighborhood with a view over the bay to Mt. Esja. Each comes with a private jacuzzi and a fire place. The windows can be closed to the outside world for privacy if preferred.
The little house by the sea
In Iceland’s Westfjords one can find unusual accommodations offered by locals on Airbnb, such as this restored classic Icelandic fisherman’s cottage from the 1900s in the village of Bolungarvík. The cottage is small and cozy and includes a sun deck and a garden, as well as views of both the mountains and the sea. From the upstairs loft one can even see the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve nearby.
Live in a bubble
The Bubble Hotel is perfect for those Aurora Borealis hunters. The “hotel” is an actual transparent bubble allowing you to sleep under the Northern Lights in a remote forest, far away from the light obstruction of the city lights. Open from mid-April to September, we recommend booking ahead as it is a popular getaway, especially for couples. But be flexible with your expectations -- the Northern Lights are a phenomenon that appear without a schedule. To protect the privacy of guests, the location of the premise is only revealed via GPS coordinates upon booking.
Glamping by the river
Voted one of the best glamping spots in Europe in 2020, Original North is located on a private estate on the banks of the glacial river Skjálfandafljót. The tents have been designed with Icelandic weather conditions in mind and are very well equipped with furniture, heating, and Wi-Fi. The camp is located near many worthy sites includes the waterfall Ullarfoss, the forest Fosselsskógur, and the ancient parliamentary sites of Þingey and Skuldaþingsey.
The island of Vigur
The peaceful island of Vigur in the Westfjords is delightful even for a daytrip. From April to September some 7,000 breeding eider ducks, more than 100,000 puffins, a rare colony of black guillemot as well as nesting arctic terns are present on this tiny island. In fact, the main occupation of the island farm is collecting and cleaning the soft down left behind by wild eider ducks in their nests, which is a valuable insulation material used in many products. To stay overnight on this bird paradise, on which only one family lives year-round, there are a few options in historic housing. All revenue from overnight stays on Vigur greatly contributes to the efforts to develop the conservation activities on the island.