Alpine-style lodge in remote southern Iceland where you can watch volcanoes explode, see the Northern Lights and eat like a (vi)king”
You’re greeted by a real stuffed polar bear called Hrammur, somewhat bizarrely. Rooms are strung along two long wood-clad corridors, and there are eight suites, themed to suit the world’s continents. What could be more weird and wonderful than sleeping in a room mocked up to resemble an African safari hut, but looking out to the East Rangá river, stuffed with salmon? The restaurant has an exciting, delicious menu including locally smoked puffin, lamb and wild salmon, and the outdoor hot tubs are one of the best places on earth to watch the winter Northern Light displays. Activity-wise, anything goes for couples, groups and families alike. And I mean anything. Want to see an active volcano? Take a helicopter up Mount Hekla? Dog-sled or glacier-hike? Visit a glacial lagoon? It can all be done.
- Fantastic location for exploring South Iceland’s delights including Jökulsárlón lagoon, glaciers, volcanoes, and the Golden Circle
- Food is fabulous - the best in the area
- Dizzyingly romantic - drink Champagne in the hot tub, see the Northern Lights in action, go horse riding across wild moors, get married by a waterfall
- Impeccable service - eccentric owner Fridrik is the perfect host and staff will wake you to see the Northern Lights if you ask them to
- All rooms have views - either north towards Hekla volcano and the Aurora or south towards the river and sunshine; some have private balconies, too
- The bedroom décor - handpainted murals, stuffed animals, bizarre themed suites - is gaudy and, some say, dated; but others find it part of Ranga's charm
- Some rooms have a communal hot tub outside, which restricts your privacy and tranquility
- It's not cheap, but you are in Europe's most expensive country!
- Remote, so you're likely to eat all meals in-house (which isn't a hardship in terms of taste, just budget); veggies don't get a lot of choice
- Most suites have Jacuzzi baths with hand-held showers - not ideal if you just want a shower
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 52 rooms
- 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
- Pool Table
Simple Standard Rooms have queensize or twin beds clad in striped or coloured bedspreads (the curtains match) and parquet flooring. Some have balconies, the others Jacuzzi bathtubs in their bathrooms. The Deluxe Rooms have kingsize beds (or twins) and sofabeds, while the larger and newer Deluxe Superior rooms have additional full-size wall beds (good for children) and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow light to flood in. Most rooms have unique murals painted by local artists, and face either the river or Mount Hekla volcano.
The quirky, themed Suites are aimed at honeymooners or families. All look over the East Rangá river. Stand-out Antarctica has black and white leather sofas, mini penguins and Jacuzzi bathtub, whereas Africa has an upturned tree, heavy African furniture and batik curtains. There's something entertaining about waking up under a thatched roof overlooking Iceland's top salmon river!
On our most recent visit we stayed in the Icelandic Suite, an enormous triple-aspect room with a stone bathtub in the centre and a giant revolving floor that allows you to face the window from any seat you choose - very James Bond!
- Central heating
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Rangá's pine-clad restaurant serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner; room service and bar snacks are also available. Breakfast is lavish - a huge spread with meats, cheeses, pickled fish, eggs, homemade cakes, bucks fizz, and the ubiquitous bottle of cod liver oil if you want to take part in that particular Icelandic breakfast tradition.
Dinner is sophisticated. This part of Iceland is famed for its salmon, Icelandic lobster and free-range lamb. We savoured a creamy seafood soup, smoked puffin with apple puree, reindeer carpaccio and lamb with pickled shallots, beetroot and layered potato. Vegetarians, fear not, there are plenty of non-meat options too. Dessert was Skyr cake with coconut ice cream, granola and an espresso shot. Yum.
Upstairs, the bar has dark leather armchairs, sofas and nooks and crannies to make your own. The wine list is excellent, and the staff are happy to let you try first if you're not sure what to choose. Rangá’s remote location means you're likely to eat here for most meals; the restaurant also serves light lunches, and can make up picnics on request.
- Children's meals
- Room service
- Languish (with Champagne) in one of the hotel’s three geothermally-heated hot tubs. In season (September-April), you could witness the Northern Lights.
- Go Icelandic: hike or horse-ride windswept moors; find secret hot pools; take a helicopter ride up to the glaciers and over the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano; river raft a glacial river in a dry suit; fish in Iceland’s top salmon river; go dog-sledding or snowmobiling.
- Visit the Golden Circle attractions - wondrous Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir rift valley, and the Geysir hot springs, where Strokkur erupts regularly.
- Spot puffins or play golf on Europe’s windiest course on the nearby Westman Islands.
- Whale watching season is all year round, high season April-September. Minke and porpoise are common, humpback and killer slightly less so, with great luck you might see a blue whale.
- On clear nights, go stargazing in the hotel's own observatory.
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Horse riding
- Pool table
- Whale watching
Iceland is a great country for children in general; Rangá welcomes them openly, and many of the larger rooms have an extra bed or space for a rollaway bed for small children. Baby cots are available, too.
The fresh air, landscape and endless activities will delight families, and management can help with special requests.
Family friendly accommodation:
All Deluxe rooms have sofabeds, Deluxe Superiors have full-size wall beds, and extra beds can be added to the Suites. There are no connecting rooms.
- Baby cots
- High chair
- Plastic crockery and cutlery
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
A kids' menu of fish and chips, burgers, pasta and sandwiches is available.
Kids Activities on site:
- Crayons and colouring books
- Puzzles and games
- Pool table
Kids Activities nearby:
- Swimming pools nearby
- Riding Icelandic horses
- Black beaches
- Glacier hiking (older kids)
- Dog sledding in winter
- Caving (older kids)
- 'Eyjafjallajökull Erupts' visitor centre (short film about the notorious volcano and geological background)
- River rafting (older kids)
- Skógar Folk Museum
- Boat trips to Westman Islands
- Whale watching
Families Should Know:
A river forms the natural boundary to the south of the hotel and is unfenced.
- Airport: 2 hours
- Children's hospital: 80 minutes
- Shops: 9 minutes
Rangá is 96km east of Reykjavik on the Route 1, just past Hella.
Fly into Keflavik International Airport (150km).
From the Airport
Bus and taxi transfers are available, bus routes are year-round although taxis are eye-wateringly expensive. Otherwise hire a car.
We'd recommend hiring a car - see our car rental recommendations. Rangá is roughly 90 minutes from Reykjavik (road speeds are 90km/h at their fastest) or two hours from the airport. It’s easy to find - once you’re on the Route 1, stay on it! Iceland’s roads are easy to negotiate as there are so few of them. Parking is provided at the hotel.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Keflavik International Airport 150.0 km KEV
- Beach 0.0 km
- Shops 10.0 km
- Restaurant 10.0 km