Bespoke Luxury: North Iceland Adventure
Escape: that’s what northern Iceland promises – days inhaling the pure air of the remote Troll Peninsula, exploring its mountains, fjords, wildlife-rich valleys and shores, the modern world receding into hazy distance. The timeless charm of turf-roofed Deplar Farm, now offering luxurious, exclusive accommodation, is the perfect base from which to discover this little-visited region through a diverse selection of activities and experiences.
Independent with private transfers | 4 nights / 5 days
From £7,500 per person
If you’d prefer to visit the locations described below on a self-drive, we can arrange that – simply call us on 01737 214 250.
Soak in the secluded pool of the Blue Lagoon Retreat
Silica, sulphur, salt, algae – these are the key ingredients that lend the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon both its milky turquoise hue and its therapeutic properties. There’s more than just minerals to these steaming, soothing waters, though – and a stay at the Retreat, with its private lagoon, subterranean spa and acclaimed restaurants, provides an immersive and relaxing way of easing into your Iceland adventure. Enjoy an in-water massage amid lava flows, savour seasonal, local fare at Moss Restaurant, and for the most exclusive indulgence book the Lagoon Suite, with its own thermal pool just steps from the door.
Discover the soul of rural Iceland at Deplar Farm
Your first glimpse of this unique retreat – dark timber walls, turf roofs echoing verdant hillsides – hints at its origins as a traditional Icelandic sheep farm dating back to the 18th century. But as you approach the homestead, your private transfer sweeping across the craggy Troll Peninsula (or your helicopter descending to the farm’s pad), modern details resolve from the mesmerising vista: steaming al-fresco pool, broad balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows framing views of the mountains and broad glacial valley. Deplar Farm elegantly melds simplicity with luxury, the soothing decor of its 12 suites matched by the innovative cuisine created by Icelandic Chef of the Year-winner Garðar Kári Garðarsson, featuring locally reared lamb, trout and char hooked from nearby rivers. The atmosphere at Deplar is as playful as it is calming: its airy bar has a top-notch pool table and dartboard, the media room boasts a big screen for relaxing with a movie, and you can play out guitar-hero fantasies on the comprehensively equipped band stage.
Nourish body and soul with the Eleven Experience
Wellness is woven into the lifestyle at Deplar Farm, with a rich menu of experiences that are tailored to your personal goals. Pushing your fitness to its limits isn’t the aim here; instead, experts discuss your daily routines and suggest adjustments to help you eat, sleep and exercise better. Each day is bookended with a morning fitness session and evening yoga, with diverse options in between: boost cardio fitness and strength in the fully equipped gym, test your focus and stamina with daily wellness challenges, or try your hand at archery. Alternatively, dial down the action and enjoy a range of spa treatments including targeted massages, facials, Isopod floatation tanks and Viking sauna. Of course, you can simply take a dose of nature’s own remedies, soaking in the geothermally heated spring-fed pool, drinking in views of the Icelandic landscapes – and, on a clear, winter night, perhaps enjoying a performance by the celestial dancers of the aurora borealis.
Take to the trails of the Troll Peninsula
The outdoors doesn’t come much greater than this isolated cape in north-west Iceland. Trails lace the mountains around Deplar, enticing hikers, horse riders and cyclists to explore the slopes and valleys in summer, perhaps pausing to pluck wild blueberries – a variety of road and fat bikes, boots and steeds are available for guests. The lakes, rivers and fjords are equally alluring for kayakers and fly-fishers, who land Arctic char, sea trout and Atlantic salmon in season.
Come winter, when the crags are softened by a thick white blanket – the Fljót Valley receives among the world’s highest average snowfalls – you’ll want to don a different kind of footwear. Select snow-shoes or cross-country skis from Deplar Farm’s kit store, or opt for a high-octane day of heli-skiing to tackle pristine runs stretching to 3,500 vertical feet over corn or powder.
Flexibility is the watchword at Deplar: book your dream itinerary in advance, or piece together your adventure on the fly once you’ve arrived, abetted by the expert team who’ll arrange optional extras such as dog-sledding, boat tours to nearby islands or excursions inland to explore northern Iceland’s natural wonders.
Encounter ocean giants and seabird cities
Iceland is among the northern hemisphere’s finest whale-watching destinations, its waters bustling with a range of cetaceans. On a private boat excursion into magical Eyjafjördur, your expert guide will help you spot the vast flukes of humpbacks slapping the waves as these marine giants breach and dive. With luck, you’ll also encounter a pod of hunting killer whales (orca), white-beaked dolphins, minke whales or even the ocean’s mightiest inhabitant, the blue whale – reaching over 30m long, it’s the largest creature ever to have lived.
Animal life above the waves is captivating, too, with charismatic seabirds thronging cliffs each summer to breed in vast seabird cities. Looming some 180m from the waves of Skagafjördur west of the Troll Peninsula, the flat-topped volcanic tuff outcrop of Drangey hosts hundreds of thousands of guillemots, gannets, razorbills, kittiwakes and those rainbow-billed clowns of the sea, puffins. On a private tour you’ll discover why the Saga hero Grettir chose Drangey as a sanctuary from his enemies – the steep haul up from the only landing spot would test the hardiest Viking but offers rich rewards of spectacular views and close encounters with those vocal colonies.
The avian inhabitants of Grímsey, lying 40km to the north, outnumber its human population by about 10,000 to one – this is a remote, dramatic treat for bird-lovers. But there’s another reason to board a boat heading north: the Arctic Circle runs through this rugged volcanic island, so in high summer you can bask in the midnight sun while being serenaded by countless puffins, fulmars and Arctic terns.
Roam lava fields around Mývatn
To grasp the power and legacy of Iceland’s volcanic activity, join an expert guide on a private tour to Lake Mývatn. Successive waves of eruptions and lava emissions have created an otherworldly landscape of cones and calderas, bubbling mud pools and the jagged, blackened rock formations known as Dimmuborgir – the ‘Dark Fortress’. Yet though this region may seem harsh and bleak, dominated by the monumental crater of Hverfjall, it’s far from lifeless. With help from your insightful escort, watch for the dizzying aerobatics of hunting gyrfalcon above Lake Mývatn, which also hosts diverse populations of beautiful waterbirds, from kaleidoscopic harlequin ducks to wigeon, teal, mergansers, divers and rarer species such as Barrow’s goldeneye. And to dispel the idea that volcanoes come in just one shape, visit nearby Krafla, a highly active region of steaming fissures, vividly coloured lakes and dramatic lava fields.
At a glance
1 night at Blue Lagoon Retreat Hotel
3 nights at Deplar Farm with included activities: wellness yoga, hiking, biking
Return domestic flights
From £7,500 per person
Tailored to you exactly
We have been at the forefront of creating amazing holidays to Iceland for 37 years. If you’d prefer to visit these locations on a self-drive, we can arrange that. In addition to hotels, our portfolio also includes a selection of hand-picked, private luxury houses and villas in extraordinary locations.