Álfheimar Country Hotel of Borgarfjörður Eystri
A Seaside Hotel with a Mission
Álfheimar Country Hotel, set in a prime seaside location, overlooks the wide expanses of Borgarfjörður fjord on the edge of the colourful fishing village of Bakkagerði.
The country hotel’s affable owner Arngrímur Viðar Ásgeirsson, born and raised in the area, is fairly brimming over with local knowledge. Proud of his background and heritage, Arngrímur and his local staff often take on the role of chief tour guide, much to the delight of the hotel’s international clientele.
Álfheimar Country Hotel offers 32 rooms from single rooms to family size, all with private bath. Each evening, the hotel restaurant emphasises a main course using quality fresh fish or lamb supplied by area fishermen and farmers.
If puffin spotting is on your to-do list this summer, Borgarfjörður eystri could well be called the best place on earth to do just that. Each year, 10 to 15 thousand of these charming little birds arrive in mid April and stay until mid August. Quite tame, these little guys allow you to get within a few metres of them for that highly sought after puffin close-up and can often be seen circling the harbour, providing an ideal lookout point for avid bird-watchers.
The area of Borgarfjörður eystri has a well-maintained hiking infrastructure with over 300 km of marked trails criss-crossing the fjord’s wild, deserted inlets. According to Arngrímur, “We are a hidden treasure in the trekking world and therefore our guests can enjoy the peaceful area with day tours ranging from a few hours long to multi-days treks, led by experienced local guides. I like to call it ‘comfort hiking’ because we carry only our daypack, and afterwards you will sleep in a comfortable hotel room, and of course enjoy our 3-course dinner at our restaurant with wine, and surrounded by good company. For even more comfort, our neighbour, Blábjörg Guesthouse, offers a wonderful spa and wellness centre with hot tub and sauna that is relaxing after a good day’s hike in the mountains. For those who are new to hiking or those who are not keen on the ‘mountain hut lifestyle’, our service would be an excellent option.”
The community has its roots in eco-tourism, placing a special emphasis on respect for nature through environmental stewardship. This has earned the community recognition from the EU’s Blue Flag programme for its environmentally friendly harbour, Hafnarhólmi, and sound sustainable practices.
Iceland’s Elf/Hidden People Debacle
To believe or not believe. You decide. Here in the Elf Capital of Iceland you can visit Álfaborg, a rocky mound that is purportedly home to the Queen of the Elves. There are some 172 folk stories about hidden people, elves and trolls that attest to the vast number of these beings that are thought to have populated the area for centuries.
Slow Travel Tips from Arngrímur
“Rushing around the ring road, attempting to see the whole country in a week is one way to see Iceland, but not the only way,” says Arngrímur who suggests picking one to three ‘slices’ of Iceland as a base and exploring from there. “If you need a place to relax and get out of the ordinary city life, you will find the quiet zone of Iceland at Álfheimar Country Hotel…it’s only a one hour flight via Air Iceland from Reykjavik to the east. We are more than happy to help you plan your stay, suggest itineraries, fetch you from the airport and basically do everything we can do to make your holiday memorable and enjoyable. That’s our mission!”