Hrafntinna Villa: Soaked in the beauty of southern Iceland
By Signe Hansen | Photos: Chrislund Hires
Tucked away in the captivating landscape of southern Iceland, Hrafntinna Villa offers travellers a beautifully secluded lodging, with 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. With six bedrooms, the modern villa and its lush spacious interior provide a more than comfortable base for groups of friends and families to explore the many natural wonders of Iceland.
Located just five minutes from the town of Selfoss, Hrafntinna Villa is set right by the Golden Circle, a route of natural wonders circling through the south of Iceland. But though there is plenty to explore, and most guests do spend most of the day doing so, the villa itself also offers an up-close experience of the area’s beauty.
Surrounded by nothing but green fields and distant mountains, flaming sunsets and flickering Northern Lights provide spectacular views from the villa’s outdoor hot tub, garden sauna, and panoramic living room.
“All of my guests seem to leave early in the morning to go travelling and exploring and then come back in the evening to cook together and use the hot tub,” explains the villa’s owner and manager Hanne Smidesang.
Apart from the Golden Circle, which is one of the most popular routes for travellers exploring the island, the villa is also within easy driving distance of Reykjavik (64km) and Keflavik (110km) as well as natural attractions such as the iconic Gullfoss waterfall, the Secret Lagoon, and the historic landmark, the Caves of Hella.
From reality show to family getaway
Having moved from Norway to Iceland to pursue her passion for Icelandic horses in 2015, Smidesang came across Hrafntinna Villa in 2020. Having initially intended to live in the villa herself, in 2020, during COVID, Smidesang was contacted by the people behind the MTV reality show The Challenge who were looking for an isolated location to film the show. The show ended up being filmed on the site from August – November 2020, and the rental agreement provided Smidesang with the funds to do a speedy and complete renovation of the villa. “I remodelled everything in December, I love interior design so I collected pieces from everywhere, painted and made some things myself – I wanted it to be special, not just a lot of stuff from IKEA,” says Smidesang, who opened up the villa for visitors in January 2021. Today, she lives in a smaller building on the site and is thus available to help guests out with any concerns during their stay.
Most of her time, however, she spends raising, training and competing with her ten Icelandic horses which graze around the villa, adding an extra touch to the authentic experience of the Icelandic culture and landscape.
More than expected
With most of Hrafntinna Villa’s bookings happening through Airbnb, the reviews on the site provide a testament to the almost magical charm of the site. “Absolutely beautiful, beyond our expectations,” “gorgeous”, and “fantastic” are just some of the descriptions phrased by guests. The features often appreciated by the groups of friends and families staying in the villa include the charm of having Smidesang’s horses next door, the helpful host as well as the proximity to the charming town of Selfoss and its many shopping and dining offers.
Moreover, the spectacular experience of watching the Northern Lights and soaking in the hot tub after a long day out exploring are among the experiences that have made the stay a once-in-a-lifetime- experience for many guests. “I wanted the house to have a bit of a spa feeling so the hot tub is always filled with warm water, and often it is where people choose to sit in the evening to watch the Northern Lights,” explains Smidesang.
Hrafntinna Villa in short
Hrafntinna Villa is located in the south of Iceland, around 5 km from the city of Selfoss.
The house is 300 square meters, on top of which guests have access to a garden and a big porch, an outdoor hot tub and ice bath as well as a sauna building in the garden.
The villa comprises a large living room with high ceilings and panorama windows, a spacious TV lounge, a large kitchen, six bedrooms, and three bathrooms (one of them located in the sauna building).
For guests who wish for an extra laid-back holiday, cooking and cleaning services can be booked with the villa.
Next to the villa, there is a small stable with room for 10 horses, an indoor riding arena, and Smidesang’s home.
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