Stora Sandfell is perfectly tucked away off the beaten track amidst the serene landscapes of East Iceland. This hidden gem served as my cozy retreat during my own Ring Road trip as I journeyed from Hofn to Seydisfjordur, and proved to be an ideal base camp en route to the Diamond Circle.
If you’re seeking a comfortable, affordable, and serene place to stay in Egilsstaðir, look no further than Stora Sandfell. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect and my honest review of my stay at this lovely family-owned property.
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#1 Best Cottage in Egilsstaðir, Iceland
Stora Sandfell Rooms and Cottages (⭐️ 8.9)
Discover the serene beauty of this charming cottage in eastern Iceland, offering cozy accommodations, horseback riding tours, and breathtaking views of the nearby mountains. A few quirks aside, the overwhelmingly warm and friendly atmosphere guarantees a welcome stay. It’s also a perfect jumping off point to explore attractions in East Iceland such as Borgarfjordur Eystri before continuing on to the Diamond Circle.
What to Expect at Stora Sandfell Rooms and Cottages
Stora Sandfell Rooms and Cottages is perfect for those looking to explore or pass through East Iceland. There’s plenty to explore around the property, which offers stunning views and direct access to local attractions such as the Hjálpleysa Valley and Litlanesfoss Waterfall.
It’s also the perfect stopover for those who are driving counter-clockwise on the Ring Road and are coming from Iceland’s South Coast (like we did!). Located approximately 10 miles from the town of Egilsstadir, Stora Sandfell is centrally positioned to the following interest points:
- Camp Egilsstadir, where we did laundry on the night we arrivded. (15 min. drive)
- Seydisfjordur, which we stopped at on our drive from Hofn. (40 min.)
- Borgarfjordur Eystri, which we originally planned to visit first thing the following morning. We skipped this in favor of seeing puffins in the Westfjords instead. (a little over an hour)
- Stuðlagil Canyon, which we ended up hiking first thing the following morning. (a little over an hour)
Stora Sandfell Rooms and Cottages is an excellent value for those seeking budget-friendly accommodations. The average rate for a double occupancy room typically ranges from $150 to $180, with specific prices subject to the time of year and room type. If you’re staying for 2 nights or more, you can also receive a 5% discount.
Compared to other accommodations in the area, Stora Sandfell sets itself apart with its scenic setting and onsite activities, including guided horseback riding tours and nearby hiking trails.
Stora Sandfell offers 5 room types to suit different preferences and budgets. Here’s an overview of each room:
⭐ OVERALL TOP PICK: Cottage with Private Bathroom
🛏️💤 MOST COMFORTABLE: Log Cabin with Private Bathroom (Chalet)
💰BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION FOR SOLO-TRAVELERS OR COUPLES: Cottage with Shared Bathroom
👨👩👧👦 BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION FOR SMALL GROUPS: Economy Cottage with Shared Bathroom
💃🏻 MOST SOCIAL OPTION: One-Bedroom Bungalow with Private Bathroom
- Cottage with Private Bathroom: The Cottage with a Private Bathroom offers a blend of comfort and privacy. The room comes with 1 single bed and 1 double bed with a private bathroom for maximum privacy. It also includes a well-equipped kitchenette and BBQ patio, which is perfect for those who want the option to eat in. This room is slightly smaller compared to the bungalow and chalet and accommodates 3 people maximum.
- Cottage with Shared Bathroom: Thicomess room with a 1 single bed and 1 double bed. It also features mountain views and a kitchenette that exude mountain vibes. While it has all the essentials, the shared bathroom might not appeal to everyone. It’s a good choice for budget travelers who are traveling by themselves or with one other person (2 people maximum), but isn’t ideal for those seeking maximum privacy and convenience.
- Log Cabin with Private Bathroom (Chalet): The log cabin is especially notable for its spaciousness and can accommodate up to 4 people. Catering to group travelers, this room comes with 1 double bed and 2 bunk beds along with a kitchenette and private bathroom. When combined with its rustic decor, this room feels like a quintessential European mountain lodge. While this room doesn’t specifically state that there is a mountain view, every room basically has a mountain view once you step outside.
- One-Bedroom Bungalow with Private Bathroom: This room is similar to the log cabin except it comes with 1 sofa bed (instead of the 2 bunk beds), a separate seating area, and a microwave
- Economy Cottage with Shared Bathroom: The economy cottage is the most budget-friendly choice for small groups. The only difference between this cottage and the Cottage with the Private Bathroom is that here the bathroom facilities are shared.
I’ve put together a list of amenities at Stora Sandfell that impacted my decision to book here. I’ve separated them into 2 categories (in-room amenities & property amenities) and have consciously excluded any amenity that isn’t likely to be a decision criteria (ex. I didn’t include the fact that there’s a fire extinguisher on the property because I don’t think that’s a make-or-break reason for why you’d book this place).
- 1 double bed with linens. Depending on the room, you may find an additional single bed, bunk bed, or sofa bed.
