Hotels on Iceland’s Ring Road

By Florence Drake
This item appears on page 27 of the May 2016 issue.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, the deepest lake in Iceland (814 feet), on Highway 1 between Höfn and Skaftafell. Photo by Florence Drake

My husband and I, along with another couple, traveled to Iceland, July 7-16, 2015 — our second trip to Iceland and their first. We rented a car and drove the Ring Road all around the island. Here are some of the places where we stayed plus other reports. 

We booked all of our hotels at On the whole, most of the places were squeaky clean (even gas station restrooms were very clean). The food all over the island was very fresh and well prepared, and people were helpful and friendly. Prices were high, but we knew this before we went.

• The Welcome Hotel in Vik (Vikurbraut 24a-26, Vik 870, Iceland; phone +354 487 1212, was anything but welcoming. 

Upon arrival, no one was on hand to greet us. Instead, there was a self-check-in system through which we could either call a number on the phone in the front hall (several times, as it was often busy) and receive a code for the lockbox outside of our room OR use the lockbox code they had sent us in an email. The key to our door was in the lockbox.

No one was on site to answer questions. We had paid for our room on the Internet before we arrived.

While waiting for the check-in time (3 p.m. and not a second sooner), I visited the ladies’ room at the end of the front hall. It was filthy! When I told the staff about this when we reached them on the phone, I was told it was the responsibility of the restaurant on the first floor, which was a separate business.

 However, at that time there was no one at the restaurant to tell because it didn’t open for dinner, only for the included breakfast. At breakfast, the food was slow in being set out and ran out quickly.

There was no elevator, so we had to drag our luggage up to our room. The rooms were shabby but clean, though the upstairs hall was shabby and not clean. 

Our room cost 179 (near $203) for one night and was definitely overpriced. We would not recommend this place.*

• Next door to the Welcome Hotel in Vik was Halldórskaffi, or Halldor’s Café (Vikurbraut 28, Myrdal, Vik 870, Iceland; phone +354 487 1202,, which was full of locals when we walked in.

The restaurant featured specialties from fresh-caught fish to locally grown veggies. The food was outstanding. My friend Mary and I each had the Arctic char, her husband, Billy, had the cod, and my husband, Bill, had a veggie pizza. All three meals were made with fresh ingredients and were very yummy. If we recall correctly, entrées were $20-$30 apiece.

• For a lovely experience shopping in a converted WWII utility trailer in Vik, go see Zuzana Golierová at Go for Felt ( A hand-felter, she’s a lovely lady who makes everything in her shop from 100% wool and silk. I bought a great hat there for about $90 and it came in handy, as the wind blew often in Iceland.

Hotel Rjúkandi (311 Borgarnes, Vegamót, Iceland; phone +354 770 7636,, at the intersection of routes 56S and 54, was in the middle of nowhere on the north-south road across the Snæfellsnes peninsula. All travel services were offered there. 

They advertised that the room was soundproof, but it wasn’t, though it was quiet. We paid about $190 for one night, with breakfast and W-Fi both free. Breakfast in the restaurant was good and plentiful, and dinner was also very good. There was a bakery on site with yummy temptations. 

Hjardarból Guesthouse (Hveragerdi 816, Iceland; phone +354 567 0045, was southeast of Hveragerdi on Route 1, going toward Selfoss. After turning left on Route 374, the hotel was on the left.

This place was a working farm with a motel on the premises. It had a retro-1960s flavor though not by intent. The price was around $132 per night.

The rooms were very basic, but there were musty smells in the hallway. Our friends couldn’t stay in their room because of an awful perfumey odor. They ended up getting another place closer to town at a lovely horse ranch.

Breakfast at the guest house would have cost 10 per person, so my husband and I ate at a bakery in town, several miles away. 

The hotel’s promised free W-Fi didn’t work most of the time and never in the rooms. We wouldn’t recommend this place at all.**

Vinland Hotel (Eglisstadr 701, Iceland; phone +354 615 1900, had free W-Fi but no free breakfast, since the cottage had full cooking facilities with plenty of utensils and pots.

This place was advertised as having two bedrooms, but that wasn’t true. There was one bedroom upstairs, and outside that room, in a wide place under the eaves in the upper hall, there was a long bench with long cushions that was supposed to be the second bedroom, though it had no privacy, lights or window.

Luckily, the couch in the living room made into a bed with a nice mattress, which is where my husband and I slept comfortably. 

This place was very clean and just fine, located on a hill overlooking beautiful views and close to a grocery store. We paid $381 per night.

Fosshotel Vatnajokull (Lindar­bakki, 781 Höfn, Iceland; phone +354 562 4000, was a new, modern hotel, and the accommodations were very nice. It was clean, and the price was around $260 per night, with breakfast and W-Fi free. 

We opted to go into town for supper and found a very nice seafood restaurant.

Hotel Mikligardur (Skagfird­ing­­abraut 24, Saudarkrokur 55, Iceland; phone +354 453 6330, was reached by heading west on Route 75 past the intersection with 75S, then turning left on Hegrabraut and right to Hvítserkur. 

Rooms were clean and the staff was very nice. We paid 145 for one night, including breakfast and W-Fi. This hotel was actually part of the local school system, with rooms used for boarding out-of-town students.

Hótel Reynihlíd (660 Mývatn, Iceland; phone +354 464 4170, was an easy drive from Húsavík, where the accommodations were much more expensive.

We stayed two nights at the Reynihlíd, since there was so much to do in the Mývatn area, in the northeast. We paid about $280 per night, with breakfast and W-Fi. The coast was nearby, and in Húsavík we had access to the best whale-watching cruises. 

• For whale-watching, we booked with Gentle Giants (Harbour Side, P.O. Box 270, 640 Húsavík, Iceland; phone +354 464 1500,, and for about $90 apiece we had a wonderful cruise in an open boat. They suited us up in padded and hooded overalls as well as life jackets so we were warm.

Our cruise encountered a show-off of a humpback, who breached a total of 14 times before leaving. It was a spectacular show. Refreshments of warm cider and a type of doughnut were served on our way back to port.


Readfield, ME

*ITN emailed a copy of Ms. Drake’s comments to the Welcome Hotel in Vik but received no reply.

**ITN emailed the Hjardarból Guesthouse but received no reply.