Hotel Glymur

Hvalfjordur, Reykjavik & West, Iceland Book from Book from £142 per night

Tranquil hotel and restaurant, set above a rugged fjord with to-die-for views from its geothermal hot tubs
If sitting in a geothermal hot tub watching the Northern Lights sounds heavenly, check yourselves into the bright-red Hotel Glymur, one of Iceland's most popular hotels. Just 45 minutes outside Reykjavik, it's perched on a hillside in Hvalfjordur - and it's gloriously remote.

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 22 split-level rooms, where you can retreat with a friend or lover, and 6 self-catering contemporary cottages, which suit families. The staff are welcoming, the atmosphere laid-back, and the food delicious. 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)
  • Extremely friendly and helpful staff, led by Ragna, who can arrange excursions
  • Easy to find and under an hour from Reykjavik


  • 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, as is common in Iceland
  • Don't expect cool interior design - we weren't keen on some details such as plastic flowers

Best time to go

Iceland is totally different in winter and summer, so we’d recommend going twice!
For snowy scenery and practically no 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

Bring your swimsuit for the hot tubs, camera and binoculars for the fabulous landscape, and appropriate clothing for the elements (including thermals if you go in winter!). Moisturiser is also a good idea as the geothermal water quickly dries out your skin.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 25 + 6 self-catering cottages
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service


The 22 unassuming split-level rooms have simple Nordic décor - wooden furniture and floors, crisp white walls - offset by splashes of colour (reds, golds and terracottas in ours) in cushions and wall art.

Below, each has a living space with wardrobe, leather sofa and desk with an Iley coffee machine. The small bathroom has a drench shower and towelling bathrobes - required for the hot tubs! Ascend the wooden staircase for the unadorned attic-feel platform bedroom, whose beds have warm duvets. Best of all, picture windows offer ever-changing panoramas from dawn till dusk (a long time in midsummer!) of wild mountains or the snow-capped fjord opposite.

For more space, upgrade to the 2-bedroom suites, or the six colour-themed self-catering cottages, a short walk away, also with stunning fjord views. Large cottages sleep four, the Small 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 - for families, honeymooners, or groups of friends.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • CD player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi


The homely wood-clad dining room, with its award-winning Icelandic food, kitsch ceramics, and library, is great for relaxing. There are complimentary beverages and biscuits throughout the day, and a well-stocked honesty bar.

At dinner, the restaurant is candlelit. In winter there's an excellent set menu with 2-3 choices for each course; summer's menu is a la carte. Starters included Iceland’s famous langoustine, accompanied by home-baked breads; mains were freshly smoked trout, lamb, or salt cod with strawberry and mint, rounded off with chocolate cake and ice cream. Everything was cooked to perfection, and the wine list was good if pricey.

Breakfast was impressive: a vast cold European-cum-Icelandic buffet of meats, cheeses, boiled eggs, pastries, several smoked fish and locally cured meats. The perfect kick-start for our active day!

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


In summer:

  • Fish in a nearby stream or lake (some within walking distance); the salmon season is from 1 July - 20 September, trout between 1 April - 20 June
  • There are several hiking trails through rugged mountainsides, from a 15-minute stroll to the fjord to a 2-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 (24 hour daylight in summer!)
  • Whale-watching (and dolphin and porpoise!) boat trips run May through August, leaving from Reykjavik
In winter:
  • 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:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Private guided tours
  • Skiing
  • 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 5 minutes' walk downhill from the hotel.

Best for:

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 two-bedroom Suites in the main hotel which can take an additional child on a bed or cot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

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 extensive breakfast buffet will have plenty of interest for most children.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches on fjord
  • Boat trips
  • Whale-watching
  • Horse riding
  • Hiking

Families Should Know:

The hotel is on a hillside, the surrounding slopes are of loose stones and tightly packed heather


  • Airport: 90 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes (20 minutes in winter)
  • Shops: 5 minutes (20 minutes in winter)
Kid Friendly:


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.

By Air
Reykjavic's Keflavik (95km) is an easy drive away. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
Hire a car from the airport - see our car rental recommendations. It takes about 80 minutes to drive from the airport, take HWY 41 into Reykjavík. A taxi will cost you approximately ISK20,000. Parking is available on the premises.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through

More on getting to Iceland and getting around.


  • Reykjavic Keflavik International 95.0 km KEF


  • Beach 1.0 km
  • Shops 25.0 km
  • Restaurant 25.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests


This hotel is an absolute winner. It’s far enough away from Reykjavík to feel like you are at the end of the world, but close enough to be drivable after my 3 hour flight. It’s so stunningly beautiful, it took both my and my fiance’s breath away. We had the red cottage and it’s spectacular. The room comfortable, warm (necessary in a snow storm) and it feels like there is absolutely no one around you. We cooked for ourselves one night, and ate at the main hotel the other. The staff are absolutely lovely and will do anything and everything to make your stay comfortable and entertaining. Andreus was a fantastic barman, waiter and story-teller. We absolutely loved our stay here and can’t recommend it highly enough (and part of me doesn’t want to in case it becomes overrun with people so I can’t go). I was not overly keen to go to Iceland (I planned it for my fiancé) but I didn’t want to leave after two nights at the wonderful Hotel Glymur. I will be back, but for a much longer time on my next visit. Oh and I haven’t even mentioned seeing the Northern Lights from the jacuzzi on the first night!!! Just magic.


The cottage was beautifully done with fine views of the Fjord. We especially like the hot tub! The main hotel was quirky and cool, with some of the best breakfasts I've had in a hotel.
We drove a fair way every day - for the Golden Circle tour, Reykjavik and the South rather than staying in the local area. There is only one road so if you want to go to these areas you do spend some time on route one and going through the tunnel under the Fjord. We did manage to see seals nearby, however, which was magical. Overall, I'd say the hotel itself was absolutely perfect, apart from, for us, its location, which was not quite where we needed to be - our own fault, for not doing our research properly!


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