Varadero Beach Resorts and Restaurants
When we were looking for accommodation in Iceland, we decided, we will skip hotels in Reykjavík and drive straight to Golden circle and find accommodation in the south Iceland in the country side. One of the reason, why we made this decision was simple – we wanted to have the biggest chances to see the Northern lights. And as we read in many recommendations, the Hotel Laekur in Hella was one of the best places to see northern lights in Iceland.
This hotel has everything what we were looking for. It´s located at remote area with almost no light polution (necessary to see northern lights). The hotel is pretty new designed in boutique style but still, have the feeling of countryside farm stay (there are sheep and horses very close to the hotel).
When to go and where is hotel Laekur?
The location was perfect for us also because it´s not very far away from the main Golden circle route, so we could arrive for check-in at reasonable time and end our day after exploring national park Thingvellir, waterfall Gullfoss and geysir Strokkur. There is a restaurant at the hotel, so you can taste some local food and later soak yourself in the shared hot tub or enjoy the dry sauna.
Our stay in Iceland and in Hotel Laekur was in the beggining of the September. We choose this date from two reasons.
1. September is not high season in Iceland anymore, that means less tourist and well known places (especially at Golden circle) and also a bit lower prices for accommodation. You can see the change of prices from 31.8. to 1.9. at booking, usually the rates for room gets cheaper at least by 10 % on Booking.
2. End of August and beginning of September is great time to see first Northern lights. It´s starts to be darker at nights in Iceland and activity of Aurora Borealis (northern lights) is usually pretty strong, that means you should have a chance to see this amazing colorful lights on the sky at least once per week.
Give You The Best Ideas
As I just mentioned, we got a bit cheaper accommodation at Hotel Laekur in Hella in September than guests who stayed there during the summer months. While we were doing our research when making traveling plans for Iceland, we found out, there are few types of rooms available at Hotel Laekur. The cheapest variant is single room for one person, which was definitely not for us. The other options are double room, triple room or room for four persons. We were thinking about getting two double rooms, but in the end we choose much better option. We took one of the four cottages next to the main building of the hotel. There were 2 bedrooms and one „living room“. It was the most expensive choice from all the possibilities, but we definitely don´t regret that decisions and would také that room again.
When we arrived at the hotel, we asked the girl at the reception, what is the best room to see the northern lights and if we could maybe change the room paying higher prices for cottage. She gave us a small tour around the hotel and showed us other rooms. There are few rooms in the main bulding of the hotel (where you find the reception and the restaurant). From each side of the building there are few rooms in the main floor, and then 2 rooms in the first floor in the front and in the rear (so 4 rooms upstairs, with entrance from outside). Most of those rooms are for 2 people, just next to the reception there are 2 small single rooms. At the hotel Laekur, there is another building (as we heard, it´s rebuilded from old stable house – but you would not noticed that, it´s newly build, just with the same shape). You can find around 8-10 rooms in this long house, most of them are double rooms. There is one room for 4 persons, which we thought about, but when we saw it, we all agreed that paying a bit more for cottage definitely makes sense. As I mentioned before, not far away from those two buildings, there are 4 yellow cottages. They look completely the same, each of them has 2 bedrooms (one upstairs, one down stairs), 4 beds, living room and bathroom. You can find a small fridge at the living room, sofa, TV, TV table and then small table with two chairs. In each bedroom, there were basic drawers and shelves, where we put our stuff. We really like the small patio in front of the cottage. You have a doors to the patio, and just from the living room you will have a great view to the river nearby and fields for horses. The hotel and all the other guest are on the other side, so nobody walking around your room and you have your own privacy.
