It’s very easy to think of Iceland as cool. But this guesthouse has northern exposure written all over it – from the hard lines of its fantastic corrugated iron exteriors to the pared-down white interiors. It’s also in a great location, between the capital city and the country, and is perfectly poised for viewing the Northern Lights.
Alftanes Guesthouse Reykjavik, Iceland
This small modern guesthouse is located in Álftanes, a low-lying peninsula a short distance from the amenities of Reykjavík’s city center. It’s surrounded in sweeping country vistas, seascapes and mountain ranges – everything you could hope for from Iceland.
The property has two apartments (1,2) and two additional bedrooms, built around a communal breakfast room, with a shared garden. The two apartments have king-sized beds, bathrooms and kitchens. The rooms have double beds (Room 2 has an additional single bed), and share a bathroom.
We love its industrial feel, with exteriors that look like they’ve been built to withstand the elements but still manage to look elegant. Each room is strikingly simple in design, with quirky elements like postage stamp murals, world globes, tree-trunk side tables and stair railings made of rope. The wraparound horizontal windows of Apartment 2 are a cool feature.
The owners of the property are nearby and offer a personalized service. The guesthouse aims to be environmentally-friendly, with homegrown produce and homemade food for the morning meal. The vegetables, berries and spices used are often grown in the garden of the guesthouse or in a nearby greenhouse.
Room service, 24-hour reception and breakfast are included. If ordered the day before, you can have a breakfast tray delivered to your apartment. Prepared meals for day trips can also be booked the day before.
Free admission to the nearby Álftanes swimming pool (with its hot tubs, steam bath, sauna, toddler pools, slides and wave pool) is included. Bikes are available for rental.
Guests can visit the seaside as well as an old farm where hay is still made and farm animals such as horses and Icelandic settlement chickens are raised. During the summer, horseback-riding excursions in Álftanes are available (please provide as much notice as possible).
The Icelandic Museum of Design and Applied Art, with Icelandic design from the beginning of the 20th century to the present, is in neighboring Garðabær.
Álftanes is known for its birdlife. Beaches and mud-flats are accessible year-round. There are a number of great hiking and cycling paths, and there is a golf club nearby.
This is one of the best places in the capital region to view the Northern Lights. Winter in the north is generally a good season for it because of the long periods of darkness and the frequency of clear nights.
Álftanes, Reykjavik, Iceland. Nearest airport: Keflavik International Airport (38-minute drive).
BEST TIME TO VISIT
For views of the Aurora Borealis, September to April. For long days, May to July. New Year’s Eve in Álftanes is always fun, with its sky full of fireworks and bonfire by the ocean. The 6th of January is Þrettándinn, or the 13th of Christmas, with another bonfire and even more fireworks.
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Alftanes Guesthousefrom €120/ nt
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