During the latter half of my trip to Iceland this summer, I found myself homeless. I’d been in a tent for two nights – the campsite at Selfoss is great, with a duckpond and free hot pots (although I didn’t find that out until after I got home) but my tent ended up, for no reason as it hadn’t been raining, absolutely soaking wet. Seriously, it could have had a bucket of water thrown over it and it would have been drier than it ended up. The campsite at Skaftafell is also nice. But after that, I found myself driving west with nowhere to spend the night, dreading having to go back into the tent after spending the day getting it dry in the back of the car.
I stopped at Hvolsvöllur, sat in the cafe at the roadhouse and used their wifi to search booking.com for somewhere nearby-ish and affordable – not easy in the height of summer with Iceland’s tourist industry in the state it’s currently in. Everywhere is booked and what’s available is painfully expensive.
What I found was the Hver Apartments in Hveragerði, which came in at a little under my maximum budget. The initial plan was to spend two nights there and then move on to somewhere nearer Reykjanes but then I’d planned to be further east. Now I was in Hveragerði, which is virtually on Reykjanes, I decided I’d spend three nights there – the entire rest of the trip.
It’s not all that promising from the road. It’s an ordinary house on an ordinary residential street, with no signs that there’s a holiday apartment there. I’d only booked it an hour or two before, which I know isn’t ideal and I’m a terrible person. I sat in my car outside the house, rang the doorbell, had no idea what to do. So I phoned the number on the confirmation email.
I can’t remember the name of the lovely lady who owns this place but she works at the campsite next door and came scurrying over within five minutes to let me in. That garage has been converted into two apartments – two lovely two-person hipster studio apartments. They were pretty much brand new – I think I was only the second person to stay in the King apartment.
My door is the one on the left – I must admit, I wasn’t desperately keen on the little window in the door. It’s fine during daytime but when you’re getting out of the bath or you’re lying in bed, it looks huge and feels scary. I know it’s not. Iceland is a pretty tiny country with a pretty tiny population. Hveragerði is a small town, this was down a residential street on which I’d seen about one person and the window didn’t even face the road. Realistically, the only people coming near my little window were the owner and anyone who might be passing to get to the second apartment but I think I’d prefer a little curtain over it at night.
This is why I call it the hipster apartment. Everything is either upcycled or made to look like it is. The panelling around the bed and on the wall opposite are fake – they’re not recycled whisky boxes, they’re just MDF printed like that. It’s definitely interesting and it’s all very lovely. The bedding had nice flowers embroidered on it and everything was made to fit comfortably in an apartment built for two.
I mean, there’s certainly no lack of stuff. That’s three wine glasses, three champagne flutes, three tumblers and three mugs – I didn’t have to either wash up the whole three days I was there or re-use anything.
There’s my little upcycled kitchen. No oven but there’s a hob, a coffee machine was delivered a few minutes after I took the photo, there’s a microwave on the shelf, a toaster hidden in the cupboard, plenty of plates and bowls and pots and pans, washing up stuff, fridge with freezer compartment – everything I could want to live happily in this little apartment.
And here’s the best bit. It had a bath! I’ve never stayed anywhere in Iceland that had a bath. Everywhere has showers – some with temperatures marked on the dial, some that stink of sulphur, some that don’t, but I’ve never had a bath. I used that bath every night. I don’t think it even particularly smelled of sulphur. Oh, wonderful bath!
And at the opposite end is a little wicker sofa and coffee table – ideal for a little scrapbooking on the road, drinking juice and otherwise relaxing when I wasn’t sprawled on the bed. Opposite the bed was the dining area – a teeny-tiny table with wicker placemats and two folding chairs leaning against it. I didn’t eat there but I did use it to store my food collection so that more or less counts.
I’m so happy to have discovered this apartment. I was there three nights but if you were based in the area, it would be an amazing place to spend a bit longer. Hveragerði is not un-interesting. It’s an extremely geothermal town, the shopping centre makes a feature of the continental crack in its foundations, there’s a geopark, a hot river just up in the hills and the local pool is very pleasant. It’s about forty minutes from central Reykjavik, so if you want to stay in the Reykjavik area but not in the city itself, this is a great option.
I stayed at Hver Apartments, Heiðmörk 53, Hveragerði – as seen here on booking.com. I’m not sponsored by them, I’m not paid by them, I have no affiliation with them other than as a pleased customer who found somewhere delightful and affordable to spend part of their holiday.