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Autumn in Iceland

12th September 2013 Print
Northern Lights

As autumn approaches and the days start getting shorter, where better to relax and regroup than in a peaceful countryside retreat? Many of Iceland’s most celebrated hotels are located in the remote countryside, offering the perfect opportunity to unwind in cosy surroundings and attempt to spot the northern lights overhead. Below are listed four Icelandic countryside hotels that are perfect for an autumn break:

Hotel Ranga is a charming countryside hotel located just two hour’s drive from Reykjavik and offering uninterrupted views over the East Ranga river and Mount Hekla. The hotel includes luxury lodgings as well as themed suites, many of which feature outdoor hot tubs. Hotel Ranga is also consistently voted one of the top places in the world to see the northern lights – with the hotel even offering a ‘wake up’ service for those guests who really don’t want to miss out!

Hotel Budir is located in a lava field on the westernmost tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, in the western region of Iceland. The remote location of the hotel lends itself well to relaxing breaks, however there are plenty of hiking opportunities in the region too, as well as seal spotting on the Budir-estuary. During the autumn and winter, guests can often be found sitting by the fireplace and drinking hot chocolate whilst watching the Northern Lights overhead.

Hotel Glymur sits in a peaceful location overlooking 'Hvalfjordur' or 'Whale Fjord,' just 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik. The hotel offers outdoor hot tubs with stunning views over the fjord as well as a unique interior featuring paintings and pictures from local artists. Originally an old school house, the hotel is now a relaxing alternative to a Reykjavik based stay.

Hotel Grimsborgir is ideally located in South Iceland close to some of the country’s most visited sites, including Gullfoss, Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park. Many of the rooms have views across the Sog River, Iceland‘s largest freshwater river, and the surrounding mountains and also boast private hot tubs.

Autumnal Recipes from Iceland

Autumn in Iceland sees one of the longest-standing and most unique agricultural traditions in Iceland: the great sheep round-up. In spring, lambs are sent high into the mountains to graze on the clean, volcanic soil before being rounded up in the autumn months by farmers on horseback. The tradition ensures that Icelandic lambs are reared entirely outdoors on a natural diet of sedge, willow and berries, which gives the lamb a distinctive, pure and instantly recognisable flavour.

As the round-up happens once a year, fresh Icelandic lamb is only available from September through December and so autumn menus in Iceland are populated with hearty dishes including lamb soup, stew or traditional roasts. Below, celebrated Icelandic chef Mr. Hilmar Jonsson shares his recipe for the pefect lamb soup.

Icelandic Meat Soup

Creates four portions:

2 ½  pound lamb shoulder.
1 litre water
1 ½ tbsp. salt
¾ cup long rice
700 gr swede, skinned and cubed
500 gr. carrots, skinned and cubed
1 cup chopped onions
20 peppercorns in a cloth.

Cut the meat off the bones and cut in to a bite size cubes.

Boil the meat slowly in the salted water for 60 min with the peppercorns. Skim.

Add the rice, onions and swede and boil for another 20 min.


Autumn events in Iceland

26 Sept – 6 Oct       
Reykjavik International Film Festival                           
Location: Reykjavik

The Reykjavik International Film Festival aims to promote Iceland’s diverse film industry. During the festival, seminars and courses are offered introducing important local as well as foreign filmmakers and film specialists. This year will see the premier of the first Icelandic Cannes-awarded film, Whale Valley by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson, which was awarded a ‘short film‘ award at the prestigious ceremony in May.

9 Oct – 8 Dec          
Imagine Peace Tower                                                      
Location: Videy Island

A work of art by Yoko Ono dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. A wishing well, from which a strong and tall tower of light emerges. Every year the Imagine Peace Tower emerges between Lennon's birthday and the day of his death.

30 Oct – 3 Nov        
Iceland Airwaves                                                               
Location: Reykjavik

Dubbed “the hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar” by Rolling Stone magazine, Iceland Airwaves, has become one of the premier annual showcases for new music in the world. Having featured some of the world’s most exciting artists, including Florence and the Machine, the Klaxons, Bloc Party and Fatboy Slim, tickets for Airwaves are always in high demand. The organisers of the event have recently announced 50 more artists that will be performing, including British metal band Salvages, American song-writer John Grant and French pop artist Lescop.

For more information, go to and

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Northern Lights