I already said, that location of the hotel was great for us because of the northern lights. Hotel Laekur is located in small village called Hella. From Reykjavík to Hella it´s 108 km, so an hour and half driving straight. From Reykjavík to the reception of Hotel Laekur it´s another 13 km more, so that makes 1 hour and 40 mins of drive. When we were enjoying our stay in Iceland, we didn´t drive straight from Reykjavík to the hotel, but we took the Golden circle route, which is longer and can také you almost all day with all the stops, lunch, etc. Just to mention – if you drive to Hotel Laekur from Hella, don´t be scared you got lost. From the Hella town, you will need to také turn to almost abandoned road and continue straight as long as you see the sign of Hotel Laekur. The road is easily driveable with any type of car, but as we heard from locals, in the winter time, when it´s get icy or there is more snow, it´s better to drive slower and stay safe. We had no problem finding this hotel. We used Google maps in our phone and it took as just in front of the hotel. In case you need the adress of the Hotel Laekur, use this:
- Hotel Laekur, Hroarslækur, Hella 851
- GPS location: 63.855315734727775, -20.1646463
Facilities and Amenities
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgI9Uoa5IsM We have to say, eventhough we loved our stay at hotel Laekur, it´s kind of simple in the rooms. As I mentioned before, we had a small fridge in the room, but no kitchenette. So if you are thinking about cooking your own food, you will be dissapointed. You can use only the kettle, which is in every room. Then you have a few cups and few glasses, instant coffee, tea, sugar and cream powder. As we saw, there was a TV in every room, which we used to watch our favourite TV show on Netflix. There are no plates, bowls or cuttlery at the room, but we borrowed a bowl from the hotel to try special local food – hákarl (meat from shark – don´t try it, it smells terribly), so probably if needed, you could borrow also plates or other stuff.
- Access to shared hot tub
- Access to shared sauna
Hotel Laekur restaurant
It was our second day in Iceland, when we arrived to hotel Laekur, so we were excited to try some local meals. We booked at the table at the restaurant for 7.30pm, because they have just a short window of opening hours (it´s very common at hotel restaurants as we found out later). The menu in the restaurant wasn´t with many choices to be honest. There was a one soup of the day, then 3 or 4 main courses and one desert. If remember correctly, 2 of us took tomato soup and then we tried every main course from the menu. They had grilled chicked with rice and barley and some tomato/vegetable sauce, charr (fish similar to salmon) with mashed potatoes and some mango salsa (I loved that salsa mix), lamb curry with rice and one vegetarian meal – paprika with vegetable and cheese mix inside, probably baked. For a dessert, we had Skyr with berries. Skyr is icelandic youghurt, with really good taste (and lot of protein as well). The dessert wasn´t just a Skyr as you can buy it in the grocery stories as Bónus or Krónan, but it was much lighter and tastier. If I could choose just one meal from the menu, I would probably go for that artic charr with mango salsa. The chicken was really tasty also, but honestly, we can have a chicken at home. The lamb curry was great as well and I would really need to decide, if I go for charr or lamb, but you are on Iceland, so you have to try fish.
Breakfast at Hotel Laekur
We almost overslept for a breakfast, because we stayed the night before awake for longer time, looking for northern lights. The breakfast here is also kind of short, from 8-10am. We arrived at 9:30 and the room was just with a few other guest of the hotel. That was the first time, when we noticed the great view from the restaurant/breakfast room. There are big glassed door (similar as in „our“ cottage) and you have a great view to Hekla volcano and all the highlands of Iceland. I could literally sit there for our. Such a peacefull place. The offer at the breakfast was not bad, for us a bit expensive. We paid almost 20 bucks for each of us, almost the price of the meal in some cheaper icelandic restaurants. It was set as a buffet – I took some eggs, sausages and beans, my friends made a sendwiches from cheese, ham and salami with basic vegetables. I saw there also few types of fruit, musli, nuts and dry fruits and some cornflakes. I also went to try their youghurt in the end and it was very different from the dessert we had a night before, the dessert was definitely much better.
