Where to stay in Iceland: Nordic idyll that feels like home

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If you are travelling to Iceland for the first time, the Golden Circle will probably make it onto your bucket list. The sights on this ring road, such as the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Springs and Seljalandsfoss waterfall, have enjoyed a remarkable popularity for many years. You can drive around this road in a day, as it is only 140 miles (230 km) long. If, however, you decide to extend your visit and stop off along the road overnight, I highly recommend Geysir Hestar retreat. It offers a variety of rooms in a guesthouse with shared bathrooms and showers, as well as private cottages for rent. You may be on a budget during this trip, which is understandable, considering Iceland is the most expensive country in the whole of Europe to visit, but the extra bit of money spent on at least 1 night’s stay here will be totally worth it. (I wish I stayed for 2!)

Strokkur Geyser

The location

Geysir Hestar is located right in between two spectacular sights of the Golden Circle: the Geysir (5 min drive) and the Gullfoss Falls (7 min drive). The beauty of having them right on your doorstep is that you can get to the sights before (or after) most tourists without sacrificing your sleep.
The view from a room in the guesthouse

In addition, if you are travelling in the winter months and planning on “hunting” for the Northern Lights, you are in a prime location, far away from the light pollution of towns and cities.  Beautiful decor complementing the view outside

And with the large wall-wide windows in every room of the guesthouse you can relax and watch the night’s sky from the comfort of your private room.

Things to do

Apart from the aforementioned activities, Geysir Hestar is also a home to Icelandic horses, probably another “sight” on your Icelandic bucket list. If it wasn’t already, it should be now. You can walk up to them for a pet (they might think you have a treat for them so keep your hands safe!) or with an arrangement with the hostess even go for a ride!
In the evening you can go for a stroll on the surrounding trails and in the nearby woodland or stay in and relax in the beautifully decorated common area/kitchen and watch the mesmerizing sunset over the fields and mountains through the windows. The Scandinavian feel to this place can only add to an experience of a stay in Iceland. 

How to get there

There is no railway system in Iceland, so logistically the best way to travel is by car. There are a few car hire companies, like Sixt, that offer electric cars, which would be the most sustainable way to travel as electricity in this country is generated predominantly using renewable energy (hydroelectric 70%, geothermal almost 30%). If that is beyond your budget, you can opt for buses which operate regularly around the Golden Circle and the rest of the island. There are also minibus tours available to different sites and attractions. Otherwise, you can offset your carbon footprint by planting trees in Iceland, an option that is given to Icelandic visitors by the country’s forestry department. 

Best time to visit

In summer (June, July and August) Iceland has an average temperature between 10˚C and 14˚C (50-57 degrees Fahrenheit). This is the best travel period due to the best chance of clear and sunny days. If you want to avoid the summer crowds, you can also visit Iceland in the months of May, September and October. Although in the interior some hotels might already or still be closed. Click here to read more.

Written by our travel reporter Marija:

Click here for her Instagram account. 

This article was last updated on December 04, 2020.