Tourism in Iceland has roared back from it’s Covid-era abyss. That means pressure on the country’s relatively tight accommodation supply is again an issue, particularly at the upper end of the accommodation spectrum. But the ever-innovative Icelanders are putting their heads together to make better use of the country’s supply of holiday cabins or “summer-homes” for luxury-oriented travellers.
“Holiday cabins are a way of life for Icelanders,” says Helga Kristin (Helgastina) Fridjonsdottir of Iceland Unwrapped. “Many families own their own or rent them through informal local arrangements, through institutions like the unions they belong to, and, occasionally through AirBnB.”
“Many of the holiday cabins are fairly luxurious – nicely furnished, with full kitchens, capable of handling families or groups from two to twelve people. Usually, they come with a water or mountain view. The kicker for many is an on-site hot-tub, often filled with local geothermally heated water. Few things are better than to be sitting in a hot tub, with a cold drink in hand, taking advantage of the midnight sun or having an unforgettable night under the Northern Lights.”
But holiday cabins are rarely sought as a lodging option by foreign visitors.
To make holiday cabins more accessible and appealing, Iceland Unwrapped is doing two things: building a network of luxury holiday cabins in attractive parts of Iceland, and adding personalized itineraries to help guests make the most of the sites in a one-day return driving distance of their cabin. The hosts, in turn, would make available a package of groceries, beverages and prepared meals to those guests who want to eliminate the hassle and time involved in shopping in a new country.
“The idea is that someone can fly into our airport, pick up their car, drive to their cabin, and go straight to the hot tub with their groceries and choice of beverage waiting in the fridge,” Helgastina explains. “Iceland is fairly advanced when it comes to online grocery shopping and delivery, but the delivery zones tend to fall short of most holiday cabin locations. By literally going the extra mile, we create the most carefree, comfortable and customized Iceland experience possible.”
In keeping with the country’s standard holiday cabin preferences, locations tend to be an easy 1-2 hour drive from the capital of Reykjavik, but options are available near northern hotspot Akureyri and other locations around Iceland’s coast. Some are quite remote, others are within 30-45 minutes of small-town shopping and other amenities.
For more information on stocked cabins – or to make your property available for rental on a non-exclusive basis, contact Iceland Unwrapped at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website
Mike Klein is Principal of Changing The Terms, a Reykjavik-based business communication consultancy. A US native, Mike has lived in Iceland since 2020 and has also resided in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. He is the former Europe – Middle East – Africa chair of IABC, a leading global communication association. He is particularly fond of Icelandic cod and the Gull brand of Icelandic lager, and is married to Helga Stina, founder of Iceland Unwrapped.