- Well-equipped kitchenette that includes a kettle, stove, dishes, utensils, refrigerator, toaster, and spices (** only the One-Bedroom Bungalow comes with a microwave)
- Private or shared bathroom with a shower with shampoo and toiletries
- Hairdryer (** only included in rooms with a private bathroom)
- Free parking
- Free WiFi
- BBQ grill with patio seating
- Horseback riding tours (available upon request)
- Mountain views (** even though some rooms claim that they have mountain views, literally every cottage here has a mountain view if you step outside your door)
Check-in hours are from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM. If you plan on arriving after 9:00 PM, be sure to contact the property in advance to make sure they can accommodate your late check-in.
The property is only open from May through September, after which it closes for necessary renovations and seasonal closures. For specific dates, please reference their website here.
Why We Chose Stora Sandfell
Our #1 reason as to why we picked Stora Sandfell was for its location. It was close to Egilsstadir where we needed to do laundry, within 30-40 minutes from Seydisfjordur which was our last stop of the day, and just a little over an hour from Studlagil Canyon which is where we were headed next.
We ended up booking a log cabin with private bathroom out of necessity (it was the only one available) and we were so glad we did. It wasn’t overly spacious for two people but instead extremely comfortable and relaxing. The surroundings are also absolutely breathtaking and made us feel like we were on a small campground. We would have been interested in paying extra for the horseback riding tour but we didn’t have time the next morning, since we wanted to beat the impending rain at Studlagil Canyon.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the comfort, charm, and serenity of the cottage and would recommend it to anyone planning to drive between the Eastfjords and the Diamond Circle.
Stora Sandfell is right for you if…
- you value a peaceful, quiet environment that’s close to Egilsstadir
- you want a place that includes free WiFi and parking
- you plan to eat-in and make a home cooked meal (or want the option)
- you like mountain lodge vibes
- you are especially interested in horseback riding through Hjálpleysa Valley
- you appreciate a friendly, helpful, and welcoming staff
- you’re looking for a budget-friendly option
- you want to support a family-owned business
🌟 Positive Review that was representative of our experience: “A cabin on the campsite, very nicely situated among small trees and with a good view of the surroundings. Smart that there is also a table outside for eating and a private parking space. Everything was in the cottage, from a small kitchen to a fine bathroom at the back of the cottage.Including towels and linen! A nice base to see various sights. And also nice that we could book a horse ride on the spot.”
Stora Sandfell might not be for you if…
- you want to stay in Egilsstadir.
- you need a strong internet connection. Some guests mentioned that the WiFi was spotty.
- you’re worried about hot water. This wasn’t an issue for us but some reviews mentioned that the hot water supply ran out if you weren’t careful.
- you’re sensitive to smell. Some reviews mentioned that they could smell the leftover food from previous guests, which luckily aired out after some time.
- you only have the budget for a room with a shared bathroom. Many negative reviews came from people who regretted booking a shared bathroom, which they found inconvenient.
👎LOWEST RATED REVIEW: “the cabin had a moldy smell and was very small . bathroom is shared outside , so you had to go out when its cold to the toilet or take a bath”
I can’t speak to the moldy smell as our kitchenette was immaculate. I do think it’s worth paying a little extra for the private bathroom, if you can swing it. The bathroom is well-stocked and it really is so much more convenient to have it in the room.
Best Things to Do Near Stora Sandfell
Thanks to its location, you’re within comfortable driving distance of:
- Egilsstadir – largest town in East Iceland, great place to grab dinner after check-in
- Hjálpleysasa Valley – a valley in East Iceland that you can explore on horseback with guided tours offered by Stora Sandfell
- Hengifoss & Litlanesfoss – waterfalsl featuring 20m high basalt columns
- Seydisfjordur – town in East Iceland known for its rainbow street and iconic blue wooden church
- Vök Baths – a geothermal spa whose claim to fame is their floating infinity pools, only 40 minutes away
- Borgarfjordur Eystri – fjord region home to puffin colonies in the summer
- Stuðlagil Canyon – picturesque glacial canyon known for its basalt rock column and gorgeous blue-green river (best seen in summer for the color contrast)
Alternatives Hotels in Egilsstaðir
- Hotel 1001 Nott (⭐️ 9.4): highly rated modern hotel with views of Lake Lagarfljót and Snæfell (>$200/ night)
- Hengifoss Guesthouse (⭐️ 9.2): family-run guesthouse located <5 mi. from Hengifoss & Litlanesfoss
- Eyjólfsstadir Guesthouse (⭐️ 8.5): clean and cozy guesthouse that includes free breakfast
Final Thoughts: Is Stora Sandfell Worth It?
If you’re looking for a mid-range cottage retreat in East Iceland, then I’d highly recommend Stora Sandfell! Its location, surroundings, and warm hospitality make it an ideal spot for a peaceful gateway.
Just be sure to pick a room with a private bathroom for additional comfort and privacy. And, if you have the time, book a guided horseback riding tour through the serene Hjálpleysa Valley before continuing on your Ring Road adventure.