Best Hotel to Celebrate Christmas in Iceland - Hotel Rangá


Snowy mountains on the way to Landmannalaugar in the Icelandic highlands.

Best Hotel to Celebrate Christmas in Iceland

Christmas in Iceland is a magical time of holiday cheer. Spend the holiday at Hotel Rangá, the best hotel to celebrate Christmas in Iceland.

In Iceland, the Christmas season is a magical time filled with beautiful decorations and jolly celebrations. The short days and dark nights make excellent viewing for stargazing or searching for the northern lights. If we are lucky, fluffy snow covers the landscape, making for a lovely white Christmas. We highly recommend that you book a trip to Iceland during Christmastime. Keep reading to learn why Hotel Rangá is the best hotel to celebrate Christmas in Iceland.

The northern lights glow green over Hotel Rangá on a snow winter night.
The northern lights glow green over Hotel Rangá on a snow winter night.

Christmas at Hotel Rangá: Check Your Shoes

In Iceland, a group of mischievous Santa Clauses is known to cause a bit of chaos in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The Icelandic Yule Lads are merry pranksters who steal food, play tricks and slam doors. However, these mischief makers can also be nice–if you behave!

From December 11th to December 24th, Icelandic children leave a shoe in the windowsill. All but the naughtiest children will find a small gift in their shoe the next morning. We encourage all our guests, big and small, to take part in this fun Icelandic Christmas tradition. However, at Hotel Rangá, the tradition is a little different. Simply place your shoe outside your door the night before–who knows what could be inside when you wake up!

Savor a delectable breakfast at Hotel Rangá featuring a tempting waffle topped with cream and blueberries, accompanied by a refreshing champagne mimosa.
Savor a delectable breakfast at Hotel Rangá featuring a tempting waffle topped with cream and blueberries, accompanied by a refreshing champagne mimosa. Photo by Exploy.

Christmas in Iceland: Hotel Rangá’s Champagne Breakfast

After checking your shoe, head to the Rangá Restaurant for a delicious champagne breakfast. Our breakfast spread is included with your booking and beloved by all. Feast on freshly made waffles, made to order omelets and fresh fruit. Of course, you can’t forget a sparkling glass of complimentary champagne. Feeling festive? We recommend that you mix up a mimosa by adding fresh orange juice.

A group of people snowmobiling on the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in south Iceland.
Snowmobiling in Iceland. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir.

A Christmas Adventure on Iceland’s South Coast

When we think about Christmas, we often imagine cozy indoor activities. But why not change it up with a fantastic Christmas adventure on Iceland’s south coast? Book an adventure tour and explore incredible waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Then, travel further down the coast and experience the immense power and beauty of Reynisfjara black sand beach.

You can also book a super jeep tour to experience Eyjafjallajökull volcano-glacier. Better yet, make a reservation to go snowmobiling and see epic views of Iceland’s majestic coastline. We also highly recommend a Christmastime horseback ride. These friendly creatures are suited to riders of all types and allow visitors to experience Iceland from a different perspective.

Icelandic horses rub their heads together on a snowy field in south Iceland.
Icelandic horses grow a shaggy coat in the wintertime which keeps them warm.

Christmas in Iceland: When do Icelanders Celebrate?

For our North American friends, it is important to note that Icelanders celebrate Christmas on December 24. Want to have an Christmas adventure on December 24th or 25th? Some businesses will remain open during the morning and early afternoon on December 24th. However, many grocery stores, restaurants and tour operators will close in the afternoon and remain closed through December 25th.

Friðrik Pálsson owner of Hotel Rangá greating guest for Christmas dinner
Friðrik Pálsson owner of Hotel Rangá greating guest for Christmas dinner . Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir

In addition, most local tour operators will be closed on December 25th.  And don’t forget to order a tasty lunchbox from Hotel Rangá on the 24th or 25th, it might be hard to find an open restaurant for lunch. Contact the Hotel Rangá reception via email , and we will assist you with booking an Iceland adventure and making sure that you reserve a packed lunch to take on your adventures.

Woman lounges in a Hotel Rangá geothermal hot tub as the sun shines on her.
Relax in Hotel Rangá’s geothermal hot tubs. Photo by Dylan Shu

Want to experience Iceland’s outdoor beauty on December 25th? Not to worry–there are plenty of self-drive options for our guests with rental cars. Stop in the Hotel Rangá reception and we will help you to plan a fun itinerary. Christmas is a great day to take a drive around the Golden Circle. See mighty Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal area and the beautiful national park Þingvellir. A Christmas adventure in Iceland will certainly be a holiday that you and your family will remember for years to come.

Christmas in Iceland: Relax and Indulge

After exploring south Iceland’s stunning natural beauty, head back to Hotel Rangá for some rest and relaxation. We highly recommend a soak in our geothermal hot tubs, located just behind Hotel Rangá. Enjoy stunning views of the Rangá River while you indulge in a leisurely soak. To make the experience truly exceptional, we highly recommend that you enjoy a glass of bubbly or a handcrafted cocktail while you relax.

Hotel Rangá's game room includes a pool table, a polar bear skin on the wall, an antler chandelier, a chess board and more local art.
Play a round of pool in the Hotel Rangá game room. Photo by Andrew Klotz.

Afterwards, head to the Hotel Rangá game room with your friends and family. Christmas is the perfect season for having fun with loved ones over a good game. Play a rousing game of pool, a hand of cards or work together to complete a puzzle.

Andri Snær Magnason author signing a book for Hotel Rangá
Andri Snær Magnason author signing a book for Hotel Rangá. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir

Christmas Traditions in Iceland: Book Lovers Offer

In the months before Christmas, many new books are released in Iceland. This phenomenon is known as “Jólabókaflóð” or “Christmas Book Flood.” In Iceland, there is a strong tradition of giving friends and family books for Christmas. The winter season’s dark days make it a perfect time of year to get cozy and enjoy a good book.

In reference to this literary tradition, Hotel Rangá has a special Book Lovers Offer that is valid from the 1st of December 2023 to the 31st of January 2024. As part of the offer, you will receive a special signed copy of a book by an Icelandic author, a traditional Icelandic gift and cozy candles. Enjoy complimentary hot beverages while you relax and read your new book.

Enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Hotel Rangá chefs.
Enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Hotel Rangá chefs. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir

A Christmas Feast at Hotel Rangá

Icelanders look forward to enjoying traditional Christmas foods all year long. Some of these delicacies are appealing for all palates; however, some dishes might seem a bit unique. To learn more about traditional Christmas foods in Iceland, read our blog post about the Top 10 Christmas Foods in Iceland.

For guests staying at Hotel Rangá over the holidays, we are offering a special dinner available in the Rangá Restaurant on December 24th, 25th and 26th. Enjoy a duo of cured salmon and cured lamb for your starter. Next, feast on a delightful winter consommé with a potato dumpling and lamb rillette. The main course is a delicious beef ribeye paired with lobster and baked potato. For dessert, you will enjoy hot apple cobbler with spiced apple sorbet. This delectable meal is 16.900 ISK per person.


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