Looking for places to stay in Western region of Iceland? "Iceland in miniature" with epic mountains and glaciers, hot springs and black sand beaches, and quiet fishing villages.

The cheapest way to experience West Iceland is by staying in the amazing hostels in the area. Slow down, relax, and enjoy life in the heart of Iceland.
 
 
West Iceland has long had a reputation as representing ‘Iceland in miniature’. In this little stretch of land on the side of the country, you’ll find everything there is to see around the rest of Iceland. Epic mountains and glaciers, hot springs and black sand beaches, rushing rivers, wistful churches and quiet fishing villages – it’s all here. This is precisely the reason why travellers love it so much, and why the west is best for those with limited time. Here are the best hostels in the western region of Iceland. 
 
 

Akranes HI Hostel – The Seaside Escape

Akranes is a lovely and relaxing escape, perfect for travellers looking to experience a slice of the everyday Icelandic life by the seaside. Touted as a great place to raise kids, there’s a real family vibe to Akranes. Settled by Irish Monks in the 9th century, the town’s celebratory ‘Irish Days’ festival takes place every summer, and is one not to miss. Clear days treat visitors to a magnificent view of the Snæfellsjökull in the distance.
 
 
The best place to stay in town is at the Akranes HI Hostel, located inside the old pharmacy building. Recently renovated but still filled with character, there are two kitchens for self-caterers, laundry facilities, and a balcony on the top floor with great views. For the rainy days, there are plenty of cosy nooks to curl up with a good book. Accommodation is in dorms and private rooms, and those that stay here usually do so for a couple of nights as an alternative to Reykjavik.
 
Photo credit; © Ævar Guðmundsson
 
 
Activities in town are the classics that you’ll find in most other small towns. For anyone who loves old boats and quirky history, a lazy wander through the town’s Folk Museum is a must. There’s a spectacular local swimming pool, while the more adventurous swimmers can go for a dip at the Langisandur black sand beach. Serious hikers will want to tackle Mt. Akrafjall, the town’s mountain and a challenging 3-5-hour return hike up to the top. Other than that, just kick back and get to know the locals in town; they’re welcoming and friendly.
 
 

Borganes HI Hostel – A Historic Crossroads

Borganes is the next town north along the Ring Road, where route 54 branches off towards the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. One of the longest bridges in the country spans the fjord to connect with Borganes, and the view of the mountains and deep fjord as you drive across is captivating. The town itself is a convenient stop for ring road travellers, but Icelandic history is where it shines. The twisted knot of rivers and roads to the northwest is the heart of the Saga lands. This is where the first settlers chose to live, and it’s easy to see why: rushing rivers brimming, green valleys and spectacular scenery make this one of Iceland’s most beautiful areas. 
 
 
If you’re not in such a rush, then Borganes is perfectly positioned for deeper explorations into the region. Located inside the former town hall, the Borgarnes HI Hostel is spacious with two kitchens and a large common area for guests to use. This is a fun place to hangout for a while, as you’ll meet a lot of other likeminded travellers. There are both mixed dorms and female-only, and a whole selection of private rooms that accommodate from 2 people all the way up to 5. Rooms are fresh and clean, with all the modern amenities you could need. On top of all that, every morning there’s a fresh and organic breakfast spread for guests to enjoy. 
 
 
There’s plenty to do in the area, but the first stop for everybody should be the Settlement Museum. This is the perfect introduction to the Icelandic Sagas before heading out into the countryside where it all occurred. But you don’t have to travel far for the historic sites: outside of town is Borg á Mýrum, a historic farmstead that features in Egil’s Saga. Further inland along Borgarfjörður, you can find the historic Reykholt, and nearby is the hot spring Deildartunguhver and twin waterfalls Barnafoss and Hraunfossar. There’s plenty of opportunity to explore on foot also. The hiker’s paradise of Húsafell is at the edge of the highlands, and back on Hvalfjörður is the majestic Glymur waterfall, one of Iceland’s tallest.
 
 

Böðvarsholt HI Hostel – Farmstead in Southern Snæfellsnes

If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, look no further than the Böðvarsholt HI Hostel. A freshly renovated old farmstead, this hostel is in the middle of the glorious countryside on the south side of the peninsula. There a kitchen for guests to use, and 5 rooms; you can either stay in a dorm for 3 people, or a private room. The friendly hosts live in the building next door and are more than happy to answer any questions about travel in the area. The location is excellent for explorations along the peninsula.
 
 
The hostel is located close to the famous and photogenic Búðakirkja, the black wooden church that you’ve probably seen a photo of. There’s horse riding and hiking nearby, the magnificent Rauðfeldsgjá gorge and the coastal towns of Arnarstapi and Hellnar. This is also the best accommodation if you’re interested in visiting the Snæfellsjökull National Park. The visitor centre is only 26km away, and you can spend 2-3 days exploring and hiking through this magnificent part of the country. The glacier Snæfellsjökull sits atop of the mountain and has shaped these epic landscapes. Lava fields, craters, hot springs, black sand beaches and sea stacks in the ocean all make up this National Park.
 
 

Grundarfjörður HI Hostel – The Hidden Gem

Located on the northern side of the Peninsula, the town of Grundarfjörður is another. The locals don’t seem affected at all by their incredible surroundings; incredible mountains speckled with waterfalls surround a deep blue harbour and keep the rest of the world out. Rows of neat houses make up the town, and there are always fishing vessels berthed at the dock and out in the fjord. There’s nothing pretentious about this place - this is life in an Icelandic fishing village at its best.
 
 
Located inside a bright red house in town, the hostel’s interior is cheerful and bright. Dorms and private rooms accommodate guests here, with shared bathrooms and a large kitchen and living room. There’s a grocery nearby for self-caterers, but Grundarfjörður has a good number of nice and affordable places to eat in town. This is a perfect spot if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay on the peninsula.
 
Photo credit; © iceland.is
 
The Grundarfjordur HI Hostel is also a great spot to base yourself for explorations into the National Park. The northern side of the peninsula is where you’ll find the bigger towns, including Stykkishólmur, a lively and colourful place that’s worth a visit. Next door is one of Iceland’s famous sights: Kirkjufell. This cone-shaped mountain has appeared in TV show Game of Thrones, but its photogenic peak has long been drawing in visitors to snap a photo. You can sample rotten shark at the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum, and delve into Berserkjahraun, a hidden gem in the area. 
 
 
 

James Taylor is a travel journalist from Australia who lived in Iceland for three years.

Falling in love with the country, he began to write about his travels for magazines and websites in Australia, Europe and the U.S.A.