A 5 Day Iceland Holiday with your days spent exploring some of Iceland's most spectacular geological attractions and nights keeping watch for the Northern Lights. Choose between staying at the Ultra Cool ION Hotel with its vast picture windows, Hotel Grimsborgir with its 360° view hot tubs or Fredrik Paulsson's Hotel Ranga; all three of which give you breathtaking, gob smacking, heart stopping chances to see the Aurora dancing in the sky. And by the time you hit Reykjavik you'll have had the chance to see Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss's curtain falls, Dryrholaey’s white fringed black sand beaches, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon's calving bergs and snowmobile on Myrdalsjokull.
Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir’s edgy design hotel sits partly on cantilevered pillars on the slopes of Mount Hengill rising up from one of Iceland’s most active geo-thermal lava fields. The ION perfectly blends eco- style and luxury. Inside everything is minimalist Scandinavian chic with furniture, tables, wall decor and a hot pool fashioned in rectilinear shapes. Natural concrete walls and extensive floor to ceiling picture windows showcase the surrounding views. There is a mixture of standard and deluxe rooms all with hard wood flooring, down duvets, WI-FI, TV, hairdryer, kettle, bathrobes and slippers. The restaurant takes fresh locally sourced ingredients and gives them a Californian Asian twist Northern Lights bar offer menus of fresh local ingredients cooked with a twist.
Relentless entrepreneur Olafur Laufdal and his wife Kristin Ketilsdottir have created something of a gem; a colony of apartments and rooms arranged in a circle by the river Sog in the Grimsnes fissure. The Grimsborgir comprises 10 apartments ranging in size from 56sq m (about double the size of a good twin bedded hotel room) up to 4 bed roomed ones at 200sq m and 20 hotel rooms. Kristin’s interiors are best described as Scandinavian Country meets Ralph lauren . Biscuit coloured bed coverlets, patchwork quilts, muted colours, leather inlay tables, vertical wood panelling, hanging wall clocks, and wing back armchairs all apparently carelessly thrown together. Apartments have their own private hot tub overlooking the river with snow topped mountains in the distance. Locally sourced and foraged food particularly based on salmon, trout and cod is the hallmark of the hotel’s kitchen.
Set in the meadowland that skirts Iceland’s southern coastline against a backdrop of Mount Hekla, the Ranga started life as a private fishing lodge alongside its eponymous salmon laden river. Over the years, under the tutelage of owner Fredrik Paulsson and guidance of former manager Björn Nygårds Kers, it’s morphed into something of a legend with twin & de-luxe rooms ranging in size from 18 to 26 sq.m, outdoor hot tubs, a bar with deep leather armchairs & sofas (and some idiosyncratic bar stools); billiard rooms, and a World Pavillion with suites themed around the seven continents. Rooms have everything you need including flat screen TV; free Wi-Fi ; telephone; bathtub or shower, hairdryer, bathrobes and slippers; minibar; coffee and tea-maker; 24 hour room service, laundry and wake up service. Centre stage in the hotel’s restaurant is a signature Surf & Turf dish translated into a herbaceous roast lamb paired with meaty, buttery steamed lobster, and a skyr dessert that’s to die for. Never one to let meadow land grass grow under his feet(!), Fredrik recently oversaw the building of an observatory with two 11-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain computerized telescopes from which you can see even the detail of Saturn’s rings. And of course, the hotel’s remote location is ideal for catching the Northern Lights for which the hotel offers a night time alert system. Notwithstanding everything that’s gone on here over the years the hotel has kept its very personal owner driven style and ambience.
With a ship’s prow overlooking the hotel’s entrance ( the last time we visited), a gob smacking array of colours and patchwork fabrics, slatted wood pillars, overhead trunking and barrel top tables the Marina instantly impresses you as different with a capital D. The public area runs virtually the whole length of the hotel with a bar, seated alcoves, a 24/7 canteen style restaurant with an edgy take on locally sourced ingredients, a TV Cinema and Boiler Room Gym. The hotel has just over a 100 rooms all with an edgy, maritime and a minimalist design style with added chic. Standard rooms have a double bed, telephone, flat screen TV, WI-FI and hairdryer. There are also Studio rooms for 4 and 6 people, unique ‘Attic’ rooms and a two large (48 & 67 sq. metres!)
Fly to Keflavik International Airport from the UK, collect your hire car and drive to your chosen hotel at Nesjavellir (Ion), Þingvallavegur (Grimsborgir) or Hella (Ranga). Check in for 3 nights and have dinner at the hotel.
Suggested itinerary: after breakfast drive along the southeast coast across bridges fording dramatic outwash plains interspersed with black sand beaches and lava fields to Jokulsarlon Lagoon. The Lagoon’s luminous blue icebergs tinted with black volcanic dust float in the Lagoon for several years, gradually self-sculpting themselves in to different shapes before finally working their way out to sea. On your return stop off at either Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss or both. Take dinner at your hotel or drive down to Stokksyri for lobster to die for at Fjöruborðið.
Suggested itinerary: Drive along to the foot of Myrdalsjokull on which you can snowmobile: an experience like no other. Afterwards take in Skogafoss, Seljalandfoss or Dyrholaey if you missed either of them the previous day. In the evening try a restorative hot tub whilst waiting for Lady Aurora.
Drive up to Laugarvatn Spa for a steam bath in the manner of the locals and then to the Geyser area where Strokkur spouts 40m high every 5 to 10 minutes alongside steaming fumaroles, hot springs and mud pools. Continue to Gullfoss, the ‘Golden Falls’, where the glacial river Hvítá plummets 32 metres before torrenting down a large gorge between the Mid Atlantic Ridge’s tectonic plates. Finally continue slowly through the Þingvellir valley and into Reykjavik. Drop off your car and transfer to Hotel Marina for a final night.
Leave the city after breakfast for a valedictory bathe in the Blue Lagoon before transferring to Keflavik International Airport for your return flight to UK.
Return scheduled flight(s) from the UK to Iceland (Keflavik International Airport)
Pay on board cabin service
All passenger service charges and airport departure taxes
Carriage of luggage (1pc Cabin & 1pc Checked)
3 nights lodging at Hotel Ion, Grimsborgir or Ranga 1 night’s lodging at Hotel Marina in Reykjavik
Accommodation in twin room(s) with private WC/shower & room amenities
Board: 4 Buffet breakfasts,1 arrival night dinner
4 days (4 x 24hrs) car rental (group A, 5 door Toyota Yaris or similar) including unlimited mileage; theft protection & collision damage waiver insurances and all local taxes, Road Map, CD guide, airport collection fee
Admission fees to Laugarvatn Spa & Blue Lagoon inc towel rental
Internal transfers from Hotel Marina to Blue Lagoon & from Blue Lagoon to Keflavik.
Daily September 1st - April 30th
* Guide prices are in part based on our mid-level contract air fares which are veriable in real time unlike our ground supplier contract costs which are generally fixed. We don’t do fancy lead in prices and the time you confirm your booking always use the lowest air fare available. This may mean the confirmed price of your holiday being slightly less or more than the guide price in which case a proportionate reduction-supplement will apply. Carpe Diem = the earlier you book the better, especially for public & school holidays.