North Iceland’s Skjaldarvik Guesthouse: Horses, Parma Ham, Hot Tub & Views to Die For


Skjaldarvik Guesthouse hasn’t been around for long. Located on a grassy farmland area a 20 or so minute drive outside North Iceland’s largest city Akureyri, it was once an elderly care home which has been converted to a guesthouse by a local family. They now have 27 rooms, however given what the facilities once were, none have their own private bathroom. There are two floors and each one has two bathrooms which everyone shares, located in the middle of the hallway.

This place has all kinds of magic trickling through it and the rooms are the last reason why you should go. Like most hotels outside of the main two cities in the country, the rooms are fairly basic and there are no five star resorts and hotels for the taking. When you head to Iceland, bear this in mind and know that you’re going for its magic, which lies in the nature and yes, the food. Below is an appetizer that the guest house served for dinner one night, something I was going to pass up, assured once again that food from a hotel or guest house would have to be mediocre at best. Wrong!

Note how fresh the dishes look – no chemicals or preservatives added. They serve dinners every night and it’s a price fixe at 4,500 k (120 to the $ at the time of writing this). BTW, while you might think that the lamb dish below might be the “magic” of the dish (and frankly, it is), the yoghurt concoxtion that someone in the kitchen prepared had me at hello. I asked for two more cups of the stuff and used it on my salad as well. So fresh!

Pizza isn’t quite an ordinary pizza at the Skjaldarvik Guesthouse. Like everything in Iceland, nothing is ordinary. And the people who run the place put a whole lotta love into their food preparation.

If you want something a little lighter and healthier but are dying to try some of that fabulous cheese, give the parma ham a try, served with diced apples and greens. BTW, considering how many sheep there are in Iceland, it was surprising to me that all the cheese on offer throughout the country was cow’s cheese, not sheep’s cheese. I found myself thinking that they’re missing a major opportunity again and again – sheep cheese is to die for in this humble girl’s opinion.

They called this the “secret soup,” which was also plastered on the chalk board as you enter the restaurant. They won’t reveal what is in it as I first guessed cauliflower but then quickly realized that leeks was its primary ingredient. They confirmed this to be true but they wouldn’t go further to say what other magic lies in the recipe. It was to die-for, so if they offer it while you’re there, definitely order a cup.

The breads are fresh as well and everything is homemade.

The below restaurant is used for both breakfast and dinner and below it are shots of their rooms. Like I said, the facilities are basic however the magic lies in the experience of the place —the whole place! Keep reading.

The rooms either have single or double beds. Singles are 9,900 and doubles are 13,900 at the time of writing this (120 to the U.S. $) although be sure to check out their site and price list for the latest rates as they will vary depending on whether you’re there during peak or off-season.

Now for the real magic? Imagine a place that looks onto what you envision heaven to be like if you’ve ever envisioned such a place. Their farmland grounds are certainly close to what mine would look like. It looks so idyllic you almost can’t imagine it’s real and while you might think the magic is in the view, its in the ‘soul’ of the place that I can’t even begin to describe here. Icelandic horses lie in the background, the fields are scattered with yellow flowers and Alaskan lupe and birds fly overhead so close to you that a conversation is possible if you only pause long enough to hear them speak.

It is also a horse farm so can take you out riding which I’d strongly recommend. Read our write-up on the horseback riding experience which is more about the photos than the route. They will simply blow you away. I had my favorites of course.

Then imagine after dinner, you can sit in a natural hot tub overlooking this insanely beautiful view with hopefully your cell phone tucked away in your room far far away. As for the last part of the magic? Like every truly memorable experience when we travel, isn’t it always about the people? Skjaldarvik is run by a magical family who make you feel as if they’re part of their own. Óli, Dísa and their three girls Klara, Katrín and Sunneva invite you into their parlor with warmth and grace.

Note: I was hosted by the hotel and restaurant, however all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Go here for more on Iceland hotels / top Iceland hotels, and for food in Iceland / Iceland restaurants / top Iceland restaurants. Inside room shots by TripAdvisor since mine were too dark, the family shot by and all other photos by Renee Blodgett.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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