Where to eat near Hotel Laekur
When we drove back from east of Iceland, we stayed again in Hella and decided to try some other restaurant in the area. We did some research and find out these restaurants and possibilites in Hella and nearby:
- Restaurant at Hotel Stracta
- Restaurant Kanslarin
- Restaurant Arhús
- Restaurant at Hotel Rangá
- Olís gas station
There were other places, where we could eat in nearby town called Hvolsvollur (not very far away from Hotel Laekur):
- Valhalla restaurant
- Midgard base camp restaurant
- Eldsto art café
- Gallery pizza
- Bjork restaurant (more like a fast food)
What to do nearby
For us, the main goal was to finally visit the Golden circle. It´s probably the most famous area in Iceland and also close to Hotel Laekur. To the geysir (let´s say it´s in the „centre“ of Golden circle), it´s about one hour drive from the hotel. Except the geysir, massive waterfall Gulfoss and national park Thingvellir (where you can snorkel in between the continents), there are many other attractions in that area. Very famous is Fridheimar in Reykholt, the tomato farm in greenhouses with great tomato soup and homemade bread. You usually need to make a reservation for this places, because it´s crowdew with tourist from all the bus tours, but it worths visit. Another great place to have a lunch a cow farm restaurant Efstidalur with tasty burgers and homemade icecream, you need to try. If you stay in Golden circle and want to try one of the icelandic hot springs, you can visit the Secret lagoon. It´s paid attraction, hot spring in one of the oldest man made pools in Iceland. Don´t expecet anything fancy as in Blue lagoon or Sky lagoon, it´s more like a natural and simplier bath, but also much cheaper. If we speak about places to visit, then we definitely have to recommend the highlands of Iceland. For many tourist is hotel Laekur perfect base for exploring the highlands nearby. In case, you rented some bigger 4×4 car, you can drive to some gravel road more deep into the Iceland just alone, by yourself. But if you are not courageous enough or don´t want to risk damage of the rental car, you can simply také a tour with big jeeps or drive to Hella, park your car at the local grocery store and také a bus to highlands. For those, who are looking for some small attraction nearby, we can recommend few waterfalls. For example the waterfall Gluggafoss (maybe 30 mins drive from hotel Laekur) is really nice and not crowdy at all. Then there is one of the best waterfalls in Iceland – Seljalandsfoss, but this one is very crowdy. You can also visit two almost unknown waterfalls in Hella – Aegissídufoss and Árbæjarfoss. There are not easily to find on a maps, but we found them thanks the icelandic „app“ for attractions, Gonow.is. If you stay in Hella on the weekend, you will have a chance to visit caves in Hella, which are just a minute drive from the town centre. Here you can explore old viking made caves in the area.
Why Choose Hotel Laekur
We can´t say, that everybody would like the stay at hotel Laekur as we do. For example, if you are looking for more luxurious stay, I would recommend you to book at room at nearby four star hotel Rangá or five star hotel Grimsborgir closer to Golden circle. But for us it was perfectly. We like the friendly, almost family atmosphere of the place. There is just nature around you, you can také a walk around a nearby river and you will hear nothing else than nature. And if you will be lucky as us, you can even see northern lights (appears only from end of August til April), so if one this information is important to you, hotel Laekur might be a good choice for you.
One day itinerary from hotel Laekur
Here’s a one-day itinerary for a trip from Hotel Laekur in Hella: 9:00 am: Breakfast at Hotel Laekur. Enjoy a hearty breakfast before setting out on your day trip. 10:00 am: Visit Seljalandsfoss. Drive about 30 minutes to Seljalandsfoss, a stunning waterfall that you can walk behind for a unique view. Be prepared to get a little wet! 11:30 am: Explore Skógafoss. Drive another 25 minutes to Skógafoss, another breathtaking waterfall that’s one of the largest in Iceland. You can climb up to the top for an even better view. 12:30 pm: Lunch at Halldorskaffi. Drive about 10 minutes to Halldorskaffi, a cozy restaurant in Skógar that serves up traditional Icelandic dishes like lamb soup and fish and chips. 2:00 pm: Hike the Fimmvörðuháls trail. Drive about 20 minutes to the trailhead for the Fimmvörðuháls trail, which offers stunning views of glaciers, waterfalls, and volcanoes. The hike takes about 8-10 hours roundtrip, so be sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and warm clothing. 6:00 pm: Dinner at Kanslarinn. Drive about 25 minutes to Kanslarinn, a popular restaurant in Hella that serves up delicious Icelandic cuisine like smoked lamb and langoustine soup. 8:00 pm: Relax at Hotel Laekur. Return to your hotel to unwind after a long day of hiking and sightseeing. Enjoy the hotel’s hot tub and sauna, or simply relax in your comfortable room. This itinerary offers a mix of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and delicious cuisine, all within easy driving distance of Hotel Laekur in Hella.
Varadero Beach Resorts and Restaurants
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