“Tranquil hotel and restaurant, set above a rugged fjord with to-die-for views from its geothermal hot tubs”
Inside it's both a hotel and art gallery, crammed with knick-knacks - brightly woven rugs, painted ceramics, wooden carvings - from local artists. Though not cutting-edge chic, it's colourful and homely, a contrast to the wild and elemental setting. The vibe continues in the split-level rooms, where you can retreat with a friend or lover, and the six self-catering contemporary cottages, which suit families or those after added space. The staff are welcoming, the atmosphere laid-back, and the food excellent. A great base for hiking, whale-watching, midnight-golfing or simply basking in the awesome landscape.
- The unspoilt, rugged scenery - each room and cottage has a wall-to-wall window with panoramic views
- Deliciously fresh Icelandic food, served in generous portions
- Watching the Aurora Borealis from the geothermal hot tubs is an almost magical experience (wake-up calls are offered October-March)
- Easy to find and under an hour from Reykjavik, yet it feels gloriously remote
- Don't expect cool interior design - we weren't keen on some details such as plastic flowers
- Rooms in the main building were looking a little tired on our last visit - book yourself into a self-catering cottage if you can
- The split-level room design is not suitable for less agile guests; one is specially equipped for the less mobile
- You'll need to hire a car to explore
- Showers have geothermal faintly sulphurous-smelling hot water
Best time to go
For snowy scenery and fewer tourists, visit during winter (October to April). Prices drop in this period, the hotel will be less full, and the long hours of darkness plus the remote location increases your chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Visit in the summer (May to September), and experience the almost eerie 24-hour daylight, plus warmer temperatures - perfect for whale watching, hiking and kayaking. Be prepared for rain at any time of year.”
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 25 + 6 self-catering cottages
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
The main building houses 22 unassuming split-level rooms, one disabled access room and two Suites. All have simple Nordic décor - wooden furniture and floors, crisp white walls - offset by splashes of colour in cushions and wall art. The picture windows offer ever-changing panoramas from dawn till dusk (a long time in midsummer!) of wild mountains or the snow-capped fjord opposite. Go for an ocean-view room if you can.
For more space and style, upgrade to a colour-themed self-catering cottage, a short walk away, also with stunning fjord views. Large Cottages sleep four, Small Cottages sleep two (plus extra beds/baby cots if required). All have ensuite bedrooms, an open-plan living/dining/kitchen area, plus patio with private hot tub.
- CD player
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
The homely wood-clad dining room, with its tasty Icelandic food, kitsch ceramics, and library, is great for relaxing. There's a well-stocked honesty bar to keep you fuelled.
At dinner, the restaurant is candlelit. In winter there's an excellent set menu with two/three choices for each course; summer's menu is a la carte. Starters included Iceland’s famous langoustine soup, accompanied by home-baked breads; mains were freshly smoked trout, lamb, or salt cod, rounded off with hot chocolate brownie and ice cream. Everything was cooked to perfection, and the wine list was good if pricey.
Breakfast is a cold European-cum-Icelandic buffet of meats, cheeses, boiled eggs, pastries, several smoked fish and locally cured meats.
The cottages are well equipped for self-catering (oven, hob, fridge-freezer, microwave, and barbecue on the deck), but guests can of course eat at the hotel, or a private chef can come in and whip up a feast.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Fish in a nearby stream or lake (some within walking distance); the salmon season is from July - September, trout between April - June.
- There are several hiking trails through rugged mountainsides, from a 15-minute stroll to the fjord to a two-hour walk to Glymur Waterfall; look out for ptarmigan, snipe, sea eagle, black-tailed godwit, and Arctic fox.
- The hotel can arrange horse riding on purebred Icelandic ponies, tours around the Golden Circle (the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir hot springs, and Thingvellir National Park), kayaking on the Hvalfjordur fjord, and golf at one of three courses nearby.
- Whale-watching (and dolphin and porpoise) boat trips run May through August, leaving from Reykjavik.
- Take a snowmobiling all-day trip on the Snaefell Glacier.
- The psychedelic ripples of the Northern Lights are most often seen in winter (October-March), during crisp clear nights; the hotel will wake you to see them on request.
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
- Private guided tours
- Snowmobiling (in Winter)
- Whale watching
While Iceland is great for older children in terms of summer outdoor activities, this location is not ideal for younger children, especially during the cold winter months, as there are no indoor ‘child’ facilities. However, the self-catering cottages are great for outdoorsy families, although note that they are up to five minutes' walk downhill from the hotel.
Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The three Large Cottages have two bedrooms so are ideal and can also take a couple of extra beds and baby cots. The three Small Cottages have one bedroom, but can also take extra beds and cots. There are a couple of Suites in the main hotel which can take an additional child on a bed or cot.
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The cottages are well-equipped for self-catering, and you also have the option of eating at the hotel restaurant if you prefer not to. For evening meals, half-portions can be ordered from the menu on request, and there are pasta and chicken dishes available. The breakfast buffet will have plenty of interest for most children.
Kids Activities nearby:
- Beaches on fjord
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
Families Should Know:
The hotel is on a hillside, the surrounding slopes have loose stones and tightly packed heather.
- Airport: 90 minutes
- Hospital: 5 minutes (20 minutes in winter)
- Shops: 5 minutes (20 minutes in winter)
Hotel Glymur is located on the northern shore of Hvalfjördur (the Whale Fjord), about 45 minutes drive from Reykjavik if you take the tunnel under the fjord and about 1 hour 5 minutes if you drive the whole length of the fjord.
Keflavik Airport (95km) is an easy drive away.
From the Airport
Hire a car from the airport - see our car rental recommendations. It takes about 80 minutes to drive from the airport; follow HWY 41 into Reykjavík, or take a taxi. Parking is available on the premises.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Reykjavic Keflavik International 95.0 km KEF
- Beach 1.0 km
- Shops 25.0 km
- Restaurant 25.0 km