A country like no other, Iceland is the sort of unique travel destination that cannot be missed or substituted for with an excursion to any other locale. At the risk of overusing a word that ought only to be used sparingly, Iceland has a unique geology, culture, and history all its own. For these reasons, it is a must-see place in every sense.
The northern lights shine down all over the island, illuminating untold thousands of incredible natural and manmade sights. These include Promethean volcanoes, vast fjords, otherworldly geysers, and unique museums. Iceland is at once small and vast, a relatively diminutive country but one in which space seems to expand endlessly and where each horizon feels like a planet unto itself.
The country’s natural beauty, luxuriant springs, and delightfully oddball attractions are generally accessible all year round (though the roads are very well maintained, winter storms can still create delays). But visitors drawn in by the aurora borealis, that eternal and elemental expression of the magic of the north, ought to plan their trips more carefully.
The shorter the days, the higher the chance the auroras will perform their captivating dance of light and color. The best time to see the northern lights is between September and April. Most visitors will prefer the front and tail ends of that time period given the island’s harsh winter weather. In terms of location, the atmospheric phenomenon shows itself across the entire island, but light pollution makes the northern lights less common a sight in Reykjavik and the island’s other population centers.
Finally, it’s important to remember that Iceland is a country of exquisite emptiness dotted with tiny hamlets and villages. Though there are great eateries in the capital, the country is generally short on fancy services (spas being the exception), and what there is to be found is quite expensive.
To help you achieve your dreams of seeing the northern lights and all else Iceland has to offer, here is a list of eight Vrbo rentals in Iceland. Geographically dispersed across the country, each promises a unique adventure.
Guests at this picturesque cottage are well positioned to see the marvels of Iceland. There are a myriad of majestic sites to be seen on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the northern lights being just one of many. As the drone footage captured by the owners attest, this Vrbo rental in Iceland is located in a remarkable location.
The cottage, and a few others like it, are an extra revenue stream for the proprietors of a successful horse farm. Equestrians are welcome to take a ride, just as anglers are encouraged to try their luck and test their skill in the river running through the farm. Enjoy a modern accommodation and easy access to the peninsula’s volcanoes, geothermal pools, and glaciers. The interior is clean and has all the amenities demanded of modern life.
Far enough away from the light pollution of the capital but near enough to visit Reykjavik’s attractions, this villa on the shoreline is a great place to see the northern lights. The guest area is fully furnished, complete with a full kitchen, bedroom, and living space. The property is in a rural area near the ocean, giving visitors access to a private beach and a vivid picture of the Icelandic countryside.
Birdwatching can be done from the yard and a popular whale watching spot is just 20 minutes away. The famous Blue Lagoon natural spa is a little bit nearer. Other nearby attractions are the Geldingadalir volcano and of course downtown Reykjavik itself.
Smartly designed, spacious, and perfectly situated for a thorough exploration of southwestern Iceland, this enviable modern home is your gateway to a fantastic journey to one of the world’s most mesmerizing places. It is the perfect base for visitors looking to discover all the northern charms of “The Golden Circle,” a triangular itinerary consisting of Thingvellir National Park, an explosive geothermal area, and a bombastic waterfall system.
Be enraptured by all these and more, then return to a warm and comfortable space with an unparalleled sense of satisfaction. The four-bedroom property is divided between two buildings. It has a full kitchen and an outdoor area with a grill and hot tub.
Iceland is full of mind-bending geological formations, but this doesn’t mean every home has beautiful rock features in the backyard. This cabin in the country’s west is one of the well-positioned exceptions. Though not geographically a part of Scandinavia, homes like this one prove how the Icelanders have mastered the art of Scandinavian design.
The cabin has a basic kitchenette, queen bedroom, and comfortable living area with a pull-out bed. The village of Borgarnes is 15 minutes away and has all the hallmarks of civilization (i.e., grocery stores and restaurants).
Students of the sagas will want to take the trip to the nearby village of Reykholt. Long the home of Snorri Sturluson, author of the priceless 13th-century Prose Edda, the humble town is host to a cultural center dedicated to its most famous son. Múlakot is also well-located for visitors keen to explore the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula to the west.
Like many of the homes listed in this article, Herrukot is in a location that connects you to the beautiful landscapes and night skies of Iceland — and pretty much nothing else! Offering expansive views of Vestra Gíslholtsvatn lake, the property is quaint but intimate with necessary amenities like parking and Wi-Fi; as well as some not-so-necessary ones like the hot tub. With views of the northern lights certainly a possibility, this home just adds to the adventure that visitors are bound to have on their Icelandic vacation.
Sleeping two to six people, there is plenty of space to fit the entire family when you’re not exploring. Isolation is key at Herrukot, so be prepared to cut yourself off from the outside world when spending time at your rental.
From enjoying a sunrise on the deck in the morning to a nighttime viewing of the northern lights, this picture-perfect cottage in southern Iceland’s Golden Circle offers a one-of-a-kind display of the country’s grandeur. It sleeps six people with plenty of outdoor deck space and a hot tub to cool off in if the hot springs just a few miles down seem too far away. With mountain views galore, it is the perfect cottage to base your Icelandic journey. The home, its views, and the scenery alone are enough to unplug here for a weekend or longer.
Available for booking year-round, the property is within driving distance of golf courses, hiking trails, and community swimming pools. With reviews touting the cottage as a “wonderful retreat away from the hustle & bustle of life,” you can’t go wrong with this price point.
Another great base from which to explore the many wonders of the country’s south, this house on Swan Lake is also a great place to see the northern lights. The house sits a short walk from the lake and has great views of Ingolfsjall, a mountain named after the discoverer of Iceland. It offers easy access to the Golden Circle and other attractions including equestrian trails and some of the country’s only golf courses.
The home has a lake and mountain-facing hot tub and cozy indoor spaces. The dining room features a rustic wooden table and a full kitchen. The master bedroom has a king and sleeping spaces for a child and two babies, then there is a room with a double and a third with two twins and a bunk bed. The property is great for families but a couple will enjoy some private time to themselves all the same.
The northwest corner of Iceland, known as the Westfjords, is an isolated land of fjords, fishermen, and unforgettable sights. By virtue of its northerly latitude and longer nights, it is another great place to see the northern lights (and many other colorful sights to take your breath away). The cottage of Tvera is an excellent property from which to explore this wild and wonderful land.
A spacious building in an open landscape, it can accommodate a whole party of beauty seekers. Modestly decorated with new furniture, it does not attempt to overshadow the fjords and mountains seen from its windows. The 25-minute drive to Dynjandi, the area’s astounding 300-foot waterfall, is just as scenic as the falls themselves.
To discover more places to view the northern lights, check out: