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5-6 days in Iceland in May, road trip possible?

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Hello,
I wish to travel to Iceland around the last week of May (before the peak season starts) and was wondering if anyone could please help me with my questions. My primary purpose is to photograph the beautiful landscapes (Waterfalls ,glaciers)...

This will be a first trip for my wife and I and after reading a lot of threads I have come to realize that instead of taking any bus tours, we could be ok if we rented a vehicle and do a road trip ourselves.

Questions:
1. How would the road condition be ( Rd 1 mostly) except for the golden triangle tour (different road) ? Is the Rte 1 paved all the way to the south ( till JokulSarlon) ?

2. Is it rainy/cold/wet around that time of the year?

3. Anyone rented a car from sixT ? Seems like a few complaints have come in but now they do offer coverage for gravel/sand damage....

4. Is this a decent month photography wise ?

5. Do I really need a 4WD during the trip or a 2wd vehicle is sufficient?

My itinerary would be something like this:

1. Day 1 in Reykjavik
2. Snaeffelsjokull NP
3. Do Golden Circle (Þingvellir – Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir Hot Springs – Faxi waterfall – Kerið )
4. South Coast (South Coast, Skaftafell National Park) . Where could 1 stay here to be able to visit Jokulsarlon early in the day (next day) ?
5. Jokulsarlon (early morning), drive back to Reykjavik
6. Fly back home

I appreciate all/any help you may have....

Thanks,
TP

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Tigerphoto,

    my experience of Iceland is limited to July/august, but from what I've read, you should have no difficulty in doing your itinerary in any normal May. The main ring road [route 1] is properly paved all the way round as are the roads to the Golden Circle, and you shouldn't need a 4WD car for what you are intending to do - in actual fact hire car insurance in Iceland does not allow you to do any off-roading so it could be argued that 4WD are a waste of money!

    My only doubt is about your itinerary. i'm not sure what time you are arriving, but if you have a full day, [or even less time, bearing in mind how late it will get dark, even in May] you could do quite a lot of driving on the first day. THerefore I would suggest perhaps going south first, and perhaps staying at Vik on the south coast. The next day you could do an excursion to Jokulsarlon and back, taking in Skaftafell, and follow that up with cutting across on the B roads to the golden circle [ you ARE allowed to do those in a hire car, it's the F roads you have to avoid]. then you would be in a good position to cut across to Snaefellsjoekell, and finally come down it Reyjavik so as to be in the right place for flying home.

    that would give you this:

    Day 1 - drive to Vik

    Day 2 - day excursion to Skaftafell and Jokulsarlon

    Day 3 - drive to Golden Circle.

    Day 4 - drive to Snaeffelsjokull

    Day 5 - back to Reykjavik

    Day 6 - fly home.

    this avoids having to go to Reykjavik twice, which IMO is an advantage, though the National Museum is worth seeing.

    you might get some ideas from companies like "discover the world" : http://www.discover-the-world.co.uk/en/destinations/iceland/holidays.htmlI'm not suggesting that you necessarily take one of their holidays, but that you use them for trip planning.

    for booking accommodation, you could use these people: http://www.farmholidays.is/ - they don't just do farm holidays, but guest houses and hotels as well, and they have tour ideas and itineraries.

    if you click on my screen name, you could have a read of my trip report from our visit several years ago.

    good luck!

  • Report Abuse

    Annhig,

    Brilliant suggestions, it all makes sense. Thanks for reminding me about the long daytime hours around may end.

    I will be landing early in the day ~7am. The suggestion to drive straight to Vik(with waterfalls on the way) should be a great start to the trip. I am coming from the US, fyi.
    I did check the first link for a suggested itinerary, thanks, that's a great help !!
    Will look at farmholidays website too now...thanks !

    Do you have any suggestion about where to stay for day 4 (near Snaeffelsjokull NP) so that I can come back comfortably on day 5 to Reykjavik? I will

    I will surely look at your trip report now, thanks so much for the quick help, really appreciate it !!!

    TP

  • Report Abuse

    tiger - we stayed one night on the snaefellsness peninsular and were supposed to stay for 2 more but as you will read, decamped to a hotel down near Borganes as the place [ a self-catering cottage] that we were at was so appalling.

    there are relatively few hotels on the peninsular - one that crops up a lot is the Hellnar, http://www.hellnar.is/

    and another is the Budir http://www.hotelbudir.is/

    they are both on the southern coast, where there is very little else.

    along the north coast there are a couple of towns - Grundafjordur and Stykkishollmur - but i think that they are a bit far for your purposes.

    if you look at Trip advisor - Iceland - hotels - you will see that they are divided as to town/region, which may be helpful.

    from memory, I think that it should be about 4 hours from the far western end of the snaefellnesses peninsular to Reykjavik. I recall that we went from our awful accommodation to the north coast where we did a whale watching trip, then drive round the end of the peninsular and had a rather unfortunate incident with me failing to reverse our car down a track we should have had more sense than to drive up, and still got to our hotel east of Borganes well before dinner time.

    good luck!

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