Munaðarnes Restaurant & Cottages, nestled amongst the trees
A Corner of Paradise
Munaðarnes Restaurant & Cottages, nestled amongst the trees

Ninety-five kilometres north of Reykjavik lies a 65 hectare tract of birch-covered land on the banks of the tranquil Norðurá river. It's a place where Icelanders go to get away from the stress of city life and is a favourite haunt of families, in particular. 56 rustic self-contained cottages are scattered throughout the park-like grounds, some sleeping 6 to 8, while others are ideal for couples, but all come with the usual accoutrements of the summer cottage lifestyle, an inviting hot tub and grill out on the deck.

The heart and soul of Munaðarnes lies at the spacious café-restaurant that seats over 100 guests and where managers Stefanía and her husband Þór are busy making sure that visitors are happy and entertained. The energetic couple put their all into making Munaðarnes a genuinely fun and friendly place to stay, with lots of activities for guests, such as bingo, karaoke, a Sunday afternoon cake buffet, guided nature walks, bouncy castles for the kids and even an Indian curry night. On cool summer evenings, you can cosy up on the deck in colourful wraps, while the kids enjoy the playground or have a round of mini-golf just outside the door, all of which contribute to Munaðarnes' popularity as the go-to place for families with children of all ages.

This year, the chef is preparing some exotic additions to the dinner menu, which, for many, will be a first: traditional Icelandic Thórrablót food, served with a modern twist. Whale blubber ‘sorbet’? Singed sheep heads with a side of pickled rams testicles? Surely it will prove to be the experience of a lifetime and something to write home about! For the less adventurous, there are always house specialties, such as savoury crêpes filled with grilled chicken, smoked lamb or trout with rice and fresh vegetables. Succulent Limousin-Galloway beef, straight from a nearby farm, is used in all of Munaðarnes’ home-style burgers and steaks. Lastly, a variety of home-baked cakes and desserts served with excellent fair-trade coffee rounds off your meal. 

Reading through the guest-book, I was impressed with the many positive comments from visitors. As one young person so aptly put it, “This is the place where I fell in love with Iceland”—a fitting sentiment that pretty much sums up the ‘Munaðarnes experience’!

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