Experience Deplar Farm on the Troll Peninsula in Iceland

My wife had been talking about it for ages, to visit what many call the land of fire and ice, so one day I decided to surprise her by booking a one-week holiday in the luxury resort at Deplar Farm. I am pleased to say that our visit exceeded all expectations.

From our arrival in Reykjavik airport, I immediately got an idea of the level of care and dedication to guests that the resort provided. We were given various options as to how we could reach this exclusive, remote location in the heart of Icelandic wilderness: either by ground transfer, following a domestic flight to Akureyri or Siglufjörður airports (a 90- or 40-minute drive, respectively); or by ground transfer from Reykjavik’s Keflavík Airport. There was even a premium option to be picked up by private helicopter!

Deplar Farm in Iceland

In the end, we opted for a domestic flight to Akureyri (booked by the resort), followed by ground transfer. Our excitement grew as our vehicle escaped Akureyri’s cluster of houses to delve into mossy valleys dotted with volcanic crags, on the winding road which led to the resort. We felt that we had just escaped planet Earth and landed in a new, magical world.

Pristine valleys topped by icy peaks led us to an oasis in the barren landscape, a green pasture where, outpost in the wilderness, stood the farm itself.

Converted from an old sheep shed, Deplar Farm is as picturesque as the surrounding scenery, and perfectly at home within it. It’s thatched roof and black timber structure breathe with rugged authenticity. This, however, doesn’t mean that the interiors aren’t provided with all the features of cutting-edge comfort.

We immediately felt at home in our cosy sheepskin-fitted bedroom, snuggling in the huge bed’s Moroccan rugs. My wife was pleased to learn that there were excellent spa services; we unwound from the journey by lying in the bubbly waters of the indoor hot tub, and an expert therapist was at the ready to soothe the fatigue out of our limbs. Relax wasn’t all the spa offered. My wife had always wanted to take up Yoga, and she had a class that same evening, whilst I benefitted from dedicated CrossFit workouts in the fully-equipped gym.

Dinner that night, and for the rest of our stay, was better than we could have imagined. The chef, who we soon learned to be Iceland’s chef of the year in 2018, crafts a perfect blend of tradition and innovation in all his dishes. I opted for a plate of lamb which melted in my mouth, whilst my wife tried the excellent locally-sourced haddock fillet. I ordered one of the local craft beers whilst my wife asked the concierge for advice on the best wine. We were amazed at how well-stocked their cellar proved to be!

After dinner, the resort staff advised us to spend some time in the geothermal pool, an ideal spot to spy on the dramatic landscape and look out for Northern Lights. And even in this respect, we weren’t disappointed: soon we were gaping at green and yellow waves painted in the night sky. No postcard can convey the strong emotions they awakened within us.

Norther Lights at Deplar Farm

The following days were a thrilling concentrate of adventure and relax. There was simply so much to do! Each one of our fancies had an embodiment in the activities provided at the resort. I was taken by helicopter to wind-beaten mountaintops, and had the chance to cruise down untouched expanses of powdery white on my snowboard. Another day I followed my wife up one of the two combined chairlifts to ski down slopes exclusive to Deplar Farm. Never have I felt so in touch with nature whilst practicing a sport I love. One day we took modern bikes with fat wheels which floated seamlessly through the snow, pedalled through pristine valleys with undulating landscape of volcanic rock and ice.

Ordinary life seemed but a distant mirage. My wife and I agreed to go on one of the guided hikes up to a nearby peak, which commanded dramatic views of the surrounding landscape. Rugged peaks dipped into unseen gorges dotted with thin lines of smoke straight from the bowels of the earth. Dark lakes like dreams stretched across green pastures untouched by man.

Already plunging in the geothermal pool in the heart of winter had offered us a unique experience, but what can be said of surfing in the Atlantic Ocean, a breath’s distance from the Arctic Circle? My wife was scared at first, but like everything else, it turned out to be an amazing venture, organized with great attention of the staff. We were provided with professional wetsuits that efficiently cut off the cold, and the coast near the town of Ólafsfjörður turned out to have swells that would make an Australian die of envy.

arctic surfing in Iceland

Some days were dedicated to relax. We spent them sipping Daiquiri’s in front of a game of darts at the bar, chilling in the Viking sauna, or whale watching. Yes, you read well! My wife and I were driven to the coast, where we saw orca whales beating their slick black tails in a cloud of fizzy water, and one day even glimpsed a pod of dolphins!

But what about the highlight of our holiday, the experience that couldn’t be missed? It’ll have to be the trip to Fosslaug, one we kept for the last day. Nothing could have prepared us for such a heavenly experience, out of touch with everyday reality. Think about this: a fuming natural hot water pool set above a foamy white waterfall, surrounded by undulating green expanses dotted with rock and ice. I haven’t been anywhere else on the island, but I can hands-down state this must be the best outdoor swimming experience in Iceland. There can simply be no better encounter with nature than immersing oneself in the hot clear waters of the pool whilst taking in the barrenness of a landscape like no other.

The last day was spent gaping at phenomenal mountain views through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the lounge, feet tingling with warmth from the fireplace. When the transfer arrived to take us back to Akureyri, I was too soothed and satisfied to even feel the sadness of my departure from the wonderful Deplar Farm. As we rounded a bend in the road and this untouched corner of comfort in the wilderness escaped from view, we were sure of one thing. We would be back.