Europe Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

suggestions for an Iceland self-drive touring June 2011?

Jump to last reply

DH and I decided it was not practical to travel in Iceland in December so trip has been re-scheduled for June. I realized that I like to photograph landscapes and that 4 hours of daylight would not give me too much opportunity.
So now we are planning a self-drive tour of Iceland for June 2011.
Is it easy to drive in Iceland?
What can we expect in terms of gas prices - though I realize it can fluctuate widely these days....?
Do most people speak English?
Road conditions?
Availability of B&B's?
We were thinking of a 10day trip if possible but wonder if that might be too long for a small country.
THough we will take in some sites Reykyavik we prefer to stay in the country side.

  • Report Abuse

    My daughter and son-in-law went last year and loved it. They stayed in an apt in Reykyavik which they found convenient to services and nightlife, all very walkable. The apt was much cheaper than a hotel. Driving was easy and nothing was very far, so day trips worked well with the apt. base. Everything was very expensive, especially food. But they loved it and highly recommend going there.

  • Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators

  • Report Abuse

    I don't think 10 days is too long! When I vacationed in Iceland, we were there for a week and I wished we had longer. With the longer timeframe and a car, you can get to Akureyri in the north! Since most Icelanders live in Reykyavik and vicinity, Akureyri is where they go on vacation within their own country.

    Driving in Iceland is pretty straightforward. Keep in mind that most everything is on the ring road that goes around the island; the interior is uninhabitable, though there is a road that traverses it.

  • Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators

  • Report Abuse

    We were in Iceland in October this year. We stayed one night in Reykjavik (even that was too much in my opinion). Reykjavik is basically just a college party town, so if that doesnt interest you you should get on the road ASAP. Another friend that went last year had basically the same opinion.

    Driving is a breeze. Good signage, laughable traffic. If you're planning to stick to the ring road and not venture inland, you'll be fine in a Yaris or similar (that's what we had). Heading inland, spring for the 4x4. Wherever you're from i'm sure you have a "rugged" road or 2, but trust me, you aint seen nothin' yet! LOL. Rentals are also expensive by N.American standards. Moving from Yaris to Rav4 on a 6 day excursion package could bump the price more than 50%.


    Food and gas was expensive, no doubt. If you're from USA, you'll find it much more expensive than home (the gas, that is). Pretty typical for Europe though. We found the food was overall pretty horrible, so we tended to fill up at the included breakfasts at our farmhouse accomadation.

    Most of the places you'd overnight on the ringroad are sparsely populated, and there is not much selection of places to eat. I would suggest stocking up when you're near a BONUS store. Grocery prices didnt seem too bad, just the restaurants. Their currency is quite beat up right now which makes things a bit cheaper.
    It was off season when we went, and we'd go for an hour or more on the ringroad without seeing another car.

    We did the 6 day self drive tour from http://www.icelandexcursions.is/default.aspx. We found overall it was much better that doing day trips from Reykjavik. No competition. They set you up with a vehicle, arrange accomadation along the way, provide maps, and suggestions on things to see along the way. Be sure to ask the innkeepers for advice in the area where you stay. Some of the most spectacular sights we saw were at the furthest points from Reykjavik. Since you're a photographer, staying in Reykjavik i'm sure would be hugely disappointing.

    English? We had no problems at all. On the extreme East portion of the Island we encountered a couple people who didnt understand English, but we're talking maybe 4 or 5 people the whole trip. Not an issue at all.

    Road conditions? Uh, put it this way..... I dont complain about potholes at home anymore. The ring road is fine, but when you venture off even slightly to roadside sights the ride can get astonishingly rough. Go slow, you'll be fine. We encountered a few spots that the poor yaris should never be subjected to, so turned around. We didnt feel like we missed out on a lot. The worst was when you leave the ringroad to see the waterfalls Dettifoss and Selfoss. DO NOT MISS SELFOSS ESPECIALLY, NO MATTER WHAT YOU'RE DRIVING OR HOW SLOW YOU HAVE TO DRIVE.

    A ten day trip is exactly what we did. You will find there are places you would like to move a bit quicker through, and places you might wish to have more time at. We found 6 full days in and out of the car was enough. That would give you a day or 2 to explore Reykjavik if you like. There are more than enough things to see to fill 10 days. I would HIGHLY recommend booking your last night at the Blue lagoon spa- stay at the clinic. The setting is utterly fantastic! The room is far more than we ever expected. That was an absolute highlight. There are only 15 rooms, so book asap. You wont be disappointed. http://www.bluelagoon.com/

    Some highlights on the ringroad:

    The golden circle- there is a ton of info on the golden circle online. It's the BIG day trip from Reykjavik. Some quite stunning sights (and stunningly awful roads). Gulfoss waterfall, geysir, Pingvellir. However, we found the further out we got on the island, the more stunning the sights. Every day something else jaw droppingly beautiful.

    South on the ringroad toward Vik- shortly before Vik there is a tall waterfall visible from the road. Skeljalandsfoss waterfall. This is a spectacular falls that you can do a short, easy hike up behind it into a little cave. Take an hour and check it out.

    On the other side of Vik just a few minutes, is Dyrholaey. Spectacular rock formations, black sand beach.... great. Continue on the RR to Jokulsarlon- Glacial lagoon. Surreal spot for pictures.

    As stated before, do not miss Dettifoss (Europes largest waterfall), but a short, rocky, fantastic 1.4km hike from there lies the FAR more stunning Selfoss. Most people dont do the hike thinking Dettifoss is the biggest, so must be the best.... do not be fooled. Selfoss is maybe the single most amazing place I have ever seen. You can go to either side to view, but trust me on this, the east side is the place to be.

    Definatly worth a stop is the Myvatn nature baths. Natural hot spring in beautiful surroundings. It was a welcome reprive from the hectic pace.
    The whold Myvatn area is quite a spectacle, and I'd recommend the Frommers guide for more info.

    Akureyri is a nice little town for a stop. However, we found the trip from here back to Reykjavik to be underwhelming. We had an overnight between the 2 places, and looking back I think we'd have rather spent another day divided between the prior sights and just drive straight to Reykjavik from Akureyri. Or maybe we were just too excited to get to the Blue Lagoon.....

    I'm sure you'll have a great time! We loved it.

  • Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators

4 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 5 Hoosiers - help with route through Germany
  2. 2 Trip Report Sono arrivato a Venezia
  3. 3 Portugal Trip
  4. 4 Looking for help on itinerary for trip to Croatia+
  5. 5 London Experts - What do you think of this apartment?
  6. 6 5 Observations About Paris
  7. 7 Amsterdam, Germany, Paris in May 2015- coats needed?
  8. 8 16 Nights in Canary Islands & Spain
  9. 9 3 days and 4 nights in Switzerland
  10. 10 5 nights in Burgundy, with the kids
  11. 11 Renewing our vows in Venice
  12. 12 Trip Report Sweet Home Triana: Spring Break in Seville's left bank
  13. 13 Southern Spain
  14. 14 Itinerary for Greece in 9 Days -in June
  15. 15 Short notice for input needed for Munich, Vienna, Prague and Berlin
  16. 16 driving in france with kids
  17. 17 Is my plan ok
  18. 18 Paris/Prague/Budapest/Zagreb/Nice/Paris
  19. 19 Our first Europe Trip Planning
  20. 20 CROATIA - Split to Hvar Island ???
  21. 21 Different approach to 2-4-1 offers
  22. 22 Trip Report Spain and Portugal in Depth
  23. 23 London - Paris - Venice - Rome in 21 Days
  24. 24 Spain traffic tickets
  25. 25 Reputable Tours
View next 25 » Back to the top