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The best lodging along Iceland’s Ring Road

The best lodging along Iceland’s Ring Road

This post is sponsored in part by the owners of the Airbnb rentals I stayed at during the duration of my Iceland road trip.

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:

wooden, remote Ring road cabin north of Reykjavik with a hot tub
A secluded, wooden cabin located in Reykholt, north of Reykjavik. A perfect place to soak in the hot tub and enjoy the Northern Lights.

Unplugged oasis 

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.

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!


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. Modelled 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.

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 artists 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.

sunrise behind wooden, tiny cabin on southern coast of Icleand
Cozy, tiny cabins at sunrise located nearby Iceland’s Golden Circle.

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 bath house 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.

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 Seaside Studio 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 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

If you’d like to save $40 off an Airbnb stay, use my referral link.

Hrísmóar Cabin | Harbour homeHvammstangi Cottages |  Guesthouse Hof í Vatnsdal | Óli´s HomestayGíslastaðir Cottage | Ásahraun Cottage | Seaside StudioDowntown Backyard Cottage

This post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by the owners of the Airbnb homes I stayed in for the duration of my trip.

17 thoughts on “The best lodging along Iceland’s Ring Road”

  • I love, love Iceland, so all of these are wonderful choices. However, if I have to choose, I’d go with the tiny barrel cabins, they’re so quaint! I’m sure they’re popular, if only for the photo taking angle! Will come back here the next time!

    • Hi Lisa! Iceland is definitely one of my favorite destinations. I was absolutely in love with these tiny barrel cabins! Sometimes a cabin is a little cold and nippy, but these were so warm and luxurious! Definitely an added bonus to their cute exterior. Thanks for reading; happy travels!

  • What beautiful places to stay and while I’m a complete addict to the internet, it would be amazing to unplug and just enjoy the sky. Not to mention Iceland is a great place to do that with so much less light population. I’ll admit, i was hoping that you did an igloo 🙂 The hubby and I want to do one of the ice hotels!

  • Wow! I’m actually thinking about visiting Iceland later this year as a belated birthday present to myself. I think that glamping would be my first choice of lodging and is something I’m definitely going to look into! Although I wouldn’t say no to checking out those barrels! 🙂

    • Hi Rachelle! That would be a fantastic birthday present to yourself! And yes, I definitely recommend staying in Airbnbs all over Iceland. Each is so unique and so much cheaper than hotels/hostels. Let me know if you stay at any on this list. Thanks for reading; safe travels!

  • wow, these are truly some amazing choices for a stay over. I personally would love to explore the tiny barrel cabins, they look so intriguing, but I hope the experience wouldn’t be claustrophobic. i also loved the idea of staying in the backyard and by the sea side. The pictures are fabulous.

  • Those are some lovely choices. Let’s see, I like the barrel styled cabins as well as being by the artic circle. The Viking one also, appealed to me. Now I must definitely pin the post to remember when I get to Iceland.

  • Great choices for a stay over. I am curious about the tiny barrel cabins, they seem interesting and different kind. Staying in the backyard and by the sea side also seems charming. You got us great pictures.

  • I’m visiting Iceland in a few months and I’m quite happy to read this. All my accommodations are in cabins, living with locals and some even own Icelandic horses! I’m way too excited. And your photos are so stunning

    • Hi Samah! Fun fact, a lot of Icelanders own and breed Icelandic horses, so you’ll meet quite a few of them! The Vikings Longhouse I stayed at was actually on a horse farm and the owners take you on tours and riding lessons as well. So fun! Hope you have a fantastic time and stay warm!

  • This is the perfect post for me as I buy each of the word. I love staying with the locals and don’t mind a rustic setup in a countryside. These cabins are simply awesome. I am definitely bookmarking it for my future visit. Its a dream for me.

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