Where we stopped and why
Bed and breakfast in the eastern third of the country.
FAROE & ICELAND
Facts & Information
Initial research showed that we wanted to get to the Skaftafell National Park with its glaciers in the south, the Myvatn geothermal area in the north and the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park with its gorges and waterfalls in the north east. We would spend some time in the east while travelling from south to north. We aimed to spend three to four nights at those four locations, plus a night at each end to and from the ferry. And so the itinerary was fixed, giving us the ability to settle in a spot without having to move on every day, the opportunity to stand and stare and the flexibility to make a second trip to a site if the weather was foul the first time. We wouldn't see all the country, but we would see an example of most of its attractions, a cross section of its scenery and we would be fairly relaxed. And we would avoid the 'must see' brigade at the Blue Lagoon.
What sort of accommodation?
Further research took us to the Icelandic Farm Holidays brochure (not all are farms) and the internet. A 'basic' room for two (often with basin, but no toilet) with breakfast would cost about £100 per night, so that was what we went for. En suite accomodation was expensive, sleeping bag accommodation in private room or bunkhouse too basic for our declining years. We identified possible locations and passed these onto Smyril who booked them as part of the whole package.
Where we stopped
Skaftafell National Park is short of accommodation but we had come across Bölti Farm Guest House on the internet and got that. Its setting is superb. Our room was functional but comfortable and bathroom facilities were limited. The residents' kitchen was basic but well equipped. Breakfast was in the family dining room (plus overspill in the kitchen when busy) in a traditionally furnished house. It was thoroughly enjoyable, ideally situated and we would very much like to go there again.
Heading north we wanted to stop near Egilsstadir and had asked for Eyjólfsstadir in Hérad just south of the town. This turned out to be a Lutheran bible school (many schools and such become guest houses in the summer). The room was good, but the residents' kitchen was a bit hit and miss (the fridge wasn't working and didn't get repaired), but location was convenient. We would use it again.
We had expressed no particular preference in the Myvatn area, apart from wanting to avoid Reykjahlíd (justifiably we thought having seen it). Smyril booked us at Stöng to the south west of the lake. Initial reservations about it being a few miles down an unsealed road were soon dispelled as it was a real farm in a splendidly isolated setting. Accommodation is actually in a guest house with comfortable rooms, run under the firm eye of the farmer's wife. The residents' kichen was OK, but the electric rings were incredibly slow to heat and would cause a bottleneck when busy. We liked Stöng a lot.
Jökulsárgljúfur National Park is also short on accommodation. We were a few miles away at Skúlagardur, once a school as its name implies. We had very mixed views about here. Initial impressions with resurfacing on the access road and in the car park were poor, especially as we weren't sure if we would get the car over the rough surface. The room was OK, but strangely the basin had been removed at some time. Cleaning of the room and communal toilet was inadequate, though not unpleasantly so. The residents' kitchen was small and very poor on utensils (saucepans were huge ex school kitchen issue). However by now we had developed a little pioneering spirit and the fact that it was very quiet and in a nice setting made up for the drawbacks, but we don't think we'd ask for it if there's a next time.
Our last night needed to be in the Egilsstadir/Seydisfjördur area for the ferry the next day. Given the sailing there was probably considerable demand for rooms in the area. We ended up at Hótel Svartiskógur which is on Highway 917 about 40 miles from Seydisfjördur, further than we hoped but in fact quite a fast journey. We had a chalet consisting of en suite room a little way from the main building. The hotel is well back from the (very quiet) main road. It was a lovely evening and we took the chance for some gentle walks in the woods and down to the shore, so made a fitting end to a superb trip.