K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Visiting Iceland’s northern region provides an opportunity to escape the crowds of the popular ‘Golden Circle’ while immersing oneself in some of the country’s most unique and breathtaking scenery. Discover the extraordinary landscape surrounding Lake Myvatn, characterized by its peculiar rock formations, moss-covered lava fields, geothermal activity, and volcanic craters. Don’t miss the chance to unwind at the lesser-visited Lake Myvatn Nature Baths and watch for whales in Husavik, known as the country’s ‘Whale Watching Capital.’ While Akureyri, the ‘Capital of the North,’ offers an excellent base for accommodations, numerous outstanding options are available in smaller towns and remote rural areas.
If you want to be in the tranquil countryside, immersed in nature with magnificent views near Ísafjörður, this bright and cheery, secluded one-bedroom house is ideal for a couple or solo traveler. You’ll have all the comforts of home, including a full kitchen, TV and Wi-Fi, with a hidden outdoor shower, where you can enjoy the beautiful landscape while getting ready for a day of exploring. The town is just a 10-minute drive away with fabulous cafes and restaurants, a bakery, and historic architecture as well as offering boat tours to watch the puffins on Vigure Island.
Also located in Iceland’s northwest region, this rustic Húnavatnshreppur cabin sits on a horse breeding farm, a small studio-style apartment for up to four guests, with two beds and a sofa-bed, a kitchen and living room area. From the large windows, you’ll enjoy a fabulous view of the mountains and a river, gorgeous sunsets and the opportunity to glimpse the northern lights. The space also includes a tiny loft for kids.
This cottage for two is located on a horse farm by the banks of picturesque Lake Hlíðarvatn near the town of Borgarnes in the northwest, an ideal base for enjoying the rural countryside and a scenic view. You’ll have your own hot tub out front for soaking under the stars, perhaps catching a glimpse of the colorful northern lights in an ideal setting far from light pollution. Sipping your morning coffee from the lakeside porch, watching the Icelandic horses, sheep and lambs graze is an ideal way to start your day here.
Located in Grenivik, less than a half-hour’s drive from Akureyri, this two-bedroom home boasts a beautiful view of the fjord and mountains right along the water, bringing the opportunity to watch the whales that frequently pass by. From late September through March on a clear night, it can be a good spot for watching the northern lights. Spread over three floors, it offers everything you need and then some, with a well-equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. TV and Wi-Fi are included too.
A perfect Airbnb for chasing the Northern Lights, this Airbnb is a luxury haven for nature lovers. If you want to be close to the capital of Iceland’s northern region, this two-bedroom apartment is just a 10-minute drive from Akuryeri’s many restaurants, cafes, shops and art galleries while providing a tranquil stay. You’ll enjoy a serene view over the bay and the town, with dramatic mountain peaks providing an impressive backdrop. There are huge picture windows that showcase the stunning view, including the Midnight Sun in the summer, and the northern lights in the winter. Extra-spacious, it sleeps up to six and includes a fully equipped kitchen, along with heated floors.
This tiny, adorable cabin is nestled in a garden overlooking the fjord opposite Akureyri. Ideal for a couple or solo traveler, it was just constructed in the spring of 2020 and includes Wi-Fi and a kitchenette with a kettle, microwave and fridge. There’s also a half wrap-around deck for relaxing with a view, and an outdoor shower with hot water. Guests are also welcome to use the private pottery workshop and kiln in the host’s garage to create their own inspiring piece, along with the garden. For stays of longer than three days, a washer and dryer in the main house are available too.
This modern cabin for two sits at the edge of a 300-year-old lava field and offers a magnificent view of Lake Mývatn, with a private terrace facing the lake to the west, also providing a view of the dramatic Hverfjall crater. It’s part of a complex of accommodations near the lake’s northern shore and includes a small living room, bedroom with a double bed, and bathroom with a shower. Guests can rent bikes on a half-day or full-day basis, and pick up hiking maps and bike route information in the service center. Icelandic horse riding tours are also available for exploring the Lake Myvatn surrounds.
The Summerhouse offers a peaceful and remote stay within easy reach of Husavik, with Akureyri about an hour’s drive away. It includes three bedrooms, sleeping up to five guests and comes with a cozy wood-burning stove for warming up on a chilly day or night, along with large windows for enjoying spectacular views of the countryside. There’s a well-equipped kitchen for cooking your own meals and a spacious outdoor deck for sipping your morning coffee or enjoying cocktails with a view.
The family-owned Vogafjós Farm Resort is located in the Myvtan area, offering private rooms in romantic log houses that sleep up to three guests. The property includes a farm to table restaurant where you can dine with a view of the lake, and even watch the cows as they’re milked. Surrounded by lava rocks and birch trees, it’s in an ideal location for watching the northern lights. All rooms include private bathrooms and Wi-Fi.
A stay in this charming cottage that accommodates up to three will put you near the fishing village of Þórshöfn in Iceland’s northeast, along the northern coast of the Langanes peninsula. It sits on a sheep farm and guests are welcome to participate in the farm chores, enjoying interactions with the animals along with beautiful views of the vast moors and the coastline of Þistilfjörður. The cottage includes Wi-Fi, a well-equipped kitchen and bathroom. Breakfast is included in the rates too.
Located in the northeast region, a little over four miles from the town center of Seydisfjordur in a beautiful fjord setting, this studio cabin was once a schoolhouse, now providing a comfortable, secluded stay with modern amenities and stunning views for up to four guests. You’ll be in a perfect spot for watching the northern lights while enjoying all the comforts of home, including a kitchen with an espresso machine, a fireplace, and Wi-Fi. In the artsy community itself, you’ll enjoy one of the best collections of historic buildings and homes among Iceland’s small towns, including the chalet-style houses inspired by German and Swiss models, which are clustered along Bjólfsgata and Norðurgata streets.
Also located in the northeast region of Iceland in a peaceful area near the town of Egilsstaðir, this cozy cottage sleeps up to two guests and sits on a small, family-run farm. It’s heated with geothermal energy and is surrounded by landscapes that include trees and a river, away from light pollution bringing the opportunity in the winter to watch the northern lights, and occasionally the reindeer that wander around. You’ll just two minutes on foot from the beautiful waterfall, while being able to enjoy a soothing shared hot tub to relax after a day of exploring. The cottage includes a full kitchen and bathroom with slippers and toiletries, along with a flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi.